Simply put, hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland isn’t able to produce the amount of thyroid hormones that the body needs. With the general suspicion that people regard hormone therapies with today, a natural treatment for hypothyroidism is a popular option.
The reasons for seeking some sort of natural treatment for hypothyroidism are many. The condition can cause many and multiple problems such as fatigue, depression, decreased sweating, weight gain, skin, hair and nail changes, slow heart rate, inability to tolerate cold, cramps and joint pain, and so on.
In some cases it can negatively impact memory and cognition, slow down of the reflexes, anemia, impair absorption of certain nutrients (which leads to other deficiencies) etc.
There is some debate as to what really constitutes natural treatment for hypothyroidism – some thyroid treatments claim to be natural even though they are medications that you need a doctors’ prescription for. Let us look at some popular natural treatments for hypothyroidism.
Desiccated thyroid or thyroid extract
This hypothyroidism treatment is derived from cows or pigs’ thyroid glands which are used after being dried and powdered.
There are obvious problems about this treatment for people who are vegetarians, and also those with religious beliefs that prohibit consumption of pork and beef. The brand names such as Nature-throid, Armour Thyroid, Biotech and so on are such formulations.
One has to consider whether these can in fact be termed as a natural treatment for hypothyroidism because these formulations are FDA approved ‘drugs’ that you actually need a prescription for. However it can be considered to be ‘natural’ in that it derived from animals and that it is not synthetic in the way that other thyroid treatments such as thyroxine (levothyroxine) (L-T4) and triiodothyronine (liothyronine) (L-T3) are.
Dietary alterations as natural treatment for hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can cause many types of deficiencies. People often try and use nutritional supplements to reduce the severity of their symptoms by addressing their deficiencies and taking supplements such as calcium, soy, iodine, iron, selenium, zinc or caffeine. There is a problem about this kind of treatment – people may take it thinking that they will help or at worst have no negative impact.
However self medication here can be dangerous since if these supplements are taken in an un-prescribed manner they could actually hinder absorption of medications and actually exacerbate the situation. So a doctor should always be consulted prior to making a dietary change or stating on a supplement of any sort for hypothyroidism. This also applies to the many so called natural therapies for hypothyroidism that one may find available on the internet or elsewhere; one needs to remember that self medication can be dangerous.
Holistic treatments for hypothyroidism
Herbal medications such as Chinese medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic treatment, herbal medicine, naturopathic treatments and others claim to help resolve hypothyroidism. However these may be useful only in the complementary sense; i.e. when the given natural treatment for hypothyroidism was used in addition to mainstream treatment. Also the efficacy of such treatments was limited to mild cases.