Every cell of the body is made from the foods you eat, every organ is made up of cells, therefore every organ of the body is made from the foods that you eat. Let’s face it put junk into your body you will get a junk body, but give the body the foods it requires and the cells, organs and systems of the body will function to create health.
By Cyndi O’Meara, Nutritionist at Changing Habits
Disease was once something reserved for the old but now it is seems the youngest members of our society are sick and on some kind of medication, we’ve been duped into believing that the food in packages, laced with additives, preservatives, colours, flavours and fake ingredients is healthy, but time is showing us that this is not the case. Our evolutionary bodies need evolutionary foods not neolithic foods we find in the supermarket in packaging.
One of the growing epidemics are diseases of the endocrine system, which includes our; thyroid, ovaries, adrenals and testes as well as other organs in the brain and throughout the body. The endocrine system is a looped system that communicates via hormones, each one is intricately linked with the other and the master gland in the brain the hypothalamus, then interplays the communication between the hormones and the nervous system. In other words it is a very important system and when one part of the system plays up it’s important to address the whole system.
Infertility, abdominal discomfort, adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues are on everyone’s lips especially females. It seems to becoming epidemic in modern society. So let’s look at how this system works?
The thyroid is a very important gland it produces five important hormones but one in particular is required for every single cell in the body, it’s name is T3. T3 requires the mineral – iodine in order to make it. If iodine is lacking in the body then the hormone is lacking and cells don’t work efficiently. T3 is required for cell metabolism (functioning) without it our cells work inefficiently and this ripples to our organs not working well and thus the whole body, physically, mentally and emotionally.
It’s interesting to note that in times of emotional, mental and physical stress the body will conserve T3 for energy for healing and repairing and distribute to important cells and areas that ensure survival of the body.
A growing disease is PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Cyst production usually results from a lack of T3 and a lack of iodine in particular. Cysts can grow on the ovaries, testes and breasts (FBD – fibrotic breast disease), where ever the deficiency is centered. Most of our endocrine organs store iodine while the thyroid uses it in order to help cell metabolism and prevent cyst formation.
There are several reasons why our body will not make enough T3 for every cell in the body and much of it relates to the food we eat.
1. Lack of iodine in the diet
In Australia we have a recommended intake of iodine of around 190 micrograms, this is the dose that prevents goiter (a disease of the thyroid). This small amount of iodine does not satisfy the bodies need for optimum health. The Japanese populations consume on average around 13 milligrams every day of iodine, their rates of thyroid disease and hormone disturbances and PCOS are negligible compared to the Australian population. The foods that are high in iodine are seaweed and seafood.
I recommend that these foods become incorporated into the diet. Kelp and dulse are two wonderful sources of iodine, but make sure they are fresh and packaged tightly and not exposed to air. Once you have opened the package store in a tight sealed jar. I add seaweed to my salt which I call changing habits seaweed salt, so every time I eat salt I consume seaweed. I use seaweed in my cooking especially broths and soups and stews and slow cooks.
Make sure you consume fish and seafood on a regular basis include, prawns, crustaceans, white fish, oysters, clams, muscles, squid and any fish you enjoy.
You can also supplement with iodine but this is a specialised protocol which includes the addition of brazil nuts for selenium, camu camu for vitamin C and the intake of seaweed salt and water.
2. Diseases of the thyroid
Hashimoto’s and Graves disease are increasing at an unprecedented rate in Australia, these two diseases can initially cause hyperthyroidism and then slow to hypothyroidism therefore the body slowly stops making T3 and PCOS is related to these diseases of the thyroid. Modern medicine treats this disease with medications, but functional medicine treats these diseases by removing the food that is perpetuating the autoimmune disease. Wheat and gluten have been indicated to be foods that are destructive to the immune systems intelligence by molecular mimicry. Other foods that mimic gluten must also be removed, but initially all wheat and gluten products should never be consumed again if you have been diagnosed with either disease. PCOS is also seen as an autoimmune disease but most likely due to the autoimmune diseases of the thyroid.
Synthetic hormones, especially the pill have been known to disrupt the balance of hormones in the endocrine system thus causing dis-ease of the thyroid, ovaries, adrenals and breasts. Understand the ramifications of any synthetic hormones you are taking.
A poor diet is not conducive to overall health, by eating real foods as opposed to foods that look, taste and smell like food (packaged foods) you are doing a disservice to the vehicle that takes you places you need to go. Educate yourself on what works for your body. I guarantee it will be foods that include, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, eggs, good quality fermented dairy, good quality meats, fish, poultry, wild meats, some grains (non gluten).
5. Antagonists of iodine
Flouride, Chloride and Bromide are three antagonists of iodine, in other words when they are present in the body in greater amounts then iodine then they displace iodine thus perpetuating the issue with the endocrine system. A good way to reverse this is by drinking water that has been filtered especially from fluoride. The bigger issue is bromide as it is found not only many foods but also within the home environment on our carpets, furniture and even pyjamas at fire retardants. Making sure you are consuming enough iodine will help you counteract this problem.
I’ve been a nutritionist for 30 years, I’ve seen the increase in infertility, autoimmunity, endometriosis and PCOS gather momentum. You can take away the symptoms with a drug, but in the end you must address what is causing the issue. Is it lack of iodine, lack of another nutrient, is it autoimmunity or medications you’ve been taking. PCOS especially is not something that can be dealt with by doing one thing, all five points need to be addressed in order to solve this growing disease and for preventing PCOS.