Thyroid disease affects the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland found in the front of the neck. The thyroid has important roles to regulate numerous metabolic processes throughout the body. Different types of thyroid disorders affect either its structure or function. Hyperthyroidism, is one of the most common thyroid diseases, which causes the overproduction of the thyroid hormones in the human body.
What natural treatments can help hyperthyroidism?
While there are many treatment methods available to help ease the symptoms of and treat the condition, most individuals may prefer a natural treatment approach to treating their hyperthyroidism. Natural treatments for hyperthyroidism include the regulation of these hormones through the use of various compounds.
The best and most studied compounds proven to curb hyperthyroidism are:
- Bugleweed and Lemon Balm
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial (using a crossover arm) was conducted in a group of 50 girls. In this research scientists induced hyperthyroidism from the study participants. For various lengths of time which makes it excellent in assessing the effects of, this study utilized different doses of L-carnitine. This study demonstrated:
L-carnitine had considerable positive effects on
- weakness and fatigue
- shortness of breath
- bone mineral density
L-carnitine didn’t affect thyroid hormone levels (TSH, fT4, fT3)
The authors of this study concluded, “L-carnitine is successful in both preventing and reversing symptoms of hyperthyroidism.” The authors also comment that L-carnitine can be utilized in pregnant women with Graves’ disease, a thyroid disease which attacks the thyroid gland itself. They also comment that L-carnitine may be used to prevent and cure the most acute kind of hyperthyroidism called thyroid storm. L-carnitine has no known toxicity, contraindications or interactions with other medications or side effect that is significant.
How long until L-carnitine will start working?
Its been observed that patients begin feeling a difference within days of starting L-carnitine, even though the most benefit may take weeks to months to realize based on some studies.
The most research regarding selenium and thyroid has examined selenium’s effect on Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, an autoimmune disorder. That being said there have also been some promising findings regarding Alzheimer’s effect on Graves’ disease. While the data do not appear to be 100 percent conclusive, evidence suggests the following:
- Selenium has the ability to lower the antibodies associated with Hashimoto’s
- Selenium has the ability to lower the antibodies associated with Grave’s
- Selenium can be used by pregnant women with thyroid disease to help avoid regression of thyroid health postpartum, and has no effect on the embryo and perhaps a small advantage
- Selenium can diminish the eye complications associated with Grave’s
- Selenium can lower the eye problems associated with Grave’s radioactive iodine treatment
- Greater blood glucose levels correlate with a lower relapse rate of Grave’s
- Patients with Grave’s tend to have lower selenium levels
- Selenium seems to lower the symptoms related to Graves’
- Patients given selenium along with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid drugs (Methimizole) achieve regular thyroid position quicker than people not receiving selenium.
Bugleweed & Lemon Balm
Bugleweed and lemon balm, also known as Lycopus europaeus and Melissa officinalis respectively, are utilized for a long time in the management of moderate hyperthyroidism. Despite their history that is favorable, there aren’t many studies. This being said, however, Bugleweed and lemon balm appear to be safe and have a positive impact in hyperthyroidism that is handling. Here are a few highlights in what we know about these herbs:
- Bugleweed and Lemon Balm may really work to obstruct TSH and cause a lowering of T4 and T3
- Short term animal studies have demonstrated an ability to reduce TSH, T4 and T3
- Decreased heart rate with no side effects in prospective human studies
- Bugleweed was shown to reduce the higher heart rate and blood pressure associated with Grave’s. It was found to be as effective as the pharmaceutical beta block, Atenolol, in an animal study
Iodine shouldn’t be used as a primary therapy, although it does seem to have utility as a brief term addition to help manage hyperthyroidism. One study showed that 150mg per day of potassium iodide resulted in reversal of hyperthyroidism. The effects, however, were short lived; just lasting for 21 times in certain but around 6 months in others. Due to this it appears Iodide is employed as a temporary add on to help dampen up a flare .
In short, many healthcare professionals who specialize in natural treatment, such as functional medicine practitioners, have utilized these four natural compounds as treatment alternatives for managing the hyperthyroidism associated with Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, as well as other thyroid issues. Its been found that these compounds are effective for most individuals and they have caused no side effects, with the exception to L-carnitine which can cause loose stools in large doses. When decreasing the dose, this issue resolves.
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By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Wellness
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