If you're struggling with hypothyroidism, you may have wondered if natural remedies can complement your thyroid hormone replacement therapy. While hormone replacement therapy, such as natural desiccated thyroid (NDT), is critical for managing this condition, incorporating certain lifestyle changes can also make a significant difference in how you feel.
It's essential to note, however, that while natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms, improve thyroid function, and enhance your quality of life, they should be viewed as an "extra" rather than a replacement for medication.
So, which lifestyle changes and natural treatment options should you incorporate to help you manage hypothyroidism? Keep reading to learn more!
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid disease, is when your thyroid gland cannot supply sufficient thyroid hormone to your body. The thyroid gland is a tiny part at your lower front neck, about 2-inch size, and its shape looks like a butterfly. The blood will distribute the hormone to control almost all of your body's functions.
It can regulate almost all body functions because the thyroid controls metabolic processes. Your metabolic processes affect how well you produce food into energy. With low-level thyroid hormones, your body function will slow down, which means less energy and a slower metabolism. That's why it causes a wide range of symptoms, such as fatigue, cold intolerance, and even depression.
This means that you need thyroid hormone replacement to ensure you have enough thyroid hormones in your body. Without it, you'll continue to feel worse. Thus, the goal of natural treatment options shouldn't be to cure hypothyroidism but instead focus on the following:
Improving thyroid function and thyroid health to increase hormone production
Managing your symptoms
Controlling inflammation and autoimmune triggers.
Here are some natural treatment options you can consider to complement your hormone replacement therapy.
People with hypothyroidism can benefit greatly from implementing a nutritious and healthy diet. Studies have shown that certain dietary patterns can have a significant impact on thyroid function and relieve symptoms of hypothyroidism. A good diet should focus on increasing nutrient intake while reducing sugar and processed food consumption, which can be pro-inflammatory. This can help with weight management, which is often a concern for people with hypothyroidism and can benefit almost everyone with this condition. Additionally, a balanced diet can also help alleviate low energy and constipation.
Yes, you read that right. Carbohydrates are essential for thyroid health as they provide the primary source of fuel for our body, producing about 50% of our body's calories. A very low carbohydrate diet is not recommended as it can make your body stressed, causing it to produce too much adrenaline and cortisol. While these hormones are important for your body, too much of them can suppress thyroid hormone production and cause other problems.
High sugar and processed food intake can lead to severe health problems, particularly for people with thyroid disease. It is crucial to monitor and control your daily sugar intake and increase your consumption of fruits. A sugar-free diet can alleviate hypothyroidism symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, and constipation. Moreover, it is beneficial for everyone, not just individuals with thyroid dysfunction.
If your hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimoto's disease, you might want to consider a gluten-free diet. This is because people with autoimmune disorders have a higher risk of developing Celiac disease, which is a condition when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten.
Gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains like wheat, barley, triticale, and rye. It's what gives your morning breakfast bread its stretchy and chewy texture. If you want to go gluten-free, it's important to keep in mind that not all gluten-free foods are healthy. Many packaged gluten-free foods are high in sugar and low in fiber, resulting in a diet that is nutritionally deficient.
Keep in mind, however, that you don't need to follow a gluten-fruit diet if you don't have any autoimmune disease. Gluten doesn't generally cause problems for people with thyroid disease caused by other conditions, such as thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid gland).
Maintaining a proper diet can have a significant impact on our bodies, especially when it comes to managing hypothyroidism. While some foods can benefit the body, others can worsen hypothyroidism symptoms.
If you have hypothyroidism, it's essential to reduce or avoid certain foods that can negatively affect your condition. Here are some foods to watch out for:
Cruciferous vegetables like bok-choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and radish.
Soybean or soy-rich foods
Foods with high sodium
Iron and calcium supplements (do not take calcium supplements at the same time of the day as your thyroid medications)
Along with a proper diet and medication, taking vitamin and nutritional supplements can be helpful in supporting the management of underactive thyroid. These supplements can address underlying causes of thyroid disease, like inflammation and autoimmune conditions, and improve symptoms caused by poor thyroid function.
However, before taking any supplements, it is important to consult with a doctor. It's also possible to obtain these essential vitamins and nutrients through a balanced diet if you prefer not to take supplements. Here are some of the vitamins and nutrients that can support your thyroid health.
People with hypothyroidism often suffer from B12 deficiency, especially if they follow a vegan diet. B12 or B complex supplements can help normalize B12 levels. If you're not following a special diet, you can try to eat more foods that are high in vitamin B12, such as fish, poultry, and meat.
Zinc supplementation has been found in some studies to impact thyroid function, as it is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Furthermore, it may aid in the treatment of hair loss related to hypothyroidism.
Selenium has a positive impact on thyroid function. It plays a key role in the thyroid gland's ability to produce hormones and aids in the conversion of T4 to the active T3 hormone. Moreover, supplementing with selenium can reduce the severity of your underactive thyroid symptoms and improve your immune system.
Selenium is not produced by your body, so the only sources of this nutrient are through your diet and/or supplements. While most individuals meet their daily requirements, certain people may be at a higher risk for selenium deficiency.
You can take selenium in supplement form. However, good sources of selenium can also be obtained by consuming seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Iodine deficiency is one of the leading causes of hypothyroidism. Iodine is a nutrient needed to produce thyroid hormones, but our bodies don't have iodine naturally. To meet the need for iodine, we can consume iodized salt, dairy products, seafood, and seaweed.
Essential oil certainly cannot replace the intake of hormone replacement as the primary therapy to balance your thyroid hormones. However, essential oils can help relieve the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.
Essential oils such as myrrh oil, cedarwood, spearmint, peppermint, and rose geranium can help relieve joint pain, nausea, dry skin, and several other symptoms caused by hypothyroidism.
It's essential to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedies because while some may work with the hormones in your body to bolster thyroid function, others can cause harm.
One such herb that has shown promise in supporting thyroid function is ashwagandha, a nightshade plant often used in Ayurvedic medicine. VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online, contains 10 mg of ashwagandha extract.
Another herb you can consider is chamomile tea. Drinking about 2 to 6 cups of chamomile tea can reduce the incidence of thyroid disease.
There is some evidence to suggest that certain yoga poses and meditation techniques may be beneficial for individuals with hypothyroidism.
Several studies have suggested that regular yoga practice may improve thyroid function, particularly in individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism. Some studies have also suggested that meditation can help reduce stress and improve symptoms in individuals with hypothyroidism.
While there are only a few studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for people with hypothyroidism, there are proven benefits to this form of treatment. Acupuncture can help reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, provide a calming effect, improve muscle stiffness and joint stability, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation.
People with hypothyroidism may experience a slower metabolism, which can increase the risk of weight gain. However, exercise has been shown to alleviate many of the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. It can improve cardiovascular health, muscle mass, and overall well-being.
There are many exercise options available for hypothyroid patients, such as running, walking, yoga, Pilates, swimming, biking, and weightlifting. If you are not accustomed to exercising or have not exercised for a long time, start with light exercise before engaging in high-impact exercise. It is important to adjust your exercise routine to your body's abilities and condition.
Individuals with hypothyroidism often struggle with sleep and stress management, which can have a negative impact on their overall health. Poor sleep quality is a common issue for those with hypothyroidism, with stress being a leading cause. Stress and an overactive mind can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.
One way to improve sleep quality is to establish a regular bedtime routine and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. It's also important to create a conducive sleep environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable. Avoiding gadgets for at least an hour before bed and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or gentle stretching can help calm the mind and reduce stress levels.
Chronic stress can negatively impact thyroid function, and it's important to manage stress levels effectively. Finding ways to reduce stress, such as regular exercise, mindfulness practices, or talking to a therapist, can help improve overall well-being and thyroid health. Sufficient and quality rest, combined with effective stress management, can have a significant positive impact on managing hypothyroidism.
It's crucial to remember to continue your thyroid hormone replacement therapy when you have hypothyroidism. While natural remedies like supplements, dietary changes, and acupuncture may help, they are not a substitute for thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
If you're not feeling your best on synthetic medication like levothyroxine, you may want to consider VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online. Like other NDT brands, VitaliThy is made from dried porcine thyroid glands and contains both T4 and T3 thyroid hormones. Many patients have found NDT to be more effective, particularly for weight loss.
What's even better is that VitaliThy is free from common allergens like lactose and gluten, as well as egg, fish, shellfish, artificial coloring, and artificial flavoring. So, you can take this NDT supplement with confidence and ease.
Remember, keeping up with your hormone replacement therapy can help you feel your best and live your life to the fullest.
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