If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve likely heard about my struggle with Hashimoto’s and adrenal fatigue. Having two autoimmune conditions that cause a slow metabolism, exhaustion and weight gain is not fun. Thankfully, I am able to combat these with a combination of proper diet and quality supplements.
And I’m definitely not alone. Right now, more adults in the U.S. are taking dietary supplements than ever before to support their general health. The healthy aging market isn’t just exclusively for baby boomers or older generations. Younger generations are also taking an increasing interest in their health and incorporating nutritional supplements into their daily routine to ensure they live long, healthy lives.
As I get older, I am more and more conscious of the strain that my condition puts on my body. I want to age gracefully. Like Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy.
Thankfully, the best natural approaches to healthy aging encompass a diet that incorporates organic foods with low processed foods. This means finding the right combination of low sugar foods, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables with dietary supplements that provide adequate amounts of nutrients.
Clean Up Your Diet
The first thing I did when I received my diagnosis was to clean up my diet…mostly. Sadly, I didn’t get serious about it until this year, which means I’m dealing with a lot of extra weight that I could have lost. Hindsight, right?
For me, I have found that following a strict Autoimmune Protocol works best for me, and I feel at my best when I avoid eggs, dairy, grains, seeds, nuts, caffeine, sugar, hydrogenated oils, and gluten….and that’s just to name a few. There’s also a whole list of fruits and veggies that are on my “off limits” list.
I realize that is a lot of foods to avoid, especially if you’re just starting to eliminate things from your diet. For me the biggest changes came when I eliminated caffeine, sugar, and hydrogenated oils.
- Caffeine can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it hard for your adrenals to recover.
- Sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, is an additive in many breads, condiments and dressings. Try to avoid as much extra sugar as possible.
- Hydrogenated oils, such as soybean, canola and corn oil are highly inflammatory and can lead to adrenal inflammation. Instead, opt for good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, organic butter or ghee.
Once I realized how much better I felt not eating those foods, it was much easier to make the switch for others.
To help boost the effects of a proper diet, it’s important that I take quality supplements to supply my body with nutrients that I am lacking or may not get due to the limited foods I am able to eat.
When I was first struggling with adrenal fatigue, I suffered from a lot of seemingly innocuous symptoms-stuff that could be written off due to lack of sleep, my Hashimoto’s, or PMS, including:
- body aches
- trouble concentrating
- racing thoughts
- mood swings
- constant exhaustion
- feeling overwhelmed
- cravings for sweet and salty foods
When we did my blood work, my naturopath confirmed that I had a fatty acid profile that showed severe deficiency of Omega 3s.
I suspect this was due to a lack of omega 3 sources in my diet, and am sure that this exasterbated my issues, especially my intestinal health. Surprisingly, many of us with autoimmune issues also suffer from leaky gut as well as adrenal fatigue problems, likely because of increased inflammation.
The issue for me was that these symptoms weren’t going away-they were always there. So my naturopath recommended QUELL Fish Oil ® – EPA/DHA Plus D, which is comprised of Supercritical CO2-extracted oils in triglyceride form.*
Folic acid is the man-made form of folate. Folate is a B-vitamin that is needed to form healthy cells, especially red blood cells. Why is this important?
Research published in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” links low folate status to hypothyroidism. Low folate plays a role in elevated homocysteine levels; high levels of homocysteine are frequently seen in patients with hypothyroidism. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is synthesized in the body, and elevated levels increase risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, embolisms and heart attack. Low levels of folic acid are associated with elevated homocysteine because folic acid is utilized in the breakdown of homocysteine.
Folic acid supplements may come in different forms (such as methylfolate), and are especially important if you suffer from low folate levels, as this can lead to anemia.
I choose to take Douglas Laboratories’ Ultra HNS (Hair, Nails, Skin), which contains high doses of biotin, methylfolate (an absorbable form of folic acid), vitamin C, zinc and Cynatine® HNS, which may help reduce hair loss associated with washing.
Since hair loss is a symptom of thyroid disfunction, I feel much better knowing that my hair is getting the nutrients it needs. I have thin enough hair already!
Biotin, or Vitamin B7 is needed for a healthy metabolism, digestion, and proper cardiovascular function.* My lab work showed that my body does not have the ability to convert B vitamins into the bioavailable sources.
Normally when we eat food biotin is used to convert and use these macronutrients for bodily energy. But when you don’t naturally make biotin (or can’t convert other sources of B vitamins to this necessary form), you need to supplement. Because of this, I take an additional supplement, Biotin 8 mg from Douglas Laboratories, each morning.
Douglas Laboratories is committed to producing high quality, science-based nutritional supplements that are safe and effective.
Um, what? Okay, this may sound weird, but there’s science behind it. My Hashimotos causes my skin to get a bit…weird. When you consider the fact that your thyroid controls so many of the body’s functions, its effect on the skin shouldn’t come as a shock.
Hypothyroidism has been found to hinder the epidermal barrier function.” source
In layman’s terms, this means that if you suffer from Hashimoto’s you likely have thin skin…literally, not figuratively. Supplementing with Hyaluronic Acid® not only improves skin’s ability to age gracefully (that’s why you find it in many anti-aging skin creams), but it also helps support a healthy dermal barrier-which means a happier complexion.
Hyaluronic acid has also been shown to protect the skin by promoting healthy turnover and renewal of keratinocytes, moderating the appearance of fine lines and age spots.*
Listen to Your Body
The most important key to a healthy thyroid (and proper adrenal function) is to actually pay attention to your body-that means getting rest when you need it (even if it seems excessive at first), and giving big changes a chance to work. Remember, change does not happen overnight. Instead, choose just one thing and make it a habit for a month, and then add the next. Before you know it, you’ll be moving on to the next thing, and then the next.
As you make these changes, pay attention to your energy level and how you are sleeping-those are key indicators if the changes that you’re making are positively affecting your thyroid and adrenal function. To recap:
- Clean up your diet (even if you start small).
- Reduce your caffeine and sugar intake.
- Take your supplements.
- Rest when you feel tired as much as possible (that includes sleeping 8–10 hours a night!).
Douglas Laboratories offers a wide range of researched-based dietary supplements directly to healthcare professionals. It is important to work with a qualified health professional when determining an appropriate supplementation regimen.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
*Please consult your healthcare practitioner before introducing any new nutritional supplements into your daily routine — especially if you are pregnant or have a pre-existing medical condition.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.