Steer clear of starvation diets
You have 10 days until your beach vacation. What do you do? Slash the calories, live on a liquid diet, up the exercise and hope for the best, right? After all, how much damage can that low-calorie diet do? Well, a classic study from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism discovered that fasting resulted in a 53 percent reduction in serum T3 levels (your active thyroid hormone that increases metabolism) and a 58 percent increase in reverse T3 (RT3) levels, which block thyroid hormone.
On a given day your liver converts T4 (the less active thyroid hormone, thought of as a storage hormone) to RT3 as a way of getting rid of the excess. In a low calorie situation, where your body needs to conserve energy, the percentage may spike significantly, and (based on the study above) it’s common to find yourself converting 50 percent or more of your essential thyroid hormone into metabolic waste.
On a starvation diet you also experience a significant increase in cortisol. The acute stress activates this surge because your body is under the impression that there’s less food available.
Say no to excessive endurance exercise
Long distance runs and spinning classes may be doing your thyroid a disservice. Similarly to starving yourself, excessive exercise sends your cortisol levels through the roof inhibiting the conversion of the less active thyroid hormone T4 to the metabolically-potent hormone T3. This also raises levels of RT3, which act as the defensive team blocking your thyroid hormone from getting into your cell. The end result? You boost belly fat, decrease metabolically active muscle, reduce thyroid hormone and spike cravings for comfort foods.
Protect yourself against X-rays
The thyroid gland is one of the organs most sensitive to the risk of radiation – whether it’s from a dental X-ray, mammogram, MRI or general background radiation. A study from National Cancer Institute compared the number of dental X-rays received by a group of thyroid cancer patients prior to their diagnosis with the number received by a group of similar individuals without thyroid cancer. Overall, those who had dental X-rays were twice as likely to develop thyroid cancer. The patients who received more than 10 X-rays had more than five times the risk of developing cancer than someone who had not had any dental X-rays.