Health and Cures

Hypothyroidism Treatment

This page provides certain natural and alternative options that are available for the treatment of hypothyroidism.

These are provided here to help the reader in his investigation. You are requested to research each remedy that is suggested here on your own and also to find out any restrictions and interactions each might have with your current medication or each other.

Hypothyroidism patients often face very frustrating symptoms and a good lot of people don't respond very well to presribed OTC medications. There are a few options that could help a patient if followed properly. Also, as with some of the chronic or acute diseases, it might be beneficial if a multi-pronged approach is adopted in getting rid of hypothyroidism.

A lot of information about hypothyroidism can be found here. Some of the important treatment details are covered on this page though.

Diet
Hypothyroidism does require changes in diet. It is necessary to limit the intake of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli and whenever taken, they should be properly cooked. Caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee and others), soy/soya products, turnips, cassava, pine nuts, mustard, peanuts and millet should be avoided.

Lifestyle
Stress plays havoc for people with thyroid problems (stress pushes up cortisol levels which in turn hinders proper thyroid functioning.) A definite inclusion in the treatment plan should be stress-reducing techniques like meditation and deep breathing.

Natural Remedies

1. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: This is one of the healthiest oils (as opposed to what many groups would have made you believe) and can alleviate problems associated with hypothyroidism like fatigue and sleep. Normal coconut oil won't do. Make sure to get cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil.

I believe the following is the best way to take this: Start slowly. Start with one tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil just prior to taking lunch. If you don't like it just immediately before lunch, you can have it 5 to 10 minutes earlier. Try and note down changes, if any over a period of 1-2 weeks. There might be some initial effects like very slight headaches or nausea. As long as they last just a few hours or days, they should mostly be nothing to worry about. They'll go away. Once you become comfortable with the dose, you can proceed over to 2 tablespoons a day and then slowly over to 3 tablespoons. Usually you could take around 2 months or more to reach the 3 tbsp limit. That said, don't take more than 1 tbsp per meal. So when you are taking the maximum dose, you would probably be taking 1 tbsp each with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coconut oil also helps in bowel movements and you should also accordingly up your water intake so that your body's water needs are met. 8 glasses a day (around 2.5 litres) would be a good average to reach.

2. Iodine. People with hypothyroidism can be helped with iodine.  The daily requirement for iodine is estimated around 150 mcg for adult men and women (value would change according to age range and in case of women, also based on if they are pregnant or lactating) by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, US. A good way to take iodine would be in the form of food sources. Sea vegetables (like kelp) remain the best sources of dietary iodine followed by yogurt, cow's milk, eggs, strawberries and mozzarella cheese. About 1/8th of a cup of kelp provides more than the daily required amount of iodine. Kelp and other sea vegetables are also available in capsule form from health food stores and online supplement stores. Dosage instructions are usually given on the supplement itself. Another iodine supplement that seems to really help people with hypothyroidism is Iodoral from a company called Optimox. Iodoral contains both iodine and iodide and the human thyroid needs both to function well. People starting on Iodoral shouldn't immediately jump to high levels, start with 1 (or half) tablet a day and gradually proceed to the recommended dosage. Try to research, read reviews (though they are not always honest ones) from multiple sources.. Remember to stay within prescribed dosages, too much of anything isn't a good thing.

3. Dessicated thyroid extract is a good natural replacement for conventional medication for thyroid problems (like Synthroid). The standard drug contains only T4 (sort of "prohormone") which has to be converted by the human body into T3 but improper health usually makes this conversion difficult. On the other hand, this natural extract contains both T3 and T4. Has been becoming popular for quite some time with thyroid patients for its promising results. It is sold in the name of Armour Thyroid (from Forest Pharmaceuticals), NatureThroid and WestThroid (from Western Pharmaceuticals), all in US. In Canada it is made by ERFA and it manufactured under the name of Thyroid. It is available in European countries under a different name. It is not clear if it is available for patients in other continents (please let us know if you know). You require a ND's prescription to switch over to these natural forms from your current medication. However since late 2009, most pharmacists in US have been supposedly out of stock of these natural medications. Some compounding pharmacists could still be able to get you some stock. It is possible to get this ordered from Canada. We would also appreciate information about pharmacies where you were able to get this to help out other readers.

H&C Admin: Update Jan 10, 2010 from this page.
In his comment, "Craig A. Maxwell, D.O." states that Healing Springs Pharmacy, located close to Cincinnati, Ohio, US in Ross (Ph: 1-513-863-8000) could have supplies. Quote: "If you call them, ask for Jason or Kara, two outstanding compounding pharmacists. Fax or mail them your prescription for Armour Thyroid, and they will compound it for you. They ship anywhere in the U.S.."

4. Raw thyroid: Raw thyroid supposedly helps to keep the symptoms of hypothyroidism under control. Some people experience very good results within days. This one is available as supplements from health stores (or online) and doesn't require prescription. Dosages are prescribed on the supplements. Natural Sources and NOW are two good brands that you can look for.

Yoga

While some approaches just keep the symptoms of thyroid under control, proper Yoga asanas (exercises) followed meticulously supposedly have the potential to cure hypothyroidism problems. The exact asana that you should research about is Ujjayi pranayama. In you live in India, Baba Ramdev teaches the pranayama in his classes. If you live elsewhere, search on the internet or ask people who might be taking therapeutic Yoga classes to separate out good Yoga teachers from the hoard of pseudo Yoga teachers who claim themselves 'gurus' after taking a 6-month diploma in Yoga. However let not that deter you, try and find a good teacher, ask him about Ujjayi pranayama and start practising it everyday. You might just find the cure you want. Usually it is safe to combine Yoga with whatever other method you choose to control your hypothyroidism (like natural sources above, or ayurveda or homeopathy talked about below.)

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the ancient health science of India and it recognises this problem. Those who have been cured by Ayurveda, know it to be a powerful science that really works. Ayurveda has some herbs prescribed for hypothyroidism. These herbs are supposed to reverse the disease. Again, it might be good to get in touch with a legitimate Ayurvedic doctor in your area to get proper advise. However, just for your reference, the herb that is mostly prescribed for this problem is Guggul. It stimulates the thyroid. It is available in ayurvedic shops all over the world. However, remember any herb can potentially interact with existing medication protocol (OTC medicines) and cause negative side-effects. Also, it has to be made sure if this can be taken alongwith iodine supplements (unnatural as well as food sources).

Homeopathy

Usually homeopathic doctors need a person entire background before prescribing the pills. However, for specific problems pre-formulated tinctures are available that work quite well for a lot of people. There might be countless such tinctures on the market, but I am mentioning only the one that I have personal experience with. There is a product called "Dr. Reckeweg's Thyreosan R51" tincture. It is a German product but it is sold in most parts of the world. This product requires that iodine, raw thyroid and other medications shouldn't be taken along side it or else it might cause serious aggravations. So usually the only other aid that you can follow if you decide to undergo homeopathic treatment for hypothyroidism is Yoga. You cannot take prescription medicines, Ayurvedic herbs or natural/supplement sources of iodine or raw thyroid along with this. Do a search with the product name and you might get an online store that sells you it. Get a homeopathic doctor to give you the dosage for this product. It might take a month before you start seeing results on this one though.

Additional Information
Most people with hypothyroidism also have Adrenal Fatigue. Get a naturopathy doctor (ND) to see if you have Adrenal Fatigue too. If you do, then it is better to devise a plan to deal both side by side as you'll probably have a faster and better response then.

Also, most people with thyroid experience some kind of constipation problems. Instead of going for fiber supplements (like psyllium husk or bentonite clay) you could consider a herbal mixture called 'Triphala'. It is made out of natural food material and is safe as long as you don't abuse it. It's dosage is 1 teaspoon of triphala in 1 glass of warm water before going to bed. Also, its necessary to drink lots of water (around 8 glasses, each glass measuring around 350 ml) through the day.

Feedback
If you have found any of the above useful in your journey out of hypothyroidism or if other things have helped you cure/control hypothyroidism, please let us know. We'll list it on this site and it'd be useful for other readers.
Recommended Resources

1. Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled?: A 3-Step Program to: Restore Thyroid, Adrenal, and Reproductive Balance, Beat Hormone Havoc, and Feel Better Fast! - Richard Shames, Karilee Shames
Physician Richard Shames (founding member of American Holistic Medical Association), along with his wife, Karilee Shames educate the reader as to how all the glandular systems are related and hence why an imbalance in one might cause imbalance in all the others. Without treating both the primary and secondary imbalanced glands, it is not possible to reverse the patients disease. With a 3-step program, this book tells you how to correct the imbalances and hence avoid much serious illnesses down the road.
2. Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You... That You Need to Know (Revised Edition) -Mary J Shomon.
Mary, herself a thyroid patient as well as a health writer lays down in this book her extensive knowledge about thyroid problems, related symptoms like depression, and diet amongst a host of other things. She also has a newsletter on her famous website.
3. The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program That Will Help You - Arem Ridha Arem explains the effect stress has on thyroid problems and cover lifestyle choices like diet, supplementation and exercise. Since thyroid problems are more common with women, there is a separate section to deal with women's health issues. Any person suffering from a thyroid imbalance would find this book useful.
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Other Books on Thyroid

Disclaimer
All information on this site is for educational purposes only. The authors cannot be held responsible for any consequence arising out of your following the advice on this page or website. Please read the full disclaimer.