This year, we’re taking a closer look at the benefits that seaweed can have on the gland that’s small in size, but huge in importance!
While most people have heard of the thyroid gland, fewer people are aware of just how important it is for maintaining many aspects of our health. Raising awareness of the thyroid presents the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves how we can look after this gland, and what role seaweed has to play.
What does your thyroid do?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland in the neck which is responsible for producing thyroid hormones. These hormones are commonly known as T3 and T4, with the numbers referring to the amount of iodine atoms present. These hormones regulate the metabolism – helping your body turn the food that you eat into energy for your cells to use.
As so many organs and processes within the body are reliant on an efficient metabolism, thyroid disorders can hugely impact our wider health and wellbeing, bringing along with them a number of unwanted symptoms.
Are thyroid disorders common?
While many of us remain unaware of thyroid disorders and the symptoms that can come with them, this doesn’t mean that they’re uncommon. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 20 people have some sort of thyroid disorder, whether that be temporary or permanent[i]. This is even more common among women, with around 1 in 8 women experiencing thyroid problems during their lifetime[ii].
There are a number of possibilities for this disparity between the sexes, including common triggers for thyroid disorder being pregnancy and the menopause. However, the most common cause of thyroid disorders worldwide is iodine deficiency[iii] – a nutritional deficiency that’s more common among women.
What are the symptoms of thyroid disorder?
Thyroid disorders can occur when the thyroid produces too little, or too many thyroid hormones. When the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormones, this can lead to an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). On the other hand, too many thyroid hormones can lead to an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
Both of these conditions can come with a variety of unwanted symptoms, which can be seen below[iv].
Iodine for thyroid health
Despite having such a critical role in our thyroid health, iodine remains somewhat of an overlooked and undervalued nutrient within our diets, so much so, that an estimated 1.9 billion people worldwide remain deficient in iodine[v].
What’s more, research demonstrates that the UK is one of just two high-income countries in which iodine deficiency prevails, and shockingly has a worse rate than several developing countries. Iodine deficiency is not only of major public health concern in the UK, but an EU funded study conducted by the Global Iodine Network concluded that Europe is now an iodine deficient continent[vi].
So, why is it that so many people are experiencing iodine deficiency? Well, many of us simply do not eat enough dietary sources of the essential nutrient. We can get a good source of iodine from white fish and dairy products such as milk and yogurt, however, the rise of plant-based and flexitarian diets means that these sources are being consumed even less.
Seaweed for thyroid health
So, how can you make sure that you’re getting enough iodine? Seaweed is the answer! Seaweed is super as it provides the naturally highest amounts of iodine, boasting more of the nutrient, gram for gram, than any other food group. It is the ONLY good vegan source of iodine.
Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful™ capsules are by far the most convenient and effective way of including seaweed into your daily food intake. Just one of Doctor Seaweed’s supplements contains as much iodine as three whole mackerel making it easy for you to achieve your recommended daily intake, without consuming animal products or artificial sources.
What’s more, we measure every batch of our seaweed to ensure that every capsule provides a safe source of iodine – making it easy for you to reap the rewards of our top quality, highly nutritious seaweed every day.
Discover the full range of Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful™ supplements by clicking here.