The small, butterfly shaped gland in the front of your throat — known as your thyroid — may be small, but it packs quite a punch when it comes to your health.
The hormones this tiny gland — weighing typically less than an ounce — produces control a huge number of your bodily processes. In fact, thyroid hormones are used by every single cell in your body.
This means that your thyroid is a large part of what keeps you functioning optimally.
When it gets out of whack, it can mean big trouble for your health. Warning signs of a thyroid disorder can often be quite subtle and are often misattributed to other issues or to stress.
According to the American Thyroid Association, up to 60 percent of the estimated 20 million Americans with thyroid problems don’t even know they are suffering.
Take a look at seven of the most common signs that your thyroid has gone haywire so that you know when to seek help.
#1 — Dry skin
You may have written off your dry, flaky skin as a sign of aging, but your thyroid could be to blame.
When your thyroid slows down, it slows your metabolism with it and blocks the ability of your skin to secrete the natural moisturizers that normally keep it supple.
From there, it’s a short hop to dry, irritated skin. This can even cause the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
#2 — Disappearing eyebrows
Low thyroid can also be characterized by a condition called “madarosis.” But I like to think of it as “The Case of the Disappearing Eyebrows.”
Yes, if your thyroid has slipped from normal to hypo (or low), the outside third of your eyebrows can become thinner and thinner until they simply disappear.
#3 — Memory problems
Poor concentration and memory problems are also a sign of low thyroid.
You may have heard this called “brain fog.”
It happens because your brain cells — just like all of the other cells throughout your body — need thyroid hormones to function optimally.
#4 — Fatigue
Hands down, one of the most common signs of hypothyroidism is feeling sluggish.
Unfortunately, since fatigue is also a common symptom in many other diseases, it can be easily overlooked.
But if you’re feeling bone-deep exhaustion, it’s time to take a look at your thyroid.
#5 — Constipation
Not able to go?
Feeling backed up could be the first sign of a thyroid slowdown.
Basically, thyroid slowdown also slows down your gut motility. Nothing moves, and you can end up chronically constipated.
#6 — Feeling cold
Your thyroid hormones keep your metabolism running.
However, when you don’t have enough of these hormones, everything comes to a halt, including the heat production inside your cells.
This can make you extremely sensitive to cold temperatures. If you find yourself struggling to stay warm… think thyroid.
#7 — Hair loss
Over time, low levels of thyroid hormones can lead to hair loss, generally as a result of the nutrient deficiencies that go hand in hand with thyroid disorder.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, your hair will appear thinner over your entire scalp.
But there is good news…
Experts say that once you get treatment and your thyroid levels go up, the condition often improves.
Helping your thyroid
If you’re experiencing one, some or all of the warning signs above, it’s important to do two things…
First, get your thyroid levels checked so that you know your starting point and can rule out any other issues.
And second, begin a thyroid-supporting regimen immediately.
For this, nutrition consultant and fitness coach, Ayda Ersoy, in an article for the HuffPost, recommends taking:
- Iodine — Provides the fuel your body needs to make your thyroid hormones
- Zinc — Helps convert T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3
- Selenium — Along with zinc, is critical to the conversion to T3
- Tyrosine — Partners with iodine to create T4 and T3 hormones
Ersoy also warns that “up to one quarter of the cases of thyroid deficiency are missed by the blood tests commonly used to screen for it.”
This can be due to everything from chronic stress to a buildup of estrogen or heavy metals in your body.
And things can be further complicated by the fact that even though your blood work may be normal, you could have a sub-clinical thyroid condition where you have a problem converting T4 to T3.
This makes it vital to keep the thyroid-supporting nutrients above in your daily diet to find relief from your thyroid symptoms.