Problems arise when your thyroid produces too many hormones (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism).
And the main cause..? A lack of iodine.
Where is your thyroid?
The thyroid gland is positioned – as you can see in the first image below – with the ‘X’ marking the spot. It is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, below the throat. This sensitive gland that can cause so much havoc in the body is part of the endocrine system that coordinates many bodily actions, as well as producing hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism.
Looking at the entire world’s population, thyroid problems occur most in countries that rarely use iodised salt. And in those countries that do, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the main thyroid issue (hypothyroidism).
A lack of selenium can also be a contributory factor, where the heart and the nervous system are put at risk. When the deficiency is ongoing it can lead to mental health challenges with the individual experiencing anxiety and depression that can result in dementia. A lack of selenium can also negatively affect fertility.
What doom and gloom, yet it needn’t be the horror show of yesteryear with stories of people coming down the mountains to fix their ‘big neck’ (referred to so nicely as a Goiter). Measured in degrees of severity 1-3, the more pronounced and more painful the Goiter. We don’t see instances of higher levels of ill-functioning thyroids nowadays, like the Mayan mask sculpture depicted here. However, treatments for thyroid dysfunction are commonplace today – and in modern medicine, it means taking daily medication – for life. Yet in the case of an underactive thyroid, it needn’t.
There can be a natural approach to thyroid wellness.
Antique Goiter Mask (Patzcaa Dance) – Huehuecho-Rabinal mayan folk art
What are the main types of thyroid dysfunction?
When the thyroid becomes ineffective, symptoms will help identify whether it is underactive or overactive. Thyroid conditions are many and names you’ll come across include; Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, Goiter (swollen thyroid), and thyroid nodules.
In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland is overactive. It produces too much thyroid hormone. This can cause many of your body’s functions to speed up. Heart racing, itchy skin and in some cases this condition can make the eyes bulge. The symptoms are many and differ with the individual. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, affecting about 70% of the population.
Hypothyroidism is what we are focusing on in this blog and where the thyroid gland is underactive and can’t produce enough hormones. This can cause some of the body’s functions to slow down. Of the two types, more people suffer from too little thyroid hormone production than too much.
Common symptoms? There are many and can include: fatigue, dry skin, dry hair, increased sensitivity to cold, brain fog, depression, constipation and unexplained weight gain. None of these are pleasant and so what can be done without resorting to medical intervention?
This engraving ‘Goiter’ is credited to Sartori, Franz (1819)
Nature’s antidote to Hypothyroidism is iodine
And where can it be found naturally…? In Kelp!
Kelp forests flourish in underwater areas that cover a large part of the world’s coastlines. Kelp is neither a vegetable nor a plant, it’s a protest, and most importantly, one of the best natural sources of iodine.
Iodine is a mineral needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. People with a deficiency in iodine are more at risk of developing thyroid problems, with common symptoms including fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and dry skin. Kelp also contains high levels of vitamin K (which helps with blood clotting) and other minerals to help keep the body healthy. These properties that are rich in antioxidants support the heart and the immune system.
How is kelp best consumed?
The team behind Grassland Nutrition are huge advocates of kelp usage as a vital element in good nutrition. The bull kelp we ethically source comes from The Great Southern Ocean and is rich in natural Iodine.
Here’s Kel, against a backdrop of bull kelp blades that had washed up on the beach the previous night, washed and drying on a bright Winter’s morning, with our finished freeze-dried kelp product to the right finely chopped.
In summation, kelp is nature’s antidote for an underactive thyroid as a natural iodine and selenium source, combined in a ready-made package. This magical natural health product not only supports thyroid health, it also boosts energy. The iron guru Vince Geronda is a testament to its physical benefits (you can read more about this smart, legendary bodybuilder in an earlier blog, ‘Why Liver and Kelp?’ )
The bull kelp we use is 100% organic and the store offers a number of bull kelp products:
- Kelp Crunch is a moreish salty ‘crunch’ that can be sprinkled over meals.
- As a supplement, blended with organic beef liver. This energy-boosting blend in capsule form we have found to be an antidote to those that suffer from a restless sleep – and acts as a natural energy booster.
- Liver and Kelp can be taken as a powder (we recommend it for any savoury dishes and can also be mixed in with yoghurt).
Why did we blend liver and kelp?
Grassland Nutrition’s roots lie in organic beef farming. We know that beef liver has many fantastic health properties and we experimented with adding kelp for its additional antioxidant properties. This is not a new or maverick approach. The aforementioned Vince Gironda, bodybuilder (1917-1997) recommended mineral sea kelp for its iodine content and dried liver extract for blood building and oxygen capacity boosting.
It’s been tried and tested for generations!
We are proud of our organic sourced Australian Beef Liver from OBE Organic, that have been practising certified organic sustainable agriculture for over 20 years in the Australian Channel Country. The cattle are raised with no growth hormones on natural pastures and pure water in clean air and sunshine. Combine this with Bull Kelp products that are rich in B12 and Iodine…
We’ve created a powerful 2-in-1 unique energy formulation!
Head to the Grassland Nutrition store. We’ve got you covered, naturally….
- Iodised Salt. Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodised_salt
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Underactive thyroid condition. Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashimoto%27s_thyroiditis
- Types of thyroid disorders. Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/common-thyroid-disorders
- Goiter engraving. Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_iodine_deficiency_syndrome
- Protist (kelp) Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protist
- Where we source beef organs from. OBE Organic https://www.obeorganic.com/
- Antique Mayan Goiter maskhttps://www.ebay.com.au/itm/283001884136?hash=item41e43a0de8:g:hJ0AAOSwcF1bHAzt&frcectupt=true
- Where to buy Grassland Nutrition liver and kelp products https://www.grasslandnutrition.net/shop-location/