The thyroid is a large gland in the neck that secretes hormones regulating metabolism, growth, and development.
When the thyroid stops functioning optimally it is called hypothyroidism, which may be caused by an under active pituitary gland in the brain, genetic predisposition, autoimmune disease, medications, stress or inflammation.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
If you have some or a combination of the following symptoms, an under active thyroid gland may be the root cause:
– dry skin
– feeling cold
– weight gain
– hair loss
– muscle aches
– difficulty concentrating
– heavy periods
– high cholesterol
– hoarse voice
However, other factors that often contribute to these symptoms include fluctuating blood sugar levels, increasing and decreasing energy, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea due to food sensitivities or low good bacterial flora triggering an autoimmune response, diminished liver detoxification pathways increasing toxicity to the thyroid, poor absorption of vitamins and minerals due to low stomach acid, and chronic stress causing inflammation.
Hypothyroidism is often diagnosed through specific blood tests, however a result within the normal range does not rule out the condition.
Ensure adequate nutritional intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, copper, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, and iodine that are essential to thyroid gland function. Protein is also important as it transports thyroid hormones throughout the body. As fat is the precursor to making hormones, you should consume olive oil, avocado, flax seeds, and nuts.
If a patient is already taking a pharmaceutical drug when they see me, I will monitor my treatment via blood testing. A blood test is the best resource to discover nutritional deficiencies, hidden food sensitivities, and to monitor the function of the liver and thyroid gland as well as treatment. There is a great deal that naturopathic medicine can do to help support the function of the thyroid gland.
Since the root cause of hypothyroidism for each individual varies, naturopathic medicine focuses on the function of the entire body and tailors the treatment modalities to treating their individual symptoms using a combination of non-toxic approaches. Naturopathic medical treatment goals are to increase function of the thyroid by reducing inflammation and stress on the body and improving nutrition vital to the gland.
In my experience over the years, I have found that effective treatment of hypothyroidism most commonly consists of a combination of botanical medicine, homeopathy, stress management and dietary modification.