So, over the years, I've had my thyroid checked a few times. See, I can do the same amount of work that anyone else can do, but my weight just doesn't drop off! My thyroid has always come back as ok, so its always been very disheartening. But, strangely, I had my T3 and T4 Free checked earlier this year. While I still found it a bit complicated, basically T3 and T4 are the outputs of your thyroid...so even though your thyroid is operating properly, your T3 and T4 are what drives your metabolism. And those? They were operating at about the farthest from the bell curve as possible without being considered atypical.
Now, what does that mean? Quite simply, you take 100 people and find out their levels....you throw out the lowest 5 and highest 5 as outliers (basically just because they supposedly don't represent the norm and medically-speaking probably need medical intervention). Every other person is considered a normal and healthy range. But, give where I fell on that bell curve...I was like #7 from the bottom of T3/T4 volume. So, while I technically do not have a medical problem, I certainly have to work much harder than most people out there!
So, what do you do? Since both T3 and T4 are hormones produced by the thyroid gland that help the body's metabolic function, you may want to supplement. There are some synethetic ones out there, but those have side effects. There are also some T3 and T4 supplements out there by Armour Thyroid which I did try...these are not synethic, but typically not covered by insurance. A 90 day supply runs you about $80. I gave it a go....but won't use it again.
After doing some more research....I summized that if my T3 and T4 output is low, and my thyroid is operating properly, why not adjust my input! Iodine works to regular your thyroid output and hormone production. Remember, the thyroid is a gland that regulates many body processes, including weight, metabolism, and energy. Iodine is basically the fuel for your thyroid. And, iodine is cheap! The more clean form of iodine is kelp. Kelp and iodine has a normalizing effect on the thyroid gland. Naturally underweight people can gain weight with kelp, while naturally overweight people can lose weight with kelp. Of course, if you ask 20 people their opinion, you will undoubtedly get 20 answers...so do your own research.
So, kelp is a naturally rich with iodine. Its also full of phytochemicals and is basically seaweed. Seaweed is well known for its beneficial effects - one type contains ten times more calcium than a glass of milk and others are rich in protein and essential minerals. Since the key ingredient in kelp is iodine, it is linked to your metabolism, the process by which your body breaks down food into energy. Again, its used by your thyroid to produce T3 and T4 hormones, which, help regulate your metabolism, so if you are low in iodine your metabolism may be sluggish. This means you will put on weight. Taking kelp supplements can boost your iodine intake which may help regulate your metabolism.
Has it been proven? Its found to be beneficial in several studies, but the jury is still out. I will be getting a full physical later this year, so I definitely want to have them check for my T3 and T4 levels to see how they compare to earlier in the year....that will really be the test!
Is there any harm? Considering the average Japanese person gets so much seaweed in their body compared to the average American, its certainly safe levels...even one capsule a day is significantly less than the average Japanese person ingests, but still could make a difference.
Is it pricey? As far as supplements go, this is a CHEAP one! Nature's Way brand is less than $9 for 100 capsules. We certainly ingest a lot of things into our American diet that have adverse effects, and there is only a potential upside with this one....so its $9 well spent, I think.