Natural alternatives to synthroid
Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the body does not have sufficient thyroid hormones. This leads to negative effects on the body such as dry hair, constipation, fatigue, hair loss, irritability, memory loss, and many others. Left untreated, hypothyroidism’s symptoms may eventually lead to more serious medical conditions.
Synthroid is a medication that is used to treat hypothyroidism. It contains a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine sodium which is similar to the hormone made by the thyroid gland.
There are available natural alternatives to synthroid that may help in improving the thyroid’s condition. That said nothing can compare to the medications prescribed by doctors so it’s highly recommended to consult with your doctor regarding your individual case. That said when paired with proper lifestyle changes, these alternatives may help minimize the effects caused by hypothyroidism and restore the hormones to proper levels. It is always best to ask for advice from a doctor or medical expert prior to starting the intake of a chosen natural alternative as they are not proven to work as effectively as prescription medications:
Do not substitute this for actual advice from an expert as many cases require treatment that CAN NOT be remedied with natural options. These natural options may only be helpful in addition to treatments, again consult with a medical professional before self treating or self diagnosing.
1.) Avena Sativa
Simply known as wild oats, or oats, avena sativa is packed with iron, manganese, and zinc. These nutrients have restorative properties that are beneficial for the thyroid gland. The B vitamins and selenium in oats ensure the thyroid’s proper functioning, and the fiber content alleviates constipation wrought by hypothyroidism. Being a low-glycemic food, oats have minimal impact on the blood sugar which is important in restoring hormones to healthier levels. Oats are readily available in stores nowadays, and it is best prepared with lots of water and can also be seasoned with iodine-rich food like dulse.
2.) Black Walnut
Selenium deficiency is associated to hypothyroidism and goiter especially when coupled with low levels of iodine. Black walnut contains both iodine and selenium that improve thyroid function and reduce the risk of swelling. It also has anti-bacterial capabilities that flush out toxins such as bromine, chlorine, and fluorine from the body, which are believed to be the cause of autoimmune conditions that affect the thyroid and cause hypothyroidism. As an added bonus, black walnut contains healthy fat and proteins and is also a good antioxidant, making it an ideal addition to a healthy diet. Aside from being eaten directly, black walnut can be added in recipes like soda bread and chicken salad, and it is also available in tincture form.
A type of medicinal seaweed used for centuries in relieving rheumatism, inflamed joints, and the stimulation of underactive thyroid function. Bladderwrack contains a large amount of iodine that is useful for maintaining normal thyroid function and in relieving disorders on the gland caused by iodine deficiency. The seaweed is commonly used to improve the taste of some dishes, and is also eaten as a delicacy in Europe and Japan. It is also available in dietary supplement form and as part of kelp capsules or kelp powders. Due to its iodine content, it is ideal to seek first the advice of an expert regarding dosage to avoid side effects wrought by excessive intake.
4.) Coleus Forskohlii
An herb mentioned in the ancient Indian holistic healing system Ayurveda. Its active ingredient is forskolin which is responsible for boosting the cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) count in the body’s cells, achieved through the activation of adenylate cyclase enzymes. The cAMp acts as secondary messengers in the cells that also regulate it. The increase of cAMP levels lead to a number of benefits such as:
Increased function of thyroid hormones.
Stimulation of production and release of thyroid hormones.
Improved insulin release.
Lower blood pressure.
Relaxed arteries and muscles.
The herb’s leaves can be used in several ways. It can be brewed into tea, smoked, and even simply chewed.
5.) Desiccated thyroid
Utilized since the 19th century and still remains as the most famous natural remedy of hypothyroidism. Initially derived from the glandular extract of domesticated animals like bovines, sheep, and pigs; eventually it was determined that the thyroid of pigs is the most effective. It is prepared by drying and grounding the pig thyroid into powder and pressed with binder chemicals and fillers into a pill form. Desiccated thyroid contains T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) hormones reported to stop the decline of coristol and impaired function of HPA associated with T4 deficiency. Brands include Acella’s NP, Armour Thyroid, NP Thyroid, Nature-throid and WP Thyroid, and more. Despite its proven efficacy in relieving hypothyroidism, its use is a polarizing subject among medical practitioners. Some practitioners speak against the use of hypothyroidism with the claims of an unequal amount of T4 and T3 on animals and humans, and there are some who found it to be very effective in treating their patients.
A red or purple colored seaweed found in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean and the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. Dulse has been traditionally used to improve thyroid function, keep parasites at bay, treat scurvy, and is also proven to be a potent antioxidant. It also has high amounts of natural and plant-based iodine that keeps the thyroid healthy. Dulse also contains manganese, a nutrient that synergizes with iodine by improving its function and helping the body absorb it. The seaweed is commonly available in health food stores in its original red form that can be eaten directly, or as dulse flakes that can be added to salads and soups.
Native in northern Africa and India, and in central Asia, the resin found in the stems of the guggul plant has been used to treat acne, hypolipidermia, inflammation, and other medicinal conditions since the 600 BC. Its medicinal benefits led to an overharvest and overuse in the Indian habitats of Gujarat and Rajasthan, driving it into scarcity although movements have been started to address its dwindling numbers. Gugulsterones, a component of the resin, are discovered to have anti-inflammatory capabilities and can also support the thyroid. Based on the study published last January 2005 in the journal Phototherapy Research, guggul is able to control thyroid functions. Aside from that, it can also benefit the gland in several ways:
Converts T4 hormones into T3, a more active form which increases metabolism.
Enhances the thyroid’s absorption of iodine.
Augments the production of the thyroid gland.
Reduces high cholesterol levels wrought by hypothyroidism.
Guggul is available in capsule, liquid extract, tablet, and powder forms.
An herb rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and protein. Cooked and eaten or brewed into tea, nettle relieves allergies, arthritis, gout, and prostate and urinary problems. Nettle also contains iodine that remedies hypothyroidism and other types of thyroid imbalance, and the tea can be drunk up to three times a day for maximum effect. If drinking tea is not a preferred method, the oils of nettle can be massaged on the neck to soothe the thyroid gland. Its versatility in relieving the thyroid has earned it the nickname “thyroid tonic”.
9.) Iodine-rich foods
The key to maintaining a healthy thyroid is to supply it with iodine, which is important in the production of the thyroid hormones. Since the human body cannot make iodine naturally, it relies on external sources that are rich in iodine like:
Soy sauce and soy milk
It is important to consult first with a doctor to determine how much iodine is needed, and if the hypothyroidism is indeed caused by iodine deficiency. Too much iodine intake can exacerbate hypothyroidism. A lack of it can lead to goiter and mental retardation in newborn children if the mother lacked iodine during pregnancy.
10.) Lifestyle changes
While taking natural supplements to help with hypothyroidism, it is also ideal to commit to lifestyle changes for a healthier body that can help the thyroid produce hormones optimally:
Exercise daily. From a simple 40 minute walk to routine programs that focus on cardio, flexibility, and muscle strength, it is imperative that the body is given enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight, eliminate stress, and boost energy levels. Consult with a fitness instructor to determine what program is best suited for you.
Eliminate stress from the inside out through meditation. Learn proper postures, breathing techniques, and chants for those who wish to use them. Even a five minute session daily can significantly relieve stress and bring about a better feeling on both mind and body.
Sleep for seven to nine hours and maintain the same sleeping schedule. The body recuperates during sleep, and the lack of energy caused by hypothyroidism warrants a good night’s rest.
As much as possible, avoid toxins that affect physically and mentally. Steer clear from air pollution, stay in cover to avoid sun exposure, stay away from people or places that negatively affect you. While these said toxins may not have an immediate effect, they have the tendency of piling up in your body and make existing medical conditions worse.