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What You Need To Know About Healthy Living In Your 30s

Turning 30 can be both joyful and perplexing. Especially if the majority of your twenties was spent partying, pulling all-nighters, and eating all the pizza you wished to, this decade can be one of transformation and acceptance that your body likely won’t recover as quickly as it used to.

Oftentimes your thirties can be a rough 10 years of mental and physical metamorphosis, until you hit your forties and the crusade continues. To make it simple, let’s break down the various changes that can happen and discuss how to support your body through this decade.

Mental health in your thirties.

This is the decade in which you gain clarity about what you really want out of life. And this can be stressful as it means you must shift your habits—oftentimes taking your foot off the accelerator and putting it on the brakes. This is when you often decide whether you want to have a child or not, and you may struggle with focusing on your career but also wanting to settle down and start a family. In our thirties our lives tend to be all-around demanding: mentally, physically, and psychologically. So make a list of all the things that overwhelm you, and prioritize the ones you absolutely have to do. Simplifying life is the key. Know exactly what you want and the strategy to get there. It will take trial and error, but it will be worth it!

Weight loss in your thirties.

Depending on how well you lived your twenties, the thirties can be a decade of slow and steady weight gain, bone-density loss, and loss of muscle mass. So being physically fit is crucial; you cannot be overweight and be optimally healthy. Weight is a marker of inflammation and oftentimes leptin and insulin resistance, so exercise is a must—especially if you have a sedentary job. A great option is to work with a personal trainer until you are comfortable doing strength-training exercises to control weight, protect muscle mass, and keep you fit and active. Thyroid problems are also common in this decade, so if you’re having real trouble losing weight, it might be wise to get a thyroid check.

Breast health in your thirties.

Breast health can be an issue in your thirties, with fibrocystic breast tissue being at its peak. Avoiding and correcting any iodine deficiencies can help protect your breasts during this time. This is also the decade during which we should become more accountable when it comes to our own health; make sure you see your doctor regularly and do plenty of self-exams.

Self-care in your thirties.

Being a thirtysomething can get overwhelming—so much so that there’s a tendency to turn your focus away from the self. Be deliberate and commit to carving out time for yourself. Our skin often starts to show early signs of aging during our thirties. This is a good time to slow down the fun in the sun and ramp up your skin self-care regimen and invest in natural beauty and skin care products.

Fertility in your thirties.

Fertility is often a big topic of conversation in your thirties. And this is the time to get serious about having children if it’s something you want. Having a baby in your forties not impossible or wrong, but the risk for birth defects is certainly higher after 35. If you’re planning a pregnancy, take prenatal vitamins, and avoid alcoholic drinks at least two months before conception as it will help you have a normal and healthy pregnancy.

Sleep in your thirties.

Disturbances in your sleep can be an important marker of hormonal imbalance and the state of your overall health. Make sure you’re sleeping well (seven to nine hours each night) and not requiring any extra medication for this. If you do have trouble sleeping, avoid blue light for the few hours before bed. I also find that if you journal your most stressful thoughts prior to bedtime it can break the “looping” of these negative thoughts in the brain and help you fall asleep more peacefully.

Supplementing in your thirties.

Supplements are recommended when what we eat is not fulfilling all of our nutritional needs. And this is especially important in the thirties because stress can eat up a lot of the essential nutrients. These supplements are commonly recommended for thirtysomething women:

  • B-vitamin
  • Omega-3
  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin C

All of the above are common-sense approaches to the changes that occur during this decade and will help create a smooth transition into your forties. Women who take care of themselves in their thirties really blossom in their forties. But if they ignore this decade, it can take even longer to recover their health and happiness. Work with a GP on preventive care and a life coach or wellness coach who can help you tackle the most pressing decisions of this decade.

Rachel x

 

What Does Your Thyroid Do And How Do You Know If It’s Functioning Properly?

So what does the thyroid actually do? Well, everything! When the gland isn’t functioning our metabolism decreases and this causes problems with temperature control, mood, low energy, weight gain, constipation, dry skin and hair, poor fertility and memory, to name a just a few.

What does your thyroid do and how do you know if it’s functioning properly?

It’s a gland that sits at the bottom of the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It’s a butterfly shape as it has two side lobes, connected by a bridge (isthmus) in the middle.

An individual problem
Conventional medicine diagnoses an underactive thyroid based on blood tests which show raised levels of TSH (the hormone secreted by the brain to stimulate the thyroid to work) and low levels of T4 (the hormone produced by the thyroid gland). T4 has to be converted to T3 to work. Blood levels of T3 are often not checked in the routine screen for hypothyroidism as it is assumed that T4 is being adequately converted to T3, although I think we should be checking T3 as not everyone converts T4 to T3 as well as they should.

Diagnosis
Even then, diagnosis is not straightforward, because the range of thyroid tests that conventional medicine considers to be normal is very wide. In America, the range of normal TSH references has been reduced from 0.5-5 to 0.3-3. This unfortunately is not the case in the UK where a TSH of up to five is still considered normal. Then add to this that some people function best when their numbers are at the upper end of the population range anyway! This means that if you are told your results are normal but you still feel you are suffering from hypothyroidism, request the exact values and take them to a practitioner who pays close attention to your symptoms and uses a multi-factorial approach to treat them.

So let’s dig deeper and look at the top signs indicating something is wrong with your thyroid:

1. Weak bones

If you have weak bones, have your thyroid checked. Abnormal thyroid function can decrease bone mineral density. Serum calcium will typically be in the “normal” reference range with hypothyroidism, but outside of the functional, optimal range.

2. Gut problems

Low thyroid function can reduce the movement of your intestines, which is essential for healthy digestion. The ability of your body to absorb nutrients is also altered when your thyroid isn’t working well. Healthy thyroid function dampens gut inflammation, and low thyroid function is linked with gastric ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.

3. Low sex drive

Many people think their low sex drive is due to aging, when in fact it may be a symptom of a bigger hormonal problem that’s anything but normal. Thyroid function affects the metabolism of estrogen and testosterone in the body. Hypothyroidism in men is linked with erectile dysfunction and low libido in both men and women.

4. Weight gain

When your thyroid hormones are low, your body will be less able to break down fat, making you resistant to weight loss. Years of fad diets and grueling hours in the gym won’t fix the underlying problem. Weight gain isn’t the cause of your problems, but a symptom of something not being addressed. You have to get healthy to lose weight, not the other way around. When you deal with the underlying hormonal problem and heal, weight loss is the natural byproduct.

5. Low energy

In addition to slowing your ability to burn fat, hypothyroidism will also decrease your energy, causing debilitating fatigue.

6. Blood sugar problems

When your body is in a low thyroid state, it decreases your body’s ability to absorb glucose or blood sugar. You need glucose to get properly in the cell to create ATP, your cellular energy source. Despite sluggish glucose metabolism, many people struggling with low thyroid hormones can feel hypoglycemic, like they have low blood sugar. Because the cells are not getting the glucose they need, you can feel like you are hypoglycemic even with normal looking blood sugar labs. This vicious cycle of hormonal dysfunction can lead to metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance.

7. High cholesterol and triglycerides

A sluggish thyroid hormone levels decreases the breakdown of cholesterol, leading to elevated total cholesterol and triglycerides. While high cholesterol alone is a poor predictor for heart attack and stroke risk, elevated triglycerides is an accurate marker for increased risk factor.

8. Adrenal fatigue

When you have hypothyroidism, it puts stress on your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Because of the lack of glucose and energy getting to the cells, the brain-adrenal axis pumps more cortisol in attempts to get more energy to the cells. This further complicates your hormonal health, leading to HPA axis dysfunction or adrenal fatigue.

9. Toxin overload

Poor thyroid health will lead to your liver and gallbladder not working very well. This can significantly decrease your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins, and may also cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. I commonly see impaired detoxification pathways in patients dealing with thyroid problems.

10. Estrogen imbalances

Estrogen comes in the form of three metabolites: Estrone (E1, estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estrogen balance is essential for your health. When your thyroid isn’t working well it can unbalance your estrogen metabolite ratio.

11. Brain problems

Hypothyroidism is linked with poor neurotransmitter expression and an increased risk of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. This is due to the fact that a predominance of thyroid receptor sites are found in the brain. One 2014 study found that people with depression had higher rates of thyroid conversion impairments, or low T3 syndrome.

12. Hot flashes or being cold

When your thyroid hormone levels are low, it affects your body’s temperature control. This can cause you to feel cold all the time, or have night sweats and hot flashes.

13. Hair loss

Since the thyroid determines your metabolism and absorption of nutrients, when your thyroid hormones aren’t functioning optimally this can lead to hair loss. Making sure your levels are optimal is essential to regaining hair health.

What To Do Now

As you can see, thyroid health is essential for you to feel and be healthy. Many people instinctively know that they have a thyroid problem despite “normal” labs. If this is you, educate yourself on the thyroid problems that won’t show up on standard labs.

Rachel x

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