At New Leaf a common question we get asked is what can be taken to help with problems, such as weight gain, caused by an underactive thyroid. I thought I’d put together a blog to help to explain what that is and show you some of the natural remedies which may help with the treatment of an underactive thyroid caused by dietary deficiencies, there are other causes so see your doctor for a diagnosis.
What is a thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland in the neck which secretes hormones. These hormones regulate growth and development through the rate of metabolism.
What is the difference between an underactive thyroid and an overactive thyroid?
If a person has Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone for the body’s needs, but with hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, the thyroid makes too much.
The NHS website lists the following symptoms of an overactive thyroid: nervousness, anxiety and irritability, hyperactivity – you may find it hard to stay still and feel full of nervous energy, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, feeling tired all the time, sensitivity to heat, muscle weakness, diarrhoea, needing to pee more often than usual, persistent thirst, itchiness, loss of interest in sex.
If you are diagnosed with an overactive thyroid by your doctor, your doctor must treat you through conventional medicines e.g. through medicines, Radioiodine treatment or surgery.
Generally people coming in looking for advice are looking for advice because of an underactive thyroid diagnosed by a doctor. Often weight gain is the symptom that people notice first, but there are other symptoms.
What are the symptoms of an underactive thyroid?
If your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones it can upset the balance of chemical reactions in your body. There can be a number of causes, including autoimmune disease, radiation therapy, thyroid surgery and certain medications as well as deficiencies in a person’s diet. The NHS website lists the symptoms of an underactive thyroid as including tiredness, being sensitive to cold, weight gain, constipation, depression, slow movements and thoughts, muscle aches and weakness, dry and scaly skin, brittle hair and nails, loss of libido (sex drive), pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome), irregular periods or heavy periods. Elderly people with an underactive thyroid may develop memory problems and depression. Children may experience slower growth and development. Teenagers may start puberty earlier than normal. Visit the NHS page for more information
How do I know if my weight gain is due to my thyroid?
You must go to see your doctor and they will test you to make a diagnosis.
An underactive thyroid may be due to deficiencies in the diet.
There are many causes of an underactive thyroid so you should talk to your doctor. If your doctor considers dietary deficiencies to be a factor these are the vitamins and minerals which may be playing a role.
Research has revealed a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune thyroid disorders. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and medical research has found it may respond to treatment with vitamin D. “Vitamin D may slow down the course of development of hypothyroidism and also decrease cardiovascular risks in these patients”
Iodine is most commonly contained in seafood. This can mean that those who don’t eat much seafood can be deficient in Iodine. Vegetarians, Vegans and anyone who does not eat seafood can lack iodine in their diet.
Iodine is used to make thyroid hormones, so an iodine deficiency means your body can’t make enough of them, leading to hypothyroidism. Kelp Tablets are a great supplement to boost your iodine levels.
An iron deficiency can also be a factor in underactive thyroid problems. Your doctor can test your iron levels to see if this is the case.
These are some recommendations of products that we stock which may help in the treatment of hypothyroidism, an underactive thryroid, if it is diagnosed that it is caused by dietary deficiencies. Always see a doctor about any condition that you are worried about.