Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Thyroid Gland

Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia are autoimmune diseases that are present with low thyroid activity.  When the thyroid under produces the hormone thyroxin the metabolism in the body becomes sluggish. The thyroid is the gland centered in the neck directly above the collarbones. A normal acting thyroid creates a balance between the rate the body uses and stores energy. When this balance becomes offset the individual will experience fatigue, possible weight gain and intolerance to cold. The thyroid no longer converts thyroxin to its active form commonly called T3.  The adrenal glands when under stress produce T3 as a response to the body’s need to react under pressure. When too much stress is acted on the body the thyroid’s production of T 3 slows down. Adrenal stress has been shown to impact individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome in the same manner. Inflammation occurs when the body endures an excess amount of stress and will greatly impact the autoimmune disease.  The rise in blood sugar levels is associated with the blockage of T 3. This also contributes to inflammation of the tissue and the feeling of being fatigued, clouded thinking and muscle weakness. Symptoms of a low thyroid include slowed heart rate, hair loss, constipation, heavy periods, dry skin and depression.

One cause of low thyroid activity is the depletion of vitamins C, B, and E along with the minerals zinc and iodine.  A change of diet by adding foods high in these vitamins and minerals will help bolster the thyroid activity.  Kelp, Swiss chard, egg yolk preferably organic, onions, garlic, lecithin, and Kombu are foods rich in iodine. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, chicken, avocados, and eggs are rich in vitamins C, B, and E and the mineral zinc. These foods help in reducing inflammation, which is important for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia. An increase in the use of herbs for chronic fatigue symptoms is also helpful

Foods chronicled as goitrogenic should be avoided. These are foods that prohibit the thyroids ability to absorb iodine. Examples of these foods are broccoli, Soya products, millet, cabbage, peanuts, mustard, pine nuts, and turnips.

In rare cases the body becomes allergic to thyroxin and will attack the thyroid gland with its immune system. This condition is termed Hashimoto’s disease.

Moderate exercise can offset the symptoms of low thyroid. Exercise causes the body to burn stored energy. When this happens the thyroid becomes stimulated to secrete hormones that will help release that stored energy.  Activities suggested for individual with chronic fatigue symptoms work well for individuals with low thyroid activity. Walking, jogging, swimming, dancing and low impact aerobics will get the body moving.

Reducing stress will allow the adrenal glands to rest and let the thyroid produce T 3.

By altering eating habits, adding moderate exercise and reducing stress, low thyroid function can be returned to the normal functioning thyroid level that keeps the body in balance.

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