Natural Ways To Manage Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive and leads to low levels of thyroid hormones. Normally located in the lower front region of the neck, the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland. Endocrine glands are glands that put their hormones directly into the blood rather than through a duct.
Virtually every cell in our body is affected by these thyroid hormones and under or over production of the thyroid hormones can affect us at a cellular level. Thus hypothyroidism can prove to be a serious condition. The diverse nature of the symptoms, which involve fatigue (extreme tiredness), weight gain, hair fall, and pale skin texture, causes many of us to mistake them for other health problems such as stress or infection.
The two natural ways to help manage hypothyroidism:
1. Iodine Supplements or Kelp
The thyroid gland takes iodine, found in food, and converts it into thyroid hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Thyroid cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. The body does not make iodine. So, iodine must be obtained through diet or supplements.
Seaweed is one of the best natural sources of iodine. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and low in calories. The amount of iodine can differ very significantly based on the type of seaweed, the place where it grew and how it is cooked. Kombu kelp, wakame and nori are the three most popular types of seaweed.
However, some individuals may not like the taste of cooked seaweed. In this case, taking an iodine supplement can really help.
How to take it:
- Take 900mg of sea kelp capsule once a day for two months to notice an improvement in hypothyroidism. OR
- Take 12.5 mg of iodine supplements once a day.
2. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Popularly known as winter cherry, Ashwagandha, is a widely used herb that is revered for its adaptogenic and restorative properties. It helps protect cells from oxidative damage and stress-related diseases like high blood pressure, depression and cardiovascular conditions. Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties help improve a person’s ability to cope with stress.
Also, it improves the function of the thyroid gland by increasing the secretion of T3 and T4 T3 hormones in the blood. This reduces lipid peroxidation—the process by which free radicals remove electrons from lipids (fats) in the cell, causing cell damage.
How to take it:
You can prepare ashwagandha tea by pouring boiling water on five ashwagandha leaves. Let the leaves infuse for about 10 minutes. Drink this decoction two times daily (one in the morning and one in the evening).
Note: Do not exceed more than two cups of ashwagandha tea per day. A high dose of ashwagandha can lead to thyrotoxicosis (excess of thyroid hormone in the body).
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