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The Butterfly Within

The Butterfly Within

The Butterfly Within affects how your body works. How well is your Thyroid functioning?

DID YOU KNOW? – According to The American Thyroid Association, 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime, but about 60% of those affected will never know.

WHO IS AFFECTED?- In Australia, there are about 60,000 new cases of thyroid disease each year. Some people have a problem with how the gland functions:

  • Producing too much or too little thyroid hormone
  • Others have problems with the structure of the gland itself, where it becomes enlarged, lumpy, and/or inflamed (& can become cancerous).

 The Butterfly Shape & Location

thyroid shape and location

What does your Thyroid do?

Your thyroid gland is involved in many chemical processes within the body and enables you to feel healthy and keeps your bodily functions moving.  Some of its important functions include:

  • Regulating and increasing metabolism (& therefore increasing body temp),
  • Enhances cholesterol excretion (thereby reducing blood cholesterol).

  • Enhances the use of some of the adrenal hormones (thyroid-adrenal gland connection is important).
  • Deficiency during foetal development, infancy or childhood can cause mental retardation and stunted bone growth.

Thyroid Hormones & their Actions

The thyroid gland manufactures two essential hormones – Thyroxine (referred to as T4) and Triiodothyronine (referred to as T3). In normal health T4 (90%) is converted to T3 (10%) circulating in the blood stream. Both T4 and T3 have the same action on cells of the body but T3 is more potent.

Secretion of the hormones: They are fat soluble and therefore pass through membranes with the help of fats.


  • Most common in females 5:1 female to male ratio
  • 20-40 years & most commonly an inherited disorder
  • Most commonly an autoimmune condition arises
  • Mostly a primary thyroid dysfunction (rarely a result of the pituitary)

Signs & Symptoms

  • Weight loss (due to increased metabolic rate)
  • Nervousness, agitation & anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Physical weakness (muscular)
  • Rapid pulse
  • Diarrhea possible
  • As it progresses to Graves’ disease eyes have a ‘large stare’ look to them
  • Goitre present (enlargement of the gland


  • Most common of thyroid condition
  • Caused by deficient production of Thyroid Hormones which can be secondary or primary
  • Primary: hereditary, defects in hormone synthesis maybe occurring, Autoimmune condition ie Hashimoto’s Disease.

Signs & Symptoms – Hypothyroidism affects all body systemsThe Butterfly Within

  • Lethargy & tiredness
  • Feeling cold (even on warm days)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unusual weight gain, reduced appetite
  • Depression
  • Puffiness of the face
  • Hair loss
  • Cold, dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Decreased activity of sweat glands

Hashimoto’s Disease

The most common cause of primary hypothyroidism, in Australia is where the thyroid itself fails.  Hashimoto thyroiditis like Graves’ Disease, is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s antibodies attack the thyroid gland. It can also occur with other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes. It is more common in women than men, and it usually starts after the age of 30.


  • Iodine is an essential trace element and an integral component of thyroid hormones.
  • Thyroid hormones are required for normal growth and development of tissues and maturation of our bodies. Iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of mental retardation in the world.
  • Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia with the introduction of new practices of sanitization in the dairy industry and a decline in use and consumption of iodised salt.
  • The iodine content of plants and vegetables is dependent on the environment and soil in which they are grown.

Common Foods to Avoid with Thyroid Problems

Unhealthy Fats – Trans fats and saturated fats increase inflammation, and cutting back your intake could help reduce both overactive & underactive thyroid symptoms.Thyroid Gland Anatomy

Caffeine & Alcohol – affect sleep, hydration and increase toxins and stress in the body. These need to be kept to a minimum or eliminated for a time to allow healing of the body. .

Goitrogens are natural substances found primarily in cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage, soy and millet (a gluten free grain).  These foods can interfere with thyroid hormone production. Because treatment for hyperthyroidism can lead to thyroid deficiencies -a condition called hypothyroidism – you may want to limit goitrogenic foods, particularly if you have an iodine deficiency.

There are many other natural health solutions including dietary and lifestyle recommendations for Thyroid problems and issues.

Some of the Underlying Triggers to Thyroid Problems

  • Leaky gut – food sensitivities, allergies further cause immune overload or reactions
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Microflora gut imbalance in the GIT
  • Poor digestion and elimination
  • Food additives, agri-chemicals, environmental pollution, chemical exposure, household cleaners, sprays, herbicides, pesticides, hair dyes.
  • Stress, depression, inadequate rest and relaxation
  • Low grade chronic acute infections.
  • Medication may interfere with thyroid function.
Factors that influence your Thyroid Function

Factors that influence your Thyroid Function

See more here on Thyroid and high Cholesterol links.

If you think your may have a problem with your Thyroid make an appointment with your Brisbane Naturopath, Karen Green.   Both blood and iodine tests may be required. Email: or call 0400836254

Gaining Health Naturally Naturopathy Brisbane, Sunshine Coast Qld

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