If you’re like me and millions of others affected by hypothyroidism (low-functioning thyroid gland), knowing natural ways to support healing and promote proper metabolic regulation can smooth the road to recovery.
The purpose of any medication for treating an underactive thyroid would be to cause the gland to release more thyroid hormone; while conventional medicine usually turns to synthetic drugs, many people respond better to glandular tissue from swine. In some cases, these need to be taken long-term, but I found that a few months on such medication were very effective in bumping up function.
I supported that process naturally through choosing additional effective hypothyroidism supplements and appropriate nutritional support, which I believe is part of the reason why changes happened so quickly.
After writing my original article about hypothyroidism, I decided I wanted to add some more information about the subject:
My own thyroid disorder went undiagnosed for decades, and the same is true for many other sufferers. You may be actively seeking a natural remedy for hypothyroidism, or you may only suspect your gland is underactive. Some signs of a sluggish thyroid include fatigue, hair loss, depression, intolerance of cold (along with low body temperatures), weight gain, and feeling lethargic.
The integrative doctor who eventually diagnosed my thyroid dysfunction helped many people heal their thyroid glands naturally with these guidelines, and you can, too.
Dietary Choices Make an Enormous Impact on Thyroid Health
You’ll have the best results if you follow a low-glycemic diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This is similar to the Paleo diet, and the health benefits of eating in this manner can spread across the board.
Cutting out grains of all kinds, even whole grains, will boost thyroid function. There are a few exceptions that can be left in, including pseudo-grains like quinoa and buckwheat, but removing true grains from your diet is an excellent first step.
Limit or eliminate fruit consumption, especially fruits with a high-glycemic index, such as bananas, mangoes, dates and pineapple; excess fructose, even from fresh fruit, won’t help you correct thyroid issues. Potatoes are another food you’ll want to avoid, although sweet potatoes are fine in moderation because the high fiber content dulls insulin response.Dairy products inhibit thyroid function, so milk is a poor choice, but cheese and yogurt are acceptable in limited quantities as they promote healthy gut bacteria. Eating sugar will undermine your efforts; eliminate it completely.
Choose freely from this list of recommended foods:
- Nuts, seeds, avocados and olives
- Grass-fed beef and lamb
- Wild-caught fish and game
- Chicken and turkey
- Eggs from free-range fowl
- Vegetables, including a daily salad and a serving of cooked greens like kale or Swiss chard
- Butter from grass-fed cows
- Sauerkraut and fermented foods
Organic products are always best, since the endocrine system can be disrupted by chemicals and pesticides. It’s best to limit or forgo vegetables in the cruciferous family, like broccoli, because these inhibit thyroid function.
You’ll want to avoid processed foods, including deli meats; cook heavy protein foods like beef, fish and poultry slowly over low heat.
Stay away from refined vegetable oils like corn, safflower and soy oil; cook with coconut oil, butter or ghee, and olive oil. In some places, you may be able to find Kerry Gold butter, and choose extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil, if available.
Many of these foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and if you eat plenty of vegetables, you’ll also be reaping the considerable benefits of eating a high-fiber diet.
Hypothyroidism Supplements to Stimulate Function
In addition to choosing the right foods, you can provide the necessary vitamins and micro-nutrients by adding some carefully chosen supplements.
Iodine is vital for your thyroid to do its work, and you can get it from seaweed and seafoods like cod, sardines, shrimp and tuna. Adding a kelp supplement is a good way to make sure you’re getting enough, especially if you don’t use iodized salt; many health-minded people have replaced this with sea salt, which does not contain iodine.
Low levels of vitamin D, which acts as a steroid hormone in the body, can also have a detrimental effect on thyroid health.
These are the daily supplements my integrative doctor recommended:
- Vitamin D3 at 5000 IU
- Magnesium citrate, 400 mg; 2 – 4 pills daily with meals, dosage divided evenly (if you get diarrhea, cut down to a lower dose)
- Vitamin C: take a 500 mg dose 2 to 4 times daily with meals
- Kelp: 225 mcg with main meal (Some health professionals advise taking more)
- Krill oil or another quality source of extra omega-3 fatty acids; gel pills are most common
- Vitamin B-12: sublingual is best, 1000 mg
- Potassium: 100 mg twice daily with food
The best way to monitor thyroid function is keeping an eye on pulse, shooting for the 70s.
Anyone who has a sluggish thyroid will find that bumping up function is transformative, from waking up with good energy levels, to shedding extra pounds and keeping your hair. You may find that adding hypothyroidism supplements and eating carefully can bring significant results over a short time, like