Hypothyroidism: What is it?
A type of thyroid disorder, hypothyroidism affects millions of people, especially women. Hypothyroidism means “underactive thyroid.”
Because your thyroid is an endocrine gland, it is involved in the production and secretion of hormones. These thyroid hormones have difficult-to-pronounce names, but fortunately are commonly referred to by their simpler names:
T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Tetraiodothyronine or Thyroxine).
These hormones are primarily responsible for managing your body’s metabolism, but also affect your moods and sexual functioning.
Types of Thyroid Disease
There are various ways hypothyroidism is classified. According to Dr. Thompson, author of What Doctors Fail to Tell you about Iodine and your Thyroid, there are five different types of hypothyroidisms. Along with this, there is something called “subclinical hypothyroidism.”
The thyroid glands fail to produce the adequate quantities of the hormones essential to maintain the optimal functioning of the human body.
In this case, even though the body makes hormones, the body fails to identify them or use them, leading to hormone resistance.
It is an autoimmune condition triggered by exposure to toxic minerals, causing secondary inflammation of this thyroid gland. While Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most commonly known of these autoimmune conditions, there are several other types also.
This type of hypothyroidism is induced by a severe deficiency in the intake of selenium and is rare.
Described for the first time by Dr. Denis Wilson in 1992, type 5 is known as the “Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.” The person with this hypothyroidism type has an increased reverse T3 which blocks the functioning the T3 thyroid hormone.
According to a study , “Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH), also called mild thyroid failure, is diagnosed when peripheral thyroid hormone levels are within normal reference laboratory range but serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are mildly elevated.
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This condition occurs in 3% to 8% of the general population. It is more common in women than men, and its likelihood increases with age. Of patients with SCH, 80% have a serum TSH of less than ten mIU/L.”
Hypothyroidism – What are Some of the Causes
Some of the most common reasons of hypothyroidism are:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Medications for hyperthyroidism
- Partial removal of thyroid gland
- Undergoing radiation
- Iodine and zinc deficiency
- Insufficient selenium intake
- Congenital diseases
- Presence of benign tumor in the pituitary gland
- Excessive stress
- Side effects from certain medications
- Lack of adequate exercises
- Diet and lifestyle
While anyone can fall prey to hypothyroidism, you are more prone if you:
- Are female or older than age 60
- Affected by an autoimmune disease
- Have a family history of thyroid
- Received anti-thyroid medications
- Given radiation in your neck or upper chest
- Have undergone partial thyroidectomy
- Pregnant or delivered a baby during the last six months
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Below are major symptoms reported by people with hypothyroidism:
- Weight gain
- Difficulty losing weight
- Coarse, dry hair and dry skin
- Hair thinning
- Extreme sensitivity to cold
- Muscle cramps and join stiffness and aches
- Irritable bowel syndrome/Constipation
- Depression and mood swings
- Loss of memory
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Decreased libido
In severe cases, you may experience slowed speech, an increase in the size of your tongue, and/or jaundice.
If your hypothyroidism is severe, you might fall into myxedema coma, which is life-threatening.
Natural Remedies for Hypothyroidism in Women
I have classified the natural remedies for hypothyroidism into these 5 categories:
1. Lifestyle Remedies for Hypothyroidism
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Eat a diet that’s rich in zinc and iodine.
These minerals are essential to the health of your thyroid.
Health experts claim there is a gluten-thyroid connection, and that you would be better off choosing gluten-free foods if you have hypothyroidism.
Foods that contain gluten are wheat, rye, and barley products.
Other foods to explore to replace wheat are quinoa, buckwheat, cornmeal, flax, and amaranth. You can find these at specialty health food stores, or in bulk zones of your market. You can read more about how to go gluten-free here.
Switch to coconut oil
Coconut oil is thyroid-friendly.
Drink plenty of water. Water not only helps reduce constipation, but it also ensures you remain hydrated, which helps your metabolism and energy.
Additionally take probiotics for healthy gut bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy fats in balanced amounts.
Avoid Soy Products
According to a study titled, “Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients” that appeared in PubMed in March 2006(2) “Soy may adversely affect thyroid function and interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone.”
While more studies may be required to test the negative effects of soy on hormones, it is better to be safe and just eliminate it.
Keep Your Diet Alkaline
An alkaline diet promotes detoxification, eases inflammation, and restores the natural balance of the body. This is the key reason why natural healers opt for an alkaline diet to heal chronic conditions like hypothyroidism.
Manage Your Estrogen
High levels of estrogen can elevate the risk of hypothyroidism. Therefore, it’s best to refrain using birth control pills, non-organic meats, dairy products, and gluten to keep estrogen levels normal.
Sleeping for 6-8 hours is essential for normal functioning of the human body. So make sure to harmonize with nature’s rhythms and get to bed before 11 pm.
Cut Down on Caffeine and Alcohol
In an article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, caffeine could hijack your thyroid. An increased consumption of coffee could affect your sleep, in turn, increasing cortisol levels. This, eventually, leads to a sluggish thyroid.
Also, the impact of alcohol on the thyroid is somewhat similar, says a study. Hence, it is advisable to reduce or even eliminate coffee and alcohol from your diet.
If your thyroid is not functioning at its optimal level, the thought of exercise can seem unimaginable. However, exercising regularly helps improve your health on every level. Find a workout regimen that is fun and meets your body type and energy level.
Along with shedding the excess weight, you are carrying around; a good exercise routine helps to reduce stress. In short, it will help the thyroid to function optimally, with the added benefit of burning calories, and revving up your metabolism. Exercise 30–60 minutes a day, 4–5 times a week.
2. Home Remedies For Hypothyroidism
The natural detoxification properties of ACV promotes elimination of toxic remnants from your body, improves your metabolism, and aids in weight loss. It also helps thyroid to function normally.
Just mix 2 tsp undiluted, raw ACV in 200 ml warm water. Add a spoon of honey, swirl, and consume on empty stomach for about 12 weeks to see noticeable changes.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid. These ease thyroid inflammation and promote detoxification. The capric acid and caprylic acid present in coconut oil function as antibacterial elements, promoting cleansing.
Coconut oil also helps to regulate the functioning of thyroid, brain and set the stage for healthy weight loss. Aim to include 1 to 2 tbsp of coconut oil in your diet.
Kelp is a rich source of iodine, the primary mineral essential for normal functioning of thyroid gland. This seaweed also contains zinc and fiber, which is also beneficial for the optimal thyroid functioning. However, it is advisable to check with the doctor for the right dosage as overconsumption could have negative impacts.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Fish oils are wonderful sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, the anti-inflammatory essential fats. Along with regulating the thyroid function, these EFAs also alleviates the symptoms of this condition. Omega fatty acids are one of the most sought-after natural remedies for hypothyroidism.
It’s always best to get your nutrition from food sources, but sometimes it’s not possible. In that case, it’s smart to supplement. I’ve linked to them below for your convenience.
Take 1-2 glasses of carrot juice to reduce thyroid inflammation. The vitamin A present in carrots are powerful antioxidants that stimulate a healthy balance of thyroid hormones.
Goji berries, also known as Lyceum berries, are natural immune-modulating gifts from Mother Nature. They help to lower stress and can be effective for autoimmune conditions triggered thyroid.
Evening primrose oil is one of the most effective natural remedies for hypothyroidism, especially for women. It’s rich in gamma linoleic acids, and anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it helps stimulate a healthy balance of thyroid hormones.
These two amino acids are well-known for their thyroid supporting activities. These amino acids encourage the body to produce natural thyroid hormones.
3. Ayurvedic Remedies for Hypothyroidism
Ayurveda teaches you Nature’s great principles of health and natural living. If you are new to Ayurveda, start here: >> What is Ayurveda About?
The emphasis in Ayurveda is on self-care, taking responsibility for your health, preparing your food, appropriate exercise, eating seasonally, and keeping a positive state of mind.
Ayurveda treats the person, not the disease. So, get to know yourself, learn what combination of qualities you have in your body and mind. When you know which elements make up the majority of your constitution, you will know which conditions you thrive in.
Hypothyroidism in Ayurveda
The thyroid gland imbalances are often related to the qualities of cold, heavy, stable, dull, gross, dense, soft and smooth. In other words, Kapha Dosha.
Ayurveda stresses the importance of a healthy diet, proper digestion, and lifestyle, seasonal cleansing along with specific herbs to restore the balance of thyroid hormones. Additionally, colors, aromas, meditation, affirmations, music, mantra, changes in a relationship, employment, or lifestyle could be useful or necessary.
The thyroid is also related to the 5th or vishuddha chakra. This is the chakra of self-expression. For this reason, healthy self-expression is needed, and Non-violent communication can be an invaluable tool. (www.cnvc.org)
- Fasting, or light Kapha-reducing diet
- Hot, spicy digestive herbal tea, like fresh ginger tea
- Channel clearing herbs and formulas like kanchanar Guggulu
- Aerobic exercise
- Examine areas of your life where there is limited self-expressing and strive to increase it.
- Affirmations to help increase self-expression, as well as meditation to increase light and ether.
It is one of the standard recommended and safe remedies for hypothyroidism. Kanchanara Guggulu reduces glandular swelling, promotes elimination of fluids from tissues, aids weight loss, and promotes detoxification to manage the thyroid disorder.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen similar to ginseng in Chinese medicine. It is one of the best rejuvenating herbs in the Ayurvedic pharmacology. It is used in all conditions of weakness and chronic diseases. Additionally, it helps to ease fatigue and debility and promotes sleep.
Like Ashwagandha, Tulsi is an adaptogen often prescribed an antidote for stress-induced hypothyroidism. It can be used in the form of tea along with Ashwagandha or as a supplement.
Brahmi is a tonic for the endocrine system. It helps to restore the natural Pitta balance while nourishing the entire nervous system. It also lowers Kapha, assisting the thyroid gland to function normally.
A mixture of Brahmi, sugar, clove, and cardamom in the ratio 10/4/2/1 is often prescribed to ease inflammation of the thyroid gland.
4. Essential Oils for Hypothyroidism
Aromatherapy offers hope for the healing of mankind. There is a strong connection between smell, emotions, and states of mind. Essential oils are an effective form of natural medicine with sedating, narcotic and relaxing effects.
All plants have unique qualities that we can use to heal. Many have antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that add to our body’s defense system.
Ways to use essential oils for hypothyroidism:
- Use a diffuser
- Put a few drops on a compress and inhale directly
- Massage directly into your throat/neck area several times per day. (AFTER diluting it with a carrier oil such as almond oil)
Myrtle is adaptogenic and helps to restore the balance of the thyroid gland, and calm stress levels. Inhale it or dilute with a carrier oil and massage on your throat area to stimulate your thyroid gland.
This essential oil is known to activate and align your Throat Chakra which, in turn, could be beneficial for the normal functioning of your thyroid. Use it in your tea or just apply it topically. It can be used as a warm compress also.
It is a simple essential oil that alleviates inflammation and balances your thyroid gland. It also opens up your Throat Chakra and helps with hypothyroidism.
5. Yoga For Hypothyroidism
Yoga has been practiced by countless people for thousands of years. Once you start to practice Yoga, you will begin to enjoy better health, deeper sleep, a sharper mind, and a better outlook on life.
You’ll also notice an improvement in your flexibility, vision, and general appearance. In other words, you will feel more vibrantly alive and enjoy better health physically, mentally and emotionally.
Below you will find the best asanas to support and heal thyroid imbalances:
Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand
Shoulderstand is therapeutic for mild depression, abdominal issues, fatty abdomen, thyroid disorders, and migraine.
Lie down on your back, palms resting on either side of your body. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor with the heels resting close to your bottom.
Exhale, press your hands into the floor and draw your thighs into your chest. Lift your pelvis and reach your feet toward the sky. Supporting your low back, draw your elbows towards each other. Walk your hands down your back to lift your pelvis higher.
Ideally, your legs will be perpendicular to the floor. Keep your legs together and feet relaxed.
As you slowly breathe, gaze softly into the chest, relax the tongue, throat, and facial muscles. Press the back of the upper arms and shoulders into the mat to reduce pressure on the neck. Hold the pose for about 60 seconds. To exit, exhale and bend your knees toward your chest.
Place your palms flat on the floor and slowly roll onto the mat, vertebrae by vertebrae.
Matsyasasna – Fish Pose
This pose stimulates and activates your Throat Chakra, to restore the natural levels of thyroid gland. It is also the counter-pose to Sarvangasana.
Lie on your back, legs extended.
Let the hands rest on either sides of the body, palms flat on the mat. Inhale and lift your head and look in front of you. As you exhale, place the crown of your head on mat while lifting the chest off the mat as high as possible. Hold the posture, breathing deeply, for 60 seconds.
To come out, press strongly into your forearms and raise your head off the floor. Release your upper body to the floor.
In this Pranayama technique, you use breathe in and out by constricting your throat, which helps to stimulate and normalize the functioning of your thyroid gland.
Sit down in any comfortable seated posture, keeping your spine upright. Relax your neck and shoulders. Let your palms rest on the knees, and join the tips of your thumb and index fingers of respective hands.
Close your eyes and take 3 rounds of deep inhalations and exhalations through your nose to prepare for the practice. Inhale through your nose. As you exhale, constrict the throat muscles and exhale through the nose making a snoring sound. Practice for 5 minutes. Once you are comfortable here, try to constrict the throat while inhaling as well.
Surya Mudra for Thyroid
Surya Mudra is also known as Prithvi-shamak mudra as it helps to lower the Earth element in your body. It is one of the most beneficial Mudras that you could practice daily to activate your thyroid gland, improve digestion, and shed the excess pounds.
Sit down in any comfortable seated posture, keeping your spine upright. Relax your neck and shoulders. Let your palms rest on the knees. Bend your ring fingers of respective hands and rest their tips inside respective palms. Place your thumbs on respective index fingers. Close your eyes and practice the gesture for 15 minutes.
You can practice it for 45 minutes together or as three sessions of 15 minutes each. It is advisable to refrain from eating food one hour before and after practicing this Mudra.
What Would Louise Say?
Along with these natural remedies for hypothyroidism, a change in your mindset is also essential to restore the natural functioning of your thyroid gland.
Here are some affirmations from Master Healer, Louise Hay which you could use to restore your health and heal your life.
According to her, thyroid problems arise from “humiliation, feeling repressed or put down, or feeling as if you never get to do what you want.”
The following affirmation “I move beyond old limitations and allow myself to express freely and creatively” is what she suggests!
I’ve given you lots of natural remedies for hypothyroidism here, so you may want to re-read, take notes or bookmark for future reference.
Your body is a powerful self-healing organism and nobody knows your body better than you do, so get to know your body, eat right, exercise, take natural remedies.
Doctors give drugs – ALL of which have side effects and harm the body. Drugs only cover up symptoms.
The only way you will get well and remain well, is if you stop doing all the things that cause disease and start to do the things that keep you well.
Please promise me one more thing… You won’t hesitate to ask me questions in the comment area below. I’m here to help you out and I would love nothing more than for you to be the healthiest version of yourself possible. Let me know if you need anything and I will be sure to get back within “hours” most of the time.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Love and best wishes always!
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