Are you putting on weight like never before? Do you get exhausted and feel a lack of energy after doing a few errands? Is your hair falling like hell? If so, be cautious! All these signs indicate that you might have an underactive thyroid. In other words, there are high chances that you are suffering from hypothyroidism. Several medications are available for this ailment; however, you can also try the home remedies for hypothyroidism given below in order to bring thyroid hormones back to the normal level. Hypothyroidism can also be kept in control through proper diet plan and exercise.
Causes and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Premature graying of hair, puffy face, muscle tenderness and aches, impaired memory, dry and thinning hair, pain and stiffness in the joints, high blood pressure, weight gain, dry skin, depression, fatigue, constipation, etc. are some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism (1).
A lot of factors contribute to hypothyroidism such as dysfunctional or damaged pituitary gland, chlorinated and fluoridated water, pregnancy, deficiency of minerals, certain medications, autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, etc.
Natural Remedies for Hypothyroidism
For those who are wondering how to treat hypothyroidism naturally, here are some natural cures for hypothyroidism.
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in various cellular and metabolic processes. Deficiency of vitamin B12 causes many diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, several cardiovascular ailments, and hypothyroidism (2,3,4). Eat foods enriched in vitamin B12 such as milk products, eggs, fish, etc.
2. Vitamin C
Oxidative stress can worsen hypothyroidism. Vitamin C, being an excellent antioxidant, helps get rid of hypothyroidism by reducing oxidative stress and improving the thyroid function (5,6,7). To improve vitamin C level in your body, you can eat kiwifruit, orange, strawberries, tomato, grapefruit, and other vitamin C rich foods (8).
Iodine controls the overall thyroid function. A slight change in the iodine intake is enough to reset the thyroid system (9). This trace element is essential for the production of thyroid hormones; however, its consumption must be maintained at a safe level (10). Some good sources of iodine are meat, seafood, iodized salt, bread, egg, cheese, seaweed, etc. (11).
The highest concentration of selenium in the body is found in the thyroid (13). As this mineral is vital for the production of thyroid hormone; its deficiency results in hypothyroidism (14,15). Brazil nuts, cottage cheese, chicken, turkey, macaroni, sardines, tuna, etc. are the selenium-rich foods (16). Try to include them in your diet.
Deficiency of magnesium leads to hypothyroidism (17,18). With proper intake of magnesium, the thyroid hormone imbalance can be reset to normal. Munch on cashews, almonds, spinach, yogurt, avocado, peanuts, black beans, kidney beans, instant oatmeal, banana, etc. for improving magnesium level in your body (19).
Manganese is an essential mineral for the production of thyroxine and proper health and functioning of the thyroid gland (20,21). Any abnormality in the metabolism of manganese is directly associated with thyroid diseases (22). Consider eating brown rice, whole wheat bread, peanuts, almonds, sweet potato, etc. (23) for overcoming manganese deficiency.
Copper, along with other trace elements, is required for the production of thyroid hormones and maintain the optimal function of the thyroid gland (24,25). The decrease in blood copper levels leads to a reduction in thyroid hormones levels. Include copper affluent foods in your diet such as dried fruits, dark leafy greens, nuts, beans, whole grains, shellfish, etc. (26).
Zinc is an essential mineral for biochemical functions of the body (27). The metabolism of thyroid hormones and zinc are closely interlinked (28). Zinc prevents hair loss induced by hypothyroidism (29). Some good food sources of zinc are oysters, baked beans, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cashews, instant oatmeal, etc. (30).
Essential Oils for Hypothyroidism
9. Frankincense Oil
Frankincense oil is bestowed with various therapeutic properties such as anti-neurotic, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory that help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism (31). Frankincense could also prevent spatial memory impairment induced by hypothyroidism (32). Add a few drops of frankincense oil to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply it to thyroid acupressure points. Use it on a daily basis for effective results.
10. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary acts as a pancreatic protective agent against carbimazole-induced pancreatic hypothyroidism (33). Both leaves and oil of this herb are used for the treatment of various ailments. The antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of rosemary essential oil make it an effective cure for hypothyroidism (34).
Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil with 2-3 drops of rosemary oil. Gently massage this oil mixture for a couple of minutes on the thyroid acupressure points such as below your feet, the medial aspect of your lower leg, and the base of your throat. Let your skin absorb the oil. Alternatively, add 4-5 drops of rosemary oil to your bath water and soak yourself in it for at least 20-25 minutes.
Herbs for Hypothyroidism
Herbs act as natural supplements for hypothyroidism and help effectually treat hypothyroidism:
11. Aloe Vera
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of aloe vera make it a wonder herb. In addition to several beauty treatments, aloe vera is also used to cure various health-related issues, including hypothyroidism (35). Drink aloe vera juice first thing in the morning to keep your thyroid in check.
Nettle, also known as Urtica dioica, is a therapeutic herb that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It helps cure both under-active as well as the overactive thyroid gland. Nettle leaves, being a good source of iodine, are useful in the treatment of hypothyroidism resulted due to lack of iodine (36) (37).
All you need to do is drink nettle tea. For preparing tea, wash some fresh nettle leaves. Now put them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. After that, strain the tea and drink it.
Bladderwrack stimulates the production of thyroid hormones (38). As this herb is rich in iodine, it helps alleviate hypothyroidism caused due to inadequate iodine consumption (39). You can incorporate bladderwrack into salads, grains, and soups. Alternatively, toast it in the oven and eat as a snack. You can also have it in the form of capsules.
Ginger is used to cure several health conditions, including hypothyroidism as it is featured with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and various other properties (40,41,42). You can include ginger in your diet in multiple ways. Peeled and finely chopped ginger root can be added to tea, stir-fry dishes, and soups. You can sprinkle powdered ginger on muffins and cookies. You can also eat dried ginger as it is.
Note: Consult with your physician before consuming ginger as it may interact with traditional medicines.
Guggul has been found to have positive effects in the treatment of hypothyroidism (43). It regulates thyroid functions and brings T3 and T4 hormones to normal (44). This herb is available in the form of liquid extracts, powders, capsules, and tablets. However, the form and dosage depend on the overall condition and age of the patient.
Kelp is rich in iodine and thus acts as a thyroid booster (45,46,47). This seaweed is also affluent in essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins A, B, C, and E (48), which makes it an effectual hypothyroidism natural treatment. Kelp powder can be added to salads and smoothies. Alternatively, you can prepare kelp tea.
Note: People suffering from hyperthyroidism must avoid consumption of kelp as it may worsen the condition.
Two significant compounds in ginseng – gintonin and ginsenosides – render several health benefits (51). Research studies have revealed the positive impact of ginseng on the production of thyroid hormones and the improvement of hypothyroid condition (52,53,54). Prepare ginseng tea by adding sliced ginseng to hot water. Steep it for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, consume the herb in the form of a capsule, tablet, or powder.
19. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea protects against many benign thyroid ailments as well as thyroid cancer (55). To prepare chamomile tea, add 4 grams of dried chamomile leaves to a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for at least 15-20 minutes. Drink this tea 3-4 times each day.
Rhodiola helps get rid of some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and depression. It also decreases cortisol level. (56,57). You can take this herb in the form of a pill. Alternatively, you can brew its tea.
Turmeric is one of the widely used natural remedies for hypothyroidism resulted due to heavy metal such as potassium dichromate (58,59). Turmeric can be taken in the form of a capsule or can be used in cooking. Alternatively, mix a teaspoon turmeric powder in milk and consume it.
Foods for Hypothyroidism
Make some dietary changes and have the best diet for hypothyroidism. The following foods are considered the best foods for hypothyroidism:
- Vitamin-rich foods such as kiwifruit, orange, milk products, milk, eggs, fish, etc.
- Foods affluent in minerals such as chicken, turkey, macaroni, sardines, tuna, yogurt, avocado, etc.
You can consume the following foods in moderation after consulting with your doctor:
- Fruits – strawberries, pears, peaches, etc.
- Cruciferous veggies – cabbage, spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.
- Gluten-containing foods – cereals, pasta, bread, etc.
- Iodine and selenium supplements.
Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism
Avoid the intake of the following products:
- All varieties of millet
- Cookies, cakes, hot dogs, and other highly processed foods
- Soy products such as soy sauce and soy milk, as they may interfere with the production of thyroid hormones by the body
- Coffee and alcohol