Your thyroid is a small gland located in your neck. Despite its small size, the thyroid is in charge of regulating many processes inside the human body. In order to do this, your thyroid gland is constantly secreting several hormones.
These hormones, also known as thyroid hormones, regulate most of your body’s metabolic functions. A healthy thyroid gland can keep your organism balanced and thriving. But any type of thyroid disease can lead to extensive symptoms that affect your entire body.
There are many different conditions that can affect your thyroid. Speaking in general terms, most of these conditions cause either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Either one of these conditions can cause a myriad of symptoms that can range from mild to severe.
One of the most important steps that you need to take in order to treat your thyroid problems is to make sure you get the right diagnosis. Please keep in mind that in some cases, treating the cause of your thyroid condition is the only way to get better. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use natural strategies to alleviate your symptoms.
There are many natural treatments that can help you manage your thyroid symptoms. These strategies can be combined with traditional treatments to improve your quality of life and allow you to return to your normal routine. It is very important to follow all your treatments consistently in order to see improvement.
Read on to discover the best natural strategies to manage both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Natural Ways To Treat Hypothyroidism
Natural strategy #1. Adopt a sugar-free diet, and you will soon feel healthier and more energized.
Processed sugar is a pro-inflammatory substance, meaning that it can increase inflammation and oxidative stress throughout your body. Excessive inflammation can slow down your thyroid function, even more, worsening your symptoms and overall health.
Sugar also contains empty calories, which can make it more difficult to manage your weight if you suffer from hypothyroidism. Processed sugar only provides a short energy boost that can make you feel tired afterward. Patients with hypothyroidism tend to struggle with their energy levels, so cutting back on processed sugars can help you feel more active during the day.
Natural strategy #2. Eat more lean protein and healthy fats
Eating a high-protein diet is very important if you want to increase your metabolism. Getting enough protein from your diet is also vital for people trying to lose weight. Many patients with hypothyroidism develop obesity as a result of their condition, which is another reason why eating a balanced diet is so helpful.
Healthy sources of protein include:
- Lean red meat
- Skinless poultry
- White-fleshed fish
- Seeds and nuts
- Skimmed milk
- Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Pork loin
Eating healthy fats in moderate amounts can actually help regulate your metabolism and aid in weight loss. Foods that contain healthy fats can also lower your cholesterol and levels, protect your brain and heart function, and reduce inflammation.
Good sources of healthy fats include:
- Olive oil
- Nut butters
- Fatty fish
- Chia seeds
- Whole eggs
- Dark chocolate
- Coconut oil
Natural strategy #3. Increase your selenium intake to help your body manage thyroid hormones
Selenium is a mineral that can help your body utilize thyroid hormones more efficiently. It also has antioxidant properties, which can protect your thyroid from the damage caused by free radicals.
However, there is insufficient evidence behind taking selenium supplements as a treatment for thyroid problems, since they might be too strong. Instead, it is recommended that you increase your selenium intake through your diet.
Selenium-rich foods include:
- Brazil nuts
- Brown rice
- Sunflower seeds
Natural strategy #4. Probiotics
There is a strong link between hypothyroidism and poor gut health. A 2014 study found that it was very common for patients with hypothyroidism to also suffer from gastric dysmotility. Altered gastric motility also led to bacterial overgrowth in patients’ bowels, and it caused unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.
Probiotics are very useful in the management of these symptoms. You can take a probiotic supplement or try to include more probiotics in your diet. You can achieve this through foods like:
- Raw cheese
Natural strategy #5. Vitamin D can help improve your thyroid hormone levels
Vitamin D plays a very important role in many of our bodies’ functions. Research has shown that vitamin D supplementation can help increase thyroid hormone levels. Vitamin D binds to receptors that are similar to the ones used by thyroid hormones.
Low vitamin D levels can also lead to memory and concentration problems in patients with hypothyroidism. You can try a vitamin D supplement to help manage these symptoms. It is also very important to get healthy sun exposure in order to boost the production of this vitamin.
Natural strategy #6. A gluten-free diet can benefit many patients with hypothyroidism.
Celiac disease is another condition that is closely linked to hypothyroidism. Cutting out gluten isn’t recommended unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease. In these cases, sticking to a gluten-free diet can do wonders for your health and your thyroid symptoms.
If you try a gluten-free diet and start to feel better, it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. They might be able to order tests that can confirm or rule out this diagnosis. Your immune system can mistake your thyroid tissue for gluten, attacking it and causing harm if you do suffer from gluten sensitivity.
Natural strategy #7. Identify sources of goitrogens in your diet and try to avoid them to improve your thyroid function.
Goitrogens are natural compounds that can potentially inhibit your thyroid function. They disrupt your body’s ability to utilize iodine to synthesize thyroid hormones.
Goitrogen-rich foods include:
- Brussel sprouts
- Bok choi
However, these foods will only cause negative effects if eaten raw and in large amounts. You can either cook these vegetables before consuming them or stick to smaller portions. It is also important to maintain a healthy iodine intake.
Natural strategy #8. Learn how to manage your stress levels to boost your mood and energy.
Living with a thyroid condition can be very stressful. Your symptoms can make it harder for you to keep up with your daily routine, which can make you feel anxious or depressed. Stress can worsen the symptoms of your thyroid condition by slowing down your metabolism.
Try stress management techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and tai chi to help boost your mood and lower your stress levels.
Natural Ways To Treat Hyperthyroidism
Natural strategy #1. Follow a low-iodine diet
Consuming too much iodine can worsen hyperthyroidism since your body uses iodine to create thyroid hormones. It is very common for doctors to prescribe a low-iodine diet along with any traditional treatments.
Avoid these foods to follow a low-iodine diet:
- Dairy products
- Pudding mixes
- Iodized salt
Following this diet doesn’t mean that you can’t eat these foods at all, since some foods – like dairy and whole grains – also have many health benefits. You simply have to consume smaller portions less often.
Natural strategy #2. Avoid foods that contain nitrates to help manage your body’s production of thyroid hormones.
Nitrates can be naturally found in many foods. These compounds can help increase your body’s ability to absorb iodine. This effect, in turn, can lead to excessive production of thyroid hormones. Research has even suggested a link between nitrates and thyroid cancer.
Avoid these foods to decrease your nitrate intake:
- Processed meats
Natural strategy #3. Use essential oils to manage the stressful symptoms caused by the disease.
Hyperthyroidism can make you feel stressed and anxious. Insomnia is another common symptom. You can use aromatherapy before going to bed to relax and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
Lavender oil has been found to be particularly effective for sleep problems. Sandalwood, cedarwood, laurel, rosewood, and thyme have also shown to have positive effects on sleep. Feeling well-rested will also make you feel more relaxed and calm during the day, which can help manage other symptoms.
Natural strategy #4. L-carnitine
L-carnitine is an amino acid that can be naturally found in the human body. Research has found that this amino acid can block thyroid hormones from entering certain types of cells. As a result, it can improve symptoms like heart palpitations, tremors, fatigue, nervousness, hyperreflexia, body temperature, and insomnia. It can even improve bone density.
L-carnitine can be found in whey, meat, fish, and dairy products. There are also many L-carnitine supplements available; however, you should check with your doctor before trying them.
Natural strategy #5. Glucomannan has shown promising results in the management of thyroid hormones.
Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber that is extracted from the root of a plant called konjac or elephant yam. It can be used as an emulsifier, thickener, and additive. Many people also use it to aid weight loss and relieve constipation.
But more importantly, research has demonstrated that glucomannan can lower serum thyroid hormones in patients with hyperthyroidism. Glucomannan could be a great alternative treatment for this condition since it is well-tolerated and doesn’t cause side effects.
You can easily find glucomannan supplements in the market. Natural sources of this fiber include elephant yam, salep flour, and shirataki noodles.
Natural strategy #6. Include certain vegetables that can decrease your thyroid function in your everyday diet.
The same principle that makes goitrogens harmful for patients with hypothyroidism makes them helpful for people with hyperthyroidism. These compounds can block your body from turning iodine into thyroid hormones, thus decreasing your hormonal levels.
It is important to avoid excessive consumption of any type of substance. However, adding a portion of cruciferous vegetables to your meals can help you manage your thyroid function naturally.
Natural strategy #7. Make sure you are getting enough minerals to regulate your thyroid.
Getting enough quantities of different minerals is very important to manage your thyroid health. These minerals can not only help balance your thyroid levels, but they can also prevent further damage to your thyroid tissue. Minerals can also boost your immune system, improve autoimmune causes of thyroid disease.
The most important minerals for your thyroid health include:
You can make sure you are getting enough minerals by using a supplement, or by adding mineral-rich foods to your diet. These foods include:
- Fortified orange juice
- Leafy greens
Natural strategy #8. Exercise regularly to boost your mood and maintain your bone density.
Hyperthyroidism can lead to low bone density and increase your risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Weight training can increase your muscle mass and prevent bone density loss, reducing this risk.
Aerobic exercise, on the other hand, can improve your mood and reduce anxiety and stress. It can also help you spend extra energy so that you feel calmer throughout the day.
Regular exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight if you become hypothyroid through treatment, which is very common. It is important to avoid strenuous workouts and high-intensity exercise if you suffer from an elevated heart rate. Instead, start out with light exercise and improve your stamina and resistance progressively.
Final thoughts on treating Thyroid
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can have a profoundly negative effect on your quality of life. These conditions can be debilitating and they can interfere with your usual activities. Many people struggle with chronic thyroid conditions, which can require long-term treatment.
Once your doctor has diagnosed the cause of your thyroid problems, it is very important to follow their indications to feel better. But in many cases, natural strategies can be combined with other treatments in order to boost their efficacy. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment, whether it is alternative or traditional.
Natural thyroid treatments can make it easier for you to regain your quality of life and feel great despite your thyroid condition.
Andrea, M.D is from Valencia, Venezuela. She is passionate about sexual health and education, and public health and global health. Additionally, she enjoys researching and learning about beauty, skincare, and cosmetic innovations. She has also volunteered in several NGOs in Venezuela. In her free time, Andrea enjoys reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, making desserts for her family, going to the beach, and spending time with her dog, Dorito.