- Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Help Manage Hyperthyroidism
- Dietary Changes That Can Help With Hyperthyroidism
- Foods to Include in Your Diet
- Foods to Avoid or Cut Back on When You Have Hyperthyroidism
- Get the Right Amount of Exercise for a Healthy Weight
- How and Why to Manage Stress When You Have Hyperthyroidism
- Can Natural Remedies and Supplements Help Hyperthyroidism?
- Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
- Top Natural Supplements for Hyperthyroidism
- How do Naturopathic Doctors Treat Hypothyroidism?
- Hypothyroidism: What is it and what are the symptoms?
- Hypothyroidism: Diagnosis
- Hypothyroidism: Underlying Causes
- Hypothyroidism—Naturopathic Treatments
- Botanical Herbs
- Hyperthyroidism Diet
- What is Hyperthyroidism?
- Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
- Hyperthyroidism Causes
- Hyperthyroidism Diagnosis
- Conventional Treatment
- 7 Natural Hypothyroidism Treatment Options
- Simple and Best Natural Remedies for Hyperthyroidism
- Natural Treatments and Medications for Hypothyroidism
- What is Hypothyroidism?
- My Hypothyroidism Diagnosis
- Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Take This Quiz
- Natural Treatments for Hypothyroidism
Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Help Manage Hyperthyroidism
Overactive thyroid requires medical treatment, but making changes to include or avoid certain nutrients — and staying active — can help ease symptoms and keep you feeling good.
Eating healthy, exercising, and managing stress can help ease hyperthyroid symptoms. Darren Muir/Stocksy; Thinkstock
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid gland, occurs when your thyroid produces too much thyroxine. This can result in a multitude of symptoms, including fatigue and insomnia, unintentional weight loss, rapid heart rate, and more. Once your hyperthyroidism is under control, your symptoms will improve, too. (1)
Still, an overactive thyroid can be challenging to treat. Unlike hypothyroidism, (underactive thyroid) which involves taking thyroid hormone replacements, hyperthyroidism requires stopping the thyroid from making too many hormones. Treatments can include radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid drugs, and sometimes surgery. (1)
Despite any hype you might read on the internet, there is no “natural cure” for hyperthyroidism. Still, you can embark on diet and lifestyle changes that can support thyroid treatments — some of these can even help you manage your symptoms and feel better. (1)
Dietary Changes That Can Help With Hyperthyroidism
It may seem like there’s an eating plan available for any condition, but there isn’t one specific diet designed for hyperthyroidism alone. A healthy, balanced diet, though, “helps keep you feeling good,” says Natalie Rizzo, RD, based in New York City. (2) A balance of vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, and lean protein sources are all important in making sure you get the nutrients you need without the extra calories.
But if you’re undergoing treatment for hyperthyroidism and have lost a great deal of weight, there are some instances where your doctor may encourage you to gain weight. This doesn’t mean you should head to a fast food restaurant or binge on packaged snacks at home. Your doctor may instead help you come up with a plan to get more calories in your daily meals and snacks. (1)
On the flipside, you might start gaining too much weight after your thyroid starts leveling out. This could mean the opposite approach to diet, where you focus on nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables and lean proteins, to help keep you full without the extra calories. (1)
Finally, your doctor may suggest a low-iodine diet, because too much iodine can aggravate hyperthyroid symptoms. Your thyroid takes up iodine and uses it for thyroid hormone production. (3,4)
Foods to Include in Your Diet
Fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, lean proteins, and whole grains are essential for any balanced diet. For hyperthyroidism, Rizzo recommends the following: (2)
Freshwater Salmon “Fish has healthy fats, which contribute to maintaining your weight,” says Rizzo. “This is vital for those with overactive thyroid, who tend to continually lose weight.” You may need to steer clear, though, of saltwater fish due to the excess iodine content that’s found in ocean waters. (5,6)
Lentils These are a good source of protein and fiber without the saturated fats found in meats.
Calcium-Rich Foods “If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can weaken the bones,” says Rizzo. “To counteract this, it’s necessary to get at least three servings of calcium per day.” Since dairy products contain iodine, you may want to focus on nondairy sources of calcium instead. (3)
Fortified foods are a good place to start, but you may also consider asking your doctor about calcium supplements if you’re getting less than the 1,000 milligram (mg) daily recommendation. The recommendation goes up to 1,200 mg per day for women over 51 and men over 71. (1)
Foods to Avoid or Cut Back on When You Have Hyperthyroidism
People with hyperthyroidism may need to consider avoiding certain foods — especially those that are high in iodine. Iodine is prevalent in American diets, thanks to processed foods and iodized salt. Since the thyroid takes up iodine easily, eating too much can make hyperthyroid symptoms worse. (1)
Your doctor may also recommend a temporary low iodine diet. (4) “Some patients may undergo radioactive iodine therapy and may be prescribed a low-iodine diet,” explains Rizzo. “This means they have to avoid iodized salt, cheese, milk, eggs, and saltwater fish.” (2)
Still, this doesn’t mean you will necessarily have to avoid iodine forever. Your doctor is your best resource for determining whether you need to cut down on iodine-rich foods for your condition.
Get the Right Amount of Exercise for a Healthy Weight
Regular exercise can make you feel better and it’s good for your long-term health. People with hyperthyroidism may especially benefit from mood-lifting cardiovascular exercises, as well as increased bone density from strength training. (1)
As your hyperthyroidism is treated, exercise can also prevent excess weight gain. It may even help control your appetite. This is especially important if you become hypothyroid due to medication or surgery. (1)
You’ll also need to work with your doctor to determine what is considered a healthy weight for you. “Many patients think that if they have hyperthyroidism they will lose weight,” explains Gregory Dodell, MD, assistant cinical professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. (7) “While unintentional weight loss is common with hyperthyroidism, this is not always the case. And while many patients are pleased when they lose weight from hyperthyroidism, this is clearly not a healthy way to lose weight.”
Dr. Dodell adds a caveat to exercising with hyperthyroidism, especially when it comes to exercising too much. “If the hyperthyroidism is not well controlled, or is just diagnosed, it is advisable not to overdo exercise since the heart rate and metabolic rate are already elevated at rest,” he says. (7) High-intensity exercises, such as running, pose the most danger here. (8)
This doesn’t mean you should avoid exercise if you have hyperthyroidism — on the contrary, it may be helpful to start off with lower intensity exercises. Walking, yoga, and tai chi fall into these categories. It might be worth seeking out a personal trainer with experience helping hyperthyroid clients. Always ask your doctor before trying out any new exercise — they can determine where you’re at in your treatment and whether you’re ready to try higher intensity workouts.
How and Why to Manage Stress When You Have Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is known to increase anxiety and irritability. (1) Stress is known to take its toll on the body and mind in a variety of ways, but it can aggravate hyperthyroid symptoms, thereby making them much worse. “I do think that stress can exacerbate thyroid function,” says Dodell. (7) Stress management, then, can complement hyperthyroid treatment. It may also be especially important for managing risk factors for Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder that is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism).(1)
If you’re new to stress management, relaxation techniques are a good place to start. You don’t need to meditate for hours on end; just a few minutes at a time every day can make a difference. Go for a walk outside and get some fresh air for a calming effect. Regular cardiovascular exercise and yoga have also been shown to reduce stress.
Can Natural Remedies and Supplements Help Hyperthyroidism?
Natural remedies in the form of herbal supplements, essential oils, and other alternative modes of medicine haven’t been proven effective for hyperthyroidism treatment. “As far as I am aware, there are not any evidence-based results to suggest a specific diet or supplement to cure hyperthyroidism,” says Dodell. (7)
What’s more, natural remedies can also be potentially dangerous. “I usually don’t recommend natural remedies for most things: diet, exercise, and medication are my recommendations of choice,” says Rizzo. (2)
Your doctor may recommend nutritional supplements, but only if your blood tests show you’re deficient in certain essential nutrients. Calcium deficiency is common in hyperthyroidism, and it may be worse if your thyroid and parathyroid glands are removed. (1,2) Most adults need at least 1,000 mg per day.
Other nutritional supplements for hyperthyroid patients may include: (9)
- Vitamin D
- A multivitamin (usually without iodine)
- Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin C
While you can’t rely solely on complementary health practices for hyperthyroidism, these can work to help ensure the success of your overall treatment plan. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements though, as these could pose a risk of medication interactions as well as side effects when used unsupervised.
The Best Natural Supplements for Hyperthyroidism
- 21 January 2016
- by: Adam
- in: Blog
This article was written by a Medical Doctor (MD) and reviewed by the thyroid health experts at ThyroMate.
ThyroMate articles uses only proven, accurate, credible sources (such as research studies and academic papers and websites) in order to provide accurate, fact-checked information about thyroid health that is helpful and objective. All references are linked throughout the article and sources for each are cited at the end. Visit these links to learn more about the research studies and conclusions drawn from the research methods.
Information contained on this website is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your physician for questions related to your health.
If you’re having unexplainable mood swings, constantly feel tired, or have difficulty sleeping, chances are your body is producing excess thyroid hormones.
Sure, you may be eating the right foods in the right proportions, but you have no way of regulating the amount of nutrients you ingest.
As a result, you may end up suffering from hyperthyroidism (an overproduction of thyroid hormones T3 and T4).
To ensure you remain healthy, take natural supplements for hyperthyroidism. You will restore the function of your thyroid gland and keep thyroid disorders at bay.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can speed up your body’s metabolism, causing significant changes such as unexplained weight loss. Other symptoms of the condition include:
- An irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Irritability and nervousness
- Increased perspiration and moist skin
- Shortness of breath
- Tremors and shaking
- Heat intolerance
- Muscle weakness
- Urinating and passing stool more frequently
- Bulging eyes that are red and swollen
- Swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter)
- Thick, raised skin over the hands, shins, face, and back of feet
- Irregular menstrual periods
Top Natural Supplements for Hyperthyroidism
If you have some of the above symptoms, it might be helpful to consider adding supplementation to cover your bases. These supplements may help normalize your thyroid gland.
A multivitamin containing trace minerals and vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex vitamins can help slow down a hyperactive thyroid.
Antioxidant vitamins promote thyroid health by decreasing the oxidative stress put on the gland by harmful free radicals and foreign toxins or from the reactive oxygen elements produced during the syntheses of thyroid hormones.
Trace minerals such as selenium, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium are very important when it comes to thyroid health.
People who suffer from hyperthyroidism have insufficient levels of trace minerals because high amounts of thyroid hormones bring on a hyper-metabolic state in which minerals and nutrients are consumed at a high rate.
Hyperthyroidism triggers a destructive metabolism state where the body consumes tissue and muscles to obtain raw materials to maintain life. People suffering from hyperthyroidism can lose 5 pounds a week.
Trace minerals largely determine the functioning of the thyroid as well as the immune system.
Copper stimulates the thyroid and prevents too much thyroxine from being released, zinc and magnesium help convert T4 into T3, and iron is needed for the synthesis of thyroid hormone.
When your body has insufficient levels of these vital minerals, the thyroid and immune system run out of control.
This plant from the mint family is often used to flavor tea or ice cream.
However, it has been proven to aid in thyroid health. It controls the condition through unique mechanisms. It inhibits the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from attaching to receptors.
It blocks the synthesis of T4, prevents the conversion of T4 to T3, dilutes the effects of TSH, and prevents antibodies from accelerating the functioning of the thyroid. Take at least 300-500 mg every day to normalize your thyroid gland.
You can combine lemon balm and bugleweed natural supplements for hyperthyroidism to enhance thyroid function.
L-Carnitine reverses hyperthyroidism by preventing both thyroxine and triiodothyronine from entering the cell nuclei.
This is important because thyroid hormones must enter the cell nucleus in order to cause the problems commonly associated with hyperthyroidism.
L-Carnitine hyperthyroid supplements can reverse hyperthyroid symptoms, prevent, and minimize the appearance of those symptoms. L-Carnitine is also used in the most severe form of hyperthyroidism – thyroid storm.
Hyperthyroidism decreases L-Carnitine levels in the muscles (resulting in muscle fatigue) hence supplements are vital. The best L- Carnitine hyperthyroidism supplements are those that contain L-acetyl-carnitine.
This element is effective in reversing hyperthyroidism related to Graves’ disease and multinodular goiter.
Lack of iodine can lead to growth and developmental abnormalities, mental retardation, and even brain damage. According to the world Health Organization, about 30% of the entire world population suffers from iodine deficiency.
While excessive iodine can cause hyperthyroidism, research shows that kelp does not contain high amounts of iodine to cause toxicity and thyroid problems.
Kelp is rich in vitamins and minerals. Some people take it for overactive thyroids.
But before taking kelp hyperthyroid supplements, get tested to ensure your condition is not caused by too much iodine. Also be careful as too many kelp supplements can worsen your thyroid problems.
Referred to as lion’s ear and lion’s tail, this much-loved herb can be used to boost thyroid health.
It eradicates the symptoms of Graves’ disease, the most common reason for hyperthyroidism. It slows the heart rate, strengthens the heart, and decreases restlessness. It acts as a natural beta blocker by controlling heart rhythm and getting rid of palpitations.
This herb has been used in Europe for ages to quash the first stages of Graves’ disease.
It decelerates the metabolism of iodine, decreasing the hormone created by the cells in the afflicted thyroid gland. The lithospermic acid in the supplement also reduces the level of thyroxine, bringing about relief from symptoms. Bugleweed can also eliminate irregular palpitations.
Taking different natural supplements to aid in thyroid health can be a hassle. Instead of doing that, simply take 2 capsules of ThyroMate every day.
The supplement contains essential vitamins and minerals – like selenium, zinc, and vitamin B-12 – which highly impact the functioning of your thyroid gland. Its herbs merge with enzymatic systems to control your metabolism and overall well-being. They also offer strong antioxidant protection against autoimmune diseases.
It is also important to change your diet when you’re suffering from hyperthyroidism.
Eliminate refined foods and those containing trans fats such as French fries, margarine, cakes, cookies, pies, and processed foods. Keep off tobacco and alcohol and take caffeine-containing products sparingly. Exercising will also help. The health of your thyroid gland can only improve if you change your diet as well as your lifestyle.
Iodine is critical to normal thyroid function. It is taken up by transporters on thyroid cells and used to synthesize iodotyrosines, which form fT4 and fT3.7 To maintain normal thyroid function, the recommended daily intake of iodine for adults is 150 µg/d, with an upper limit of 1100 µg/d.8
With exposure to increasing amounts of iodine (eg, through the ingestion of supplements or iodine-containing contrast), the thyroid has intrinsic regulatory mechanisms in place to maintain normal thyroid function. The Wolff-Chaikoff effect describes the immediate intrinsic reduction in thyroid hormone synthesis following a large iodine load, mainly due to impaired organification of iodide.7 This effect is typically transient, lasting only a few days in healthy individuals.8 Those with a history of thyroid disease (eg, Graves disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis) can be more susceptible to the Wolff-Chaikoff effect, and hypothyroidism can ensue after iodine exposure.
Iodine exposure can also lead to hyperthyroidism (Jod-Basedow phenomenon),7 as in the current case. This phenomenon is classically described in individuals who live in iodine-deficient regions,2 but it has also been described in those with a history of Graves disease, multinodular goitre, and thyroiditis.3,8 In a case series from the United States, patients with a history of Graves disease and Hashimoto thyroiditis developed hyperthyroidism after taking over-the-counter iodine supplements.4 In another case, a 39-year-old German woman with a history of goitre developed hyperthyroidism after consuming an herbal tea containing kelp for 4 weeks.3
In the current case, our patient had no known history of thyroid disease. Findings of a thyroid ultrasound were normal, and her levels of anti–thyroperoxidase antibodies were normal. Although her level of TBII antibodies was slightly elevated, she had no clinical features of Graves disease. Findings of her radioactive iodine uptake scan showed low uptake, suggestive of thyroiditis. Although exogenous iodine can lead to findings of low uptake on scans, she had not taken iodine in 4 months.
Iodine-induced hyperthyroidism has been less often described in patients without thyroid disease. A 45-year-old woman in Italy who had no underlying thyroid disease developed thyroiditis shortly after starting a kelp-containing diet. Unlike in our case, her hyperthyroidism persisted for 2 months, followed by hypothyroidism and then resolution.9 A 72-year-old woman without thyroid disease from the United States also presented with hyperthyroidism after ingestion of kelp tablets during the previous year. As in our case, her thyroid function normalized upon stopping the tablets.10 In Israel, a 27-year-old-woman presented with hyperthyroidism after ingesting kelp-containing supplements. She also had no known history of thyroid disease. Seven weeks after discontinuing her supplements, her thyroid function also normalized.11
An additional complexity was that our patient was taking biotin (often marketed as vitamin B7 or vitamin H) for hair and skin health, fatigue, and low energy. Although her biotin dose was low and likely did not unduly influence her test results, high doses of biotin can interfere with endocrine testing, including thyroid function tests. Supraphysiologic doses of biotin are being increasingly promoted as a remedy for poor hair and skin health, fatigue, and low energy.12 Biotin, however, can interfere with endocrine testing, including thyroid function tests. The type of interference can vary depending on the immunoassays used, but most often high-dose exposure (usually > 1.5 mg/d) leads to a false depression of TSH level and a false elevation of fT3 and fT4 levels (ie, it mimics hyperthyroidism).12 Biotin can also cause a false-positive elevation of TBII levels and false reduction in thyroglobulin levels. Patients are typically advised to withhold biotin-containing supplements for 48 hours before thyroid function testing.12
How do Naturopathic Doctors Treat Hypothyroidism?
Of the 20 million Americans who have thyroid disease, most have hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally.
More common in women than men, hypothyroidism can have a number of genetic, nutritional, and immune-related underlying causes and contributing factors.
Licensed naturopathic doctors (NDs) have effective approaches for the treatment of hypothyroidism based on rigorous training in therapeutic nutrition and botanical medicine, and an emphasis on addressing the underlying causes of disease.
Hypothyroidism: What is it and what are the symptoms?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make hormones which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body make energy, metabolize, regulate temperature, and keeps the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should. When the body isn’t making enough thyroid hormone, symptoms can include fatigue, weight gain, hair thinning, dry skin, and depression.
Experts believe that between 40 and 60 percent of people with thyroid disease do not know they have it.
Low thyroid hormone can also cause more serious symptoms like difficulty sleeping, changes in menstruation, or gastrointestinal symptoms. Because symptoms of hypothyroidism can resemble those of other diseases and vary widely from person to person, patients may not recognize them as a problem warranting exploration or treatment. Experts believe that between 40 and 60 percent of people with thyroid disease do not know they have it.
Typically, blood tests are used in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Three measurements are often considered: free thyroxine (T4) and free triiodothyronine (T3), both produced by the thyroid itself, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH, also called thyrotropin), produced by the pituitary gland to regulate the thyroid. While many doctors follow the current TSH reference ranges for diagnosis (0.4 to 5.0mU/L), there is substantial controversy about what is diagnosable and treatable as hypothyroidism and sub-clinical hypothyroidism (when blood levels of free T3 and free T4 are normal, but the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone is high).
A blood test measuring thyroid antibodies, anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO), and anti-thyroglobulin (anti-TG) is used to confirm or rule out autoimmune thyroid disease causing hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism: Underlying Causes
Naturopathic doctors treat hypothyroidism from the root of the problem. There are two main types of hypothyroidism, with numerous contributing factors:
Autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s) is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This is a form of thyroid inflammation caused by the patient’s own immune system. Hashimoto’s is five to eight times more common in women than men. Elevated levels of anti-TPO antibodies are found in approximately five percent of adults and 15 percent of older women. Individuals with other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis have a higher prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease.
Central or pituitary hypothyroidism, where the thyroid just isn’t making enough hormone, is often influenced by environmental and nutritional factors including gastrointestinal system inflammation, vitamin and mineral deficiencies or imbalances, high levels of cortisol (due to prolonged stress or oral steroid use), and/or elevated estrogen. Surgery on the thyroid gland (to remove a goiter or nodule) and/or radioactive iodine treatment (to treat a thyroid nodule, hyperactive thyroid, throat cancer, and cancer of nearby sites) can also cause hypothyroidism.
The current conventional medical treatment for hypothyroidism is daily thyroid hormone supplementation with synthetic levothyroxine (T4), liothyronine (T3), or natural desiccated thyroid (T4 and T3) to correct low levels. While this treatment can be very effective for some patients, for others with Hashimoto’s taking thyroid hormone alone does not fully address the underlying cause of dysfunction. For some, the medication can create a yo-yo-ing of symptoms while trying to find the correct dosage. Other individuals don’t tolerate or absorb thyroid hormone well.
Naturopathic doctors are trained in the pharmacological treatments commonly prescribed by conventionally trained MDs, and in some states, prescribe pharmaceuticals when necessary. However, NDs rarely use medication as a standalone treatment.
NDs individualize hypothyroid treatment, often combining diet, supplementation, botanical medicine, and conventional pharmaceuticals as needed.
If autoimmune disease is the main cause of thyroid dysfunction, NDs work to help control the inflammation and eliminate autoimmune triggers. Working to reduce thyroid antibodies, if possible, is the main goal of treatment. If the thyroid is just not producing enough thyroid hormone, NDs address lifestyle and environmental factors that may be contributing to low production. Although every hypothyroid treatment is carefully individualized, some common natural therapies for hypothyroidism include:
Diet and Microbiome
Many nutritional factors play a role in optimizing thyroid function, and the right diet is important to help prevent and manage conditions that can accompany thyroid disease. When it comes to Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune conditions, research shows that one important factor in autoimmune response is chronic, persistent microbiome imbalance and inflammation in the gut.
Naturopathic doctors address microbiome dysfunction with nutritional therapies such as probiotics, cultured foods, and diets lower in sugar, starch, and carbohydrates, which help to decrease inflammation and balance immunity. Food allergy panels and/or an elimination diet can help identify food triggers to the autoimmune response for Hashimoto’s. Those with an autoimmune thyroid disorder should also be tested for celiac disease to determine if gluten elimination is needed.
Naturopathic doctors test for common nutrient deficiencies associated with hypothyroidism, and supplement as needed.
- Vitamin B-12 is very important for thyroid production. It helps improve cellular response to thyroid hormone and boosts energy production in cells to help with fatigue and other symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.
- Selenium supports efficient thyroid synthesis and metabolism and has been found in studies to reduce thyroid antibody levels in patients with Hashimoto’s.
- Zinc is beneficial in improving thyroid function and hormone levels and has been shown in studies to have a positive effect on thyroid function in overweight females.
There are several herbs that have been shown to benefit thyroid function, including adaptogens like Ashwagandha, which was shown to improve thyroid function for subclinical hypothyroid patients. Adaptogens are herbs that work on several body functions at once to help balance out dysfunction and regulate metabolic processes. They are used with caution, however, in those with autoimmune thyroid disease as some botanicals can stimulate the immune system response. Other herbs such as gum guggal can be used in all forms of hypothyroidism as they help to convert the inactive form of T4 to the more active form of T3. Any herbal treatment should be approved by a professional trained in herbal medicine to reduce side effects, prevent unwanted drug/herb interactions, and maximize treatment efficacy.
Regulation of thyroid function can be tricky and requires a whole-person approach. Naturopathic doctors lead with natural therapies that address underlying causes and support the body to restore healthy function.
A service for consumers from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM). The INM and AANP would like to acknowledge Jennifer Bennett, ND, for her contributions to the content of this FAQ.
The mineral iodine plays a key role in making thyroid hormones. A low-iodine diet helps to reduce thyroid hormones. Add these foods to your daily diet:
- non-iodized salt
- coffee or tea (without milk or dairy- or soy-based creamers)
- egg whites
- fresh or canned fruit
- unsalted nuts and nut butters
- homemade bread or breads made without salt, dairy, and eggs
- popcorn with non-iodized salt
- maple syrup
Cruciferous vegetables and other types may stop your thyroid from using iodine properly. They may be beneficial for hyperthyroidism:
- bamboo shoots
- bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- collard greens
Vitamins and minerals
Several nutrients are essential for thyroid health and to balance thyroid hormone production.
Iron is important for many vital bodily functions, including thyroid health. This mineral is needed for blood cells to carry oxygen to every cell in your body. Low levels of iron are linked to hyperthyroidism. Get plenty of iron in your diet with foods such as:
- dried beans
- green leafy vegetables
- poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- red meat
- whole grains
Selenium-rich foods may help to balance thyroid hormone levels and protect your thyroid from disease. Selenium helps to prevent cell damage and keep your thyroid and other tissues healthy.
Good food sources of selenium include:
- Brazil nuts
- chia seeds
- meat, such as beef and lamb
- oat bran
- poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- sunflower seeds
Zinc helps you use food for energy. This mineral also keeps your immune system and thyroid healthy. Food sources of zinc include:
- cocoa powder
- pumpkin seeds
Calcium and vitamin D
Hyperthyroidism causes weak and brittle bones. Bone mass may be restored with treatment. Vitamin D and calcium are necessary for building healthy bones.
Calcium-rich foods include:
- collard greens
- white beans
- calcium-fortified orange juice
- almond milk
- calcium-fortified cereals
Vitamin D is found in these low-iodine foods:
- vitamin D-fortified orange juice
- vitamin D-fortified cereals
- beef liver
- fatty fish
Fats that are from whole foods and largely unprocessed may help reduce inflammation. This helps to protect thyroid health and balance thyroid hormones. Nondairy fats are important in a low-iodine diet. These include:
- flaxseed oil
- olive oil
- avocado oil
- coconut oil
- sunflower oil
- safflower oil
- unsalted nuts and seeds
Some spices and herbs have anti-inflammatory properties to help protect and balance thyroid function. Add flavor and a dose of antioxidants to your daily meals with:
- green chilies
- black pepper
Do you know the difference between hyperthyroidism vs hypothyroidism? Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland becomes overactive. Hypothyroidism means the thyroid is underactive. Both conditions can cause a cascade of problems, because when the thyroid is not working properly, it can throw off many other vital functions of the body.
Doctors see hyperthyroidism in men and women, but this health condition occurs most often in women between the ages of 20 and 40. Hyperthyroidism in children is also possible. But it doesn’t stop there — it’s actually a condition that can affect our pets too, with feline hyperthyroidism cases being more prevalent than canine.
Do you think your thyroid is functioning as it should? Many times thyroid problems go unaddressed, especially in cases of subclinical hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Is an overactive thyroid serious? It’s important to know common signs of hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, because if left untreated, it’s a health condition that can cause even more to worry about, including serious heart problems.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. This gland may be small, but it has an incredible impact on your health. For starters, thyroid hormones produced by the gland regulate every aspect of your metabolism, from nutrient usage to body temperature control to heart rate.
There are two main hormones your thyroid gland produces, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and these two hormones affect every cell in your body. So what is hyperthyroidism? A simple hyperthyroidism definition: overactivity of the thyroid gland. What does an overactive thyroid do to your body? This means your thyroid manufactures and releases more hormones than your body needs, which can then cause a large variety of unpleasant symptoms.
There are many possible hyperthyroidism signs and symptoms, including:
- Unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats per minute
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Heart palpitations
- Increased appetite
- Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
- Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
- Changes in menstrual patterns (one of the specific hyperthyroidism symptoms in women)
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
- An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Trouble sleeping
- Skin thinning
- Fine, brittle hair
A lack of symptoms or subtle symptoms are more common in older adults. Subtle symptoms can include an intolerance to heat, increased heart rate or a tendency to feel tired during everyday activities.
What causes hyperthyroidism? The most common cause and type of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease. It’s estimated that about 85 percent of hyperthyroidism comes in the form of Graves’ disease. In this disorder, the body makes an antibody (a protein produced by the body to protect against a virus or bacteria) called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) that causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone. Graves’ disease is hereditary and seen more often in women than men.
Another cause of an overactive or hyper thyroid is thyroid nodules, which are lumps (that can be non-cancerous or cancerous) within the thyroid gland that cause an overproduction of thyroid hormones.
Thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid gland, is another possible cause of hyperthyroidism. Thyroiditis is usually the result of an infection or immune system malfunction that causes the thyroid gland to leak excess hormones. It can also occur after child birth (it’s then called postpartum thyroiditis) or from taking the drugs interferon and amiodarone.
Another possible root issue is overconsumption of iodine, typically from supplements or from medications containing iodine, which may actually cause a goiter and exacerbate thyroid problems.
Other contributing factors or causes of hyperthyroidism may include:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Hormonal imbalances
- Food allergies
Hyperthyroidism is known to mimic other health problems, which can make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose.
To make a diagnosis, your healthcare provider is likely to perform a physical examination as well as blood work to access your hormone levels, including your thyroid stimulating hormone (or TSH). What is the TSH level for hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism TSH levels are typically lower than normal, while levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are higher than normal.
Your doctor may also request a thyroid scan to look at its shape and to see if there are any nodules present.
There are many forms of conventional treatment for hyperthyroidism. Conventional treatments include the following:
- Hyperthyroidism medication (also called anti-thyroid drugs) such as methimazole (Tapazole) or propylthioracil (PTU), which stop the thyroid from making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine taken by mouth. The overactive thyroid cells absorb the radioactive iodine, which damages and shrinks the cells, which results in lowered hormone levels. This form of treatment typically permanently destroys the thyroid gland, requiring patients to take thyroid hormone drugs for the remainder of their lives.
- Beta blockers, which are drugs that block the action of thyroid hormones. Beta blockers won’t alter the levels of thyroid hormones, but they are said to help control overactive thyroid symptoms like rapid heartbeat, nervousness and shakiness.
- A thyroidectomy, which is surgery to remove the thyroid gland. After this surgery, patients must take thyroid supplements to keep hormone levels normal.
7 Natural Hypothyroidism Treatment Options
1. Foods to Eat on a Hyperthyroidism Diet
When it comes to seeing improvements in thyroid function, the best place to start is by improving your diet with these helpful foods:
- Whole foods: In general, you want your diet to consist of whole healing foods like fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein, rather than processed foods.
- Green juices: Fresh green juices from nutrient dense vegetables such as kale, spinach and spirulina can help provide vital nutrients.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs: Many herbs such as basil, rosemary and oregano can be anti-inflammatory and help improve thyroid function.
- Bone Broth: Bone broth supports detoxification and aids in healing of leaky gut issues that can make hyperthyroidism worse.
2. Foods to Avoid
- High iodine foods: Iodine-rich foods like kelp, dulse and other kinds of seaweed should be avoided. It’s also commonly recommended to avoid other sources of iodine such as iodized salt, seafood, multi-vitamins that include iodine, as well as many conventional cough syrups.
- Conventional dairy: People with thyroid problems may benefit from an A1 casein-free diet, since this protein found in dairy has been linked to increased inflammation in the thyroid gland and digestive tract.
- Gluten: A gluten-free diet can be beneficial for people with thyroid issues. Research has shown that a gluten-free diet can help autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Artificial flavorings or dyes: These can negatively influence thyroid function; therefore, it is best to avoid them.
- Sugar: By now you probably know sugar is bad for you. It suppresses immune function and contributes to autoimmune diseases.
- Packaged and processed foods: These goods have been linked to increased intestinal permeability (a leaky gut) and the occurrence of autoimmune disorders (Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder).
It’s generally a good idea to eliminate any suspected food allergens, such as dairy, gluten, soy, corn, preservatives and chemical food additives, since a food allergy can contribute to thyroid problems. You may want to consider being tested for food allergies if you haven’t already.
3. Bugleweed (2 mL 3x daily)
Some sources report that bugleweed, a member of the mint family, can act as a thyroid suppressant and help to decrease the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
4. L-carnitine (1,000 mg 2—4x daily)
Research demonstrates that L-carnitine may help hyperthyroidism in some cases. L-carnitine is a derivative of the amino acid lysine. It’s believed to help reduce hyperthyroid symptoms by decreasing thyroid activity.
5. Lemon balm (2 mL 3x daily)
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family. Lemon balm extract is a form of treatment that some natural health practitioners use when trying to regulate an overactive thyroid. Research suggests that lemon balm extract can stop the components that over-activate the thyroid from binding with the TSH receptor, specifically in patients with Graves’ disease.
Lemon balm can be taken as an extract. It can also be used in tea form to help normalize an overactive thyroid. To make a lemon balm tea, steep two tablespoons of lemon balm in one cup of boiling water, strain and allow to cool before consuming.
6. Exercise and General Stress Reduction
Stress can contribute to thyroid problems, so making sure to practice forms of relaxation, such as breathing exercises, regularly is very important. Exercise is another great way to destress, and it can also help to decrease an excessive appetite and increase energy levels.
7. Essential Oils for Hyperthyroidism
Certain essential oils like frankincense may be able to help with thyroid conditions, especially when inflammation is at the root — since its well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. One study published in 2014 in the European Journal of Immunology demonstrates how the boswellic acids in frankincense can help to reduce Th17 cytokines, which are increased in patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders.
Complications and Precautions
What happens if hyperthyroidism is left untreated? If it’s not treated, it can cause serious health issues related to the heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle and fertility.
Hyperthyroidism causes the body to be in a constant state of overdrive, which can really affect the heart. Some possible heart-related complications of uncontrolled hyperthyroidism include:
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat, such as atrial fibrillation)
- Cardiac dilation (increase in the size of the heart cavities, which actually thins the heart muscle)
- Congestive heart failure
- Sudden cardiac arrest
Studies have also linked hyperthyroidism to an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, since this thyroid condition is known for causing a loss of bone mineral density.
Hyperthyroidism and pregnancy are a very concerning mix. Untreated hyperthyroidism in pregnancy can cause premature birth, low birthweight, preeclampsia or even miscarriage.
It’s very important that if you suspect you are having signs of an overactive thyroid, you see your doctor right away and have your thyroid hormone levels tested. Always check with your healthcare provider before using natural remedies for hyperthyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism is overactivity of the thyroid gland, which means it makes and releases more hormones than your body needs. This can affect your body and how it functions in major ways.
- Low TSH levels with high levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are common in cases of hyperthyroidism.
- Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include irritability, nervousness, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, sleep disturbances and more.
- Graves’ disease is the number one cause of hyperthyroidism. Other hyperthyroidism causes include thyroid nodules and thyroiditis. Leaky gut syndrome, toxicity, hormonal imbalances and food allergies can also contribute to an overactive thyroid.
- Natural remedies for hyperthyroidism include:
- A whole foods-based diet free of processed foods
- Avoiding common food allergens like gluten and A1 casein (and getting tested for food allergies if you haven’t already)
- Avoiding iodine sources
- Lemon balm extract or tea
- Regular exercise
- Daily stress reduction
- Frankincense oil
- If you opt to take medication for hyperthyroidism, it’s important that you are aware of the side effects. Also, let your doctor know if you are interested in using any natural remedies for your condition to ensure you don’t have any drug interactions or unwanted side effects.
Simple and Best Natural Remedies for Hyperthyroidism
Many natural remedies are effective in controlling secretion of thyroid hormone and also relieving effects of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is less common compared to hypothyroidism but its effects on health are equally serious and can be fatal. Stimulated thyroid gland causes more digestion of food and reduces the absorption which causes serious weakness and malfunctioning of internal organs gradually.
All the herbs or supplements which have stimulating effects shall be avoided, since people suffering with hyperthyroidism get leaner and thinner so it is assumed that health promoting herbs will be beneficial but it is not so, all types of ginseng, bladder wrack, ashwagandha, wheat grass and astragalus shall be avoided. Lemon balm is an excellent natural remedy which affects working of thyroid gland and calms overactive gland to reduce the secretion of thyroid hormone. Tea can be prepared for consuming this herb by mixing two teaspoon of herb in a cup of boiling water. Gypsywort herb is another herb which can calm overactive thyroid gland by reducing the presence of excess mineral iodine. Five drops of tincture of gypsywort herb can be missed with a cup of normal water, this shall be consumed three times in a day, this remedy can treat as well as can work as an effective preventive measure for hyperthyroidism.
An extremely effective remedy can be prepared for external use, this remedy is prepared by taking equal quantities of bark of oak and roots of male fern, decoct this mixture with wine vinegar, this mixture can be used twice a day for rubbing the area below the throat, this is an external remedy for calming thyroid gland to cure hyperthyroidism. Amino acid L-carnitine also decreases thyroid glands activity and works as good remedy.
Hyperthyroidism can initiate other medical conditions like insomnia, mood swings and anxiety, bugleweed tablets are very good at treating all of these effects of stimulated thyroid gland. Curcumin is an extract of turmeric which is very beneficial in reducing internal inflammation caused due to excess secretion of thyroid hormone, reduction in internal inflammation helps in treating hyperthyroidism. Taking omega-3 fatty acids also works well for alleviating immunity system and reducing internal inflammation. One teaspoon of mother wort herb mixed with a cup of water and taken three times a day also relieves effects of excess thyroid hormone in the body. Green tea extracts are also very effective as this herbal supplement has rich anti-oxidant properties to oxygenate cells and organs.
Increased intake of cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and spinach also help in reducing the activity of thyroid gland. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine in any form and avoiding completely or reducing intake of foods like milk, butter, wheat, soy and food additives is very supportive as these foods can cause infection and allergies to aggravate the problem. Completely avoiding foods which contain iodine is necessary. Exercises, proper sleep and rest works as natural remedies for the problem. Applying ice packs on the area below throat is also helpful. Mental stress busters like listening to music, meditation or even prayer help in treating hyperthyroidism. Avoiding processed, fatty and refined food and increased intake of fruits and vegetables is more than useful for curing the problem.
Read more Home Remedies for Hyperthyroidism. Also know Home Remedies for Constipation.
Natural Treatments and Medications for Hypothyroidism
March 18, 2018 posted by Kate Kordsmeier — in Health
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Looking for natural treatments and medications for hypothyroidism? If you suffer from anxiety, fatigue, constipation + weight gain, you may have an underactive thyroid. Take our free quiz to see if you have hypothyroidism. This post is full of advice for hypothyroidism diet, medications and supplements, and lifestyle advice to treat hypothyroidism naturally!
If you’ve been following along with Root + Revel for a while, you likely know that I was able to reverse my PCOS and cure my Leaky Gut naturally.
I talk A LOT (a lot, a lot, a lot) about holistic health and natural remedies and why my first line of defense is never prescription medication. It’s not that I’m against medicine–in many cases, it can be the only option, a life-saving miracle, and a necessary and helpful solution.
But I do believe that Americans are overprescribed, given a slip for a pill before trying anything else, including simple diet and lifestyle changes. I like to leave prescription medication as a last resort, one I rely on once I’ve exhausted all of my other natural resources, tried everything else and still find that I need that extra help.
Why? Because prescription medication often carries serious side effects. It rarely treats the root cause, rather it treats the symptoms (like a Band-Aid). And it’s usually expensive, requires a prescription from a Doctor (read: more expenses to see the doc and get that prescription), and (in my personal experience) isn’t always effective.
In short, I just prefer a more integrative approach. And that’s what this post about Hypothyroidism is all about. Because unlike PCOS and Leaky Gut, hypothyroidism isn’t as simple changing your diet and lifestyle (though in mild cases, it definitely can be).
What is Hypothyroidism?
As usual, I find it helpful to start at the beginning. So, let’s start with the thyroid itself. What is it?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. And what is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland is underactive, meaning it doesn’t properly make or release thyroid hormones. On the other end of the spectrum, Hyperthyroid is an overactive thyroid, FYI.
Now you may be thinking, okay, that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. But here’s the thing: your thyroid controls EVERYTHING!
Your thyroid affects your metabolism, heart function, digestion, energy, appetite, sleep, mood, hair, skin, body temperature, hormones and more!
So when your thyroid is underactive, you’ll wind up with a slew of symptoms and likely feel like crap, quite frankly.
My Hypothyroidism Diagnosis
My hypothyroidism diagnosis was a long and winding road full of struggles, frustration and exhaustion.
It’s funny because I was actually diagnosed at the same time as I was diagnosed with PCOS and Leaky Gut, way back in 2014. But for some reason, my treatment took a back seat to those two disorders and it wasn’t until 2017 that I really found healing.
So how did my doctor know that I was hypothyroid? Well for starters, there were all of my symptoms: anxiety, fatigue, constipation, low blood pressure, low libido, migraines, cramps, dry eyes, insulin resistance, irregular periods, history of childhood antibiotics, consistently low body temperature, the list goes on.
Read the next section below to learn more about Hypothyroidism symptoms–there’s even a free quiz you can take to determine if you might have hypothyroidism.
And then there was my lab work, which showed elevated levels of TSH and Reverse T3 and low levels of Free T3 and Free T4.
But here’s the thing… and this is SO IMPORTANT.
Most doctors are still using out-of-date ranges for thyroid labs, ensuring patients that everything “looks normal”, when really there is a clear problem with their thyroid.
For example, old ranges for TSH say that anything between 0.5 and 5.0 is normal. Normal meaning common, not meaning right. Just because a strikingly large percentage of the population has elevated TSH levels does not mean that it’s healthy or optimal.
As we all know, most Americans are sick and tired (and sick and tired of being sick and tired) and some estimates suggest up to 40 percent of the population suffers from at least some level of underactive thyroid (source).
Couple that with the fact that many Americans are under-diagnosed for thyroid disease. You can learn more about the thy-gap here.
So the most integrative, successful doctors now use the updated ranges for TSH, which shows that anything less than 3 is good, but ideally our TSH levels are between 1-2.
If you feel great and have no symptoms but your TSH shows 3.2 or 2.5, then great. You’re likely fine! But if you have symptoms and feel less than optimal and you show TSH levels above 2.0, you might have hypothyroidism (it may be mild or what’s called subclinical hypothyroidism) and you could feel a heck of a lot better if you treated it.
On top of that, many doctors only look at TSH to check your thyroid, when that’s just one piece of the puzzle (TSH can be normal and there can still be a low functioning thyroid).
You need a complete picture of your entire thyroid in order to fully understand what’s happening with it, so I recommend checking for TSH, T3 Reverse, Free T3, Free T4 and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies.
Most conventional doctors don’t want to run a complete panel (I have no idea why they’d be resistant but time and again I hear this from my readers, and have experienced it myself), so it’s so important to find an open-minded endocrinologist or a skilled Functional Medicine Doctor.
If your doctor is still unwilling to run a complete thyroid panel, a great alternative is with Everlywell’s at-home Thyroid test kit (get 10% off your order when you use my link!).
Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Take This Quiz
Do you have hypothyroidism? If you’re not sure, we’ve created this free quiz that will tell you your likelihood of having hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism symptoms include: family history of thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, infertility, constipation and other digestion issues, weight gain, bloating, puffy face, irregular hair loss and/or thinning of your hair and/or your hair has become coarse, dry, breaking, brittle, and/or is falling out, acne and/or dry or thinning skin, mood disorders, like anxiety or depression, fatigue, low energy and/or low libido, increased sensitivity to cold, low body temperature usually below 98.6 degrees and/or cold hands and feet, muscle weakness, aches, tenderness and stiffness and/or pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, numbness or tingling in your hands & fingers, difficulty concentrating, focusing or remembering things and brain fog.
There are also certain risk factors for hypothyroidism including radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications for hyperthyroidism, lithium, Congenital disease or tumors on your pituitary gland, pregnancy, miscarriage, premature delivery and/or preeclampsia, Iodine deficiency, autoimmune disease, enlarged thyroid glands or goiters, and high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Take our free quiz to determine if you have hypothyroidism.
Natural Treatments for Hypothyroidism
While there is technically no cure for hypothyroidism, there are many ways to naturally increase thyroid hormone production without medication.
Per usual, it involves finding the root cause, which in the case of hypothyroidism could be inflammation, overuse of medications, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, food allergies and sensitivities, and stress. Let’s take a deeper look:
- Hypothyroidism Diet: One of the main causes of hypothyroidism is inflammation, so following an anti-inflammatory diet is key to improving your thyroid function. Likewise, ensuring your diet is rich in nutrient-dense foods, particularly iodine and selenium, will also help your thyroid produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormones. Some of the best foods to eat for your thyroid: wild-caught fish, coconut oil and ghee, seaweed, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and miso, sprouted whole grains and nuts, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, bone broth, and plenty of good ole’ H20. Getting plenty of protein, healthy fat and fiber is of utmost importance when you have thyroid dysfunction.
- On the flip side, there are certain foods that people with underactive thyroids should minimize or avoid altogether, like cruciferous vegetables, particular raw Brassica vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, soy, and Brussels sprouts. While these are healthy foods for most people, they contain a compound called goitrogens, which might impact thyroid function by impairing thyroid peroxidase. Gluten, conventional dairy, refined sugar and refined flour, caffeine and alcohol (which stress your adrenals) are also contraindicated for hypothyroid patients.
- Hypothyroidism Medication: Conventional doctors almost always put their patients on either Synthroid® (a synthetic thyroid hormone pill that contains only T4; sometimes called Levothyroxine, Levothroid, Unithroid, and Tirosint) or Armour (Natural Desiccated Thyroid derived from the thyroid glands of pigs). Both are tablets that patients will have to take daily for the rest of their lives. In some cases, these medications might help, but there are all kinds of side effects and issues that arise. So I recommend two other medications over these two instead.
- Nature Throid or WPThyroid: This is a great alternative to Armour as it’s gluten-free (and as we discussed in the diet section, people with hypothyroidism are often gluten sensitive, intolerant or Celiac). I prefer this to Synthroid, too, because it’s not made in a lab and instead is a natural supplement (though it’s made from animal thyroids, the thyroid hormones are biologically similar to that found in humans.). Both Synthroid and Armour contain controversial inactive ingredients, including gluten, sugar, and colorants, whereas Nature Throid and WPThyroid do not contain any artificial colors or flavors, corn, peanut, rice, gluten, soy, yeast, egg, fish or shellfish.
- Compounded T3/T4: This is what I personally take, as I have low levels of T3 so taking a medication that only includes T4 would be totally useless to me. In fact, without getting too technical, T4 is not active in the body, it has to be processed and turned into T3. That’s why so many patients don’t find any relief from their symptoms when they’re put on Synthroid. And that’s why my naturopathic doctor put me on a compounded natural thyroid hormone that includes T3. Here’s why I love it: my dose is specifically tailored to my EXACT thyroid hormone needs and can be adjusted as time goes on. Compounded T3/T4 also is made without fillers such as lactose or gluten, or other harmful additives. Compounding pharmacists can also make sustained release versions so that the hormone is released continuously throughout the day, which is more beneficial. This is the most natural option for thyroid medication as it only contains porcine-derived thyroid hormones, which are the most similar to your body’s natural thyroid process.The downside: you have to go to a special pharmacy and it can be pretty expensive. I pay about $90 for a 90-day supply. But I’ve truthfully never felt better. Though I was doing all of the right diet and lifestyle changes to nourish my thyroid, my body still was not producing enough thyroid hormone and so I had lingering symptoms like anxiety, acne and constipation that I just couldn’t shake. Within a few weeks of taking my compounded thyroid hormone supplement, all of my symptoms disappeared and I’ve been totally symptom-free ever since!
**Note: It’s important to realize that thyroid medication is not one size fits all, and there is no ONE right solution for everybody. Dosage is incredibly important, your specific thyroid labs will impact what type of medication is needed and we all have different needs, budgets, goals, and symptoms. So work with a functional medicine practitioner to find the thyroid medication that makes the most sense for YOU!
- Hypothyroidism Supplements: Your thyroid is impacted greatly by specific nutrients, like Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, Copper, Vitamin B, Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Iron, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Instead of taking a dozen separate vitamins every day, I recommend finding a thyroid-specific multi-vitamin that already contains optimal levels of these nutrients. Dr. Meyer’s makes my favorite thyroid multi-vitamin, and it contains methylated vitamins to help with absorption and efficacy. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwaghanda and reishi are also really helpful for managing stress and anxiety, which are linked with your thyroid.
- Hypothyroidism Lifestyle Changes: The thyroid is an extremely sensitive gland and is especially reactive to the stress response. So doing things to reduce your stress levels, relax and take care of yourself in of utmost importance when it comes to treating your thyroid. We’ve done tons of articles on self-care that you’ll find helpful: How Yoga Can Change Your Life, Healthy Habits for Self-Care, DIY Epsom Salt Baths, Essential Oils for Anxiety, 7 Ways to Increase Happiness, and 10 Ways to Reduce Stress.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.
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Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.
posted by Kate Kordsmeier on March 18, 2018