The thyroid is a gland that’s located at the base of your neck and it produces hormones that regulate many of the vital functions in your body that keep you alive. If anything goes wrong with the production of thyroid hormones, it can be a threat to your life. Fortunately, natural remedies are available to help you correct such a situation.
Why is Thyroid Important?
The thyroid gland is one of the glands in the endocrine system and it plays a key role in your metabolism, growth, and development. It releases two main hormones into the bloodstream, namely triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). It uses the iodine that you consume in food to manufacture these two hormones. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are responsible for regulating these hormones so that they are neither too high nor too low.
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The thyroid hormones’ function is to regulate the rate at which cells in your body perform. They, therefore, regulate vital functions in the body like:
- Heart rate
- Menstrual cycles
- Central nervous system function
- Peripheral nervous system function
- Cholesterol levels
- Muscle strength
Thyroid Health Issues
Health problems arise when the thyroid hormone levels are produced abnormally. When the T3 and T4 hormone levels are too high, it results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Conversely, when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough T3 and T4, the condition is known as hypothyroidism.
More than 12% of people in the U.S. will have a thyroid condition at some point in their lives.
The overproduction of thyroid hormones causes the acceleration of the metabolic process. While that may sound like the perfect situation for weight management, it actually causes several health problems. The symptoms that accompany hyperthyroidism include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Anxiety and stress
- Hair loss
- Moodiness or irritability
- Sensitivity to heat
- Light or missed menstrual periods
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Trembling hands
- Swollen thyroid
- Bowel movements change
When the thyroid hormones are produced in insufficient quantities, it causes issues like infertility, obesity, joint and muscle pain, heart disease, and depression. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are as follows:
- Sensitivity to cold
- High cholesterol
- Unexplained weight gain
- Heavy and frequent menstrual periods
- Dry skin
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Slow heartbeat
- Impaired memory and concentration
- Swollen face
What Causes Thyroid Issues?
The overproduction of T3 and T4 could be caused by a number of conditions:
This is an immune system disorder where that causes the thyroid to produce too much T3 and T4.
This is when nodules develop in the thyroid and they begin overproducing thyroid hormones.
This is a temporary condition where inflammation of the thyroid gland causes the leaking of excess thyroid hormones. It goes away after some time.
When you have too much iodine in your body from medications like amiodarone, the thyroid gland manufactures excess thyroid hormones.
Other rare causes of hyperthyroidism are malfunctioning of the pituitary gland or cancer of the thyroid.
The underproduction of thyroid hormones also leads to a myriad of issues, and this could be caused by:
It is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid, kills it, and eventually stops it from producing hormones. It happens when an inflammation develops in the thyroid gland and renders it inactive.
Absence of the Thyroid Gland
When the thyroid gland is removed surgically or chemically, the production of thyroid hormones ceases.
When the body doesn’t have enough iodine, sufficient thyroid hormone cannot be produced.
About 2.5% of women produce little thyroid hormones after giving birth because of hormonal changes. However, this condition is temporary and it eventually goes away.
How are Thyroid Issues Diagnosed?
Thyroid issues are often hard to diagnose because their symptoms are similar to other health problems. Therefore, doctors use certain tests to ascertain the presence of thyroid disorders:
This is one of the best and most important ways to test for thyroid disorders because blood tests show how much thyroid hormones are in the blood. They can also be used to diagnose other conditions that are associated with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
If thyroid issues are diagnosed then the person usually has to take thyroid medication for the rest of their life. That’s why it’s important that the diagnose was correct and not false positive or false negative.
In order to determine if there are any issues with your thyroid many doctors order only one blood test that measures the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and write medication based only on that one number. However it’s important you ask your doctor to also test for T3 and T4 hormones as well as TPO (antibodies against thyroid peroxidase). These 4 tests (TSH, T3, T4 and TPO) will give a good overview how your thyroid is functioning. Also it’s a good idea to repeat the test after a couple of days to make sure the results weren’t just “temporarily off”.
Your doctor may use a thyroid scan or an ultrasound to look at the thyroid and check for abnormalities. An increase in the size of the thyroid gland, change of its shape, or the presence of growths may indicate that you have a thyroid disorder.
This is a simple test where the doctor touches your neck to feel for any growths of the thyroid gland.
Natural Thyroid Remedies
The natural treatment of thyroid disorders mainly involves changing your diet and taking herbal supplements to provide the body with the nutrients that are missing.
It’s a trace element that plays a crucial role in the metabolism that is facilitated by thyroid hormones. When Hashimoto’s thyroiditis attacks the thyroid, it depletes the selenium in it. Taking selenium will help to increase the thyroxine levels.
It is the main nutrient used to make thyroid hormones so if it’s deficient or in excess, it leads to thyroid disorders. You either need to supplement it or reduce it in your diet depending on whether you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Low levels of thyroid hormones also deplete vitamin B-12 levels in your body. Introducing vitamin B-12 supplements will help in reversing the damage done by hypothyroidism. Vitamin B also helps in reducing the fatigue that thyroid disorders cause you.
Processed foods and sugar often cause inflammation in the body. Sometimes, inflammation slows down the conversion of T4 to T3 which worsens thyroid disorder symptoms. Eating a sugar-free diet will improve your thyroid health.
Which Food is Good for Thyroid
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of the nutrients and supplements that you need to treat thyroid disease, here are the foods you need to eat that contain those nutrients:
Slated nuts like macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts are rich sources of selenium.
Baked salmon, cod, haddock, perch, or sea basses are rich sources of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids which will help in reducing inflammation and other thyroid disorders symptoms.
Seaweed like wakame, kelp, and nori are rich in iodine. Apart from eating roasted seaweed, you can also include it in other dishes like sushi, stews, and salads.
Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products contain a lot of iodine and vitamin B-12.
They are rich in iodine, vitamin B-12, and selenium. For better results, eat the entire egg plus the yolk, which contains most of the nutrients.
Legumes such as beans and peas are rich in vitamin B-12.
Natural Remedies for Thyroid – Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest methods of treating diseases and it’s based on the belief that disease occurs due to an imbalance in the universe’s elements. It uses a combination of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes to prevent and treat disease.
The herbs and unprocessed foods used in Ayurveda can be used to treat your thyroid issues. One of the key herbs that are used, ashwagandha, is an effective treatment of hypothyroidism.
Another herb that is used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism is C. Pluricaulis. It lowers the thyroid levels in the body and also inhibits enzymes that contribute to hyperthyroidism like hepatic 5′-monodeiodinase.
Toxins that accumulate in the body over time lead to disease and dysfunction in the body. Ayurveda recommends detoxifying to restore balance and bring healing.
For thyroid disorders, you can detox by reducing the intake of allergenic foods to give your digestive system an easier time eliminating toxins.
Yoga is an Ayurvedic exercise that improves circulation, digestion, and reduces the anxiety and stress that is associated with hypothyroidism.
Ayurveda is effective in helping to treat thyroid. It’s important to remember that if you do get diagnosed with thyroid issues ask for a second opinion, make sure your doctor took all the necessary blood tests (not only TSH) and that the blood test was done at least twice.
If all the necessary tests were taken and your doctor confirms thyroid issues then practice Ayurvedic and other healthy lifestyle habits alongside the medical remedies to best manage the symptoms of thyroid disorders.
In order to treat something, it’s important to understand what it is that you are treating. We found this simple course that easily explains thyroid health. It helps you to apply the proper lifestyle and good nutrition habits to improve thyroid health. Join here!