Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Therapies and Supplements
In this article we are concentrating on the natural therapies available for thyroid conditions versus the medical solutions. We will continue talking about hyperthyroid problems as discussed in our first article on “What is Hyperthyroidism?”
As suggested before, we found that thyroid problems, both Hyperthyroid and Hypothyroid are related more to Lifestyle Functions than to genetic markers. Age and gender will have some percentage of development due to hormonal levels.
Let’s start with therapies used by Doctors of Functional Medicine and Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Two reasons that can cause Hyperthyroid are chronic inflammation and auto-immune problems, i.e. Graves’ disease. Key factors that can affect these disorders are:
- Allergies to foods or chemicals
- Intestinal dysbiosis
- Nutritional habits
- Vitamin D levels
- Heavy metal toxicity
Common food allergens are: gluten, soy, some nuts, eggs and some proteins. Many are just not tolerated well by the body.
Get tested for these food allergies or try eating an elimination diet. Check for foods which cause higher levels of inflammation.
Dysbiosis is caused by overpopulations of adversary organisms in the gut causing food particles to pass through intestinal wall into the blood stream. Tagged as invaders this causes the immune system attack and unleash inflammation causing allergic reaction. This health issue has now been called SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Start with healthy nutritional habits. Eat a fresh, natural foods diet. Get rid of all processed, boxed, chemically modified packaged foods.
Goitrogenic foods will block thyroid hormone production. If you have a hyperthyroid condition you should eat cruciferous vegetables since they depress thyroid. These vegetables include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, and even spinach.
Hypo thyroid conditions you need to avoid these foods; since they depress thyroid even further.
Vitamin D helps thyroid hormones function better. Know your level, get tested.
Spend 20-30 minutes in the sun daily or take a supplement, 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
Environmental Toxicity will include heavy metals, pesticide, herbicides, molds, and even household cleaning agents. Clean out your house, garage and yard of these chemicals. Any of these chemicals can aggravate or increase hormones.
Products to Avoid with Hyperthyroidism
- Avoid caffeine, since you metabolism is already running very high….you do not need to increase it any more.
- Avoid alcohol
- Iodine rich foods should be decreased.
- Dairy especially milk, affect any meds, are high in iodine.
- Less red meats due to high saturated fatty acids
Caffeine versus Coffee
Caffeine is in coffee and many of those “energy” drinks sold to “keep you awake and functioning”. Since caffeine is a stimulant it affects your metabolism, regulated by your thyroid.
Studies on rats show caffeine, in high doses, could cause the thyroid gland to enlarge or produce excess hormone. Other tests show 300 mg of caffeine in humans did not change hormones levels.
Coffee by itself has many beneficial anti-oxidant compounds and could instead decrease risks of thyroid disease or thyroid cancer.
If you currently have HyperT or Graves your risk is higher for osteoporosis. Consuming more caffeine will further affect your bones loss.
Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco
Alcohol can cause direct suppression of thyroid function. Tobacco smoking modifies most all functions of the thyroid.
Alcohol and Tobacco are considered the most common forms of toxic chemical exposure leading to alteration of physiological body functions. Both have multiple effects on the endocrine gland system, the thyroid, pituitary and hypothalamus (AXIS)
Tobacco’s effect on the thyroid is due to its major component, thiocyante, increasing excretion of iodine. This compound could inhibit thyroid hormone synthesis.
Further studies need to be done, these are controversial subjects and many skeptics do not agree with results. In fact, other studies say alcohol or even smoking is beneficial in moderation and can even decrease risk of disease, even thyroid!
Iodine rich foods will be discussed more in our next article. These foods would include seaweeds, salts, cranberries, dairy, yogurt, navy beans and fish among others.
Large dairies combine milk from organic and non-organic cows. All cow teats are dipped in iodine to “protect” us, before milking. This iodine has a powerful negative effect on the thyroid.
Iodine can also affect any medication you are taking.
Another note: milk also holds concentrated radioactivity, strontium 90, from nuclear power plants if nearby.
Supplements to Help Hyperthyroid Symptoms
Vitamin B complex reduces thyroid symptoms
L- Carnitine reduces thyroid symptoms, it is recommended to take 1000 mg two times /day.
Plant sterols are needed to balance the immune system. Sterols are natural fatty substances in plants. Plant sterols are similar to cholesterol but have unique health benefits, none of the negative effects. They actually can improve cholesterol ratios.
Vitamin D and magnesium are common deficiencies and can boost immune system.
Correct stress and poor sleep habits, learn how to relax. Take some classes in yoga or meditation. Breathe work is also very beneficial.
Acupuncture, Massage and Exercise
Many in CAM (Complementary Alternative Medicine) and in Chinese Medicine believe firmly in the assistance of acupuncture for relief of disease symptoms.
Helping to open up the energy pathways, clears any blockages and inflammation. It helps the body function with better hormone balance.
Massage and exercise help by bringing movement to the fluids and organs in the body. This can bring the body to better functioning, releasing the toxic buildup of environmental chemicals.
Repairing a leaky gut associated with these health problems is important.
There are many herbs and foods that will help hyperthyroid symptoms. We will enlarge on all these in our third article to follow this. Look at www.merryherb.com for herbal info.
Essential Oil Therapies for Hyper thyroid
Both Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils are very helpful to de-stress and calm, will affect thyroid function. Place 2 drops of Frankincense oil on the roof of the mouth 2 times a day. Rub 2 drops of Myrrh oil on the skin in front of the thyroid gland two times a day.
Other essential oils you can use are wintergreen, lemongrass, sandalwood and black spruce. Rub a mixture of essential oil and carrier oil together on the thyroid or neck area.