Had I paid closer attention to what I was doing to myself, would I not be in this predicament? This was a question I found myself constantly asking after my diagnosis of Hypothyroidism. The truth of the matter was that I hadn’t been taking care of my health for a very long time. Long work days and poor nutrition had become deeply embedded into my daily life, and unfortunately an underactive thyroid had become a result of it.
Despite feelings of constant fatigue, joint pain and long, intense spells of depression, I continued working around the clock. It wasn’t until I literally felt that I could not get out of bed one morning that I was forced to see my doctor. Once my blood work results had come back, I was given the prescription, Levothyroxine and sent on my way.
After a few short days of taking the small, white tablet, I did begin seeing some slight improvements. My mood had become somewhat elevated and overtime I began feeling more and more like my old self. I no longer felt completely depleted of energy by the end of a shift, which was a plus for me because that meant more energy to work longer hours.
The joint pain, however, did take a little longer to lessen but as time went on that, too, became a thing of the past. But I wasn’t completely out of the woods yet. After about a little over a year of taking my medication, some side effects began to kick in and it wasn’t long after that I came to see that the traditional method I was using to manage my thyroid disorder was not for me.
FEELING A LITTLE WORSE THAN BEFORE
The first side effect of the medication, Levothyroxine, came in the form of feeling that I was never completely full. Due to having a thyroid disorder, I had already put on a substantial amount of weight over a course of a few years. Taking the medication caused for me a drastic increase in hunger and my weight gain began to shoot the roof. The other symptom was an inability to sleep which began to affect me psychologically as well as physically. Soon I began feeling worse than I had before. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had to begin looking for an alternative treatment for my thyroid disorder.
PLENTY OF TRIALS AND PLENTY OF ERRORS
The first thing I set out to do was research my options. Since I wasn’t quite the fan for medications and their side effects, I was determined to set out to try and find a more healthier solution. But first, I needed to understand what it was I was doing to myself to change what triggered the disease in the first place.
After doing some research on the causes of hypothyrodism, I was able to rule out some of the most common ones which are having a family history of either Turner syndrome, Down’s syndrome, Grave’s disease, Addison’s disease, or any other autoimmune disorder. Stress is a factor as well, and I was definitely having my share of it. So, what I next set out to do was to change my work schedule. I immediately decreased my hours from working 75 hours a week to working the regular 40 hours a week. This took quite a lot of adjusting, particularly financially, but I seemed to manage. After several weeks of a slow paced schedule I did notice some slight changes, but nothing substantial. In fact, since I had been off of the medication, Levothyroxine, for more than a little over a month I had felt, from time to time, myself slipping back into a depressive state not to mention the subtle feelings of the ever, dreaded joint pains returning. Then it dawned on me. My doctor had already pinpointed that the cause of my hypothyrodism was due to an iodine deficiency.
The most common cause of hypothyrodism is an iodine deficiency. Iodine is found mostly in fish which I was not at all fond of at the time. I would say that for a whole month I would have had fish maybe once or twice, and I’m not talking in the most healthy way either. So, I figured I’d try the next best thing to getting the source of iodine my body was needing and before long, fish oil had become a daily regimen of my diet. But one fish oil capsule a day didn’t contain nearly enough of the iodine my body was needing. Then a friend of mine introduced me to sea kelp. Kelp is a sea vegetable that has been consumed by eastern countries for thousands of years. I would add this to my meals, smoothies, whatever I would eat at the time, and after a few months along with a healthy fish meal or two per week, I saw that a lot of my symptoms had decreased drastically and in some cases all together.
A MORE NATURAL WAY TO TREATING THYROID DISEASE
What I would recommend for anyone who has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism due to an iodine deficiency, and would prefer an alternative way to treating the disease, is to follow these four simple tips:
- Change your diet: Adding more seafood to your diet is a definite way to making sure your body will receive the proper amount of iodine. Search for easy and delicious seafood recipes to prepare so as to guarantee this result. Other iodine-rich foods: iodized salt, potato (baked with peel), milk, turkey, navy beans (cooked), tuna (in oil), boiled egg.
- Find a good supplement: Although kelp is very high in iodine and other essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, spirulina (also a sea vegetable) is by far the highest. Spirulina is also high in B vitamins and protein. When taking iodine supplements, always follow the daily recommended value. It is also important to consult your doctor when considering taking high doses of iodine. Excessive amounts of iodine (whether in loose powder form or capsule) could lead to acute iodine poisoning.
- Exercise: Moving around and staying active is always good for maintaining optimal health. Most people with hypothyroidism do struggle with weight gain, so incorporating a good exercise program into your daily life such as walking, jogging, swimming, playing basketball, and dancing, just to name a few, will often times alleviate stress, reduce the symptoms of depression, decrease inflammation and improve cognitive abilities.
- Getting the proper amount of rest: Making sure that your body receives the sufficient amount of sleep is very important, especially for those with hypothyroidism. A proper amount of rest keeps the adrenal glands balanced which is essential to keeping the hypothyroid condition in check. Avoiding large amounts of stimulants such as caffeine, throughout the day and especially late at night, can help you obtain a better quality of sleep.
Most importantly, taking good care of yourself, initially, is always the best remedy to preventing any disease.