Why Thyroid Problems Are Directly Related to Your Liver & How Carrots Can Help
- Published on: 01 April, 2017
- Last update: 24 August, 2017
CARROTS, YOUR LIVER & YOUR THYROID (Oh my!)
Are they all related? Absolutely. In fact, thyroid conditions don’t exactly ‘start’ with this precious gland in the first place. It all goes back to the liver, my all time favorite topic (which you’ll know if you read this blog enough 😉).
Those who are suffering from hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis may be (understandably) focused on healing the thyroid gland alone. Yet clues in the science keep showing us that an overloaded, sluggish liver can build up to these condition for years. Chronic illness doesn’t happen overnight, and our thyroids don’t stop working for no apparent reason. As they say in Eastern Medicine, if it took you 3 years to get sick, it will take you 3 years to get better! Over time, as we’re exposed to environmental toxins, as we go on crash diets or deprive our bodies of essential carbohydrates, or even as we OVEReat (remember how important balance is?), our livers have to put in overtime. Add in other factors like heavy metals (which totally interfere with detoxification and mineral binding sites), and it’s no surprise mystery illness is exploding. Overloaded liver detox pathways = a sluggish liver (think Chinese Medicine’s “liver Qi stagnation”, a nationwide problem due to our stressful lifestyles).
Here’s an explanation of how this can directly lead to thyroid conditions:
A. WHEN A STRESSED LIVER LOSES THE ABILITY TO STORE SUGAR (ENERGY) IN THE FORM OF GLYCOGEN, YOUR BODY QUICKLY DEVELOPS BLOOD SUGAR ISSUES. TO COMPENSATE FOR THE LOWS, THE BODY OVERPRODUCES STRESS HORMONES TO GIVE YOU ENERGY INSTEAD.
It’s simple: your liver’s job is to store glycogen so that when you don’t have a chance to eat lunch due to that afternoon meeting, you have some back-up reserves. Glycogen buys you time. But when your liver is overloaded or your eating habits are sporadic for too long, your ability to store glycogen is affected. Whereas skipping lunch used to be a piece of cake (no pun intended), you now experience low blood sugar during that gap. To make up for the lack of glucose, your body MUST excrete stress hormones to literally keep you alive and energetic. Instead of the clean energy we get from healthy food, this is nervous energy that can do some serious damage. These stress hormones are also what lead to adrenal fatigue, so they don’t only affect the thyroid, but the adrenals too!
Over time, these stress hormones break down healthy muscle tissue and suppress thyroid function by blocking your liver from converting thyroid hormone into active T3! (For example, cortisol is shown to inhibit the conversion of T4 into T3). Stress hormones also increase production of Reverse T3, which once again blocks active T3 from getting to the cells. All of this further prevents a stressed, sluggish liver from storing glycogen which means major blood sugar swings (and stress hormone blasts to compensate for the lows!)
SOLUTION: Balance your blood sugar manually with diet since your liver isn’t able to do it for you (at least not at the moment. Your body can heal!) This means you must eat balanced meals & snacks that contain carbohydrates and fiber frequently to prevent dips. DO NOT FEAR THE CARBS! Carb fear is one of the reasons our livers can get like this in the first place. Note that you have to determine YOUR optimal meal frequency that prevents blood sugar lows – for some people this is a small snack every 20 minutes, for others it’s something heartier every ~2 hours.
B. WHEN A STRESSED LIVER LOSES THE ABILITY TO STORE SUGAR (ENERGY) IN THE FORM OF GLYCOGEN, THE PRODUCTION OF GLUCURONIC ACID IS AFFECTED.
Glucuronic acid is necessary for the detoxification of thyroid-suppressive hormones, especially estrogen. When your liver can’t detoxify excess estrogen, it builds up in your tissues (especially the stomach/hips) and further suppresses your thyroid function.
Estrogen affects your thyroid because it:
1. Directly blocks the thyroid gland from releasing thyroid hormone.
2. Promotes the production of more thyroid suppressive stress hormone (like the cortisol I mentioned).
3. Suppresses metabolism.
There’s even a direct link between estrogen dominance and the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Studies show that prolonged exposure to a certain estradiol directly leads to thyroid cell apoptosis! High estrogen also throws a blow to your immune system and Natural Killer (NK) cells, giving dormant viruses such as Epstein Barr Virus a chance to attack thyroid cells as well. You can read all about this in Medical Medium’s books! It’s a huge missing piece of the puzzle for sufferers worldwide. Anthony explains that the viruses responsible for Hashimoto’s feed on the heavy metals that get stored in our thyroid glands.
Furthermore, high levels of estrogen decrease the size of the thymus gland, which severely depresses immune activity. Once those viruses get into the thyroid, the body starts building antibodies against THEM – NOT your own tissue. Your body is attacking the viruses rather than its own cells, which is different from the widely accepted model of Hashimoto’s. Along the same lines, sluggish liver function makes it much harder for this precious detoxification organ to fight and get rid of the viral load. In fact, your liver holds over half of your body’s macrophages (white blood cells that destroy infection!)
Coming back to estrogen, when your liver can’t properly detoxify this hormone, your body dumps it into your digestive tract (via bile) in hopes of excreting it instead. If there’s not enough fiber in the intestinal tract to absorb this hormone-packed bile, the estrogen simply gets reabsorbed and recirculates over and over again like bad karma!
SOLUTION: As Dr. Raymond Peat has recommended for years, the exquisite fiber found in 1 large raw carrot (per day) has been shown to bind to & absorb estrogen in the digestive tract, preventing that dreaded reabsorption. This takes the burden of excess estrogen off of your liver so that it can focus on properly converting thyroid hormone. It also helps to balance your hormones (by balancing the ratio of progesterone:estrogen), which aids with both fat loss and fat distribution.