Is your thyroid really normal?

39388550_lYour thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that lies at the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid is a gland that secretes hormones necessary for metabolism, growth and development and body temperature. Some people call it the master gland because it truly does influence the function of every cell in your body in some way. Read more

Are your nutritional supplements pure?

39454602_mlRemember a few months back when the media launched shocking news that many of the herbal and nutritional supplements on pharmacy shelves across the U.S. contained only tiny amounts, or in some cases, none of the advertised ingredients? As a consumer, it can be hard to know when you are getting the right supplement— just because you find it on the shelf of a store you consider reliable doesn’t mean that it is. Read more

The influence of intestinal microbiomes on your health

20313789_mlIt’s amazing to think that you could be carrying up to four pounds of microbiomes in your gut. What are microbiomes? Basically, microbiomes are the population of microbes (bacteria) that live inside your body starting in your mouth and going all the way to the colon. These bacteria are responsible for many functions including the breakdown of food—ensuring that the vitamins and nutrients in them are released for absorption into our bodies.

But microbiomes do much more.

Read more

Nutraceuticals for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails

bigstock-Spring-beauty-girl-with-long-r-63290635The condition of your skin, nails, and hair are a reflection of your overall state of health. A variety of factors can affect their condition, including genetics, exposure to tobacco smoke, sun damage, medication and drug use, and nutritional deficiencies. Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to keep the integumentary system-that’s your hair, nails, and skin-healthy. Additionally, vitamin supplementation can support the biological processes that maintain the health of the integumentary system. Supplementation can be especially important for helping to tame the symptoms of hypothyroidism, which is known to adversely affect the condition of hair, skin, and nails.

Vitamin formulas for healthy hair, skin, and nails contain many of the same nutrients that your entire body needs for growth and maintenance of cells. Hair, skin, and nails also respond well to vitamins that support keratin production. Keratin is a protein that is an essential building block for the integumentary system. Talk to Dr Myra Reed about the following key supplements that can give strength and shine to your hair, skin, and nails.

Biotin & the mighty B vitamins. The B-complex (B12, B3, and B6) is vital for hair and skin growth. Biotin, also a B vitamin, is sometimes used to help reduce or prevent hair loss. Some people do not get enough biotin in their diet, resulting in a deficiency. In such cases, research has shown taking biotin supplements may help alleviate hair thinning. Biotin-rich foods include peanut butter, eggs, avocados, legumes, and bananas.

Vitamin D is important for hair follicle cycling, especially for individuals who live in northern parts of the United States where sunlight is limited. Salmon, mushrooms, beef liver, and grains are great sources of vitamin D.

Zinc is a key mineral for hair growth, wound healing, healthy skin, and immune function. Zinc is found in foods such as red meat, oysters, lamb, turkey, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate.

Horsetail, a herb, acts as an antibacterial and has a remineralizing effect. It is rich in flavonoids, potassium, and silicon, which are vital to the functioning of rapidly growing tissues such as skin and nails. It also has a key role in the synthesis of collagen.

Vitamins C & E both have many important functions, including protecting cells from damage and boosting immunity. Good sources are seeds, dark green veggies, safflower oil, and citrus fruits.

Essential fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats have been shown to reduce inflammation and support skin and scalp health. You can obtain essential fatty acids from eating cold-water fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, pollock, or shrimp. However, these fish can contain high levels of heavy metals-that’s not a good thing. Limit your intake of these fish to just two or three times a month. If you are averse to eating fish, or are vegan, a flaxseed oil supplement is a good alternative.

The Butterfly Inside You: The Tiny, Mighty Thyroid Gland

bigstock-Endocrinologist-Examine-Thyroi-19618823A busy butterfly lives just below your Adam’s apple that is responsible for the regulation of your inner state of balance, or homeostasis. Like a butterfly, the thyroid quietly goes about its business without getting much attention until Dr. Myra Reed checks it with her hands during a routine exam. Unless something unusual is found at that time (e.g., swelling,nodules) or symptoms manifest that indicate a problem requiring advanced testing, there won’t be much further ado about your thyroid.

Let’s take a moment to find out what the thyroid does, how to know if there’s a problem, and how to keep your thyroid healthy.

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which includes the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thymus, pineal gland, testes, ovaries, adrenal glands, parathyroid, and pancreas. It makes hormones (e.g., T3, T4) that travel through your bloodstream and regulate your metabolism, brain and heart function, and reproductive and menstrual cycles.

When the thyroid is not functioning properly, a chain reaction of hormonal events takes place that involves many other glands/hormones of the endocrine system and the bodily systems they regulate. The end result is one of two primary types of health conditions: hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism results when the thyroid is overactive. Think of hyperthyroidism like a butterfly that can’t stop fluttering its wings. Everything is on overdrive, including metabolism, frequency of bowels, emotions (anxiousness), increased sweating, and-for lady butterflies only-very light menstruation or cessation of the menstrual cycle. This butterfly often feels hot and can’t maintain a healthy weight. There are also bouts of exhaustion from trying to maintain this intense state of arousal.

Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid is underactive. This butterfly just can’t get its wings to go. It’s gained weight, feels sluggish, and has brittle hair and nails. It feels cold and tired, is kind of depressed, and suffers from constipation. The lady butterflies usually have irregular, heavy menstruation.

5 Ways to Keep Your Thyroid Healthy

  1. Eat from the sea. The sea provides many natural sources of iodine, a building block of the thyroid hormone. Salt has a high concentration of iodine, but it can raise blood pressure. Instead, opt for saltwater fish, or try seaweed in a salad. Cod and halibut are high in selenium, which protects the thyroid gland during periods of stress and helps regulate hormone synthesis. Fish oil provides essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation, which plays a role in causing autoimmune diseases.
  2. Eat from the earth. Eat foods high in B vitamins, which are precursors to thyroid hormones and influence cell energy. Balance your diet with poultry, nuts and seeds, legumes, and whole grains. Red meat provides iron, zinc, magnesium, and other minerals essential for thyroid hormone function, and the health of other bodily systems affected by thyroid disorders (skin, hair, metabolism).
  3. Relax. A daily relaxation practice, such as just 10 minutes a day of silence and deep breathing, can make a difference in the state of mind and body.
  4. Move it! Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Yoga is particularly good for thyroid health, including poses such as butterfly, fish pose, shoulder stand, and child’s pose.
  5. Get supplemental insurance. Our diets aren’t perfect, so supplementing with a vitamin/mineral or botanical (herb) regimen can provide extra insurance against exposure to stress, toxins, and perhaps your own family history.  But be careful, not all supplements are of the highest quality or source. Be sure to talk to Dr. Myra Reed about the best nutraceutical products for you.