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What Your Eyebrows May Be Telling You

April 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Nutrition

Dear Health Conscious Reader,

I don’t know about you, but I pluck my eyebrows. I like how nice and clean it makes my eye area look.

A little grooming with a pair of tweezers is one thing. But if the outer third of your eyebrow falls out on its own, that’s a different story.

If this has happened to you, it may mean you’re not producing enough thyroid hormone. And, in that case, having thin eyebrows could be the least of your worries.

If your thyroid goes on the blink, you could get about 200 other problems. You might start to feel chilly all the time. You might notice extra fat around your waist, even though you eat healthy. Maybe you get headaches a lot, your nails break easily, or you get depressed every month.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, you’re not alone. You have a one in five chance of developing hypothyroidism by the time you’re 65 years old.

My aunt was one who did. She was a young adult in the 80s, when eyebrows were “in.” But she noticed her eyebrows were thinning. In fact, they were just about gone. My poor aunt was so unhappy, she went to a permanent makeup clinic and had eyebrows tattooed onto her skin!

It wasn’t long after this that my aunt discovered she had an underactive thyroid. Sure enough, once she was treated, her eyebrows came back, full and lush. My aunt thought it was a miracle!

Many things can affect your thyroid, like eating too many carbs. Or when you starve yourself to lose a pound or two. You need a good diet with protein and healthy fat for your thyroid to function properly.

If you’re on birth control pills, or if you take other medications, it can also interfere. So can toxins that get into your bloodstream, like pesticides, mercury, or the chemicals you find in plastic.

This is not something to take lightly. When your thyroid is underactive, it can lead to hardening of the arteries. You could have a heart attack without warning.1

But don’t rush off to your doctor quite yet. You can test your thyroid at home. You can also increase your thyroid production by increasing your vitamins and minerals.

To see if you might have an underactive thyroid:

  1. Buy a glass thermometer instead of digital and keep it next to your bed.
  2. As soon as you wake up, tuck the thermometer in your armpit and leave it there for 15 minutes. Any movement will affect the reading, so lie still and relax.
  3. Write down the temperature.
  4. Do this for three days in a row.
  5. After three days, add up the numbers and divide by three. If your number is below 97.2, there’s a good chance you have an underactive thyroid.

Note: If you’re menstruating, avoid taking the test mid-cycle. Hormones may affect your temperature.

If your eyebrows are disappearing, or if you suspect an underactive thyroid, start by taking iodine. Most people in the U. S. are deficient, and your thyroid needs it to function. Take 12.5-25 mg every day.

Or, you can take a thyroid support supplement. It should contain vitamins A, B’s, C, and D, along with minerals like iodine, magnesium, selenium, and L-tyrosine (an important amino acid).

Best Wishes for Health and Beauty,

Tara Smith, ARNP, NP-C

[Ed. Note: Tara Smith, ARNP NP-C, is a board-certified nurse practitioner for Dr. Sears’ Center for Health & Wellness in Royal Palm Beach, FL. Her medical concentration is on aesthetics, teaching, and family practice. Tara is conducting research trials into novel ways of naturally boosting HGH and working on a new book, on anti-aging for women.]

  1. Hak AE, “Subclinical hypothyroidism is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction in elderly women: the Rotterdam Study.” Ann Intern Med. 2000 Feb 15;132(4):270-8.

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Al Sears, M.D., is a practicing physician with extensive experience in the fields of complementary and natural healthcare. The recommendation and materials on this site represent his opinion based on his years of practicing medicine. Any recommendations are not intended to replace the advice of your physician. You are encouraged to seek advice from a competent medical professional regarding the applicability of any recommendations with regard to your symptoms or condition. It is important that you do not reduce, change or discontinue any medication or treatment without consulting your physician first.