6 Habits That Alter Thyroid Function

· February 14, 2016
In addition to endangering your lungs and health in general, smoking and using other tobacco products can cause serious problems in your thyroid, making treatment more difficult due to this unhealthy and dangerous habit.

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly, and although many people are not aware of this, it plays an important role in the health of the body and is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolic processes throughout the body. Below we’ll list six habits that alter thyroid function.

Thyroid function is important in regulating body temperature, cardiac rhythm, mood and metabolic rate, which determines the rate at which the body burns calories.

In short, the proper functioning of this gland is broadly related to health in general. Therefore, any changes in its functioning can cause hormonal balance leading to the development of different diseases and disorders.

What are the most common thyroid problems?

Thyroid problems are 8 times more common in woman than men and the risk factor increases with the onset of menopause.

Thyroid problems

The main thyroid disorders are:

Hypothyroidism: Occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient hormones. This causes an imbalance in the body, producing the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue and depression
  • Feeling cold
  • Muscle pain
  • Slowed thinking or difficulty concentrating
  • Digestive problems and constipation
  • Heavier and longer periods
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Dry, brittle hair, skin and nails

Hyperthyroidism: This is the opposite of the above. It occurs when the thyroid produces an excessive amount of hormones, leading to the following symptoms:

  • Tremors, nervousness, and irritability
  • Feeling hot
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • More frequent bowel movements
  • Less frequent periods
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Bulging eyes

Also read: Foods That Help Regulate the Thyroid

What types of habits alter thyroid function?

Thyroid problems are largely due to genetic and autoimmune disorders, as well as the use of certain medications.

Various studies have determined that there is a correlation between certain habits and a higher risk for thyroid problems. This directly affects the metabolism and health of the body in general.

A sedentary lifestyle

Man sitting

Due to the conveniences of modern life, many people have fallen into a sedentary life style, increasing the risks to their health. The lack of daily physical exercise can alter thyroid function, leading to hypothyroidism.

The solution?

Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to exercising and avoid sitting or laying down for long periods of time.

Too much caffeine

Many people can’t start their days without a cup of coffee, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, no health expert is going to recommend consuming excessive amounts of caffeine, as this can cause changes in the body like thyroid problems, for example.

The solution?

Avoid drinking excessive amounts of caffeine or tea and choose water or natural juices instead.



Drinking too much alcohol alters thyroid function can increase your risks for suffering from hypothyroidism.

The solution?

Avoid alcoholic beverages or if you do drink, do so in moderation.

Check out this article: Effects of Alcohol in the Body

Tobacco use

Cigarettes and their smoke contain toxic substances like thiocyanate, which can cause serious problems in the thyroid, especially those who are already at a higher risk.

More troubling is the fact that those who smoke experience more difficulties controlling thyroid problems in comparison to those who don’t smoke.

The solution?

Smokers should do every thing possible to quit this nasty habit in order to improve their quality of life. Non-smokers should avoid second hand smoke.

Iodine deficiency


Iodine deficiency is one of the main causes of thyroid problems, especially hypothyroidism. This element is necessary for the gland to produce hormones and function properly.

The solution?

Increase your iodine consumption with a diet that includes foods like:

  • Sea salt
  • Fish and seafood
  • White beans
  • Marine algae
  • Kelp
  • Garlic and onions
  • Dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese


The endocrine system is sensitive to physical and emotional stress, and when the intense enough, can cause alterations in thyroid function.

The solution

Learn to control stressful situations with relaxation techniques or enjoyable activities.