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Hypothyroidism is the condition that occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and fails to make enough thyroid hormones. 


The thyroid gland is located in the neck and produces a primary hormone called thyroxine (T4).  This hormone is converted to the more active triiodothyronine (T3), which stimulates every cell in the body.  Nearly every system and function of the body depends on receiving adequate amounts of this hormone. 


The thyroid gland is known as the body's internal thermostat.    It regulates the temperature of the body by secreting these two thyroid hormones that control how quickly the body burns calories and uses energy.   If the thyroid gland secretes too much hormone then hyperthyroidism results.  If too little of the hormone is produced then hypothyroidism will result.


Symptoms of Hypothyroidism 

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sweating
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dry and coarse skin and hair
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Fertility problems
  • Goitre
  • Hair loss
  • Heavy, painful and irregular periods
  • Hoarseness
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Joint pain
  • Migraines
  • Muscle cramps and weakness
  • Oedema of the eyelids
  • Recurrent infections
  • Slow heart rate
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Weakness


Causes of Hypothyroidism include  

  • Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid.  This condition is where the body becomes allergic to thyroid hormone, and produces antibodies against its own thyroid tissue.  Hashimoto's disease is a common cause of goitre, which is a swelling of the thyroid gland. 


  • Congenital hypothyroidism can occur in children.    


  • Insufficient thyroxine production can also be caused by primary thyroid failure.  A small or inadequate thyroid gland can be inherited and cause hypothyroidism. 


  • Other causes include nutrient deficiencies such as iodine, zinc, copper, iron, selenium and tyrosine.   Excessive cortisol levels from chronic stress can also block the conversion of thyroxine to T3 and cause hypothyroidism. 


The thyroid gland can also be adversely affected by  

  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Alcohol
  • Candida
  • Drugs
  • Endurance exercise
  • Excessive consumption of saturated fats
  • Fluoride in water
  • Heavy metal toxicity from mercury, lead, cadmium
  • Nutrient insufficiency
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables
  • Poor diet
  • Radiation from x-rays
  • Sluggish liver
  • Stress
  • Toxicity 


Thyroid test    

To confirm the diagnosis usually a blood test is taken to measure low levels of thyroxine or high levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).  TSH is secreted by the pituitary gland and helps to regulate thyroid hormone production.  TSH levels can rise when a person is in the early stages of thyroid failure.  Tests can also be performed to demonstrate an auto immune inflammation in the thyroid gland from Hashimoto's thyroiditis.



The results of the thyroid hormone profile test allow for corrective treatment plans that include the use of foods and supplements specific for enhancing thyroid status. 


Dietary changes can help with Hypothyroidism

  • Goitrogens are naturally occurring substances in some foods that interfere with the absorption of iodine and therefore interfere with function of the thyroid gland.  They are found in cruciferous vegetables including, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga and turnips.  They are also found in millet, peaches, peanuts, radishes, spinach, strawberries and soybeans and soy products, including tofu.  Therefore if suffering from hypothyroidism limit intake of excessive amounts of goitrogen containing foods.  Cooking also helps to inactivate the goitrogenic compounds found in these foods. 


  • Drink filtered water.  Avoid fluoride in toothpaste and chlorine in tap water.  Fluoride and chlorine block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland.  This can cause reduced iodine-containing hormone production and lead to hypothyroidism. 


  • Avoid processed foods, refined foods, foods that contain saturated fats and trans fats, sugar and artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives.  Avoid caffeine, smoking, alcohol and soft drinks.  


  • Eat a wide variety of hi-fibre and organic wholefoods in season.  Eat small, regular meals.  


Naturopathy can be extremely beneficial in the treatment of Hypothyroidism.  Please phone Kathryn (03) 98884119 to arrange an initial consultation to begin treatment for your condition.  




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