Jun 23 2009
If you are recovering from chronic mono, it can be easy to put your tiredness down to post-viral fatigue. However it is important that you rule out other causes like an underactive thyroid which may be contributing to your condition.
What is your thyroid gland?
Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the front of your neck. It is responsible for maintaining your metabolic activity – the rate at which your body burns calories.
Blood tests will show up serious problems with thyroid function but they are often not sensitive enough to pick up the milder, more common cases of hypothyroidism. This is why some patients with chronic mono are told by their doctors that everything “appears normal” – when it fact glands like the thyroid and adrenals may be compromised.
Do you have hypothyroidism?
Consider the short checklist below.
Do you experience on a regular basis:
•Cold hands and feet
•Dry skin, hair and brittle nails
•Thinning hair – particularly the outer third of the eyebrows
•Easy weight gain
•Swollen or droopy eyelids
•Swelling of the neck
•A tight or ‘thick’ sensation in the throat
•Infrequent bowel motions or constipation
•PMT, excess or lack of menstruation, or infertility
If you answered yes to three or more of the above symptoms then you may have hypothyroidism that is contributing to your chronic mono symptoms.
How to help treat hypothyroidism
The natural treatment for hypothyroidism, like that for chronic mono, is based on proper diet, nutritional supplements and gentle body therapies.
Your thyroid benefits from foods high in iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. These nutrients make up the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Iodine is found naturally in seafoods like sea salt, kelp, and fish. Tyrosine is found in many low fat protein foods. It can also be taken in a supplement form at about 500 mg, twice a day on an empty stomach.
Key nutrients in the activation of thyroid hormones are zinc, copper, selenium and vitamins B2 and B3. These should all be supplemented in your diet if you have hypothyroidism. Foods which are particularly useful for hypothyroidism are sea foods, low fat protein sources, egg yolks, parsley and apricots. The essential fatty acids found in linseed oil, deep sea fish and evening primrose oil are useful in maintaining cell integrity and fluidity. These essential fats have also been shown in research trials to improve recurrent fatigue like that found in chronic mono.
Certain foods like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach and turnips, block iodine utilization and should be avoided in excess. Fluoride and chloride from sources like tap water, toothpaste and chlorinated pools, need to be minimized since they block iodine receptors in the thyroid. Sulfur drugs, antihistamines and lithium may also interfere with the gland’s function.
Your liver plays an important role in the conversion of thyroid hormones to their active state. Often chronic mono paients have liver congestion and sluggishness, so the importance of detoxification cannot be emphasized enough.
Your adrenal glands or stress glands also influence thyroid function. These glands are often depleted in cases of chronic mono. It is vital to deal with stress to overcome any hormonal disorder.
In Eastern medicine, the thyroid is in the throat chakra or energy centre of the body. This area is hindered by strong emotional states particularly fear of self – expression and frustration. You may need to work on this to get the results you are after.
Finally exercise and sunshine can both help to improve hypothyroidism. Make sure your upper back and neck areas are in good shape since spinal problems (from C3 to T2) may affect thyroid function. A good chiropractor can help with any back problems. If you have been unable to exercise because of your chronic mono, then the key is to start slowly and gradually build up over time.
If you have chronic mono and suspect that you have hypothyroidism, then please discuss it with a good health professional. For further information on the natural treatments for chronic mono including how to improve the health of your thyroid gland, please refer to the e-book “Nature’s Amazing Mononucleosis Cures” by qualified naturopath Elizabeth Noble.
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