by Sue Cahaly October 19, 2020 3 min read

Have you been struggling with any of the following lately?

  • Feeling sluggish
  • Can't seem to lose weight
  • Have a hard time remembering things

If you answered yes to any of these, they could all be related to a slow metabolism. Read on to learn about how your thyroid might be to blame.

Slow Metabolism? It Might Be Your Thyroid

By definition, metabolism is the biochemical process of combining nutrients with oxygen to release the energy our bodies need to function. The rate of one's metabolism is genetically inherited, however, the metabolism can speed up or slow down depending on changes in diet, exercise, and hormone imbalance.

Many people find that their metabolisms slow down as they age. Although the body's skeletal musculature decreases and fat tissue tends to increase as people get older, this is often due to reduced activity and poor dietary choices. The less active we are, the less stress our metabolism is under and therefore, it may slow down.

Listen to the Cabral Concept Podcast 1419 to learn more about rebalancing your fat burning hormones to lose weight!

Messengers & Cell Activity

The hormones that control metabolism can be found in the thyroid which is controlled by neurons in the hypothalamus. These neurons are like a light switch. They turn on hormone production when needed, but remain inactive when the demand is not present.

When the neurons sense that the body needs more energy, they send out thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). TRH stimulates the pituitary gland which is located in the brain to create the chemical messenger thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH then travels through the bloodstream to the thyroid where it prompts the production of thyroid hormones which direct the cells. As a result, the rate of metabolism is boosted.

Sometimes, that light switch can short circuit. When too much TSH is secreted, it causes an overload of thyroid hormones which sends the metabolic rate into overdrive. This can be associated with increased weight loss, difficulty sleeping and more.

Conversely, if not enough TSH is produced, or if the body has a difficult time converting the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) to active triiodothyronine (T3), the metabolism slows.

Listen to Cabral Concept Episode 1223 to learn more about the signs of low thyroid, including fatigue, mood imbalance and more.

Supporting Thyroid Hormone Imbalance Through Diet

Achieving an ideal hormone balance may seem difficult, but do not be discouraged. There are several ways to help balance thyroid hormones through your diet and lifestyle.

To start, when the pituitary gland produces TSH, it signals to the thyroid gland to manufacture T4 which contains iodine molecules. When iodine levels are low, the hormone production is disrupted and the body's cells don't receive the signals to boost metabolism. Luckily, iodine is plentiful in many of the foods that we eat. It is particularly prevalent in seafood but is also in most whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Selenium is another mineral that plays a key role in metabolism. Seleniumassists the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3 thyroid hormone and also serves as an antioxidant throughout the body. Brazil nuts and pasture raised eggs are great dietary sources of selenium.

Zinc is also important for helping convert T4 to T3. There have been several studies showing a link between zinc deficiency and a sluggish thyroid. Foods such as chicken, cashews and oysters are high in zinc.

Finally, environmental factors can also decrease the production of thyroid hormones slowing down the metabolism as a result. Three chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), perchlorate, and dioxin all disrupt T4 production. Both PCBs and dioxin interfere with thyroid hormone function. Perchlorate has a similar chemical structure to iodine, so, when forming T3 and T4, iodine has to compete with the perchlorate for use.

These chemicals exist in objects that we use day to day such as rubber, plastic and batteries. The best way to find out if there's build up of toxins in your body is to test the amount of environmental chemical exposure with a simple at-home lab test.

A sluggish metabolism is never fun and in a world where things don't seem to slow down, keeping up with everything while your body is working against you can seem discouraging. It is important to remember that your body and your health are in your hands. You have the ability to make these positive changes to your lifestyle and feel your best.

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