Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones. In most cases, this leads to an underactive thyroid. Hormones act as chemical messengers within the body that communicate information to other parts of the body, the thyroid hormone in and of itself is responsible for a variety of functions. Therefore when hypothyroidism is present it will display various symptoms that can include: dry skin, cold intolerance, constipation, difficulty losing weight, menstrual irregularities, and muscle weakness, to name a few.
Although you may be experiencing some or many of these symptoms, a full evaluation with labs from a medical professional can confirm your suspicions. According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), approximately 2% of Americans have hypothyroidism, with an additional 10% having mild hypothyroidism. The ATA says that half of those with hypothyroidism aren’t aware they have it.
Hypothyroidism is very common and affects more than 10% of the adult population. It is more prevalent in women, especially those who are over age 60. While it is more prevalent in older women, anyone can develop the condition, including infants. If you have already been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, there are natural ways to minimize the symptoms.
An herb that may help with hypothyroidism is ashwagandha; it is a nightshade plant commonly used in Ayurveda practice. It grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. It is known to reduce thyroid hormone abnormalities in subclinical hypothyroidism in a few small human studies when taken at a high enough daily therapeutic dose. People have used ashwagandha for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration.
Calcium is necessary for the body to absorb iodine, which affects thyroid function. The best way to meet your need for calcium is to eat lots of calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, lentils, and beans. The average adult needs 1,000 mg of calcium per day. The amount increases to 1,200 mg per day for women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 71. Calcium is a mineral found in many foods, therefore dietary nutrition should be the primary go to for consuming the recommended daily allowance of calcium. When eating a well-balanced healthy diet you are certain to obtain optimal calcium to keep your body healthy and strong.
Essential oils have been studied for their use in people with hypothyroidism. Fatigue is a common symptom of thyroid hormone deficiency, and essential oils—when used for aromatherapy—have been found to reduce feelings of fatigue. The best essential oils for hypothyroidism are Lavender, Lemongrass, Frankincense, Wintergreen, Sandalwood, and Pine.
Meditation & Yoga
Stress can increase the symptoms of hypothyroidism and even increase your chances of developing it. So, you must do everything possible to minimize stress. There are even several stress-reduction techniques that utilize breathing exercises, such as meditation, which is an excellent practice for both your mental and physical well-being. Some experts suggest that specific yoga poses increase blood flow to the thyroid gland, such as shoulder stands and inverted poses where the feet are elevated above the heart. Yoga is also thought to reduce the stress that can make the symptoms of hypothyroidism worse.
Research shows some promise for acupuncture to increase thyroid hormones in people with hypothyroidism. Acupuncture can assist in reducing the sensitivity to pain, decrease stress, provide a calming effect to your body, improve muscle stiffness, provide joint sensitivity, increase circulation and reduce inflammation.
While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for hypothyroidism, there are plenty of natural ways you can try to relieve the symptoms. You don’t have to accept this condition as a fact of life; you can work to improve it and make your hypothyroid body as healthy as possible.