HYPOTHYROID (LOW THYROID FUNCTION)
Natural Support Strategies
Hypothyroid is a term that refers to low thyroid function. The condition can be either "primary" or "secondary." Primary hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone. "Secondary" (also called sub-clinical) hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is producing a normal amount of thyroid hormone but it is not being converted to its more active form in the liver or the "target" tissues. Primary hypothyroidism is diagnosed by a blood test. (TSH is the screening blood test for thyroid function). Secondary hypothyroidism is determined by symptoms and basal body temperature.
Symptoms of low thyroid function include cold intolerance, fatigue, anemia, difficulty losing weight, menstrual disorders, memory and concentration difficulties, constipation, infertility, dry skin, elevated cholesterol levels, depression, muscle and joint stiffness to name just a few. Because thyroid hormone sets the "pace" for all cells in the body, a deficiency can result in "sluggishness" of virtually any physical function.
Because the body temperatures will be low in both primary and secondary low thyroid, basal body temperatures are a sensitive self-test to evaluate thyroid function. If you have thyroid symptoms or your temperature is low, get a thyroid blood test to see if the gland is producing sufficient thyroid hormone. These tests usually require a doctor’s order. Primary low thyroid usually requires prescription thyroid medication (preferably natural thyroid hormone) for correction. Secondary low thyroid can be corrected by self-help measures.
Thyroid hormones are made in the body from iodine. the T4 thyroid hormone contains 4 iodine molecules, and T3 contains 3 iodine molecules. Anyone with primary or secondary low thyroid should have an iodine test to determine iodine levels.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS
- Exercise regularly. Lack of physical activity is a common cause of secondary low thyroid function.
- Iodine test. Both low iodine and excess iodine impede thyroid function. Be careful of taking excess iodine in supplemental form until the results of an iodine test are available.
- Diet. Use sea salt or natural unrefined salt which contains iodine and other minerals necessary to normal thyroid function
- Avoid bromine. Bromine is a mineral which displaces iodine from the thyroid gland, impairing thyroid function. it is used in baked goods as a dough conditioner, in some soda pops and other foods. Read labels.
- Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of vitamins A, C, E, B2, B3, B6, zinc, and selenium are particularly important for correcting hypothyroidism.
- Iodoral (Iodine) amount based on iodine test results, typically 1-4 tabs or as directed by healthcare professional.
- Modifilan (seaweed source of natural iodine) 4-6 caps per day. Provides a highly bio-available source of iodine plus detoxifying co-factors. Can be safely taken by most people even without an iodine test.
- Milk Thistle Plus: 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals. This improves the liver’s ability to convert thyroid hormone (T4) to its more active form (T3).
- Thyroid cytotrophin: 1-2 tabs daily or as directed by healthcare professional.
Learn more about the importance of iodine in Iodine: the "Missing Mineral" for Thyroid, Heart, Healthy Immunity and Cancer Protection