Note: Do consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Use home remedies just as an adjunct treatment.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive. It affects the body’s metabolism rate, which is controlled primarily by the thyroid gland.
Some of the common symptoms associated with hypothyroidism are fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, puffy face, hoarse voice, muscle cramping, sudden weight gain, depression and brittle fingernails and hair.
Many natural remedies can help control this health problem.
Here are the 10 home remedies for hypothyroidism.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that help improve thyroid functioning. It will also stimulate metabolism and boost energy. Plus, it will help raise the basal body temperature which is important for those dealing with low thyroid function.
- Use coconut oil for cooking. Always use extra-virgin organic coconut cooking oil.
- You can also add two tablespoons of coconut oil to milk and drink it in the morning along with your breakfast every day. You can also add it to your smoothies.
Kelp is a brown seaweed rich in iodine and other minerals. It is useful for those suffering from hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency. However, this remedy is not recommended for those suffering from autoimmune thyroid problems or else it may worsen the condition.
So, do consult your doctor before taking kelp supplements to check if it is suitable for you and find the correct dosage specific to your condition.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may also help deal with this thyroid disorder. It is believed that it aids detoxification, restores acid alkaline balance, facilitates weight loss, and helps regulate hormones and improve their energy metabolism.
Apple cider vinegar is also beneficial for other health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and others.
- Add two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
- Mix in a little honey.
- Drink this solution daily on a regular basis.
4. Fish Oils
Fish oils are considered good for increasing thyroid hormone uptake and maintaining healthy thyroid function. Being rich in omega 3 fatty acids, they also fight inflammation and increase immunity.
Take fish oil supplements after consulting your doctor, especially if you are taking blood thinners. The general dosage is up to 3 grams per day.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with several autoimmune diseases, including thyroid disease. Exposure to early sunshine is a good way to generate the vitamin D required by the body.
So, expose your body to early morning sunrays for about 15 minutes daily. This will also help maintain healthy immune function and calcium metabolism.
Those suffering from hypothyroidism can make it a habit to wake up in the morning and do some healthy exercises (stimulates the thyroid gland), such as walking outdoors. You’ll get the early sunshine as well as benefit from the physical exercise.
Guggul comes from the gum resin of an Indian tree called Commiphora Mukul. Research indicates that its active compounds called guggulsterones may help in the treatment of hypothyroidism by stimulating thyroid function. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and cholesterol-lowering benefits.
You can take this herb in supplement form after consulting your doctor. Generally, it is taken in doses of 25 mg three times a day. When taking this herb, be sure to monitor your T3 and T4 thyroid hormone levels as it stimulates the conversion of T4 into its more active T3 form.
Caution: Guggul may interfere with estrogen, birth control pills, beta-blockers and other medications.
7. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is another great ingredient that can help hypothyroid patients. Being high in gamma linoleic acids (GLAs), primrose oil offers anti-inflammatory benefits and helps increase the levels of thyroid hormones.
At the same, it can relieve problems associated with hypothyroidism, such as hair loss and heavy menstrual flow.
The general recommendation for taking evening primrose oil is two to eight grams daily. Consult your doctor to find out the suitable dosage for your case.
Ginger is a good source of zinc, magnesium and potassium, and its powerful anti-inflammatory properties can help improve thyroid functioning.
- Fresh ginger root slices can be added to soups and other dishes.
- Another option is to drink a two or three cups of hot ginger tea. To make this herbal tea, add some fresh ginger slices to a cup of boiling water. Steep for five minutes, and then add some honey to it.
9. Siberian Ginseng
Siberian ginseng is very useful for stimulating adrenal and thymus glands, which support the functioning of the thyroid gland. This herb will also help alleviate fatigue, one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Take a dose of 100 to 200 mg of Siberian ginseng extract twice daily, before breakfast and before lunch. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting a supplement regimen.
10. B Vitamins
When dealing with hypothyroidism, take adequate amounts of B vitamins including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 to help reduce the symptoms. B vitamins are vital for healthy thyroid function.
Moreover, researchers suspect that those suffering from hypothyroidism may also be suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.
So, make whole grains and fortified cereals an important part of your diet. Plus, include fresh vegetables and sea vegetables in your regular diet. Avoid cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale because they contain goitrogens. Goitrogens are antinutrients that interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Expert Answers (Q&A)
Answered by Dr. Tharsan Sivakumar, MD (Endocrinology)
Can a person suffer from both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?
An individual can, during a period of time, convert from hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism and vice versa, but it is quite rare to experience both conditions simultaneously. This has been reported in rare cases, however. One case report supports this condition: (1)
Most people who experience hypothyroidism develop it because of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which involves the production of thyroid autoantibodies directed against one’s own thyroid. While Hashimoto’s thyroiditis typically causes hypothyroidism, it can at some periods of time also cause Hashimoto’s toxicosis which is a type of hyperthyroidism, but this hyperthyroidism is typically transient. People with hypothyroidism can also develop other types of hyperthyroidism, and vice versa.
Does hypothyroidism have any effect on the mood and personality of a person?
The typical mood change caused by hypothyroidism is sadness or depression. Hypothyroidism can also lead to fatigue, which can also affect people’s mood.
What dietary changes should be made when suffering from hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism patients living in developed countries do not require any specific dietary changes. Nevertheless,since the production of thyroid hormones depends on iodine, which the body does not make, it is essential for the patients to take an adequate amount of iodine in their diet.
Iodine is found naturally in soil and seawater and is available in some foods such as dairy products, seafood, meat, eggs, and some breads. Most people in developed nations get enough iodine from these foods and from iodized table salts. An exception to this rule might be pregnant women who may need supplementary iodine which is included in prenatal vitamins.
Worldwide, however, there are at least 30 countries which are iodine-deficient (2)
How does untreated hypothyroidism of the mother affect the fetus during pregnancy?
The fetus does not have a thyroid gland and therefore does not produce its own thyroid hormone during most of the first trimester. During most of this trimester, the fetus derives all of its necessary thyroid hormone from the mother. For this reason, it is especially important that in the first trimester, the mother’s hypothyroidism is treated. It is however important to treat hypothyroidism not only during the first trimester, but throughout the pregnancy.
Even mild hypothyroidism can cause adverse gestational outcomes such as pre-term delivery, low birth weight, fetal death and impair the intellectual development of the baby. (3)
Can hypothyroidism reduce a woman’s fertility or increase the chances of miscarriage?
A Cochrane review of published scientific studies in 2019 was unable to draw a conclusion on whether it is a fertility and/or miscarriage benefit by supplementing women who are subclinically (borderline) hypothyroid, or frankly have normal thyroid function but with positive thyroid autoantibodies (increasing the future risk of thyroid dysfunction) because of the low quality of the studies available. (4)
However, because of the possible benefits and considering the low risk for side effects, supplementation is sometimes recommended by medical guidelines in these women.
With respect to women who have overt (as opposed to borderline) hypothyroidism, it is more established that it can affect fertility rates and increase the risk of miscarriages. Women who are hypothyroid may not produce enough Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which is involved in the mid-menstrual cycle surge of hormones which signal the ovaries to release an egg. Without this signal, ovulation may not occur which will impede conception.
In a study where, approximately 24% of infertile women were diagnosed with hypothyroidism, researchers found that over 76% of these women could conceive within six months to one year after getting their hypothyroidism treated. (5)
Is it possible to check one’s thyroid at home?
It is not possible to check your thyroid levels at home by yourself. You will need a blood test. The easiest way for most people is to ask their healthcare providers to do a simple blood test to check their levels.
Is it possible to cure hypothyroidism permanently?
There is no way to cure hypothyroidism permanently, however, sometimes people who have hypothyroidism to regain normal thyroid function either temporarily or permanently depending on a number of factors such as the cause of the hypothyroidism and the residual thyroid function remaining or by correcting other illnesses or factors contributing to their hypothyroidism.
What is the best possible way to treat hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is generally a disorder which is easy to diagnose and treat with a low risk for side effects leading from such treatment. It is important to follow up regularly with your healthcare provider so that they can determine whether it is appropriate to screen you for thyroid dysfunction. If your general practitioner has difficulty getting your thyroid levels balanced, then you may possibly benefit from seeing an Endocrinologist, a specialist in thyroid disorders.
About Dr. Tharsan Sivakumar, MD, FRCPC: Dr. Sivakumar is the Director of the Institute of Diabetes & Endocrinology, and the President-Elect of the AACE (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) Canadian Chapter.
He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, as well as Internal Medicine. He is also a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology.
In addition, he is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Internal Medicine as well as Endocrinology and Metabolism.
His areas of clinical and research interest include diabetes, lipidology, and general endocrinology. He has a number of publications in prominent peer-reviewed medical journals.
- Sivakumar T, Chaidarun S. Resistance to thyroid hormone in a patient with coexisting Graves’ disease. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20151830. Published February 2010.
- Pearce EN, Andersson M, Zimmermann MB. Global iodine nutrition: Where do we stand in 2013? Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23472655. Published May 2013.
- Shan Z, Teng W. Thyroid hormone therapy of hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Endocrine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31617164. Published October 2019.
- Akhtar MA, Agrawal R, Brown J, Sajjad Y, Craciunas L. Thyroxine replacement for subfertile women with euthyroid autoimmune thyroid disease or subclinical hypothyroidism. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31236916. Published June 25, 2019.
- Verma I, Sood R, Juneja S, Kaur S. Prevalence of hypothyroidism in infertile women and evaluation of response of treatment for hypothyroidism on infertility. International journal of applied & basic medical research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3657979/. Published January 2012.