Did you know that your thyroid is more vulnerable during perimenopause? This can feed into many of the symptoms you experience throughout your 40s. However, there are steps you can take to protect and support your thyroid naturally.
Tips to support your thyroid health during perimenopause
Focus on nutrient-dense foods
Like the rest of your body, the thyroid relies on a specific set of nutrients to work optimally. Unfortunately, many women in their 40s are low or even deficient in key nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamin D.
In some cases, supplementation may be needed. But everyone can benefit from increasing the nutrient density of their diet! Focus on wholefoods that are in season, as these will pack in the most nutrition. The goal is to have at least 80% of your diet based on these food groups.
Exercise in moderation
Physical activity is amazing for your health, including for your thyroid. Studies suggest that adding exercise along with thyroid replacement hormone can boost thyroid hormones levels compared to thyroxine alone.
But more is not always better. The thyroid gland is particularly vulnerable to stress, including the physical stress of intense exercise.
If you’re going to Crossfit 6 days a week or doing HIIT every time you go to the gym, you might be putting unneeded strain on your thyroid. And this can sabotage your metabolism (which is the last thing you want!)
Instead, go for a mix of exercise forms and intensities. Add in some yoga or Pilates, or even just go for a gentle walk on the weekends. Your thyroid will thank you!
Put stress management first
One of the biggest drivers of both perimenopause and thyroid symptoms is chronic stress! Stress depletes progesterone and interferes with thyroid hormone production. Low progesterone can further reduce free thyroid hormone in the blood and trigger autoimmune processes.
So now it’s time to look at your stress level. Are there things that you can outsource or ditch altogether? And with what remains, how can you support your stress resilience?
For stress relief tips, make sure you give this podcast episode a listen.
Keep inflammation at bay
As we know, all chronic disease has inflammation as a factor. Thyroid dysfunction is no exception to this rule! In fact, it’s more vulnerable to the effects of inflammation than many other organs and glands.
What does inflammation do to the thyroid gland? It can cause the overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormone, throwing your entire metabolism off-balance. For some, it may swing between overactive and underactive, which can lead to a host of symptoms.
So make sure you tackle any underlying inflammation caused by issues such as an imbalanced diet, chronic stress, insulin resistance and nutrient deficiencies.
Know your thyroid levels
It’s great to take steps to support your thyroid, but knowledge is power. That’s why it’s best to know if your thyroid is sluggish, underactive or even under attack from your own immune system!
Unfortunately, many GPs will hesitate to test anything other than your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). As a result, many women will experience thyroid-related symptoms for years before diagnosis.
The solution? Work with a health practitioner who can send you for a full thyroid panel. You may need to pay out of pocket for it, but it could make the difference between you suffering in silence and you getting the support you need.
Want to support your thyroid and get a handle on your perimenopausal symptoms?
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Susie Garden | Clinical Nutritionist & Naturopath
Are you a woman feeling stressed, flat and experiencing the challenges of peri/menopause?
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