Natural Thyroid Support: 8 Natural Ways to Maintain Thyroid Health
Hypothyroidism is the medical name for low thyroid. It affects millions of people in the U.S. and many go undiagnosed. The effects of thyroid deficiency include weight gain, allergies, low energy, dry skin and joint discomfort when left untreated. It’s more common in women over 40. When diagnosed, it is treated with thyroid medication for life.
If you suspect you may be suffering from low thyroid, it is important to get diagnosed. Then, it is critical to work with your physician to bring your thyroid back into balance. There is a lot of controversy surrounding thyroid health. Finding the right path for you may take time and patience. You may benefit from natural thyroid support methods.
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Effective Methods for Natural Thyroid Support
There are few definitive answers as to what you can do to avoid thyroid dysfunction as you age. However, there are some natural thyroid support approaches to keep this important gland functioning optimally. Here are 8 natural ways to maintain healthy thyroid function:
1. Get enough iodine. Iodine is needed for your body to make thyroid hormones. A deficiency can be a cause of hypothyroidism. Adding more to your diet is a worthwhile approach to natural thyroid support. Countries such as Japan have a diet rich in seafood. Plus sea vegetables like kelp. So the incidence of thyroid disfunction is very low. The Japanese on average get 83 times more iodine in their diets than Americans. This is about 13.8 mga day. (Note: Hashimoto’s or Graves disease may not improve with iodine and may even be exacerbated.)
Iodized salt can prevent frank iodine-deficiency hypothyroidism (goiter). But it may still not be enough to prevent subclinical problems. This is especially for those on low salt diets. If you’re already on thyroid medication, be sure to work with your doctor. Since getting optimal levels of iodine may mean reducing or eliminating your medication over time.
2. Take a multivitamin. Selenium, vitamin A and iron are all essential to proper function of the thyroid. Many do not get enough selenium in their diets. Iron may be a problem for some. So you should talk to your doctor concerning dosage.
3. Consider coconut oil. Many holistic practitioners recommend experimenting coconut oil. Try taking 1 tablespoon a day. It may restore proper thyroid function. It can also promote weight-loss and immune function.
4. Take vitamin D. Research over the last 20 years shows that people with low thyroid levels also have low levels of vitamin D. If you are already known to be hypothyroid, be sure you are tested for vitamin D levels. Those who live in northern climates are particularly susceptible to D deficiency during the fall. As well as during winter and early spring. We recommend 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily. More may be necessary if levels still remain low.
5. Watch the soy. Eating natural soy products like tofu and miso may not be a problem. But eating foods or taking supplements high in soy isoflavones may depress thyroid function. Check labels. Supplements for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause are most likely to contain high doses of soy isoflavones.
6. Avoid consuming raw cruciferous veggies in excess. Goitrogenic foods can have a negative impact on thyroid function. But only if eaten raw in large quantities. These foods include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. However, cooking reduces that effect. Eating reasonable amounts, even raw, is probably not a problem. These foods appear to be a problem only if you are also iodine-deficient.
7. Avoid refined sugars and starches. Reducing junk food has become a global recommendation for good health. It feeds the body without supplying essential nutrients that whole foods do. Many of these nutrients may support thyroid health.
8. Exercise regularly. Overall health is maintained by good circulation of the blood. Exercise is essential to aging well. Keep in mind that one exercise session a day is not the goal. Resisting a lifestyle that keeps you glued to a seat all day long is important. Make sure you get up and move regularly throughout the day.
Note: If you are taking thyroid medication, be sure to take any calcium carbonate supplement at least 4 hours and possibly 12 hours later. Calcium can affect the ability of your body to absorb the thyroid hormone. Many juices contain calcium supplements. These should also be avoided when taking your medication.