When it comes to treating thyroid disease, medication and surgery are often the first things mentioned. But did you know those aren’t your only options? Natural thyroid treatments are available and can improve or even reverse thyroid disease, rather than just masking the symptoms.
Your thyroid, the small gland in the front of your neck, plays a big part in your health. When the thyroid is working correctly, it takes in iodine and converts it into thyroid hormones T3 and T4. These hormones are released into the bloodstream, where they travel to every part of your body. Your cells then use the thyroid hormones to regulate their metabolism.
Because every cell needs thyroid hormones, an overproduction or underproduction can cause symptoms throughout your body. These symptoms can affect your energy levels, mood, weight, and more. Before we jump into some natural treatments, let’s take a look at the types, causes, and symptoms of thyroid disease.
Types of Thyroid Issues
Thyroid issues develop when your thyroid produces too much or too little thyroid hormones. Both come with their own set of symptoms, so we’ll take them one at a time.
First up is hyperthyroidism, which is often associated with Grave’s disease. Hyperthyroidism is caused by having too much thyroid hormone. This excess overstimulates your body and can lead to long-term damage to your heart, brain, and bones. Symptoms include racing heart, trembling hands, nervous or panicked feelings, and insomnia. Hyperthyroidism requires urgent treatment, but the good news is that it is reversible in most cases.
Next, we have hypothyroidism, often associated with Hashimoto’s disease. It happens when your thyroid is underactive and not producing enough hormones. Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid, is the most common cause. Symptoms include fatigue, anxiety, muscle aches, memory lapses, hair loss, and stubborn weight gain, and it’s not usually detected until symptoms show up.
Causes of Thyroid Issues
So, what causes our thyroids to develop these issues? There are several factors to consider, but a few of the most common causes are:
- Autoimmune Disease – Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease
- Environmental Factors
In the previous section, we talked a little about Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. These autoimmune diseases attack your thyroid and cause it to over or under-produce thyroid hormones. Next, let’s talk about environmental factors.
I mentioned earlier that the thyroid takes in iodine, but what does that mean? Most nutrients are absorbed through the bloodstream and taken to the parts of the body that need them. Iodine is a bit different. Because the iodine concentration in the blood is low, the thyroid gland has to pull it in and concentrate it. Unfortunately, it often pulls in toxins alongside the iodine.
Suppose your body is susceptible to the toxins, or your thyroid is slightly loose in how selective it is when pulling in the iodine. In that case, you end up with a problem. Toxins like heavy metals and pesticides can be drawn in with the iodine and accumulate, leading our body’s natural detox process to slow down. This build-up of toxins negatively affects thyroid function.
The other cause we’ll talk about is genetics. There are three main theories for how genetics increases the risk for thyroid issues. First, some theorize that pregnancy can leave a woman with fetal cells, altering the immune system and damaging the thyroid.
Second, the balance of estrogenic hormones and androgenic hormones is believed to affect the immune system. Males and females have both of these hormones in different amounts. When they are out of balance, the immune system can attack itself, and this can cause thyroid dysfunction.
The last theory is that thyroid disease has something to do with the X chromosome. Because women have two X chromosomes and men have one X and one Y, women have twice the odds of carrying the genes that affect the thyroid. We see this reflected in the statistic that women are 6-9 times as likely to get thyroid disease as men, even more, if they have a direct relative with thyroid disease.
Issues in Both Men and Women
Some aspects of thyroid disease, such as fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, and depression, affect men and women in the same way. There is also evidence that thyroid disease affects fertility. While its effects are different for men and women, both can see decreases in their fertility due to thyroid issues.
But there are differences between the genders. First, as mentioned before, females are at higher risk for thyroid disease. It is also common for women to see changes in the reproductive system. Women should be aware of changes in their menstrual cycle because thyroid disease can cause heavier or lighter periods, ovarian cysts, and early menopause.
Natural Thyroid Treatment Methods
A quick internet search will turn up a variety of results for natural thyroid treatment, but in reality, there are only a few proven ways to address thyroid issues naturally. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Regulate your iodine intake
Evidence has shown that iodine regulation is the only intervention known to reverse thyroid disease. It is uncommon to have an iodine deficiency in today’s world because many foods have iodine added, and the body only needs a small amount of it. However, it’s becoming clear that too much iodine is a problem that affects many people.
A 2014 study showed that 78% of participants with Hashimoto’s saw a complete reversal within three months of lowering their iodine intake. Of the remaining 22%, only 18% improved by 50% or more and only 4% saw no improvement.
To take a deep dive into the facts behind iodine intake and how it affects your thyroid, make sure to check out The Thyroid Reset Diet. It is an excellent resource for discovering sources of iodine, lowering your intake, and improving your thyroid health.
2. Healthy Weight Loss
Thyroid disease and weight gain are closely related. While we commonly think of thyroid disease as a cause of weight gain. It’s also true that weight gain can cause thyroid disease because excess fat is a source of inflammation in the body. It can raise thyroid antibodies and cause the body to resist thyroid hormones, all of which can cause thyroid issues.
Weight loss with thyroid disease can be difficult, so check in with your doctor and ensure your TSH levels are stable. Once they are, focus on the following:
- Get enough protein
- Limit fats and carbs
- Get moderate exercise regularly
- Eat foods that help your liver
These four steps can jumpstart weight loss and lower inflammation in a short time, improving your thyroid health quickly and naturally.
Selenium, Inositol, and Nigella are the only three supplements proven to reduce thyroid antibodies. Let’s take a quick look at why they are essential for your health. They are combined as Antibody Support.
Selenium is an antioxidant that protects the thyroid from being damaged by too much iodine, contributing to thyroid issues. Adding brazil nuts to your diet is a great way to increase selenium because they contain some of the highest amounts of naturally occurring selenium.
Inositol is a compound that the body does not make naturally and must obtain from food. Fruit, beans, grains, and nuts are the common sources of inositol. It is essential because your thyroid requires it for some forms of communication with the brain. An additional 500mg is recommended as a supplement, as long as it is taken an hour after taking thyroid medications.
Nigella Sativa is a seed that people have used in food and medicine for thousands of years. Recent studies have shown that it is an immune system regulator and an anti-inflammatory. Study participants saw improvements in thyroid function, thyroid antibody levels, and thyroid structure within eight weeks.
4. And finally, don’t forget to take care of your mental health
Studies have shown a connection between stress and thyroid disease, so it’s just as important as the physiological treatments. Meditation, breathing exercises, and journaling are helpful tools to relieve stress, improve your mood, and keep your thyroid healthy.
When you’re ready to improve your thyroid health through diet changes, a new exercise program, or supplements, your thyroid doctor is an excellent resource. They can help you find the right combination of exercise, diet, and supplements, such as Thyroid Specific Formulations, to get you on track to a healthy thyroid.
P.S. Whenever you are ready, here is how I can help you now:
1. Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of my team of naturopathic doctors. This is a great starting point for assessing your unique health needs and treatment options.
2. Need A Thyroid Supplement Recommendation? Take My Thyroid Specific Formulations Quiz Now
3. Need a Personalized Supplement? Check out My Thyroid Specific Formulations
4. Download and use my Favorite Recipes Cookbook Here
5. Check out my podcast Medical Myths, Legends, and Fairytales Here
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.