Our health is intimately connected to the functioning of the thyroid gland. The far reaching affects of the thyroid hormone influence every cell in our body. Metabolism, governed by this hormone, sets the pace for vitality and strength.
Ahh, yes, metabolism – how does it impact us? A large part of cellular metabolism concerns how efficiently we burn calories to create energy and heat. Thyroid hormone enters into each cell and is the catalyst to set off an entire cascade of events that allow for the proper performance of the various tissues in the body. Without the power sparked by thyroid hormone, every individual cell could become weak and unable to effectively do its job.
Insufficient thyroid function may cause fatigue, foggy thinking, weight gain, decreased concentration, loss of memory, weak muscles, brittle hair, and temperature fluctuation. This list could go on and on since every system in the body is affected by the thyroid. We could include depression, hair loss, constipation, muscle cramps, and irregular menstrual cycles. However, to some extent, any malfunction of the different bodily systems may be associated with the thyroid.
In an Ayurvedic perspective, the thyroid could affect Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. Whenever there is an underlying disturbance in any of the subdoshas, an inadequate level of thyroid hormone would more likely affect the cells or bodily systems governed by that subdosha. For example, if someone has an Apana Vata imbalance in their abdominal area, a thyroid deficiency could weaken the muscles in the colon, slowing the digestive process; leading to either an incomplete bowel movement or constipation.
With a decreased thyroid, there may be a reduction in oxygen available in the blood and this can bring fatigue. The sequence of events begins with the weakening of the heart muscle which in turn slows the heart rate. Oxygen production is diminished – making less available to be utilized during metabolism. As the amount of energy that is created through cellular metabolism is lessened, fatigue will ensue.
How does the Thyroid become imbalanced?
Energetically, the thyroid is governed by the throat chakra. Physically, the thyroid is located within the subdosha Udana Vata which is located in the upper chest, neck, and throat area. Both the Throat Chakra and Udana Vata are related to communication: speaking, hearing, listening, and the performance of action. Any unprocessed cellular memory that remains in the lower four chakras (Root, Sacral, Navel, or Heart) will have an influence on the well being of the Throat Chakra, Udana Vata, and the Thyroid Gland.
Either hypo or hyperthyroid may be caused by subtle factors relating to expressing ourselves. There may be an accumulation of repressed desires or emotions from a non supportive relationship. Perhaps our words have not been valued or dealt with as being insignificant. Other times, feeling powerless and not in a position to fulfill our needs or to take the steps necessary to advance dreams into reality. Any of these can disrupt the natural flow of life force in the Throat Chakra and create a blockage.
Thyroid tests may not show a clear picture of the body’s needs or utilization of thyroid hormone. Blood test results for T3 and T4 are quite broad and may suggest within the normal limits; however, this may not be indicative of the needs of the individual. Reproductive hormones play a significant role in the proper functioning of the thyroid. A surprisingly high percentage of peri and post menopausal woman have transitioning sex hormones along with a decrease in thyroid function. For these woman, both the sex hormones and thyroid hormones must be addressed. Usually, this can be attended to with safe and natural herbal therapy. Going through this change of life does not need to be disruptive with symptoms that appear to be a mystery such as sleep problems, chronic fatigue, loss of memory, unexplained dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands along with the host of known conditions related to fluctuating hormones.
The lack of proper nutrients has a detrimental effect on thyroid function. Iodine is necessary to produce thyroid hormone, but may be insufficient in the diet. Using iodized salt and including sea vegetables such as seaweed or kelp assist in having the proper amount. Selenium is fundamental for utilization of thyroid hormone in cellular metabolism. Excellent vegetarian sources for Selenium include brazil nuts, sunflower, sesame, and chia seeds. Ayurvedic Shilajit (mineral pitch) contains both Iodine and Selenium in a highly assimilable form. Shaktiveda Herbal offers Shilajit capsules along with Thyroid Assist formula or capsules and Thyroid Relief Nasya Oil.