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Aug 4, 2016

Ways to Thyroid Cure & Prevention!

The thyroid – a small gland in the neck, located just underneath the Adam’s apple – has two main functions which are essential to the health of the human body which are to maintain the proper concentration of calcium ions in the blood stream and to regulate metabolism, including the digestion and processing of proteins. The thyroid is responsible for a lot of things! It regulates your metabolism, keeps you at a healthy weight, makes energy, keeps your moods balanced and even, helps you get a sound night sleep and helps you have good digestion. In fact, your thyroid plays a part in almost every physiological process. That is why, when it’s not working optimally, it can really wreck havoc in your life.

The thyroid, though small otherwise, is one of the largest glands in the endocrine system. Diseases of the endocrine system are mostly caused due to production disorders that lead to inadequacy or excess of hormones or inappropriate response to hormones by tissues.

The thyroid hormone is produced by hypothalamus, pituitary glands and the thyroid gland which is situated just below the larynx. The thyroid gland is a key component of the endocrine system and its basic function to convert iodine from your dietary intake into thyroid hormones. These hormones are essential in regulating your metabolism and even a small variation in the amount that is produced can have a dramatic effect on the body.

The production and use of thyroid hormones is a complex process:

An understanding of the complex thyroid hormone process begins with iodide, a salt that is extracted from the blood and trapped by the thyroid gland.

Iodide is converted to iodine in the thyroid gland. (Here, 80% of the body’s iodine supply is then stored.) 

Iodine, in turn, is the raw material used in the manufacturing of thyroxine (T4), the key thyroid hormone.
Thyroxine itself is converted into triiodothyronine (T3), which is the more biologically active thyroid hormone. (Only about 20% of triiodothyronine is actually formed in the thyroid gland. The rest is manufactured from circulating thyroxine in tissues outside the thyroid, such as those in the liver and kidney.)

Two other important hormones in the process are thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH or thyrotropin) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH).

TSH directly influences the whole process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production.
This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and monitored by TRH, which is produced in the hypothalamus gland. (Both the pituitary and hypothalamus glands are located in the brain.)

When thyroxine levels drop even slightly, the pituitary gland goes into action to pump up secretion of TSH so that it can stimulate thyroxine production.

Here are the major symptoms of both thyroid disorders:

Hyperthyroidism – hyperactivity, mood swings, insomnia, chronic tiredness, muscle weakness, sensitivity to heat, unexplained weight loss, loss of interest in sex.

Hypothyroidism – unexpected weight gain, tiredness, depression, sensitivity to cold, dry skin and hair, muscle aches.

Let’s look at the Causes, Dos & Don’ts of Thyroid and Natural remedies to treat it!

Chronic Stress- One of the main underlying causes of sluggish thyroid function is stress which in turn could tax your adrenal glands, and alter the brain’s communication with the thyroid. The constant supply of stress chemicals, adrenaline and cortisol, produced by your adrenal glands interferes with thyroid hormones and leads to thyroid disease.

Check Your Iodine- Iodine deficiency is another problem that is on the rise, due in no small part to the bad reputation we’ve given to table salt (which often has iodine added.) What many people don’t realize is that iodine is a necessary building block for the metabolism regulating hormones produced by the thyroid gland and most of the foods we eat don’t have enough of it to keep us healthy. For more definite confirmation, ask your doctor to check your iodine level. If you find that your body lacks this vital nutrient, try adding foods like kelp and cold-water fish (cod, tuna, etc) into your diet. There are also iodine supplements available which you can take to correct the problem.

Avoid Gluten & A1 Casein- Gluten, the glue-like proteins found in many starchy foods like bread, oatmeal, and pasta are often responsible for food allergies and declining gut health. A1 Casein, a mutated protein chain found in the majority of commercial cow’s milk and milk products is a detrimental biochemical known to cause autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and organ damage. Both of these proteins can lead to thyroid malfunction, so if you think you may have either hypo- or hyperthyroidism, avoid high-gluten foods and stick with dairy products like cream and grass-fed butter which contain little or no A1 casein. Gluten causes an autoimmune response in many people and is now being examined as the cause of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a common autoimmune thyroid condition.

Avoid Soy- Soy is damaging to your thyroid gland because it blocks essential nutrients necessary for the thyroid to function properly. You should know that if you eat soy foods at the same time that you take thyroid hormone, they may interfere with its absorption. To be safe, do not eat soy within three hours of taking your medication. Moderate soy consumption (one serving daily of whole soy foods) should not be a problem.

Eat Sea Vegetables Twice a Week- Sea vegetables are a good natural source of iodine to support the thyroid. Add Kelp, Kombu or Nori to your diet.

Slow Down Your Eating- The thyroid gland is located in your throat area, so it literally connects the mind and body. When you rush while eating, the food moves so quickly from mouth to stomach that the connection from mind to body is not strong. The mouth doesn’t know what the stomach is doing and vice versa. Since the thyroid is the master of your metabolism, you want to eat slowly enough so it can record the message that food is entering the body.

Do Yoga- Yoga asanas can stimulate and support the entire endocrine system. The shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) is especially beneficial for stimulating the thyroid gland.
Don't do this pose if you are pregnant or menstruating, nor should you try it if you have glaucoma, sinus problems or high blood pressure.

Increase Your Selenium- Selenium is a micro-nutrient and antioxidant contained in foods like shellfish, cold-water fish, nuts and seeds. Over time, selenium-deficiency can lead to Hashimoto’s disease which causes the immune system to attack the thyroid. Signs to look for include unexplained muscle and joint pain, very dry or brittle hair, and an abundance of white spots on the fingernails. If you think you may not be getting enough selenium in your diet, ask your doctor to test for the mineral before you try to self-correct the problem as consuming too much selenium – especially from supplements – can cause major health problems, too.

Take Adaptogens- Herbs like Ginseng, Holy Basil are known collectively as adaptogens – support the adrenal glands which work hand-in-hand with the thyroid. When your adrenals don’t function properly, your body loses the capability to properly deal with stress. The resulting over-abundance of cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone” can lead to thyroid problems as well as unexplained weight-gain (especially around the mid-section), inability to lose weight, and chronic fatigue.

Ginseng- Ginseng is an herb used since ages in Chinese traditional medicine to treat many ailments. It contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory in nature and help in treatment of ulcers. Taking it regularly will help shrink the thyroid nodules. This herb also helps you relax and gives a feeling of well-being. Take ginseng extract internally every day as it will help cure the thyroid nodules.

Cut Out Simple Sugars- There are plenty of reasons to stop eating sugar and thyroid health is definitely one of them. If you have symptoms of thyroid disorder, take a look at your daily sugar intake.

Reduce Radiation Exposure- Because many types of radiation can both cause and exasperate thyroid disorders, do everything you can to minimize your exposure. Try to cut down on electronics usage such as tablets, GPS devices, and cell phones. If you have to go in for an x-ray, request a collar to shield your thyroid during the procedure. Also, be aware of your surroundings. 

Take Probiotics- A healthy gut can go a long way toward healing autoimmune disorders. Because hypothyroidism is so often associated with Hashimoto’s disease, you’ll want to do everything you can to improve the environment in your gastrointestinal tract. Probiotic foods such as yoghurt, apple cider vinegar all promote healthy gut bacteria and can help heal your thyroid.

Coconut oil- The Best. Coconut oil has a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue and it may also contribute by inhibiting harmful intestinal microorganisms that cause chronic inflammation. Fifty percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth!

The medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found in coconut oil are the same as those in human mother’s milk, and they have extraordinary anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. By disrupting the lipid structures of microbes, they inactivate them. Lauric acid, its metabolite monolaurin and other fatty acids in coconut oil are known to protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites. While not having any negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, coconut oil inactivates undesirable microbes.

Most of the oils that we use to cook food and those used in commercially-prepared foods also have a negative effect on the thyroid. These are known as polyunsaturated or vegetable oils. They may in fact be the worst villains in the spread of thyroid diseases. Polyunsaturated oils that we use for cooking can have a very negative effect on our thyroid glands. In fact, studies indicate that they play a major role on the development of thyroid nodules and other thyroid problems in many people. Coconut oil is very healthy and free of polyunsaturated compounds. It helps aid metabolism which is the basic function of the thyroid glands too. So, if you have thyroid nodules and your metabolism has taken a hit because of this, consuming coconut oil will be very beneficial for you. You can just swallow two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil daily, or sprinkle it over your food and salads. Try replacing your cooking and baking oils with coconut oil and make sure to consume at least 1 
tablespoon of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

Is coconut oil a thyroid cure? Not by itself. Can it help people with low thyroid function? Yes, because it stimulates metabolism and boosts energy. For this reason, coconut oil has been a blessing to many people who have been able to abandon their medications with the right combination of exercise, removal of processed foods, and a balanced diet.

Goitrogens- Goitrogens block thyroid hormone production. The vegetables that should always be cooked if you are dealing with thyroid problems are broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale, watercress.  Avoid peanuts and peanut butter as they also contain goitrogens. If you have hypothyroidism, make sure to cook all vegetables containing goitrogens.

Glutathione- Glutathione is a strong antioxidant that helps in balancing the hormones and boosts the immune system.

Drink Bone Broth daily- Bone broth from healthy, pasture raised animals is a wonderful healing source that helps heal and seal the gut lining and also strengthens the immune system. Both of these are crucial for optimum thyroid health.  Drink 1 cup of bone broth daily.

Vitamin D- This deficiency is relatively common with thyroid problems. Vitamin D is also necessary to help transport thyroid hormone in to the cells.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C is helpful in reducing adrenal stress. Citrus fruits are found to be beneficial in reducing mucus formation which can help in the treatment of thyroid nodules. Eat plenty of citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, etc everyday as it will help reduce the size of the nodules considerably.

Food rich in Vitamin A such as pumpkin, green leafy vegetables and carrots add to the balanced functioning of thyroid gland.

Walnut which is rich in iodine and magnesium contributes to the balanced functioning of thyroid gland.

Eat Ghee (clarified butter), Avocados, Nuts, Full fat, antibiotic and hormone-free dairy, Lean meats and fish, Flax seeds.

Herbal tea with ginger is also beneficial for thyroid functioning. In fact, beverages including coffee, tea, carbonated drinks and alcohols should be avoided by patients afflicted with thyroid disorders. In its place herbal tea may be an alternative option.

Watercress (aka Jalkumbji, Chansaur in Hindi)-  Watercress is enriched with  iodine content which is also beneficial for thyroid malfunctioning.

Lotus Stem (aka Kamal Kakdi in Hindi)- Regular consumption of lotus stem is also beneficial for thyroid functioning.

For patients afflicted with goiter, exhibiting swelling around their neck; dandelion leaves with a touch of clarified butter may be wrapped around the affected region.

Application of watercress's paste on the enlarged neck is also an effective remedy.

Fatty Acids- Fatty acids help maintain tissue health and reduce inflammation. You should consume foods which contain essential fatty acids on regular basis. Nuts and seeds are known as the best natural sources of fatty acids and should be a part of your daily diet if you have thyroid nodules. Other sources that contain healthy fatty acids are avocados, Chia Seeds, Macadamia Nuts (Australian nut), and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Bladderwrack- It is form of kelp. Bladderwrack has been used since ages to treat thyroid related problems. It is seaweed and contains large amounts of natural iodine. The main use of the herb has been for the stimulation of the thyroid gland as a treatment for obesity and cellulite. The high iodine content of the herb stimulates thyroid function which boosts metabolism. This seaweed also contains the minerals magnesium, iron, zinc, etc which will help improve the health of your body tissues.

Because of the high iodine content bladderwrack should be used according to the directions and anyone with thyroid problems should consult their doctor. Avoid in overactive thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism or cardiac problems and/or during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Sargassum- Sargassum is a herb that has been used as a Chinese traditional medicine for treating thyroid disorders. It is rich in iodine which is very beneficial in treating thyroid nodules as the very cause of their occurrence happens to be an iodine deficiency in many patients. So, increase your iodine intake by sipping on some sargassum tea every day. This will help shrink the thyroid nodules quite effectively when taken regularly, and prevent their recurrences.

Use Bentonite Clay- Bentonite Clay is used popularly as a cleanser. It helps to remove accumulated toxins from your body, and brings a sense of well-being. Apply a clay mask of bentonite over your neck as it is said to absorb the harmful toxins. This will provide a natural cure to your thyroid nodules problem.

Bamboo Plant- Excessive mucus can harm your condition further if you are suffering from thyroid nodules. It is said that the edible part of the bamboo plant is very effective in reducing phlegm formation. So, it will be very beneficial for you to eat these regularly or consume in the form of hot tea. This will also prevent future recurrences of thyroid nodules in people susceptible to this condition.

So, in the end will wrap up saying eat a balanced diet, avoid artificial & processed food and be active with exercise and yoga. Love your body and treat it the right way; it will love you back!

(NOTE- Before starting on any natural remedy or even supplements; please take advice from your health care provider or a qualified naturopath who can custom design a protocol that fits your specific needs as per your thyroid profile test and overall health.)

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