Thyroid Disorders and Brain Function

by Dr. Adam Hughes

It’s often overlooked, but brain function is extremely important in supporting the thyroid. The brain controls every bodily function. Your pituitary gland drives the thyroid gland. It releases TSH. The part of your brain called the hypothalamus drives the pituitary.

Our brain needs two things to survive: fuel and activation.

Fuel comes in the form of glucose and oxygen. As you age, your ability to utilize oxygen decreases by one percent per year each year after the age of 25. If you are 50 years old, you’ve lost 25 percent of your ability to utilize oxygen in your body. This is called oxidative phosphorylation, which is a big fancy three-dollar term meaning you’re not using oxygen as well as you did when you were younger. This is why deep breathing exercises and mild cardio vascular exercise have such positive effects on our health…they are increasing the amount of oxygen in our bodies and brains.

The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a major role in thyroid function. There’s a place in your brain called the hypothalamus and there’s something called the periventricular nucleus. I know these are big fancy three-dollar words, but it’s critical that you know this if you’re suffering with thyroid symptoms. Serotonin acts on the hypothalamic periventricular nucleus in the central nervous system, but if you are deficient in serotonin, your body can develop a low level of thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH.

One of the bigger influences on serotonin is blood sugar. So if you’re hypoglycemic, insulin-resistant, or diabetic, it is vitally important that you maintain your blood sugar levels within an optimal range to prevent deficiencies in Serotonin.
This is why it’s important to eat healthy. Don’t skip meals. Quit eating junk food! Every time you eat junk food you are literally eating away at your thyroid and you’re making your problem worse.

By consuming a poor, junk-food-filled diet, you will increase your thyroid symptoms: feeling tired or sluggish; inability to lose weight; cold hands and feet or insomnia. You will gain weight easily. You’ll have difficult, infrequent bowel movements; you’re depressed, and have lack of motivation and morning headaches that wear off later on in the day. The outer third of your eyebrows are getting thin, your skin or scalp are dry, you have mental sluggishness, you’re nervous; you’re emotional and you have night sweats.
Don’t forget that your Thyroid relies heavily on other organs and organ systems to function properly. Feed your brain with healthy levels of oxygen and good sources of glucose, and your Thyroid with thank you!

Dr. Adam Hughes is a Chiropractor and Internal Health Specialist with Kingen Chiropractic Wellness Center in Brentwood. 314-646-0013.