7 Surprising Energy Thieves and How to Combat Them
By Gary Greenberg | Monday, 07 Nov 2016 12:09 PM http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Headline/energy-thieves-chronic-fatigue/2016/11/07/id/757466/
It all has to do with the function of the thyroid gland. The butterfly-shaped gland located just below the Adam’s apple in your neck uses iodine to manufacture hormones that regulate metabolism throughout the body.
But chemicals and compounds in many foods, consumer products, and even upholstery can disrupt thyroid function and leave you feeling fatigued and less energetic.
“The thyroid hormones are crucial for energy,” says Dr. Ajay Rao, an endocrinologist at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia. “Classic symptoms of an underactive thyroid are fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation – basically, the whole body slows down.”
The most common cause of an underactive thyroid, called hypothyroidism, is the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
“Other causes include surgery to remove the thyroid, certain medications, long-term steroid use and iodine deficiency,” Rao tells Newsmax Health. “There are also some chemicals that disrupt thyroid function, but they are hard to nail down as there is still active research in this field.”
Here are seven surprising things that may disrupt thyroid function:
Toothpaste: If your toothpaste contains fluoride, you may want to consider switching brands. While fluoride is good for teeth, it’s not so good for the endocrine system. In fact, fluoride was once used to treat an overactive thyroid. And a British study in 2015 strongly linked fluoridated water to hypothyroidism. The problem? Your thyroid will typically absorb fluoride over iodine, which inhibits its ability to produce its key hormones.
New cars: Love that new car smell? Well, it doesn’t love you. The fire retardant bromine is another compound that the thyroid will sop up instead of iodine. Eventually, the effects of the chemicals fade away, which is why old cars may not tickle your olfactory nerves but are healthier for your thyroid.
Swimming pools: Swimming may be great exercise, but if you’re doing it in a chlorinated pool, you could be handicapping your thyroid. Like fluoride and bromine, chlorine also hogs your thyroid’s attention at the expense of iodine. Even if you don’t swim, you ingest chlorine in your drinking water and even absorb it through your skin during showers.
Selenium deficiency: The thyroid produces hydrogen peroxide to help it metabolize iodine, but that process also creates free radicals that can damage the gland. That, in turn, can trigger autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s. But the trace mineral selenium protects the thyroid by neutralizing the free radicals. Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, but it can also be found in sardines, yellowfin tuna, grass-fed beef, poultry, eggs, and spinach.
Super greens: Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as kale, arugula, bok choy, cabbage, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli, and cauliflower are packed with nutrients, but they are also goitrogenic foods. That means they have compounds that can disrupt the thyroid’s absorption of iodine. Taken in normal amounts, the greens won’t hurt thyroid function. But eating massive quantities of these veggies raw, especially through juicing, may be too much of a good thing, warn experts.
Smoking: Here’s one more reason to quit tobacco. As if heart disease and cancer aren’t bad enough on their own, cigarette smoke wreaks havoc on the thyroid gland. One problem is that the cyanide in the smoke boosts excretion of iodine, limiting its availability to the thyroid.
Caffeine: Drinking too much coffee or caffeinated soft drinks stimulates the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and that can interfere with the way the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 interact, making them less effective. So if you need a morning pick-me-up, you may want to try a cold shower instead of having a hot cup of java.
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