Thyroid disorder can result from conditions that cause over-or under-function of the thyroid gland. When the gland produces too much thyroid hormone, the condition is known as hyperthyroidism. When the gland does not function sufficiently, there is too little thyroid hormone produced the condition is known as hypothyroidism. In addition to problems with the level of hormones made by the gland, both benign and malignant tumors (cancers) can cause enlargement of the thyroid gland or nodules (lumps) within the gland. Enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck can cause symptoms that are directly related to the increase in the size of the organ such as difficulty swallowing and discomfort in front of the neck.
What is Thyroid?
The thyroid gland is a metabolism hormone-producing gland in the lower part of the neck, below Adam’s apple and it has a butterfly shape. It has two lobes attached by a middle part called the isthmus and is located in front of the trachea. The thyroid produces essential hormones required by the body that help regulate metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. Thyroid hormones are also necessary for children to grow and develop.
The thyroid uses iodine to produce vital hormones. Thyroxine, also known as T4, is the primary hormone produced by the gland. After delivery via the bloodstream to the body’s tissues, a small portion of the T4 released from the gland is converted to triiodothyronine (T3), which is the most active hormone.
What Are the Most Common Thyroid Problems And Their Symptoms?
There are two main types of thyroid problems, one is hypothyroidism and another is hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a more common type of thyroid problem. Most people with hypothyroidism are women, especially those who are of reproductive age or middle-aged. (1)
In the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormones T3 or T4 (or both). According to the American Thyroid Association, in the United States by far the most common reason for hypothyroidism is a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, where the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid, thus compromising its functioning. Hashimoto takes place due to an autoimmune response, which interferes with the normal production of hormones. Causes of Hashimoto’s disease can include high amounts of stress, nutrient deficiencies, low immune function, and toxicity. (2) However, on a worldwide level, an iodine deficiency in the diet is the number one cause of hypothyroidism.
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are: (3)
- Persistent fatigue, lethargy, and sometimes depression or low motivation to exercise
- Moodiness and sometimes anxiety
- Intolerance to cold and frequently feeling chilly
- Dry hair and skin — skin might feel cool to the touch and the toes/fingers might look a blue/purple color in some cases
- Brain fog, trouble concentrating and forgetfulness
- A hoarse voice
- Unexplainable weight gain
- Constipation, bloating and other digestive issues
- Muscle weakness, sometimes aches or pains, and other discomforts
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is when the body has too much of the needed thyroid hormones. According to the American Thyroid Association, the No. 1 cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, but lumps on the thyroid or taking too much T4 in tablet form can also contribute to hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism commonly include: (4)
According to the American Thyroid Association, common symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include:
- an initial increase in energy
- fatigue over time sweating
- rapid pulse
- tremors in the hands
- problems sleeping
- thin skin
- fine and brittle hair
- muscle weakness
- frequent bowel movements
- unintended weight loss
- a light menstrual flow or fewer periods
Thyroid Problem Risk Factor:
Research shows that some of the most significant known risk factors for thyroid problems are,
- Deficiencies in three important nutrients that support healthy thyroid function– iodine, selenium, and zinc deficiency.
- Poor diet is high in processed foods with things like sugar or unhealthy fats. Too much caffeine and/or alcohol can also contribute to emotional stress and poor gut health.
- Emotional stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression: Mental stress can interfere with normal adrenal functioning wear down the entire immune system, kidneys, liver, and thyroid. (5)
- Reactions to some immunosuppressive medications. These may be used to manage other autoimmune disorders or even cancer.
- Genetic factors. Research shows that thyroid problems tend to run in families. (6)
- Pregnancy or other hormonal changes.
- Toxicity due to chemical exposure or contact with other environmental pollutants. (7)
- In the case of infants or young children, a genetic pituitary disorder, defective thyroid, or lack of the gland entirely can sometimes be a cause. (8)
Natural Remedies for Thyroid Problems:
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are basically the opposite problems, treatment for each is very different. First, we will discuss hypothyroidism natural remedies,
- Iodine: Most cases of hypothyroidism worldwide are from a lack of iodine. Iodine is a key mineral for helping to convert and release thyroid hormones. Raw dairy, some wild-caught fish like tuna, and some fermented grains are a good source of iodine. Iodine supplements can also help in hypothyroidism. But taking high doses of iodine supplement can aggravated thyroids disorder symptoms. So, before taking iodine supplements seek your doctor’s advice.
2.Selenium: Selenium helps balance levels of T4 hormones, so try to eat plenty of foods high in selenium like Brazil nuts, spinach, yellowfin tuna or halibut, canned sardines, grass-fed beef, turkey, and beef liver. Those with Celiac disease or autoimmune disorders may be most deficient in selenium, so a supplement might be necessary in these cases.
- Vitamin B and Zinc: Zinc and vitamin B especially B12 are needed for thyroid health. The best source of zinc and vitamin B are animal protein, green peas, asparagus, chickpeas, cocoa, Brussels sprouts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, nuts like pistachios, and mushrooms.
- Probiotic-Rich Food and Supplement: Probiotics can help heal the gut and aid in nutrient absorption while reducing inflammation. Other benefits of a high-quality probiotic include helping to maintain a stronger immune system; increasing energy from production of vitamin B12; reducing bacterial or viral growth in the gut such as candida; improving skin health and helping with appetite control and weight loss. Kefir, organic goat’s milk yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, natto, sauerkraut, and other fermented veggies are probiotic-rich food. A probiotic supplement can also be taken.
- High Fiber Food: People with hypothyroidism may have digestive difficulties, so aim for 30–40 grams of fiber daily. Not only does high-fiber diet help with digestive health, but it also improves heart health, balances blood sugar levels, and supports a healthy weight by making you feel fuller. Avocado, all berries, nut, chia seed, flax seeds, peas, fig, black beans, chickpea, banana, apple, carrot, beet are fiber-rich food.
- Drink Plenty of Clean Water: Water helps with hydration and digestive function while preventing fatigue and moodiness. For the prevention of constipation, low energy, and sugar cravings, drink at least eight ounces every two hours.
- Fish Oil: Essential fatty acids found in fish oil are critical for brain and thyroid function. DHA and EPA omega-3s found in fish oil are associated with a lower risk for thyroid symptoms, including anxiety, depression, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and heightened autoimmune disease. Omega-3 fish oil supplements can also help balance levels of omega-6s in the diet, which is important for ongoing health.
- Essential Oil: Combine three drops of frankincense oil with five parts lemongrass oil and five parts of clove oil. Rub these directly on the thyroid, which is located at the front lower part of your neck. You can also try putting two drops of frankincense oil on the roof of your mouth twice daily. Similarly, try rubbing two to four drops of lemongrass oil and myrrh directly on the thyroid area, along with the reflexology points on the feet and on the wrists multiple times per day.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil provides medium-chain fatty acids in the form of caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid, which support a healthy metabolism, increase energy, and fight fatigue.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: These are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are necessary for combating free-radical damage and lowering inflammation. They are nutrient-dense and should make up a large portion of a healthy diet since they support digestive health, brain function, heart health, hormone balance, and a healthy weight.
- Foods to Avoid: People with hypothyroidism may want to stay away from eating large amounts of raw Brassica vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, soy, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables might impact thyroid function because they contain goitrogens. Avoid gluten food, gluten is found in all wheat, rye, and barley products. Avoid tap water because most tap water contains fluoride and chlorine that inhibit iodine absorption. It’s best to avoid sugar as it can contribute to hormonal disturbances, fatigue, mood changes, worsened depression, and weight gain. Any food made with refined carbohydrates, like enriched wheat flour should avoid.
1.Anti-Inflammatory Herb: Basil, rosemary, and oregano herb can be inflammatory and help improve thyroid function.
2.Green Juice: Fresh green juices from nutrient-dense vegetables such as kale, spinach, and spirulina can help to improve thyroid function.
- Bugleweed: Buglewood is a plant of the mint family that is historically been used to treat heart and lung conditions. Some sources suggest that it can decrease the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- L-carnitine: A natural supplement that may help treat the effects of hyperthyroidism is L-carnitine. A 2001 study suggests that L-carnitine can reverse and prevent the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including heart palpitations, tremors, and fatigue.
5.Lemon Balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, can reduce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and specially used treat of Graves’ disease. Lemon balm can be taken as an extract. It can also be used in tea form to help normalize an overactive thyroid.
6.Glucomannan: A 2007 study suggests that glucomannan could be used to lower the levels of thyroid hormones in people with hyperthyroidism. Glucomannan is a dietary fiber derived from the root of the konjac plant. It’s found in the form of capsules, powders, and tablets.
7.Essential Oils: One study published in 2014 in the European Journal of Immunology demonstrates how the boswellic acids in frankincense can help to reduce Th17 cytokines, which are increased in patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders.
8.Foods to Avoid: Hyperthyroidism patients should be avoided iodine-rich food like kelp, rules, and other kind of seaweed. Also recommend avoiding iodized salt, seafood, multi-vitamins that include iodine, as well as many conventional cough syrups. Conventional dairy products, gluten products, artificial flavor or dyes products, sugar, packages, and processed food should be eliminated from a hyperthyroidism patient’s diet.