An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroid, is a very common medical condition. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 4.6 percent of the U.S. population ages 12 years and up has hypothyroidism. That’s nearly 5 out of 100 people.
Depending on the severity of the condition, individuals struggling with hypothyroidism often experience a variety of symptoms including weight gain, constipation, cold intolerance, brain fog, fatigue, depression, anxiety, dry skin, and thinning hair. Although most common in older women, hypothyroid-related problems can happen to anyone, even as a symptom of autoimmune disorders such as Celiac or Hashimoto’s disease.
Diagnosed through a blood test, hypothyroidism is most often treated through prescription medications containing a levothyroxine sodium, such as Levoxyl and Synthroid. These drugs are successful for many, but also can carry unanticipated side-effects and stipulations. They often require long-term, if not life-long commitment, creating a chemical-dependency rather than healing the root of your hypothyroidism.
That is certainly not to say conventional drugs are “bad.” Rather, you should consider alternative medicines and natural remedies to address the root cause of your hypothyroidism. Indeed, more and more people are turning to naturopathic solutions as an alternative. Keep reading to learn about chemical-free hypothyroid treatment options.
4 Alternative Treatments To Consider For Hypothyroidism
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can be used to treat thyroid conditions. A year-long study on 34 patients found that those undergoing acupuncture treatment had markedly improved symptoms. Through regular treatments, acupuncture can improve thyroid as well as symptoms of associated conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Herbs and Supplementation
Natural supplements such as Selenium, Vitamin B, Iodine, Zinc, and Iron aid thyroid function and improve your overall health. However, you should only take supplements if recommended by your naturopath or doctor. That is to say, supplementation is good in conjunction with other treatments or for treating a diagnosed deficiency. Those “thyroid support” or “thyroid boosting” pills on Amazon are too-good-to-be-true, and may even do more harm than good.
Most thyroid-promoting nutrients can actually be in your diet. While people suffering from chronic conditions such as Hashimoto’s or celiac are required to make drastic dietary changes, such as gluten-free, non-dairy, or sugar-free diets, anyone experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism should consider altering their diets to improve their gut and reduce inflammation. Like supplementation, there’s no golden “hypothyroid diet”, but foods can play a huge role in conjunction with treatments like acupuncture. Increasing your protein intake through foods like eggs, lean meats, and fish is very important.
Also, loading up on fruits and vegetables can provide essential nutrients like iron, vitamin B, and vitamin C. Caffeine and alcohol can irritate your thyroid gland and processed foods high in fat and salt cause inflammation and weight-gain. At the end of the day, listening to your body and choosing foods that make you feel good is key. Although diet alone cannot fix hypothyroid, it may have a notable bearing on your overall well-being.
Did you know that your gut plays an enormous role in your immune system, mental health, and thyroid function? A healthy gut influences the absorption and availability of essential nutrients, such as Vitamin B, Iodine, Zinc, etc. Medical professionals are only beginning to understanding the bearing your gut plays on your overall health, but for now, investing in a high-quality probiotic while improving your diet is key.
If you are experiencing hypothyroid-related symptoms, the experienced team at River City Wellness is here for you. Licensed acupuncturist Lindsay Matthews M.Ac.O.M, L.Ac has many years of experience successfully working to help patients struggling with symptoms related to hypothyroidism.For more information or to schedule an appointment call 502-822-0626 or book online.