What is hypothyroidism?
We all have a small butterfly-shaped gland, known as the thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck. A part of your body’s endocrine system, this gland uses iodine from food to produce two thyroid hormones namely, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
These hormones are responsible for regulating many of your body’s activities and activity levels such as:
- Controlling how your body uses energy (metabolism).
- Regulating your body temperature.
- Regulating your heart rate.
The production of these hormones is determined by your pituitary gland and hypothalamus.
Due to thyroid disorders, the gland may either produce too many hormones (hyperthyroidism) or not enough hormones (hypothyroidism).
Hypothyroidism is a fairly common condition and is amongst the most common disorders of the thyroid in our country. It is a condition that signifies that your thyroid gland is inactive and cannot produce enough hormones.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
There are some clear signs and symptoms that point to the existence of hypothyroidism. However, in some people, the symptoms of hypothyroidism may not be palpable in the initial stages and may develop slowly over the years.
At times these symptoms get confused with other issues. But over time, when left untreated, they become more obvious.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism to look for:
- Constant constipation
- Fatigue that arises without exerting yourself.
- Dry and flaky skin.
- Feeling too sensitive to cold.
- Unexplained weight gain.
- Puffy and swollen face.
- Weakness, pain, or stiffness in the muscles.
- Hoarse voice
- Pain or swelling in the joints.
- Elevated blood cholesterol levels.
- Slower heart rate.
- Feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Thinning hair
- Irregular or heavy periods.
- Noticeable enlargement of the thyroid gland (goitre).
- Problems with memory and concentration.
Although hypothyroidism mostly occurs in older adults, infants and teens may also develop this disorder. In these cases, the symptoms occur as:
- Excessive drowsiness or sleepiness.
- Poor growth or short stature.
- Delayed occurrence and development of permanent teeth.
- Poor cognitive abilities.
- Delayed puberty
What causes hypothyroidism?
Several reasons may cause problems with the ability of your thyroid gland to produce enough hormones. Some of the most common causes of hypothyroidism are:
- If you suffer from health problems such as type 1 or 2 diabetes, goitre, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s disease, pernicious anaemia.
- You were born with congenital disorders of the pituitary or the thyroid gland.
- You have a deficiency of iodine.
- You have had surgery that included radioactive iodine to cure your thyroid problem.
- If you have undergone thyroid surgery.
- If you have been treated with radiation therapy, especially around your head and neck area.
- If you are dependent on long-term medications such as that for psychiatric disorders.
Besides, these causes of hypothyroidism, some factors increase your risk of getting this disorder. These include:
- Being a woman
- Being over the age of 60 years
- Having a family history of thyroid disorders.
- Are pregnant or have recently delivered a baby in the past six months.
How is hypothyroidism diagnosed and treated?
Before we talk about a natural thyroid remedy, it is important to know the importance of getting hypothyroidism diagnosed and treated on time.
When left untreated, hypothyroidism may lead to several serious health problems such as:
- Heart diseases such as heart failure.
- Peripheral neuropathy leading to pain, tingling, and numbness in the arms and legs.
- Mental health issues such as depression.
- A life-threatening condition known as Myxoedema that causes severe lethargy, cold intolerance, and unconsciousness.
- Birth defects in babies born to women with untreated hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by looking at your physical symptoms, blood and TSH tests.
Once your hypothyroidism is confirmed, it is treated through thyroid hormone medications that replace the hormone that your body is not producing. Available in pill, liquid, and soft gel capsule forms, these medicines need to be taken every morning on an empty stomach.
Just like any other medicine, this medicine also comes with its share of side effects. Not just this, forgetting your daily dosage may lead to a flare-up of your symptoms.
This is where natural remedies for thyroid come in.
Why should you consider natural thyroid remedies?
While they cannot replace your line of treatment, there are some clear advantages of opting for natural treatments of hypothyroidism. These remedies focus on the root cause of your thyroid problem and offer a sustainable solution.
Here are some great reasons to include natural thyroid medications and remedies in your treatment plan:
- A natural thyroid remedy has virtually no side effects.
- One of the most important advantages of natural remedies is that they not just reduce the symptoms of hypothyroidism but also have other important benefits. These include strengthening your immune system, regulating your metabolism, and stabilising your hormones.
- A natural thyroid remedy is easily available.
- A thyroid remedy can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle.
- Most of the alternative thyroid remedies are economically priced and at times even freely available.
- A natural thyroid remedy not just reduces the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but when practised regularly, also prevent this condition from occurring in the first place.
How can I boost my thyroid with natural thyroid remedies?
Wondering how to boost my thyroid naturally? The answer to this is to try alternative natural treatments for hypothyroidism.
These natural treatments for thyroid include making holistic lifestyle changes related to your thyroid diet, exercising, and working on your stress levels.
Here are some of the best natural thyroid remedies that you can try:
- Thyroid diet: Deficiencies and food sensitivities can cause hypothyroidism as is seen in people suffering from Celiac disease or those whose diet lacks iodine. One of the best natural remedies for hypothyroidism is to make simple dietary changes to help improve your thyroid health.
The best remedy for thyroid is to include foods that are rich in vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine. You can include foods such as:
- Seafood such as fatty fish, oysters, seaweed, and shrimp.
- Greek yoghurt
- Fortified bread
- Soy-based foods and drinks
- Chicken breast
- Bran cereal
- Green peas
Foods to avoid:
- Full-fat dairy
- Nuts and seeds
- Dried fruits
- Nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers
- High sugar foods
- Alternative sweeteners
- Processed foods
- Reducing stress: Leading a stressful lifestyle plays a major role in increasing your chances of getting hypothyroidism and increasing its discomforting symptoms if you already suffer from it. Stress stimulates the production of cortisol that suppresses the functioning of the pituitary gland, curtailing the production of TSH. Altering your response to stress triggers is an effective natural thyroid remedy.
Here are some natural remedies for thyroid to reduce stress:
- Practicing meditation and mindfulness is a natural thyroid remedy.
- Include relaxation exercises such as stretching in your daily routine.
- Manage your time well to avoid deadline-related stress and anxiety.
- One of the best natural thyroid remedies is aromatherapy. It helps ease stress and anxiety. Essential oils of lavender, lemongrass, orange, and ylang-ylang are known to help your mind relax and lessen your worries.
- An effective natural thyroid remedy is to spend time amidst nature and greenery.
- Try herbal teas, a natural thyroid remedy, for enhancing your sleep patterns and reducing anxiety.
- Exercising: Keeping yourself active through regular exercises is one of the most effective natural remedies for hypothyroidism. Here is how exercising helps people with hypothyroidism:
- Exercise is a good thyroid remedy because it helps in stretching your joints and muscles while alleviating fatigue, pain, and stiffness.
- It works as an excellent natural thyroid remedy to reduce hypothyroidism-related weight gain.
- By releasing endorphins and curtailing the production of cortisol, exercising helps reduce the stress and anxiety related to your condition.
The exercises that you choose as a natural thyroid remedy must be those that don’t exert too much pressure on your joints. Some great exercises to help with hypothyroidism include:
- Stationary cycling
- Gentle strength training exercises such as lunges, plank, leg raises, push-ups, squats, overhead press, and lateral pull-downs.
However, remember to begin your exercise plan slowly and gradually build upon it. This is essential to avoid injuries and fatigue. Choose such exercises that your body can handle and that you enjoy. This increases your probability of sticking to your exercise regime. Keep progressing your exercises for better impact.
Don’t start any exercise plan as a natural thyroid remedy without consulting your doctor. Listen to your body and if any movement hurts or makes you feel dizzy, stop immediately.
Which are the best natural supplements for hypothyroidism?
In addition to following a thyroid diet, several people turn towards natural supplements for managing their hypothyroidism.
These supplements are usually of nutrients that you may be missing in your diet. The function of this supplemental natural thyroid remedy is that it helps make up for deficiencies that form the root cause of hypothyroidism.
One of the best natural treatments for thyroid, these supplements also help fight the underlying causes of this condition such as inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
Here are some of the most effective supplements for hypothyroidism:
- Iodine: This is the primary nutrient that enabled your thyroid gland to produce TSH. Just be careful not to overdose on iodine supplements as this can be counterproductive and may cause hypothyroidism.
- Vitamin B: This is essential to regulate your thyroid function for adequate secretion of hormones.
- Selenium: Selenium is essential for regulating the metabolism and synthesis of your thyroid gland. Adding it to your daily intake of supplements is an effective natural thyroid remedy.
- Zinc: Adding zinc to your diet is one of the best natural treatments for hypothyroidism. This mineral is essential for improving the functioning of your thyroid gland and the production of hormones.
- Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D in your body are associated with thyroid disease. Especially, people with hypothyroidism have significantly low levels of this vitamin. Adding a supplement fortified with vitamin D is one of the best natural thyroid medications.
- Diindolylmethane: This is a great natural thyroid remedy that is particularly used to treat women who suffer from thyroid-related hormonal problems.
- Curcumin: This is a powerful antioxidant that has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is known to help reduce the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- Ashwagandha: This is a common ayurvedic supplement that works as one of the most effective natural remedies for thyroid. It helps boost the functioning of your thyroid gland and alleviates your stress levels, preventing flare-up of your hypothyroidism symptoms.
- Desiccated thyroid extract: Also known as thyroid extract, desiccated thyroid extract also serves as a significant part of natural thyroid medications. It is used to replace the hormones that your thyroid gland is not producing. In use since the 1800s, this natural thyroid remedy is made from the tissues in thyroid glands of animals. Desiccated thyroid extract is used for improving stunted physical and mental growth, reduce enlarged goitre, and hypothyroidism-related infertility. This extract also helps reduce weight, which is the most common symptom as well as a health risk associated with hypothyroidism.
A natural thyroid remedy has quite a positive impact on hypothyroidism. This is precisely the reason why natural and alternative treatments remain relevant. However, you must ensure that before incorporating any natural remedies for thyroid you need to consult your doctor on whether you can complement such natural interventions with your existing line of treatment.