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Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function or underactive thyroid) basically means the thyroid gland is not doing it’s job as well as it should.  Hypothyroidism is a relatively common condition, which can often go undiagnosed due to the vague symptom picture.

 

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If you are having difficulty conceiving and suffer 3 or more of the below symptoms, it would be advised to consult your Health Care Professional.

  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Depression, irritability
  • Constipation or slow transit time
  • Weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight
  • Dry skin hair and nails
  • Hair loss
  • Eczema
  • Low body temperature and intolerance to cold
  • Slow pulse rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low libido
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Swollen thyroid (goiter)
  • Recurrent miscarriage

A diagnosis of hyperthyroid is confirmed via blood test. The blood test measures your levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). More detailed tests of the individual levels of your thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, may also be performed.
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Hypothyroidism is one of the leading causes of infertility or early miscarriage.

Underactive thyroid is associated with reduced FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (lutenising hormone) levels, which are vital for egg maturation and ovulation as well as regulation of estrogen and progesterone. Although most studies focus largely on thyroid imbalance and female fertility, a recent literature review confirmed that thyroid function can also impacts male fertility.
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Treatments

Medications (only prescribed by your Medical Professional)

Levothyroxine (L-Thyroxine)

Eg. Levoxyl, Synthroid, Levothroid

Levothyroxine provides thyroid hormone when the thyroid is under functioning or inactive.

Surgery

Surgery is rarely required for hypothyroidism and is only performed where there is presence of large goiters that are impacting esophageal function or potential cancerous lesions.

Herbal support

The adrenals are under extra strain when the thyroid is over or under functioning. Herbal treatments are an excellent supportive adjunct for both adrenal function and stress levels.

Kelp

Is a good natural source of iodine and other essential minerals. However it is important not to consume too much iodine, therefore kelp should not be taken with iodine supplements or thyroid medications unless under the supervision of your Health Care Professional. Only high quality kelp supplements should be used as some have been found to contain high levels of toxins as found in some seawater.

Recommended dose – providing 220mcg iodine per day

Withania (Indian ginseng)

Withania helps reduce high cortisol levels associated with stress and adrenal dysfunction.

Recommended dose – 3000mg – 9000mg per day

Oats

Oats are a nourishing tonic for the nervous system, aiding in the reduction or cortisol

Recommended dose – 1000 – 4000mg 3 times per day

Liquorice

Liquorice is generally used in combination with other adrenal herbs. It provides mild anti-inflammatory action, acts as an immune system regulator as well as nourishing the nervous system. Liquorice has been known to raise blood pressure, however this is only a side effect of high dose consumption.

Recommended dose – 300mg – 1000mg per day in a blend as prescribed by your Health Care Practitioner

For best results using these herbs, consult your natural fertility specialist.

Nutritional support

Iodine

Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormone and is also required for brain development during pregnancy. However, speak to your Health Care Professional before taking iodine if you are already taking thyroid medication.

Recommended dose – 220 – 250mcg per day

Food sources – Seaweed and sea vegetables, fish, shellfish, yoghurt, cow’s milk, eggs, mozzarella cheese

Selenium

Selenium supports the function of several enzymes involved in thyroid function. Selenium also provides potent antioxidant activity

Recommended dose – 60mcg per day

Food sources – Brazil nuts (highest known source), crab, tuna, lobster, meat, wheat, soybean

Zinc

Zinc is involved in many metabolic processes within the thyroid and is also essential for healthy immune function and ovulation.

Recommended dose – 11mg per day

Food sources – Oysters, shellfish, red meat, pork, chicken, eggs, hard cheese, nuts, pulses, wholegrains

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in women with hypothyroidism and is also important for many metabolic functions.

Recommended dose – 500mg per day

Food sources – Trout, beef, clams, kidney, crab, oysters, lamb, tuna, salmon, sardines, veal, milk, yoghurt, cheese, eggs

Antioxidants

Vitamins A, C and E provide excellent antioxidant support for healthy thyroid function. The safest supplemental form of vitamin A is beta-carotene, which can safely be taken throughout pregnancy.

Recommended doses

Beta-carotene – 3000 – 6000mcg per day

Vitamin C – 50 – 500mg per day per day

Vitamin E – 50 – 200IU (33 – 133mg) per day

Antioxidant rich foods – Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, goji berries, broccoli, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, brightly coloured foods

Fish Oil – Omega 3

Omega 3 helps reduce inflammation and can be beneficial during pre-conception and pregnancy. Fish Oil is the best source of Omega 3 for hypothyroid as flaxseeds may have mild thyroid suppressive properties, therefore should be avoided. The DHA component of fish oil is the most important.

Recommended dose – 300mg – 500mg DHA

Food sources – Salmon, sardines, halibut, snapper, tuna, scallops, shrimp, cod, red fish, white fish

Diet and lifestyle

  • Diet should focus on whole foods with a large vegetable base
  • Reduce refined processed foods such as white bread and pasta
  • Limit red meat and deli meats
  • Increase fish and vegetarian proteins such as tofu and legumes
  • Eliminate trans fatty acids found in processed foods
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Aim to exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week
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