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Thyroid health and how diet impacts it

Hormone health is a subject of much debate amongst personal trainers and health coaches. But in the medical world, where we regularly see true hormone dysfunction in its purest forms, from mild impairment all the way across the spectrum to full endocrine dysfunction, the factors that regulate hormonal health are well studied, well known and pretty simple to understand. In a recent blog post, I reviewed the most important factors that determine your hormone destiny and they’re pretty easy to grasp. Genetics and lifestyle seem to determine whether or not you’ll have hormonal dysfunction, along with the occasional case of bad luck which accounts for the rest. You can read the blog post where I review hormonal health here.

For this week’s blog post, I wanted to dedicate a full article to thyroid health. “Why thyroid?” you might ask. Because my mom suffers from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is the most common from of hypothyroidism, along with other relatives. Up to 5% of the population suffers from the disorder, along with another 5% who are currently undiagnosed. When the condition is developing under the radar, it’s called subclinical hypothyroidism and the incidence shoots up to 8% in women and 4.4% in men. Although this may not seem like a lot, I’m ready to bet that you know someone who has or will be affected. With almost 1 out of 10 women affected by this condition, I rarely, if ever, go a week without seeing someone with hypothyroidism. It seems that we are managing thyroid hormone replacements daily, or interpreting thyroid hormone tests. If this doesn’t make me an expert, I don’t know what does. Oh, and did I mention that I taught endocrinology in medical school for almost a decade, and have been teaching thyroid disorders to medical interns since 2007. In this course, I focus on overt and sub clinical hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism. We review thyroid cancers and nodules, as well as thyroiditis. Now if this seems a little overwhelming, that’s normal. Today, I’ll review normal thyroid function and then summarize how dysfunction occurs. I’ll also make sure to connect the dots and discuss how diet and lifestyle can affect thyroid function. We’ll discuss the foods to eat, those to reduce and how to help prevent thyroid dysfunction from ever happening at all!

The Normal Thyroid