LOW THYROID FROM LYME? BOOST YOUR LEVELS NATURALLY
Three easy practices to improve hypothyroidism and get your mojo back
Hello! Thank you for visiting. It makes me so happy to be a part of a larger Lyme community!
This post will cover some of my inspiration behind the Calm Stamina meditation. This meditation celebrates our beautiful, butterfly shaped thyroid gland, and its partnership with the pituitary and adrenals in creating long lasting energy and a functional metabolism. When these three glands are working in harmony, exercise is energizing, not a drain. (Not to mention daily living). Balanced thyroid hormones make maintaining a healthy weight easier, they smooth and soften your skin, they keep things moving in the bowel department and they increase resistance to colds and flus. They also contribute to deep and peaceful sleep, and that feeling when you wake up that joy is right there to meet you. In short, thyroid hormones are critically important, and in short supply for most of us with Lyme.
I wrote the meditation Calm Stamina to complement medical and herbal treatment for my hypothyroidism. As it turns out, it is quite common for people with Lyme to have low levels of T3 - the form thyroid hormone is converted to by the organs, (particularly the gut) in order to be functional.
Here is a very simplified overview of thyroid hormones. Skip ahead if this is old news.
Your pituitary gland, hanging in the center of your brain, releases TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone. This is the hormone most often measured in typical, Lyme-oblivious doctor visits. TSH stimulates your thyroid, that gorgeous butterfly encircling the base of your throat, to produce T4. T4 is the most common synthetic hormone given to folks with low TSH production in conventional medicine. But then your gut, your heart, and just about every other organ need to convert that T4 to T3. They need T3 in order to raise metabolism and produce the kind of calm, long lasting energy we all want. If your T3 levels are low, you will be tired no matter what your pituitary is up to. You may also have low immunity, feel cold when everyone else is in t-shirts, have dry skin, constipation, and trouble with extra weight.
It stands to reason that since Lyme impairs the gut so badly, we spoonies would have trouble converting T4 to T3. You can take straight T3 (I take a small amount now that I am healthier) but it can be too much for those of us who are still in the throes of Lyme. I couldn't tolerate it until recently - it raised my heart rate and kept me awake at night. Beyond listening to the Calm Stamina meditation (which these days I do in my car, on my way to work, to help stabilize my energy) here are a few suggestions for boosting hypothyroidism naturally - they can all be practiced in conjunction with medical treatments.
Try lying on your back with your head slightly hanging off the edge of your bed. Not too far - your neck should feel both open and supported. Imagine your delicate butterfly of a thyroid at the base of your throat. Breathe gently through and around it, and allow it to soften. Send it love and healing. Slather it in tenderness. Bathe it in your loving attention. Stay here until your thyroid feels warm and three dimensional. You may be surprised by its response. (Also, this position is good for neck pain. Just make sure you are comfortable - avoid over stretching. Your body is your guide. Over time, you may become more flexible and be able to hang your head over a bit further.)
Since most T4 is converted to T3 in the gut, it is important to work with "gut feelings". My experience is that my gut functions well when I am feeling safe, seen and heard. Try softening your abdomen with your breathing, and repeating variations on these mantras. It doesn't matter if they don't feel true at first. With repetition the nervous system responds to language. Fake it till you make it, even if it is awkward at first. You will start to feel a difference over time.
I feel supported. I feel cared for. I feel completely at peace. I accept this moment. I release all concern for the future. I feel deeply connected. I feel seen. I feel loved. I belong, no matter what my situation. I am healing.
Make up the mantras to suit yourself. Say them out loud if you need to. As you practice with the words, the feelings will follow, and the feelings are what count.
Seaweed is naturally high in iodine, and iodine can be supportive for the thyroid. (Don't take the supplement without a doctor.) Try simmering dulse or kelp into soups. Sprinkle wakame into seafood salads. Make your own nori wraps. Amazon delivers seaweed hand harvested off the coast of Maine - the brand is VitaminSea.
Brazil nuts. These tasty treats are so ridiculously high in selenium that you don't need to eat more than two or three to get enough. Selenium is another nutrient that can help with hypothyroidism.
If we give our bodies the love and support they deserve, they will respond with gentleness. Your body is a miracle. You are always healing, always beautiful. Wishing you calm stamina, and joy that springs from within.