Is your body underconverting thyroid hormone? Are you producing enough T4, but not enough T3?
Did you know that your liver or stress might be to blame?
Let me explain. . .
Your thyroid produces T4 and sends most of it to the liver to be converted into the active form, T3. If you’re underconverting, then you don’t necessarily have a thyroid problem, instead, you need to support your liver so it can efficiently convert the hormone for you.
Liver congestion is pretty common nowadays, and can not only cause low T3 in the body, it also can cause estrogen dominance, severe headaches, blood sugar imbalance, chemical sensitivities, skin issues, and dark circles under the eyes, among other things.
As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I see this all the time, but the good news is there are some easy steps you can take to improve thyroid conversion.
Another thing to consider is stress. When we are under chronic stress this can elevate cortisol. Elevated cortisol can increase reverse T3 which can then lower free T3. This is why it’s important to always get tested for reverse T3 to see if stress is part of the issue.
Here are 12 ways to help improve thyroid conversion:
1. Do a castor oil pack over your liver 3-4 times a week. Castor oil packs are a gentle way to decongest the liver and lymphatic system.
2. Reduce your sugar intake as much as possible. The liver is one of the three organs that controls your blood sugar levels. The more sugar you eat, the more stress you put on your liver which can reduce thyroid hormone conversion. If you’d like to kick the sugar habit, click here to grab my buttermint recipe and give them try.
3. Rub one drop of Zendocrine essential oil blend over your liver twice a day. I personally use it every day. It’s a blend of tangerine peel, rosemary leaf, geranium flower/leaf, juniper berry, and cilantro herb essential oils. It’s an amazing blend to add to your daily regimen to support the liver.
A little side note: I was on a real food diet for many years, and despite all of my efforts I would still get a break out on my chin each month before my cycle. These breakouts are usually hormone/liver related. So, I started using Zendocrine daily and it completely cleared up those annoying monthly breakouts! This has worked for so many others that I’ve shared this tip with!
4. Diffuse essential oils each day, such as lavender, lemon, balance, ylang ylang, etc. to reduce your stress and relax the body. Your sense of smell is directly connected to your emotional brain, so diffusing oils can immediately change how you feel and reduce stress. Stress puts strain on the adrenals, liver and pancreas and causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels (yes, this can happen even if you don’t eat sugar), so using oils each day to reduce cortisol levels will give your liver the support it needs to be able to work more efficiently.
5. Make sure you are eating enough carbohydrates. While a low-carb diet is all the rage right now, going too low carb can inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3 in the liver. A minimum of 100g of carbohydrates a day from foods such as properly prepared legumes, lentils, potatoes and other starchy vegetables is a good place to start. And, if you’ve been on a very low-carb or grain-free diet for more than 12 months, I would consider talking to your practitioner about adding back some properly prepared gluten-free grains or fermented sourdough.
6. Eat two Brazil nuts a day. Brazil nuts contain selenium and this nutrient helps convert T4 to T3. I like to purchase raw Brazil nuts, soak them (to remove the phytic acid) and then dehydrate them in the oven. Check out my Instagram Story I did on this topic.
7. Read my 20 Steps to Heal From Adrenal Fatigue and see what steps you can add to your daily regimen. When the adrenals are producing too much cortisol this can raise reverse T3 and lower free T3. It also puts a strain on the liver making it more difficult to convert free T4 to free T3.
8. Take my free class about how to use real food, stress reduction, essential oils, and gentle detox to support the thyroid. I teach the class alongside fellow NTP, Season Johnson, and I think you’ll find it incredibly helpful!
9. Drink 1/4 a cup of beet kvass first thing in the morning, at least 10 minutes away from food. Beet Kvass is a tonic that helps decongest the liver.
10. Practice forgiveness. Nothing burdens the liver like harboring anger or bitterness.
11. Consume foods rich in Vitamin A daily. Vitamin A is actually essential for proper detoxification. It’s important to remember that Vitamin A is found only in animal foods. Your richest sources are liver (beef, lamb, duck, chicken), cod liver oil, butter, egg yolks, raw cream and cultured raw sour cream. There is a HUGE misconception out there that vegetables, especially carrots and squashes, are excellent sources of vitamin A. This is absolutely false. Vegetables are wonderful sources of beta-carotene. But beta-carotene is only useful to humans as it is broken down and converted in the body to vitamin A by the body’s vitamin A stores. This presents a tremendous challenge and serious health problem for vegans. This also explains why most long-term vegans eventually present with disorders linked to liver congestion and why it is not uncommon to see jaundice in vegans. While most vegans have good intentions, they may not have been properly educated as to the significant role vitamin A plays in detoxification as well as in skeletal formation and thyroid function.
12. Avoid intermittent fasting. While this is all the rage right now, most who are struggling with thyroid issues, need to avoid intermittent fasting because it puts too much strain on the adrenals and liver. Here’s a video Kim Schuette, CN, and I did on this topic.
Have you found other steps that have helped you increase your conversion of thyroid hormone? If so, please share in the comments below!
If you’d like to learn about some more important steps you can take to help support your thyroid, check out my class, “3 Keys to Thyroid Hormone Balance”. It’s just 45 minutes and I promise you’ll learn something new!