With more and more people struggling with thyroid related issues, medical professionals are looking for ways to limit, maintain, and end these concerns.
Some of the solutions have been medicine based, stopping or adding different food products (like flaxseed), and other natural remedies.
But, researchers are still trying to get the bottom of why the body has so many thyroid problems that occur in men and women alike.
To start, people need to be reminded of a few things. The thyroid gland looks like a small butterfly, and it is right under the Adam’s apple around the neck.
The gland’s job is to keep the endocrine system working properly. This includes things like regulating the metabolism of the body and coordinating signals back and forth.
What the thyroid gland uses is iodine to produce two hormones, T3 and T4, or thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Statistics show that about 10% of people across the world have some form of thyroid dysfunction.
This makes up about 700 million people around the world struggling to bring consistency back to their body. When imbalances occur, the thyroid either produces too little or too many hormones.
Different Thyroid Problems
There are over a dozen different thyroid problems that can cause chaos in the body. Below, a few common problems are discussed.
One of the most common thyroid issues is hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid becomes overactive, it produces too much of the hormone, and this commonly happens to women.
As a sub-category of hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease is another issue that occurs in 70% of people who have an overactive thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism is another common thyroid dysfunction. The gland becomes underactive, and this usually affect 5% of people 12-years-old and up in the United States of America. Hashimoto’s disease is the subset of hyperthyroidism, and usually the thyroid gland is removed by surgery to rid the body of problems.
Goiter and thyroid nodules are the last of the most common thyroid difficulties. A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid, but it is of the non-cancerous variety. Statistical data shows that over 200 million people deal with goiter concerns because it is caused by an iodine-deficiency. Thyroid nodules are also a growth on the thyroid that occurs in men and women alike (1% of men and 5% of women).
Most thyroid nodules are benign, but sometimes they can turn out to be cancerous as well. So, where does flaxseed come in to help?
What is Flaxseed?
Flaxseed is the common name, but it is also called linseed. This product has been circulating around the news lately because of its positive effects on the body.
Many people want to know if the effects translate to help thyroid issues, too.
Here is what you need to know about flaxseed. First off, the seeds are low in cholesterol and sodium, so they do not interfere with cardiovascular health. On the other hand, flaxseeds are high in fat, but the fats are healthy ones, along with a good amount of protein.
Statistically, flaxseeds are separated in this fashion: 66% fat, 22% carbohydrates, and 12% protein. Also, for every gram of flaxseed consumed, people will be getting about 1/5 their protein intake for the day.
As stated earlier, there are good fats in flaxseed. Some of the fats include polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat.
With the majority of fats in flaxseed being polyunsaturated fat, the healthiest fats are consumed with every bite you take. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful, too.
Many people enjoy flaxseed in its grounded form and also as an oil. However, if flaxseed is created into an oil, it loses some benefits like lignans and fiber. Nevertheless, flaxseed can additionally be grounded with flour that is multigrain to create flax chapatti.
Some people use this concoction to help the body fight against diabetes. Also, baking with flaxseed has been the trend for people who make breads, pancakes, waffles, etc. with the product mixed in.
Additionally, the seeds include a lot of vitamins and minerals to help the body out.
Some of the vitamins include Vitamin B6, C, E, and K, while the minerals include calcium, iron, zinc, copper, and potassium. There is so much to love about flaxseed, but what really are the health benefits?
Flaxseed Health Benefits
There are quite a few benefits that stand out when it comes to flaxseed. Since they are high in fiber, the seeds are great way to stay regular and keep the digestive tract going strong.
Also, with low carbs, it is perfect to stay fit and healthy without overloading. Omega-3 fatty acids are very prevalent in flaxseed, so blood pressure levels remain constant and positive. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s disease is reduced because of the omega-3 fatty acids.
Lastly, omega-3 fatty acids limit inflammation, so issues like inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis don’t nag as much or at all for many individuals.
Other health benefits include cholesterol regulations, a reduction of acne, better hair and skin, and improvements for eczema.
Specifically, women feel better during menopause, when they are using flaxseed. Antioxidants help stop aging and can even regenerate cells in the body to help with restoration.
The History of Flaxseed
Flaxseed dates back to about 3,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia, but the 8th Century was when it saw its prominence across Western Europe due to King Charlemagne.
The king, who had recently united Europe for the first time in years, believed that flaxseed had many health benefits, encouraging his people to eat the product.
Centuries later, there are no cultures that are forcing people to eat flaxseed, but there are many in the medical profession that believe flaxseed’s health benefits are for real.
The Connection Between Thyroid Problems and Flaxseed
Since flaxseed has been so beneficial for so many people, researchers and doctors alike have wondered if flaxseed could make a different for patients dealing with thyroid troubles.
However, to this point, many of the data has been mixed with both positive and negative reactions.
Some publications have seen success with flaxseed, when treating hypothyroidism, but there have also been problems with other particular thyroid disorders.
The reason why doctors have been using flaxseed has everything to do with one of the ingredients found in the product: linolenic acid. Linolenic acid is known for being an anti-inflammatory on every system in the human body.
Additionally, it has been shown to normalize hormone imbalances. Both these things make linolenic acid a possible solution to improving the functioning of the thyroid.
Lastly, magnesium and vitamin B6 are found in the seeds to help the gland work properly, too.
Even though there have been some positives with flaxseed use on the thyroid gland, there is one issue of major concern that should be considered.
Since flaxseed is considered a goitrogen, this plays a part that should be examined further. In goitrogens, there is phytate salt. This salt collects minerals, and is normally a positive thing that happens in plant life.
However, when this happens in the body, negative things start to happen. Specifically, when minerals are collected in the body, it is taken from systems that actually need them to function.
These minerals can be things such as iodine, selenium, and zinc.
When so many minerals are taken from the body, the thyroid gland starts to malfunction. For example, iodine is absorbed by the thyroid gland, but if it does not work, then this process does not happen at all.
Other minerals like magnesium are dependent on the thyroid to work properly. Ultimately, if flaxseed is to blame, an upped dosage of levothyroxine medication is probably needed going further.
Moreover, the National Center for Biotechnology Information shared an article from the Division of Natural Products, which is a branch of the Food and Drug Administration, agreeing with the dangers that flaxseed can have on the body when it is dealing with the thyroid.
The article entitled “Chemical studies of phytoestrogens and related compounds in dietary supplements: flax and chaparral,” speaks to the fact that “flaxseed contains high levels of phytoestrogens.”
This can cause problems such as hepatitis, which is toxic to the body, and estrogen abnormalities. The concerns can only mount from there.
The Ultimate Solution
Just because there have been both positive and negative effects from flaxseed use does not mean that they should be dismissed all together.
There are still benefits that can be harnessed without having negative side-effects in the process. The solution is to eat flaxseed separate from minerals like magnesium and iodine. If everything is not eaten together, then the adequate function of these products can be successful in the body.
In turn, the thyroid gland will function properly and work with minerals in the way it normally should. Taking a supplement of minerals is a much better way of thinking when consuming seeds all together.
Flaxseed: The Right Amount
In many major publications that have been done on flaxseed use in the medical community, the results show a common parallel that people should have no more than a cup of flaxseed per day.
For some, this number might even be too high, but the seeds do have a lot of positives, whether it’s the minerals or the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Ultimately, flaxseed, like any other food, should be eaten in moderation.
If flaxseed involves the oil variety, a single tablespoon of oil would be plenty, and no more than two tablespoons.
If you are looking for the hard, cold truth, the University of Maryland Medical Center agrees that 1,000 to 1,500 mg of fatty acids within flaxseed can help with thyroiditis.
This works because the hormone productivity increases and it also works as an anti-inflammatory, as discussed earlier. Look for more research from the university coming soon, as they continue to strive for understanding of flaxseed.
When hormones in the body don’t do their job, it makes for a lot of serious issues.
Problems like hypothyroidism and additional thyroid abnormalities can disrupt the normal functioning of the human body. Of course, there are many traditional treatments that can be done, but if all else fails for you and your body, flaxseed might be just the thing you need.
With its high amount of fatty acids, flaxseed is an option with many fantastic benefits. However, there are some studies that have shown flaxseed causing goitrogen, which can add to thyroid dysfunction.
But, if flaxseed is used in moderations, there should be no problems moving forward in the human body. Flaxseed could be the answer to many thyroid problems; it just depends from person to person.