Natural Remedies to Heal your Thyroid.

Via on Jun 11, 2013

thyroid dysfunction

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Do you regularly experience fatigue, muscle aches and a general feeling of malaise?

Via elephant sponsor Isha Foundation.

Though these symptoms can prove too general or too difficult for Western doctors to diagnose, they’re all hallmark features of hypothyroidism—a disease that results from an underactive thyroid gland.

The thyroid—a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck—plays an important role in the body’s endocrine system, assisting in both the management of metabolism and the production of energy. Though the gland may be small, its proper functioning is crucial to your overall health and well-being!

In many instances though, this important series of regulatory processes goes haywire, resulting in an estimated 15 million Americans suffering from undiagnosed hypothyroidism.  In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, sufferers of this disease may experience:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Chills in the extremities
  • Tough or dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness

To confirm hypothyroidism, doctors measure the level of “TSH”—thyroid-stimulating hormone—found in the blood.  If the results of this test fall between 4.5 – 10.00 mU/L, the diagnosis is “subclinical hypothyroidism,” while a score above 10.00 mU/L results in a diagnosis of “overt hypothyroidism.”

Amongst Western doctors, the most common treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine—a synthetic hormone that replaces one of several thyroid hormones, known as “T4.” But because this treatment often results in incomplete symptom resolution (given the absence of naturally-occurring “T3” and other important thyroid hormones) and unpleasant side effects, many hypothyroidism sufferers also seek out natural remedies to manage their illness.

Any of the following remedies can help the body restore the thyroid to its proper functioning state. As with all natural remedies, however, be sure to undertake these recommendations under the supervision of a medical or holistic doctor, who can ensure that the impact of these lifestyle changes provides effective management for your thyroid condition.

Pursue a gluten-free diet

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis—an autoimmune condition in which the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid tissue as if it were a foreign invader, leading to many of the symptoms described above.

Unfortunately, the molecular composition of the gluten protein (found in wheat, barley and rye products) is nearly identical to the structure of human thyroid tissue. As a result, an immune system that is already attacking its own thyroid tissue may be provoked into more severe or prolonged attacks in the presence of the gluten molecule, making it a good choice for hypothyroidism sufferers to abstain from this nutrient entirely.

Seek out healthy fats

Though fats and cholesterols often get a bad rap by the medical industry, these two important compounds are the building blocks of hormonal pathways. Given that thyroid conditions are—at a basic level—issues that arise within the endocrine (hormonal) system, supplementing the diet with good sources of healthy fats can provide the raw materials needed to encourage the body to repair itself.

For best results, seek out any of the following types of healthy fats:

  • Coconut oil and other coconut products
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Full fat, antibiotic- and hormone-free dairy
  • Lean meats and fish
  • Flax seeds

Add a probiotic to your daily routine

Interestingly, some scientists estimate that as much as 80% of our immune systems are controlled from the digestive system–making gut health a top priority for anybody facing hypothyroidism. This is especially true in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other autoimmune thyroid conditions, as a healthier balance of digestive flora may help to quell the body’s unnecessary attack on the thyroid gland.

To improve your digestive health, consider adding a probiotic to your daily supplement routine. These products are widely available for purchase, though your doctor or alternative medicine practitioner may be able to recommend the specific option that’s best for your needs.

Avoid goitrogens

“Goitrogens” are naturally-occurring thyroid-inhibiting compounds that are found in several species of plants and vegetables. Anyone experiencing decreased thyroid function would be wise to avoid the following foods:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Rutabagas
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts

Address vitamin and nutrient deficiencies

In addition, while it’s important to recognize that vitamin and nutrient deficiencies don’t cause hypothyroidism and other thyroid conditions, the absence of these important substances throughout the body makes recovering from these diseases more difficult.

Specifically, a few of the vitamins and nutrients you’ll want to pay attention to for optimal health include:

  • Vitamin D (ideally, your level should be between 50 – 80 ng/mL)
  • Iron
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12

With the exception of Omega 3 fatty acids, your doctor can test your current levels of all these vitamins and nutrients, as well as identify potential supplementation solutions if you aren’t able to build optimal levels through diet alone.

Include a simple yogic process into your life

The sustained practice of yoga and meditation can go a long way towards helping you cope with a variety of chronic ailments, including thyroid dysfunction. Together, these practices create a deep sense of relaxation in the body and mind, thereby helping to relieve a number of different health issues.

Yogi and mystic Sadhguru says,

When you meditate, your whole system functions with ease, and you are restful all the time. There is no such thing as stress, and chronic ailments can be easily relieved. If your system is properly balanced and kept in full vibrance, psychological and physiological ailments cannot exist.

For evidence on how beneficial yoga and meditation can be to improving thyroid conditions, consider the results of a survey conducted last year by Dr. Raj Maturi that looked at the impact of Isha Yoga—a series of yoga programs conducted by the Isha Foundation—on overall health.

Throughout the study, 51% (35) of the surveyed participants reported improvement in their thyroid conditions.

isha thyroid 1

isha thyroid 2

Of the 35 participants who showed improvement in their disease condition, 16 experienced a reduction in their medication requirement, while 3 were able to completely stop medication.

isha thyroid 3

isha thyroid 4

Reference: Raj Maturi et al, Impact of Isha Yoga on disease status and medicine usage. International Yoga Conference, Sept 2012

Finally, keep in mind that, while all of these changes can play an important role in improving thyroid function naturally, it’s still important to work with your medical practitioner in order to monitor your TSH levels and overall improvement.  If your condition is severe, natural remedies alone may not initiate enough of a response to alleviate your symptoms until your disease is under better control.  In the meantime, proper medical management of your condition is vital to allowing these natural remedies to flourish in your syst

SadhguruSadhguru J. Vasudev is a contemporary mystic rooted as strongly in worldly and pragmatic matters as he is in inner experience and wisdom. Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, he has addressed prominent global forums on issues as diverse as socio-economic development, leadership and spirituality. He has served as delegate to the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit and the World Peace Congress and has been a special invitee to the World Economic Forum (2006-2009), the Australian Leadership Retreat (2006) and TED (2009). His interviews are featured in The New York Times, BBC, Bloomberg, CNNI and CNBC. He is the author of several books, the subject of four books and co-author of the Amazon Bestseller “Midnights with the Mystic.” His public talks frequently draw crowds of over 300,000 people.


A yogi, visionary humanitarian, and renowned speaker, Sadhguru is internationally sought-after by various global forums like the United Nations, World Economic Forum, TED, Australian leadership summit, etc. He travels to the US once-twice annually for speaking engagements and to conduct programs in various cities and at the Isha center in Tennessee. This Fall Sadhguru will be conducting Inner Engineering in California and Tennessee. We hope you are able to make use of this rare opportunity to experience the wisdom and meditations first hand from Sadhguru. For more information or to register please visit: innerengineering.org/live


Like elephant Spirituality on Facebook.

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16 Responses to “Natural Remedies to Heal your Thyroid.”

  1. gianine says:

    I'm surprised to see soy not mentioned as a goitrogen…

  2. Linda says:

    As someone who has been living with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's for the last 10+ years I think it's great to spread the word on the condition and raise awareness. However I feel this article is somewhat misleading as Hashimoto's is a chronic, not acute, condition and as such cannot be "cured" by dietary and lifestyle changes alone. Medication is an important part of the treatment plan and should not be tinkered with or discontinued without close supervision from an endocrinologist. Decreasing or stopping medication can lead to a potentially fatal condition called Myexdema. My suggestion is to work with an endocrinologist as well as a nutritionist to develop a treatment plan that works for you.

    My own treatment approach and plan includes Armour thyroid hormone Rx as well as a plant-heavy and gluten-free diet, that includes animal protein (sorry but I cannot get along without, I have tried. I do say a prayer before eating to ease the guilt) yoga, meditation, exercise, prayer and high-quality nutritional supplements. My healthcare providers include an endocrinologist, a naturopathic doctor, a chiropractor and an acupuncturist. I hope this is helpful to other out there who are suffering from this condition.

    • Susie says:

      I also suffer from Hashimotos for 23 years–I have had my ups and downs with Thyroid meds. I take Armour now and it seems to be the most consistent.I do get tested for inflammation process involving the thyroid and it can be very high. This is when the doc suggests Gluten Free diet. I dabble in this and cheat religiously. If I could get serious and dedicated perhaps I could see some changes. For the most part I get along fine and I can tell when things arent jiving

  3. Elaine Welsh says:

    I suffered from Graves' disease which is hyperthyroidism. The treatment I received for this was to kill off my thyroid function totally. It is with great interest I read the above as I have always been plagued by stomach problems and after many years of severe discomfort was given similar advice to the above last year. The gluten information has suddenly made sense to me as well as avoiding brassicas etc. I'm so glad I read this article and found it really helpful and comforting.

  4. lainey1843 says:

    I also have Grave's and although I refused any medication for almost a year, I was beginning to experience atrial arrythmia's, almost constant heart rate above 120, and increasingly severe DexScan results. (I also have a genetic disorder which predisposes my to early osteoporosis, (I was diagnosed with it at 36, (53 now), but after a vegetarian diet with supplements + yoga, I was able to increase my bone density significantly-until now), glaucoma, (diagnosed at 45), and renal disease, (I was born with one malformed kidney that functions pretty good for my age). Because of this, I agreed to take methimazole and Toprol-but my TSH is still "zero", and my heart rate only controlled with debilitating side effects. As a result, they want to remove my thyroid and I'm searching for ANY AND ALL Alternatives!!

  5. Sandy says:

    Thank you for this article. Like Linda, I suffer from Hashimoto's (as well as Vitamin D and iron deficiency) and have been working to get my levels back to normal. Levothyroxine is part of the plan, possibly always will be. I am in the "everything in moderation" school of thought, although have been reducing my intake of gluten for other reasons (I realized I simply felt better without it). That it is intimately related to thyroid function (and of course everything is related to everything..!) is news to me; wish my doctors (western and eastern alike!) knew of this. : /

  6. Tamara says:

    Awesome post. A few years ago I had a thyroid tumor and was in major trouble, my entire body was shutting down and my blood work showed big time problems, so much so that my doctor required a signature that i was refusing his service Ie: surgery

    I sought out alternative therapies in conjunction with consistent blood work to monitor my progress.

    I am happy to say I am a few years out, completely healthy and my thyroid is normal.

    Please seek out alternative therapies to surgery and medication. There are MANY people that have had great success. I was an extreme case, extremely sick, my body shutting down and seriously ill. It was scary but I knew in my belly that there was another way… much love. thank you for this article

  7. Natural Thyroid has been used successfully for more than 100 years, and it is obvious that natural desiccated thyroid is superior to T4-only medications such as Synthroid and Levothyroxine. However, in spite its obvious clinical superiority, Endocrinology Societies such as the ATA have published guidelines advising doctors to stay away from natural thyroid. (1) Over the years, they have used a variety of reasons. The latest reason is that there are no controlled trials . Here is the quote from the ATA Guidelines: “As of 2012 there are no controlled trials supporting the preferred use of desiccated thyroid hormone over synthetic L-thyroxine in the treatment of hypothyroidism or any other thyroid disease.”

    • Lisbeth Tanz says:

      It's unfortunate that our Western medicine often refuses to accept that there are viable alternatives to pharmaceutical medications. It isn't surprising that there aren't sufficient clinical trials of natural thyroid – drug companies can't patent "natural," so they won't do studies that examine their efficacy. Universities are often the place for this type of research, but with budget cuts and other competing priorities, those facilities often find themselves stretched beyond reason.

  8. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post. Dealing with any kind of thyroid issue can be very scary especially when you are afraid the medicine may do more harm than good. Thanks for giving people some alternatives to consider and possibly a little more hope.

  9. lynn bramley says:

    Hi Tamara….can you tell me how you did this..im not in a position to see a naturopath…even though i am studying it at the moment…i became vegie…no flour no sugar…no dairy and eat raw….i dnt feel alot better but at times my heart races and i still feel tired on a morning…i dnt drink coffee just gree t

  10. Saivite says:

    Namaste all, I was diagnosed with Graves in October and after much research, decided to pursue herbal/homeopathic and dietary protocol. My symptoms have improved by 80% and by that I mean no shakes, my resting pulse rate went from 108 to 73, no more debilitating muscle weakness, etc. I do have a professional herbalist/homeopath who is nationally respected and I adhere strictly to my protocol and auto immune paleo diet as well as get blood work for diagnostics. Do your research, be your own advocate and find support! Thyroid issues are an auto immune disorder. The thyroid needs support and help but remission/recovery is dependent on healing your immune system as well. Keep in mind adrenal health as well – all part of the endocrine system. I have learned much about allopathic care of Graves and the options are few and often lead to a hypo/Hashimotos' condition. Best of luck to all, and trust yourself. -S-

  11. CB says:

    I, too, have Grave’s disease and am glad to see others comment. It seems whenever I hear about thyroid issues it’s always about hypothyroidism. I chose to go on methimazole and am pleased to report that after a year on meds I am in remission and have been for about six months. Lainey – hang in there. It sounds like you are dealing with so much. If you are having trouble with a doc who will listen, if you’re able find a new one, but also be aware of the very real possibility of thyroid storm. Sending you healing. After several years, a very close friend whose Grave’s resulted in wild swings in her thyroid levels (and the scary heart palpitations) opted to use the radioactive iodine to kill the thyroid. She was very, very hesitant, but she is much, much healthier now. I am not one to jump to meds and I think that we need to our docs — indeed our whole society — to think more holistically. But I also think we need to recognize that there is a place for Western medicine.

  12. Erica says:

    If I'm not mistaken, only raw kale has goitrogen properties inhibiting proper thyroid function (in some). Cooked kale (lightly sauteed in olive oil, for instance) is O.K. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

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