Sea Moss and the Thyroid Gland
Thyroid disease (in all its forms) is widespread. Just in the United States, an estimated 20 million people have some kind of thyroid issue. That is without taking into account the fact that almost 60% of those who have thyroid disease do not realize it.
Among those who deal with thyroid problems, women far outnumber men.
Women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid issues than men. One in eight women will experience a thyroid disorder.
Nutrient deficiency is a common cause of thyroid disorders. Sea moss is a great way to address this specific issue.
Of all 92 of the 102 necessary nutrients sea moss provides for the body, iodine may be the most important for those dealing with or trying to prevent thyroid disease. Although there are also many other health benefits people may experience from sea moss supplementation.
With the thyroid, the beneficial effects of sea moss have been especially noted in cases of hypothyroidism.
Read on to learn more about how sea moss can help improve thyroid health.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
Let’s bring it back to basics to get a complete understanding of the thyroid gland and its activity in the body.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the middle of the lower neck. It produces the hormones T3 (triiodothyronine), T4 (thyroxine), and calcitonin.
These hormones are vital to multiple functions throughout the body including metabolism, energy levels, and physical development and growth.
While calcitonin is important in its own right as it encourages calcium and bone metabolism, T3 and T4 are the most referenced with thyroid health.
The thyroid gland itself mainly produces T4 and minimal amounts of T3. The majority of T3 comes from converted T4 with the assistance of an enzyme that depends on selenium, another nutrient found in sea moss.
Together the two hormones balance how the body uses energy.
This is evident in several physical ways:
- Weight management
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Muscle strength
- Menstrual cycles
- The nervous system (think reflexes and concentration).
Interestingly, the thyroid does not manage how much T3 and T4 to make.
These two hormones are balanced by the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands.
The process goes like this:
- The hypothalamus produces the thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH).
- TRH signals the pituitary to create the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
- TSH stimulates the thyroid to make and send out more or less T3 or T4.
Often, TSH is the hormone that pops up on standard annual exam blood work. If the levels are too low or too high, a doctor may order further tests to measure the T3 and T4 levels.
Iodine intake is key for the thyroid because our bodies cannot produce it, despite it being one of the main building blocks of T3 and T4. Luckily, most people consume a sufficient amount of iodine daily through meat proteins, seafood, and iodized salt.
People experience thyroid issues when the equilibrium of T3 and T4 becomes unbalanced. This may be caused by a variety of factors from iodine levels to an unrelated autoimmune disease.
There are two main kinds of thyroid disease: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the gland produces too much of its hormone, making multiple body functions speed up.
An excess of iodine may be one cause of hyperthyroidism. For this reason, iodine supplementation through sea moss or other avenues is discouraged for those experiencing hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by:
- Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the thyroid gland. This disorder can be temporary. It causes the thyroid to release its stored hormones and may or may not be painful.
- Nodules: These are growths on the gland that produce more hormones and may cause a visible goiter on the base of the neck.
- Graves’ Disease: This autoimmune disease causes the thyroid to become overactive. It also comprises the majority (about 70%) of hyperthyroidism cases. Graves’ disease is not temporary, but with proper medical care or lifestyle adjustments, it can go into remission.
Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be:
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Bulging eyes
- Rapid heart rate
The majority of those dealing with thyroid disease have hypothyroidism.
Just as the name suggests, hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism. Instead of being overactive, the thyroid gland is underactive and is unable to produce enough hormones.
One cause of hypothyroidism can be iodine deficiency. In the correct doses, sea moss is a great source of iodine.
A few other causes of hypothyroidism are:
- Congenital Hypothyroidism: This happens when a baby is born without a thyroid, with part of it missing, or with a poorly-functioning thyroid. Untreated, it can cause permanent mental disabilities among other issues. Oftentimes, it is caught and treated with hormone medication.
- Thyroiditis: Similar to hyperthyroidism, thyroiditis may cause hypothyroidism. Instead of the inflammation prompting more thyroid hormone production, it damages the thyroid, which causes the downtick of hormones in the body.
- Hashimoto’s Disease: Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Similar to Graves’ disease, this autoimmune disorder does not recognize the thyroid as part of the body and begins to attack it. The difference here is that it results in the thyroid not making enough hormones. Hashimoto’s disease can never be fully healed, but it can go into remission.
Some hypothyroidism symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
- Sensitivity to cold
How Can Sea Moss Help With Hypothyroidism?
Taking sea moss can help balance hormones and improve general nutritional and physical health. Beyond that, it also contains zinc, iodine, and selenium, three nutrients essential for thyroid hormone production.
Selenium and zinc are both necessary for T4 to T3 conversion.
Selenium also plays a role as an antioxidant in certain hypothyroidism-triggering pituitary and hypothalamus disorders caused by oxidative stress.
Since iodine is crucial for thyroid hormone production, it is important to consume the necessary amount to avoid iodine deficiency and either control or prevent thyroid disease.
Further, sea moss may aid in relieving symptoms experienced by those dealing with hypothyroidism. These symptoms include digestive issues, trouble sleeping, infertility, and more.
The recommended dose for sea moss gel is no more than one tablespoon a day. You can make your own using our gold sea moss or purple sea moss. If making gel at home is not right for you, you can also peruse our selection of sea moss capsule supplements.
Moderation is the key to all healthy foods and supplements because anything can become unhealthy in excess. Consuming sea moss for iodine supplementation is not recommended for those experiencing hyperthyroidism.
As always, it is best to consult your doctor when adding new supplements into your daily routine.