I’m constantly tired, my hair is thinning, and I’m gaining weight.
My doctor says that I have hypothyroidism and prescribed Synthroid.
Can you give me more information about thyroid medications and let me know if there are any natural ways to help myself?
–G.A. Albany, New York
Approximately 12 million Americans have hypothyroidism. It may not feel like it, but believe it or not you’re actually lucky if your only major symptoms are just fatigue, hair loss and weight gain, because there are about 40 additional symptoms that can be related to low thyroid, including…
- swollen eyelids,
- brittle nails,
- menstrual irregularities,
- constant infections,
- yeast overgrowth,
- heart palpitations,
- high cholesterol,
- memory impairment,
- cold intolerance,
- and diabetes.
That last one is a shocker to most people but it’s true –low thyroid often precipitates diabetes and all of it’s potentially devastating complications.
Doctors often prescribe Synthroid (sold generically as levothyroxine). It provides your body with a precursor to thyroid hormone called T4. Your body converts T4 into T3 which is really what you want because T3 does all the work for you. T3 is active thyroid hormone.
All thyroid medications should be taken on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning unless otherwise directed. It is usually taken orally or sometimes sublingually (under the tongue).
Your doctor could also prescribe “Armour Thyroid” for you, which may work better because it provides both T4 and T3 in one pill. Even better, progressive doctors can call the local compounding pharmacy to have them prepare a special formula of natural thyroid hormone for you. Dosage is individual, and based on your blood work, symptoms, and basal body temperature (your body’s lowest temperature during sleep).
4 simple changes to support thyroid health
Next, try these few suggestions:
1. Switch your salt:
Regular table salt only contains “sodium chloride.” Switch to sea salt which contains a full range of minerals. Your thyroid gland loves minerals and makes thyroid hormone more efficiently in the presence of natural minerals.
2. Go gluten-free:
Researchers have found a significant link between wheat allergies (Celiac disease) and people with thyroid disease (especially Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease). Antibodies may come down within months of going gluten-free.
3. Limit intake of certain supplements:
Certain supplements, such as alpha lipoic acid for example, could interfere with the amount of active T3 your body makes. Keep dosages low (or avoid) in thyroid disease. Seek the help of a naturapathic doctor or nutritionist skilled in natural medicine to help you decide which supplements you shouldn’t cut back on or not take.
4. Limit certain foods:
Certain foods such as soy (tofu and soy milk) and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower) work against your thyroid.
3 thyroid-supporting supplements to try
In addition, depending on what your doctor says, consider supplementing with the following:
People with reduced levels of zinc, iodine, selenium, copper and magnesium have difficulty making active T3 thyroid hormone.
2. Spirulina supplements:
Spirulina is a natural dietary supplement that’s rich in trace minerals (and precious iodine) which helps drive the production of thyroid hormone.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that’s believed to to nourish the thyroid gland, helps to encourage the making of thyroid hormone, and provides antioxidant protection.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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