Thyroids What is it?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the base of your neck. It releases hormones that control metabolism—the way your body uses energy. The thyroid’s hormones regulate vital body functions, including:
- Heart rate
- Central and peripheral nervous systems
- Body weight
- Muscle strength
- Menstrual cycles
- Body temperature
- Cholesterol levels
- Much more…
The thyroid gland is about 2-inches long and lies in front of your throat below the prominence of thyroid cartilage sometimes called the Adam’s apple. The thyroid has two sides called lobes that lie on either side of your windpipe, and is usually connected by a strip of thyroid tissue known as an isthmus. Some people do not have an isthmus, and instead have two separate thyroid lobes.
Why are thyroid hormones important?
Thyroid hormones help all your organs work well. They control how your body uses food for energy.
Thyroid hormones affect your metabolism rate, which means how fast or slow your brain, heart, muscles, liver, and other parts of your body work.
If your body works too fast or too slowly, you won’t feel well. For example, if you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, you might feel tired and cold. Or, if you have too much thyroid hormone, you might feel nervous, jumpy, and warm.
How the Thyroid Gland Works
The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that produce, store, and release hormones into the bloodstream so the hormones can reach the body’s cells. The thyroid gland uses iodine from the foods you eat to make two main hormones:
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
- Thyroxine (T4)
It is important that T3 and T4 levels are neither too high nor too low. Two glands in the brain—the hypothalamus and the pituitary communicate to maintain T3 and T4 balance.
The hypothalamus produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) that signals the pituitary to tell the thyroid gland to produce more or less of T3 and T4 by either increasing or decreasing the release of a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
- When T3 and T4 levels are low in the blood, the pituitary gland releases more TSH to tell the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones.
- If T3 and T4 levels are high, the pituitary gland releases less TSH to the thyroid gland to slow production of these hormones.
Why You Need a Thyroid Gland
T3 and T4 travel in your bloodstream to reach almost every cell in the body. The hormones regulate the speed with which the cells/metabolism work. For example, T3 and T4 regulate your heart rate and how fast your intestines process food. So if T3 and T4 levels are low, your heart rate may be slower than normal, and you may have constipation/weight gain. If T3 and T4 levels are high, you may have a rapid heart rate and diarrhea/weight loss.
The difference between Hyperthyroidism And Hypothyroidsm
Listed below are other symptoms of too much T3 and T4 in your body (hyperthyroidism):
- Irritability or moodiness
- Nervousness, hyperactivity
- Sweating or sensitivity to high temperatures
- Hand trembling (shaking)
- Hair loss
- Missed or light menstrual periods
The following is other symptoms of too little T3 and T4 in your body (hypothyroidsm):
- Trouble sleeping
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry skin and hair
- Sensitivity to cold temperature
- Frequent, heavy periods
- Joint and muscle pain
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR HYPERTHYROIDISM
The herb bugleweed, also known as Lycopusvirginica, can help manage mild hyperthyroidism. This particular herb reduces the amount of hormone that is produced by the thyroid.
Studies have found that it helps decrease TSH levels and impairs thyroid hormone synthesis. Moreover, it helps lower T4 levels and blocks the conversion of T4 to T3.
- Prepare an herbal tea by putting one-half teaspoon (or a little less) of bugleweed in a cup of boiling water and allowing it to steep for several minutes. Strain and cool, and then enjoy this tea once daily.
- You can also take this herb in the form of tincture (two to six ml per day). Furthermore, a combination of bugleweed, motherwort and lemon balm is highly effective in treating hyperthyroidism naturally.
The herb motherwort, also known as Leonurus cardiaca, acts as a natural beta-blocker and helps control tachycardia (high heart rate) and palpitations. It has some anti-thyroid activity as well, which makes it even more beneficial for those suffering from hyperthyroid conditions.
- Steep one-half teaspoon of motherwort in one cup of boiling water for at least five minutes. Strain and cool.
- Drink this tea three times daily.
It is essential to note that this herb must be avoided if you are taking any kind of sedating medications.
Lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, is an herb that can help normalize an overactive thyroid by reducing TSH levels. It contains flavonoids, phenolic acids and other useful compounds that regulate the thyroid.In fact, it blocks the activity of antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland and cause Graves’ disease, which is a common form of hyperthyroidism. To restore your thyroid activity to a healthy level, drink lemon balm tea.
- Add two tablespoons of lemon balm to one cup of boiling water.
- Let it steep for about five minutes.
- Strain and drink this tea 3 times a day.
You may start the treatment with a lesser dosage, about one-half or one teaspoon of lemon balm, and gradually increase the amount to two tablespoons.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains substances known as isothiocyanates and goitrogens, which help restrain the thyroid from producing too much hormone. Therefore, anyone suffering from hyperthyroidism must try to eat uncooked broccoli as much as possible.
Other cruciferous vegetables that may be helpful are brussel sprouts, cauliflower, rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi, kale, mustard greens, and radishes.
Protein-based foods are good for those suffering from hyperthyroidism. Protein transports thyroid hormones to different body tissues.
Research shows that a moderate concentration of soy sterols can help improve hyperthyroidism. Hence, eating more soy products can help treat the condition.
If you are not a big fan of soy products, try to include nuts, quinoa, eggs, farmed fish and legumes in your diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If your body is not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, there can be hormonal imbalance, including thyroid hormones. These essential fatty acids are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function and cell growth, and also help improve the ability to respond to thyroid hormones.
You can increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating more fish, grass-fed animal products, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Sea vegetables are a good source of iodine, an important mineral for thyroid health. The natural iodine present in sea vegetables can normalize thyroid-related disorders like obesity and lymph system congestion. These vegetables also contain a good amount of vitamin K, B-vitamin folate, magnesium, iron and calcium.
Some of the sea vegetables that you can use in the treatment of hyperthyroidism are kelp, kombu, hijiki, nori, arame, sea palm etc. They are usually available in dried form at groceries.
You can use these vegetables by crushing, chopping or crumbling any mix of dry sea vegetables you like into soups and sauces, pizzas, casseroles, rice and salads.
Cabbage is one of the most useful foods that can be used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Cabbage contains a good amount of dietary goitrogens, substances that help reduce thyroid hormone production. For best results, eat uncooked cabbage.
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, can treat many health problems including hyperthyroidism. Indian gooseberry, due to its ameliorating effects on the thyroid gland, can help to control the production of thyroid hormones.
Mix Indian gooseberry powder with honey to make a thick paste and eat it in the morning before breakfast.
These are some of the foods that naturally suppress thyroid hormone production to help in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Also, try to limit your intake of dairy products and caffeine as much as possible to manage hyperthyroidism successfully.
Berries are rich in vitamins and various antioxidant properties that can help reduce inflammation of the thyroid gland. You can eat different types of berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and others.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that help improve thyroid functioning. It will also stimulate metabolism and boost energy. Plus, it will help raise the basal body temperature which is important for those dealing with low thyroid function.
- Use coconut oil for cooking. Always use extra-virgin organic coconut cooking oil.
- You can also add two tablespoons of coconut oil to milk and drink it in the morning along with your breakfast every day. You can also add it to your smoothies.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may also help deal with this thyroid disorder. It is believed that it aids detoxification, restores acid alkaline balance, facilitates weight loss, and helps regulate hormones and improve their energy metabolism.
Apple cider vinegar is also beneficial for other health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and others.
- Add two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
- Mix in a little honey.
- Drink this solution daily on a regular basis.
Fish oils are considered good for increasing thyroid hormone uptake and maintaining healthy thyroid function. Being rich in omega 3 fatty acids, they also fight inflammation and increase immunity.
Take fish oil supplements after consulting your doctor, especially if you are taking blood thinners. The general dosage is up to 3 grams per day.
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with several autoimmune diseases, including thyroid disease. Exposure to early sunshine is a good way to generate the vitamin D required by the body.
So, expose your body to early morning sunrays for about 15 minutes daily. This will also help maintain healthy immune function and calcium metabolism.
Those suffering from hypothyroidism can make it a habit to wake up in the morning and do some healthy exercises (stimulates the thyroid gland), such as walking outdoors. You’ll get the early sunshine as well as benefit from the physical exercise.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is another great ingredient that can help hypothyroid patients. Being high in gamma linoleic acids (GLAs), primrose oil offers anti-inflammatory benefits and helps increase the levels of thyroid hormones.
At the same, it can relieve problems associated with hypothyroidism, such as hair loss and heavy menstrual flow.
The general recommendation for taking evening primrose oil is two to eight grams daily.
Siberian ginseng is very useful for stimulating adrenal and thymus glands, which support the functioning of the thyroid gland. This herb will also help alleviate fatigue, one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Take a dose of 100 to 200 mg of Siberian ginseng extract twice daily, before breakfast and before lunch. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting a supplement regimen.
When dealing with hypothyroidism, take adequate amounts of B vitamins including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 to help reduce the symptoms. B vitamins are vital for healthy thyroid function.
Ginger is a good source of zinc, magnesium and potassium, and its powerful anti-inflammatory properties can help improve thyroid functioning.
- Fresh ginger root slices can be added to soups and other dishes.
- Another option is to drink a two or three cups of hot ginger tea. To make this herbal tea, add some fresh ginger slices to a cup of boiling water. Steep for five minutes, and then add some honey to it.
Do consult your doctor before taking kelp supplements to check if it is suitable for you and find the correct dosage specific to your condition.