Thyroid Specialist in California –
Dr. Jason Shumard, D.C.
What Is Goiter?
Simply put, goiter is an enlargement of your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing essential hormones such as T3 and T4, which are important for:
- Heart rate
- Operation of the central nervous system
- Body weight
- Muscle metabolism
- Cholesterol synthesis
- Glucose metabolism
- Many more systemic effects
A thyroid enlargement can cause either an over or underproduction of essential thyroid hormones.
What Are the Symptoms of a Goiter?
- A visible swelling palpable to the touch
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- A feeling of tightness in the throat
Types of Goiters
Goiters may be simple, endemic, or sporadic. They may also occur with small lumps called nodules, which may be firm or filled with fluid – often harmless, but sometimes malignant.
With a simple goiter, the thyroid gland simply does not produce enough hormones to meet the needs of the body.
To compensate for the increased need, the thyroid becomes bigger.
Endemic goiter is most frequently caused by iodine deficiency and is the most common cause of goiter worldwide, but not in the US due to the iodine fortification of salt and iodine in the diet. This may change with the recent tightening of hypertension guidelines. Additionally, more and more people are restricting their salt or don’t know they should be buying iodized salt to obtain their iodine.
Sporadic goiters may be self-remitting depending on the co-existing level of iodine in the diet and on the overconsumption of goitrogenic foods that are either raw or undercooked. These goitrogenic foods include cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower to name a few. Fortunately, cooking lowers the goitrogenic content of foods. Steaming cruciferous vegetables until fully cooked reduces goitrogens by two-thirds. Boiling cruciferous veggies for 30 minutes destroy 90 percent of the goitrogens by stimulating the production of myrosinase, an enzyme that helps deactivate goitrogenic glucosinolates.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease—two autoimmune disorders—are the most common causes of thyroid goiters in the US. Thyroid nodules can also cause goiters.
It’s going to be difficult, and it will cost you a little extra time and money, but you won’t regret it when you start to feel better than ever before.
Causes of and Risk Factors for Goiter:
- Medication: Hormone replacement therapy following the guidelines of an organization such as the American Thyroid Association for under or overactive thyroid glands. Inflammatory causes might be treated with a cortisone or aspirin therapy.
- Radioactive iodine is a conventional treatment for overactive thyroids. The problem with this treatment is it frequently leads to an underactive thyroid.
- Surgery where the total gland is removed and hormone replacement is initiated. Generally, replacement is initiated with a T4 preparation, particularly in the over 65 age group. However, it must be remembered that only 80% of the active hormone T3 is created peripherally, and the other 20% comes from the thyroid gland that is no longer there. If the physician does not supplement T3 or Cytomel, the chances of achieving optimal thyroid function are much lower because it is not possible for peripheral tissues to compensate for the 20% T3 generally produced in the thyroid even with supersaturation of T4.
Address Nutritional Deficiencies.
In addition to the aforementioned risk factors and causes for goiter, care must be paid to a balanced nutritional intake to have normal thyroid function. Other than iodine, your thyroid needs adequate levels of zinc, selenium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, copper, and vitamin B12. Furthermore, ashwagandha herb and turmeric have been found to be somewhat protective of compromised thyroid function and is often used therapeutically for thyroid revival.
The best treatment for goiter is balance in all things and eating a varied diet adequate, but not excessive in, iodine and avoiding toxins and toxic medications.
Are you looking for a Thyroid Specialist in California? Come to Integrative Wellness Center of San Diego!