CHENNAI: Thyroid is a butterflyshaped,small gland located in front of the neck. It is responsible for producing hormones that influence energy levels, metabolism, hair growth, sleep, menstrual cycle, and other chemical reactions in the body.
When the thyroid gland fails to produce thyroid hormone in sufficient amounts, it can lead to hypothyroidism; when it produces more hormone, it leads to hyperthyroidism. Hypo/ Hyperthyroidism symptoms can vary from tiredness, dry skin, constipation, muscle weakness, weight gain/loss, thinning of hair, depression, and forgetfulness. Thyroid disorders develop slowly and with proper naturopathic treatments, it is possible to reverse the condition, resulting in the gland’s proper functioning.Here are 10 naturopathic treatments to manage thyroid conditions.
Though hypothyroidism has become a common household name these days, it can be effectively treated with disciplined adherence to the age-old practice of yoga. According to a study published in PubMed, yoga improved thyroid hormones and cholesterol levels for those who practised it for six months. Yoga reduces individual mental stress levels and enhances overall well-being. To improve blood circulation to the neck region and strengthen the neck, one can practise yoga poses like Salamba Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Halasasana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, and Navsasana. Regular practice of Ujjayi and Bhramari pranayama can regularise the secretion of the thyroid hormones.
Herbs are an integral part of naturopathic treatment and are frequently used in the treatment of thyroid disorders. Herbs like Asian ginseng, gum guggal, ashwagandha, and Coleus forskohlii are used to boost the function of underactive thyroid glands. However, care must be taken to consume these in proper amounts as too much of it can result in the overproduction of T3 and T4 thyroid hormones.
Hydrotherapy is based on the concept that water can be the ultimate healing agent when used in various ways and its effectiveness depends on the location, pressure, temperature, and timing of hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy, like hot and cold therapy, can improve thyroid function and reduce thyroid antibodies. Hydrotherapy can also treat a whole lot of localised neck-related symptoms such as hoarseness of voice, difficulty in swallowing, a lump in the throat, and reducing the size of thyroid nodules.
Across different naturopathy centres in the world, massages are one of the primary forms of alternative treatment therapies for thyroid dysfunction. Reflexology techniques coupled with proper massages can boost the adrenal and thyroid glands, making them perform better. In most cases, the massages are carried out using essential oils that further boost the adrenal and thyroid glands.
Acupuncture is an effective method to help balance the levels thyroid hormones in the body. Research published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine revealed that regular acupuncture can improve thyroid hormone markers in those suffering from thyroid dysfunction. Also, acupuncture relieves anxiety and muscle tension, which are common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
LIMITING SUGAR INTAKE
In general, too much sugar is bad for health but is especially harmful to those suffering from thyroid hormone imbalance, as one of the important tasks of the gland is to regulate carbohydrate metabolism. When the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones, there can be an imbalance in the blood sugar levels leading to metabolic derangement, weight gain, and fatigue.
CONSUMING FOOD RICH IN IODINE
Iodine is a key mineral that aids in thyroid hormone production. So, include foods like sea vegetables, seaweed, oysters, shrimp, cheese, and yogurt in your diet. Taking iodised salt or iodine supplements can
also have a positive impact.
VITAMIN B AND SELENIUM
B group of vitamins can offer much-needed benefits to people suffering from hypothyroidism, as they have different interactions with various hormone regulation and thyroid function. Rich sources of vitamin B include green leafy veggies, seeds, nuts, whole grains, legumes, yogurt, and milk. Selenium is an important mineral that has many functions, including metabolism of thyroid hormones. An optimum level of selenium in the body also ensures the prevention of thyroid diseases. Some nutrientrich sources of selenium are pasta, rice, oatmeal, Brazil nuts, legumes, and nuts. It is important to take the doctor’s advice to decide on the right amount of these foods to be consumed for the best benefits.
Mud therapy helps in the absorption of impurities and toxins from the body that allows the thyroid glands to perform normally once again.When toxin accumulates in the body, the optimal performance
of thyroid gland activity reduces, leading to decreased secretion of T3 and T4 thyroid hormones, which
can cause tiredness, excess sleep and various other symptoms/signs.
Diet plays a crucial role in managing thyroid conditions and patients often see remarkable improvements in issues related to thyroid hormones when they stick to a gluten-free diet. People
who are sensitive to gluten are more likely to develop thyroid-related disorders as gluten
can damage the gut lining, causing interference with the thyroid hormones. Also, gluten is processed
with bromide which displaces iodine – a key component needed to balance thyroid hormones.
(The author is Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)