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What Happens when Your Thyroid is Underactive?

A very common cause of feeling low in mood, motivation and energy is an underactive thyroid. The thyroid gland is situated in the base of the throat, just below the adam’s apple- it makes the hormone thyroxine, which tells all the brain and body cells to keep active. It is an important hormone to produce in optimum amounts – too much and everything goes too fast, you lose weight, can’t sleep and your heart races. Too little and your system slows down: fatigue, dry skin and constipation are the classic symptoms.
Often the thyroid gland can start to under produce as a long term consequence of stress and sub- optimum nutrition, causing depression and lethargy. Other telltale signs include poor memory or concentration, anxiety, indigestion and constipation, haemorrhoids, skin problems, feeling cold or not tolerating heat well, fluid retention and weight gain.

So what can you do?
The medical approach is to give you thyroxine, which should be discussed at length with your doctor. Thyroxine is made from the amino acid tyrosine, which is converted into thyroxine and then into T3 by enzymes that depend on zinc, selenium and iodine. B vitamins are also important for a process called methylation – required for the production of thyroxine. Patrick Holford therefore suggests starting with a high strength multivitamin that contains iodine, zinc and selenium.
A great supplement to try is Patrick Holford’s Advanced Optimum Nutrition which contains all of these nutrients. Most of all, put yourself on a healthy, strict low-GL diet, eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole foods, and minimize stress and stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine.