Check your thyroid—this tiny gland plays a critical role in metabolism and weight.
Growing rates of abdominal obesity (better known as belly fat)—largely in younger women between the ages of 20 and 39—is fueling an increase in metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. New research in Diabetes Care reports that 35% of American adults have metabolic syndrome—up from 29% in earlier surveys.
While last week’s issue of JAMA finds that a healthy diet and increased physical activity are as effective as bariatric surgery in significantly reducing belly fat and your waistline, not all of Americans are able to stick this regimen for a year. Nor do these lifestyle changes work for everyone.
A recent study in Nature Medicine points up the widespread effects of thyroid hormones on energy balance, so important in weight control. These hormones regulate metabolism, determining how fast (or not) your body burns food for energy.
Increasingly, evidence links environmental toxins with thyroid function. Research in Environmental Health Perspectives shows that recent increases in polybrominated diphenyl esters (PBDEs), commonly known as flame retardants, directly correlate to substantial decreases in thyroid-stimulating hormone (THS). Since 97% of Americans have flame retardants in our bloodstream, it’s no wonder that so many of us are overweight and obese.
In addition, chemical toxins like nitrates from fertilizers, bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics and can linings, phthalates, and other endocrine disrupters wreak havoc on the thyroid. Even low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from antennas, cell and cordless phones, electrical appliances and wiring, PDAs, power lines, satellite TV, and wireless have been found to impact the thyroid.
No wonder that sluggish thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is also epidemic today in this country. While the latest statistics find hypothyroidism the most common endocrine disorder after diabetes, I think it may be even a greater problem because of subclinical thyroid disorders that the medical establishment simply doesn’t pick up.
Part of the problem is that most Americans are deficient in iodine, which the thyroid needs to regulate metabolism and energy. In the 1940s, for instance, we got 500 to 800 mcg from our diet. Today, we’re lucky to get 135 mcg.
Besides the inability to lose weight, iodine deficiency can increase the risk of exposure to electromagnetic radiation. A sluggish thyroid leads to brain fog, depression, fatigue, irritability, and skin problems—also symptoms of sensitivity to EMFs.
Another common complaint from people exposed to this kind of electropollution is sleep disruption. A recent study in the journal Sleep shows that just two weeks of disturbed sleep produces a significant reduction in the thyroid hormones—particularly among women.
As my latest book Zapped shows, EMFs disrupt production of the antioxidant-like hormone melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. To restore sound sleep, take 3 mg Melatonin in a time-release formula. Numerous studies link sleeplessness with weight gain and belly fat.
Your Thyroid’s Role in Fat
A study in Endocrinology finds that mice with impaired thyroid signaling have dramatic impairment in their ability to burn brown fat—with metabolic consequences in adulthood. Unlike white fat—typically found in the abdominal area—brown fat is metabolically active. Without this thermogenic activity, it becomes much easier to put on weight, research in the International Journal of Obesity reports.
To protect your thyroid and fight unwanted fat, avoid endocrine-disrupting minerals like bromide, which is in everything from citrus-flavored drinks like Mountain Dew to pesticides on strawberries, as well as chlorine and fluoride in many public water supplies. The Fluoride & Bromide Provocation Test measures levels of the thyroid-blocking substances in your body. Also test your iodine bioavailability with the Iodine Loading Test, using a urine sample to determine how well your tissues absorb iodine.
Last but never least, don’t forget the liver’s role in thyroid health and metabolism. This premier organ of detoxification is often the missing link in thyroid issues, as it works to convert thyroxine (T3), which is useful at a tissue level, into triiodothyronine (T3), which regulates the rate of metabolism at the cellular level.
A safe, stimulant-free way to slim your waistline, Weight Loss Formula also optimizes liver function with supportive herbs:
• Dandelion root, which stimulates the liver to produce more bile and the gallbladder to released stored bile, assisting in fat metabolism.
• Milk thistle, which has been used for millenniums for liver support. Its active ingredient silymarin has been found to increase production of liver enzymes, help repair damaged liver tissue, and block the effects of some toxins.
• Oregon grape root, which also stimulates the liver by controlling bile.
• Turmeric root, the highest known source of antioxidant beta carotene helps protect the liver from damaging free radicals.
In addition to these lipotropic herbs, Weight Loss Formula contains other fat-burning ingredients, important amino acids, L-carnitine to help clear waste products from the mitochondria (the energy factory of the cells), and chromium to help speed the loss of body fat. Take one capsule three times daily, preferably with meals, or as advised by a health care professional.
Fat Flush for Life
The Fat Flush Plan
Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution