Thyroid health


Your thyroid gland regulates the body's metabolic rate as well as cardiovascular risk, digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood, bone turnover, and longevity. What an important organ!


Unfortunately, your thyroid is more likely to play up as you age. With 1 in 12 women struggling in perimenopause and 1 in 6 women with thyroid issues post-menopause. That's huge!


Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is by far the most common thyroid issue. But hyperthyroidism, nodular thyroid disease, and thyroid cancer are also at an increased risk as you age. As hypothyroidism is the most common, it's what I’ll focus on here. Signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid are very similar to menopause and often go undiagnosed due to this.


They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Irritably moods/ mood swings/ depression
  • Low libido


Due to the similarities and the increased frequency of thyroid issues, it is very important to test your thyroid function thoroughly. Determine if your symptoms are menopause or thyroid related as you won’t get long term result until you determine the underlying cause of your problem and work specifically on that.


The tests I recommend include:

  • TSH - thyroid stimulating hormone (encourages the conversion of T4 to T3)
  • Free T4
  • Free T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Thyroid antibodies (thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO), thyroglobulin antibodies (TGAb), thyroid receptor antibodies (TRAb))
  • Urinary iodine test
  • Vitamin D
  • Epstein barr virus - a lot of auto-immune conditions have links with infections. EBV has an affinity for the thyroid and may be a possible cause for thyroid autoimmunity.
  • A thyroid physical exam and or an ultrasound

Your brain sends down Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to encourage the conversion of  T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) into T3 (active thyroid hormone). T3 then sends a feedback message to the brain to say thanks we have enough you can reduce the amount of TSH, all is good here. But when T3 levels aren’t good that message doesn’t get through and your TSH level gets higher and higher. Under times of stress, T4 is sent down a different pathway and produces rT3 (also inactive) instead of T3, this also prevents the feedback message and TSH can raise. Thyroid antibodies should be investigated as well. These can start to elevate a decade before the thyroid is damaged enough to stop converting T4 to T3 and for blood tests to indicate an issue by looking at abnormal TSH levels. It's like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces. It's worth paying for private testing so you can see the entire picture.


Essential nutrients for optimal thyroid function include:

  • Iodine - a key building block of T3 and T4. The numbers 3, 4 correspond to the numbers of iodine molecules on the thyroid hormone. Don’t take in the presence of thyroid antibodies unless under the care of a healthcare practitioner.
  • Zinc - is needed for the formation of thyroid hormones
  • Selenium - is needed for the conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active)
  • Tyrosine - along with iodine it’s a key building block to form thyroid hormones
  • Magnesium -  helps build T4, convert T4 to T3 and prevent goiter alongside iodine.
  • Vitamin D - is a key component of T reg cells, they regulate the thyroid. It can also reduce elevated TSH
  • Vitamin A - research has shown it can help reduce goiter, reduce thyroid antibodies and improve thyroid function in women with hypothyroidism.
  • Probiotics - yes there is also a GUT THYROID connection. Best strains include Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus or Bifidum species.
  • B12 - is often reduced in patients with hypothyroidism.
  • Manganese - help transport T4 in the cells (T4 is converted to T3 inside the cells)


It is essential to clean up your diet if you have a thyroid condition. Some foods known as goitrogens further reduce the functioning of your thyroid and these include raw cruciferous vegetables eg bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and spinach. These can be deactivated by cooking. Soy products such as tofu and tempeh also contain goitrogenic compounds and should be avoided.

If your thyroid isn’t optimally functioning you also need to avoid food containing gluten, dairy, and sugar.


Sign Up

Stay in touch and get the latest news sent straight to your inbox.