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Thyroid Function and Hair loss

Thyroid Function and Hair loss

A common cause of hair loss is an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Sometimes hair loss can remain even after prescribed thyroid medications are taken, as certain nutritional deficiencies and other factors can contribute to thyroid hormone issues, and this underlying cause needs to be addressed also.

What does our thyroid do?

The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located around your windpipe, that secretes thyroid hormones directly into the bloodstream. The thyroid makes two main hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), T3 is the main active hormone. The thyroid hormones play the role in
the speed of our metabolism. These hormones affect every cell, tissue and organ.

They also affect our body temperature, circulation, appetite, blood sugar levels, energy levels, growth, bone development, muscle tone, cardiac rate, fluid balance, blood sugar levels, central nervous system function, bowel function and cholesterol levels.

Do I have an underactive thyroid?

Symptoms from an underactive thyroid can include:

• Diffuse hair loss over the entire scalp
• Fragile hair that is fine and weak
• Fatigue – feeling very tired
• Sensitive to the cold
• Weight gain
• Elevated cholesterol
• Constipation

Do I have an overactive thyroid?

Symptoms from an overactive thyroid can include:

• Diffuse hair loss over the entire scalp
• Sweaty
• Fatigue
• Anxious
• Sudden weight loss
• Increased sensitivity to heat
• Irregular heart beat
• Increased appetite

Dietary strategies for thyroid heath
As zinc, iodine, iron and selenium are required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, a deficiency in either of these can impact thyroid hormones and hair loss.

Good food sources (Australian)

include:
• Zinc – Oysters, shellfish, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, hard cheeses, nuts, pulses, wholegrains.
• Iodine – Iodised salt, kelp, seaweeds, sea vegetables, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy, mozzarella cheese, strawberries.
• Selenium – Brazil nuts, seafood (especially crab, tuna, lobster), eggs, meat, corn, wheat.
• Iron – Meat, fish, lentils, kidney beans, spinach, molasses, spinach.

Digestive issues including lower stomach acid and pathogens in the gut can also be linked back to underlying causes to thyroid complaints. Improving digestion can be a good tool for many people – using lemon juice/apple cider vinegar in water, bitter foods, sprouts, greens and considering generally improving digestive health is a factor to consider with thyroid health.

Unstable blood sugar (the “sugar yo-yo”) encourages your body to convert more T4 to Reverse T3, an inactive form of thyroid hormone. Therefor eating foods that are high in fibre and low in refined carbohydrates is important. Anchoring meals in proteins (plant proteins too!!) can be very helpful.

How can a Naturopath help me with my thyroid health?

To understand more specifically what your thyroid hormones are doing, a thyroid panel (TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3, and antibodies if needed) is a science-based approach to understanding what all the thyroid hormones are doing, not just TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).

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