Hypothyroidism is a condition that is more and more common and that has an impact on the cellular metabolism.
The condition of an underactive thyroid gland is far more commonly encountered than an overactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism is more commonly seen in women, particularly after the age of 50.
This page describes the causes and symptoms of hypothyroidism and offers advice on suitable herbal and home remedies to alleviate the issue as well as a question and answer service.
- Hormonal changes during menopause and pregnancy.
- Lack of iodine in nutrition, especially if living far from the oceans.
- Vitamin- and mineral-deficient diet
- Lack of exercise, as physical activity stimulates metabolism and hence, the thyroid
Hypothyroidism causes tiredness with a slowing of the mental and physical processes. Heat production is reduced and a persistent feeling of coldness may be experienced even on the hottest day of the year. Facial features become coarse, with the hair becoming wiry and brittle. Hair loss is commonly seen. The symptoms are:
- increase need to sleep
- lack of initiative
- increased weight
These symptoms are often mistaken for those of depression.
During hypothyroidism, the resistance to infections decrease, people become more sensitive to cold (cold hands and feet), the skin is dry and cold, there is often hair loss and sometimes even eyebrows are falling.
There is a link between hypothyroidism and the following health issues:
- lack of memory and concentration
- irritable bowel syndrome
- pain of joints and muscles
- cholesterol issues
- repetitive yeast infections (urinary tract or vaginal).
- weight gain
- changes in the menstrual cycle
Since the metabolism slows down, there is increased incidence of constipation and a disruption of the reproductive cycle. When the body tries to stimulate the thyroid, a goiter can appear. In children, a light case of hypothyroidism can slow down the physical and mental development. In elderly persons, hypothyroidism can be mistaken for depression or fatigue caused by aging.
Medical tests only pick up thyroid that work at less than 50% of their potential. If the thyroid is at 60% of the optimal level, the test indicates normal while the person has symptoms of hypothyroidism.
When the person shows symptoms but has normal tests, it is important to nourish the thyroid and help it function better before it gets to a worst situation.
Nutrition tips for hypothyroidism
The following food help with a healthy thyroid:
- seaweeds (ex. Nori and dulse)
- sea foods that are not contaminated with heavy metals
- sea fishes and gray sea salt
They are excellent sources of iodine, vitamin A and zinc, three elements essential for a healthy thyroid.
The metabolism of vitamin A is compromised by an impaired thyroid. It is then difficult for the thyroid, to transform beta-carotene from fruits and vegetables into vitamin A. Good sources of vitamin A are:
- cod liver oil
- halibut liver oil
- lamb and beef liver
Vitamin E and zinc are also important for a healthy thyroid and we find them in wheat germ, nuts and especially raw pumpkin seeds (not-roasted, unsalted). Beets, parsley, carrots and watercress are excellent sources of calcium that can help prevent goiter.
Some food affects negatively the thyroid because they contain elements that inhibit the proper use of iodine. They are: turnips, cabbages, broccoli, pears, peaches, mustard, soy products, peanuts, pine nuts and millet.
Be careful of water containing chloride or fluoride since those 2 substances block the iodine receptors on the thyroid, preventing the production of thyroid hormones.
Other suggestions for hypothyroidism
- Exercise stimulates the production of the thyroid hormones and increases the sensitivity of tissues to these hormones.
- A lack of sunlight has an impact on the thyroid function. The light bulbs that imitate sunlight have a positive effect on the thyroid during winter days when sunlight is sparse.
- Since the thyroid is sitting directly on the vocal cords, taking, singing or humming can help relax it.
- Finally do not have x-rays without the proper protection over your thyroid gland since it is extremely sensitive to radiation.
Herbs for hypothyroidism
For people with hypothyroidism, the recommended treatment is to take A.Vogel’s Thyroid Support – Kelpasan to feed the thyroid. Unlike dried seaweed supplements, Kelpasan’s iodine content is standardized, thereby providing a consistent dose. Start slowly by taking one tablet each morning for at least a week, then two a day the following week, and finally three a day (maximum).
When it comes to treating the thyroid, slow is better, as it tends to react negatively to sudden changes. Do not take A.Vogel’s Thyroid Support if you are currently taking Synthroid®.
Vitamins E and A, as well as zinc, iodine and calcium, are essential to thyroid health. A poorly functioning thyroid affects your body’s ability to metabolize vitamin A and prevents the beta carotene in fruits and vegetables from being converted into vitamin A in the body.
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