Dr. Axe's Top 7 Remedies to Help Heal Thyroid Disease Naturally
Recently I had Dr. Josh Axe on my podcast to talk about natural remedies for Thyroid Disease and the segment was such a hit that I asked him to send over his top tips for this week' s blog!
1. Avoid Iodine Deficiency
It’s well known that iodine status is a key determinant of thyroid disorders. Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism and goiters because the mineral helps to convert and release thyroid hormones. Thyroid disorders that are caused by low iodine levels can cause heart complications, sluggish metabolism, weight fluctuations and mood changes.
There are a few ways to avoid iodine deficiency, with the most important step being eating iodine-rich foods like seaweed, wild-caught cod, organic yogurt, raw milk and eggs. Iodine supplements are also available and when taken in low doses, can help to normalize the production of thyroid hormones. But only use iodine supplements under the care of your doctor and make sure you are being monitored for side effects. High doses of iodine can actually aggravate thyroid disorder symptoms.
2. Eat Foods High in Selenium, Zinc and B Vitamins
To improve symptoms of thyroid disease, make sure you are getting enough selenium, zinc and B vitamins in your diet. These nutrients are needed for proper thyroid function and will help to balance your thyroid hormone levels.
Did you know that the thyroid is the organ with the largest content of selenium? The mineral is needed for the conversion of hormones T4 and T3. Some of the best selenium foods that can be added to your diet to improve thyroid function include Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pinto beans, halibut, grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon and organic oats.
Foods high in zinc and B vitamins (especially vitamin B12) are also important for thyroid health. This includes lamb, grass-fed beef, cashews, spinach, chicken, eggs, mushrooms, chickpeas and asparagus.
3. Avoid Inflammatory Foods
One possible cause of thyroid nodules and other problems related to the thyroid gland is inflammation. Inflammation can actually slow down the conversion and production of your thyroid hormones. For this reason, it’s important to avoid inflammatory foods that will only make these issues worse. That means staying away from processed foods, foods with added sugars, and other possible trigger foods like those containing gluten. In fact, research shows that the prevalence of thyroid disease in higher in patients with celiac disease, so for these people, avoiding gluten is mandatory.
4. Reduce Stress Levels
Research shows that both physical and mental stress can cause changes to your thyroid hormone levels. To keep the endocrine glands from becoming overloaded, which can cause damage to the body by suppressing immune function and altering the function of your adrenal and thyroid glands, it’s important to manage stress levels and get enough rest.
You can do this by trying natural stress relievers, such as exercising, getting 7–9 hours of sleep per night, putting time aside in your day to do something fun and relaxing, and joining a supportive group.
5. Try Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha, an adaptogen herb and traditional medicine in Ayurveda, is often used for thyroid dysfunctions. A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine evaluated the efficacy of ashwagandha root extract in hypothyroid patients. When patients took 600 milligrams of ashwagandha extract daily for eight weeks, their T4 levels improved significantly compared to placebo.
Other adaptogen herbs that can be used to improve symptoms of thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, include holy basil, ginseng and licorice root.
6. Take Probiotics
New research has linked hypothyroidism to disorders of the small intestine, like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Researchers found that overgrowth of certain bacteria can increase the risk of thyroid dysfunction. In fact, it was reported that SIBO may be present in more than half of patients with hypothyroidism.
Taking probiotic supplements and adding probiotic foods to your diet can help to balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut, potentially improving your thyroid function.
7. Reduce Toxic Exposures
Exposure to chemical toxins can cause inflammatory reactions that hinder proper thyroid function. Certain medications, hormonal birth control pills and commercial beauty or cleaning products should be avoided when possible. (Personally, I always choose green beauty and cleaning products to reduce my risk). It’s also worth mentioning that heavy metals like mercury and amalgam fillings can disrupt hormone balance, which is why it may be helpful to see a holistic dentist and remove silver fillings.