Thyroid Health and Libido
Have you noticed a shift in your libido? Don’t chalk it up to the natural aging process - it could be your hormones, especially your thyroid hormones!
The rate that your body runs at (aka your metabolism) is determined by your thyroid gland. An under-active thyroid makes less thyroid hormone, resulting in an overall slowing down of bodily processes. This includes production of less energy, sex hormones and some neurotransmitters. So if you have less energy, less estrogen and testosterone and a foggy brain - of course your libido will be lower than ideal.
Thyroid function depends on many factors ranging from genetics, nutrient deficiencies, stress levels, sleep and exercise. Testing for proper thyroid levels is easy, however, it is not often looked at in-detail, especially when screened using conventional medicine. The TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was once thought to be the gold standard for testing thyroid function. We have now learned that there is much more to the endocrinology of the thyroid and each person is unique. A proper thyroid screen should include 6-7 blood markers and a calculation of ratios of those results to determine if every cell in your body is receiving enough thyroid hormone.
What can you do? The first thing is schedule a full thyroid screening panel. Other symptoms than low libido that are related to the thyroid include weight gain, depression, feeling cold all the time, low energy, constipation, dry skin and hair, brittle nails, irregular or heavy/missed periods and hair loss. Thyroid testing is best done in the morning after eating a good breakfast and not hitting the gym first.
Next, eat a diet rich in seafood, fish, alga and sea vegetables. This will give you your daily iodine requirement which is used to make thyroid hormone as your body can’t do that with out iodine! Another thyroid staple is Brazil nuts. Those large nuts found in nut mixes help your body transform thyroid hormone into the most active state. An average of 2-4 Brazil nuts per day will not only support the thyroid, it improves your immune system and skin. Other fun thyroid foods include pumpkin seeds and oysters for zinc, dark chocolate and whole grains for magnesium and colourful fruits and vegetables for the multitude of vitamins that help out too.
Sometimes thyroid medication in the form of herbs or hormones is needed to get you feeling your best. This should always be done under the careful guidance of a licensed Naturopathic or Medical doctor. Regular monitoring of symptoms and blood work is the best way to maintain good thyroid health. Did you know that there are national campaigns going on world-wide right now to make it standard for doctors to test more than the TSH? Luckily Naturopathic Physicians do not have the restriction that MDs face with ordering additional testing however it is nice to see that testing guidelines might be changing with public support! For more information about the campaign go to https://thyroidpatients.ca/2018/09/.