The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck and it plays a key role in maintaining overall health. Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction can be significant and while there are medical options to help manage them, many in the health community recommend natural ways to balance the thyroid.
The thyroid produces two powerful hormones, T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) which affect metabolism, temperature regulation, cardiac health, and the functioning of vital organs. Thyroid disease affects an estimated 20 million people in the United States and there are two main types. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, and hyperthyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid overproduces hormones. Each condition produces different symptoms, from fatigue and weight gain to anxiety and weight loss.
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There are non-medical ways help manage thyroid disease symptoms as well as promote overall thyroid health to prevent dysfunction. Naturopaths and healers have developed various strategies to help balance the thyroid health including the five listed below.
1. Drink a lot of water: Osteopath Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends
not only drinking a lot of water but also making sure that any beverages consumed are of a high quality. He suggests, "Drinking one quart of water per day for every 50 pounds of body weight while eliminating sodas, fruit juices, and coffee.'
Certain vegetables can help balance the thyroid. For those with an overactive thyroid, Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy
, medical director of the Center for New Medicine recommends eating "broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts." Dr. Connealy defines these foods as "goitrogenic," which means they may interfere with normal thyroid activity. These foods are not a good option for those with an underactive thyroid.
3. Exercise: Livestrong.com points
to the benefits of exercise for thyroid health. For those with an underactive thyroid, "exercise can offer a natural antidote to symptoms such as weight gain, depression, muscle loss, and low energy levels" as well as increase the levels of hormone production. For those with an overactive thyroid, exercise can help with symptoms of insomnia and mood.
Minimizing stress is an important strategy to help naturally balance the thyroid. Endocrine Web reports
, "Under stress, your body releases the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can interfere with thyroid hormone production." Recommended stress management techniques include yoga, meditation and other lifestyle changes to "focus on breathing, and more importantly, slow down."
5. Natural supplements:
Dr. Eric Osansky from Natural Endocrine Solutions
recommends five supplements to help balance the thyroid and says they are essential to restoring health. Each supplement serves a different purpose and may be condition specific. The five essential supplements are iodine, vitamin D, selenium, magnesium, and B vitamins.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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