Natural Home Remedies for Hypothyroidism

They thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located at the front of the neck just below the Adam's apple.

Image of a girl with a butterfly at her neck

Hypothyroidism is defined as abnormally low activity of the thyroid gland.  The thyroid produces hormones that are necessary for all your cells to work according to plan.  The low activity can result in retardation of growth and mental development in children and adults.

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is located in the lower front part of your neck.  It releases hormones that affect nearly every part of your body.  It controls how your cells use energy from food (metabolism).  In turn, your metabolism affects your body temperature, your heartbeat and how you burn calories.  The prefix “hypo” means down, or below normal, so hypothyroidism refers to a thyroid gland that does not perform optimally, and which under-produces hormones.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Decreased libido
  • Depression
  • Dry, rough skin
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • High cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Irritability
  • Low body temperature
  • Low energy
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle cramps and aches
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

COMPLICATIONS

If the problem persists without correction, symptoms usually progress and in rare cases, complications can result in heart failure or coma.  A blood test may determine whether or not you have hypothyroidsim, or it may be more complicated to diagnose.

RISK FACTORS

  • A1 casein allergy
  • Deficiency in iodine
  • Deficiency in selenium
  • Genetics
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Hormonal imbalances due to stress
  • Hormone imbalance due to anything else
  • Inflammation of the gland (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis)
  • Medication use
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Pituitary gland malfunction
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radioactive iodine therapy to remove a goiter
  • Stress
  • Surgery to remove a nodule
  • Too little fat (fat makes hormones)

PREVALENCE

Estimated to be up to 10% of adults over 65 years old.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

The usual treatment is daily use of a synthetic thyroid hormone.

SELF TREATMENT

Others have reported benefits from use of home treatment and the suggestions below are offered for further research.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and disorder. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

Foods that are good or bad for your condition are dependent on the chemical make-up of the food. You will want to avoid or reduce foods containing goitrogens for instance.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • A2 dairy products
  • Adequate fiber
  • Anti-inflammatory foods
  • Bone broth
  • Coconut oil
  • Fermented Foods
  • Goat milk
  • Good fats from olives, avocados, nuts, etc.
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Seaweed (nori or wakame) for the iodine (this is a complex issue and I encourage more research. You can get too much Iodine, which is as bad as too little. You may need selenium to prevent iodine toxicity.
  • Sheep milk
  • Sprouted seeds
  • Variety is important. Don’t keep eating the same foods day in and day out. For the widest range of nutrients, eat a wide range of foods.

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID OR REDUCE

  • A1 Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • BPA
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Foods with A1 Casein
  • Grains
  • Kale
  • Kelp
  • Peaches (cooked ok)
  • Processed foods
  • Raw broccoli
  • Raw cabbage
  • Raw cauliflower
  • Smoking
  • Soy
  • Starches
  • Strawberries (cooked ok)
  • Sugars

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Apple Cider Vinegar in water daily
  • Astragalus
  • Chamomile
  • Chicory root
  • Elderberry
  • Evening primrose
  • Gotu Kola
  • Licorice root
  • Red Clover
  • Sage
  • Siberian Ginseng
  • Tulsi

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Ashwagandha
  • Bacopa
  • Black Walnut if you need iodine
  • Bladderwrack
  • Cinnamon
  • Eleuthero
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Licorice
  • Milk thistle, turmeric, chlorella and cilantro for a heavy metal detox
  • Nettle
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Tulsi
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut on the skin (on thyroid meridian and reflexology locations, or right over the thyroid gland), or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress.

There are recipes for blends on the web for treating low thyroid.

  • Cedarwood
  • Clary Sage
  • Clove
  • Evening Primrose
  • Frankincense
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Myrrh
  • Myrtle
  • Peppermint
  • Rose geranium
  • Rosemary
  • Spearmint

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need. All supplements run the risk of interfering with medical treatment.

  • Adaptogen supplements (Ashwagandha, Tulsi).  Ashwagandha is also good for the adrenals, which are connected to thyroid function, but may lower blood pressure.
  • Adrenal complex if you have low cortisol levels
  • Guggul, with monitoring
  • Kelp with selenium (have a test first if possible and do serious research)
  • Omega 3’s
  • Probiotics
  • Rehmannia, also for adrenal support
  • Selenium (found in brazil nuts, salmon, sunflower seeds, beef, garlic, and onions).  Be careful; you can overdose on selenium in pill form, so have a test before supplementing.
  • Vitamin D

HYDRATION

Dehydration changes affect total serum thyroid hormone concentrations, according to a 2007 study (Ybarra J, Fernandez S). Being hydrated can mitigate several of the unpleasant symptoms. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½-1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

You may not feel like exercising but exercising will make you feel better. Exercise can relieve some of the symptoms while improving your overall health. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Anxiety affects cortisol levels, which affects blood sugar and adrenal function. Blood sugar imbalances and adrenal stress can exacerbate hypothyroid symptoms. (And the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone.) Stay calm. Practice relaxation exercises, meditate, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to stay mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Address food sensitivities (identified with a blood test).
  • Ask your doctor about natural thyroid (made from the dried thyroid glands of pigs).  Some brands are Armour Thyroid, Nature-throid, Westhroid and Erfa.
  • Avoid BPA (found in plastics).
  • Avoid foods that contain goitrogens, such as soybean-related foods and cruciferous vegetables.  Peaches, strawberries and millet also contain goitrogens.  If you do have these foods, cook them, as the goitrogenic compounds are inactivated by heat.
  • Avoid x-rays or radiation exposure.
  • Consume only dairy products that come from A2 cows, goat milk or sheep milk (A2 milk contains only the A2 type of beta-casein protein).  Not easy to find and not available where I live.
  • Cut back on gluten (which you are doing if you’re cutting back on grains).  Eating gluten can stimulate the autoimmune attack on your thyroid.
  • Don’t have x-rays anywhere near your neck without a thyroid collar.
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods.  Get a blood test to be sure you are getting adequate vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
  • Eat protein at every meal (see The Zone Diet).  Protein transports thyroid hormone to your tissues.
  • Fluoride is toxic to the thyroid. Avoid it.
  • Get a headset for your phone to get the radioactivity away from your thyroid.
  • Have a spot urinary iodine test to show morning levels of iodine. Or a 24-hour iodine loading test.
  • Have your adrenal glands checked (urine test) and if they are stressed or fatigued, do what you can to address that issue.
  • Too many carbs increase estrogen which affects the thyroid.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Adequate hydration
  • Low stress levels
  • Minimize exposure to radiation
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular exercise
  • Test for and eliminate foods to which you are sensitive.

 

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