By Anne Salazar, Lead Clinical Herbalist
The thyroid gland is a vital hormone gland: It plays a major role in the metabolism, growth and development of the human body. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid into the bloodstream. Low functioning thyroid symptomatology can involve dysregulation of body temperature, weight issues, constipation, low energy, etc. It is important to remember that the thyroid does not work alone. All endocrine glands work together to keep our overall hormone health balanced. When one is challenged, all are affected. Our modern times of overt stress is causing our entire endocrine system to be challenged. The thyroid is particularly vulnerable.
There are many natural choices when it comes to the support and balancing of thyroid function (often it is best to take a balanced mix of these herbs and nutrients). Adaptogens are an important part of any natural support for any type of thyroid challenge; they build adaptive reserve.
Keep in mind that there are different types of thyroid issues, and they need to be properly diagnosed for proper treatment. We can help you at Remedy to choose the correct supplements for your specific thyroid concern.
A few examples of thyroid supporting herbs and supplements:
Ashwagandha - This adaptogenic Ayurvedic herb has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years; for good reason. Chronic stress increases cortisol levels, leading to lower levels of T3 and T4 (two extremely important thyroid hormones). Ashwagandha appears to stimulate the endocrine system, boosting thyroid hormone levels by reducing cortisol (1).
Seaweeds (Kelp, Brown Seaweed) - Iodine is an element that is needed for the production of thyroid hormone. The body does not make iodine, so it is an essential part of your diet. Seaweed can be an excellent and safe source of iodine.
Schisandra Berry - Constituents in this amazing adaptogenic herb can increase T-4 hormone production and help in the conversion of T-4 to T-3 (2).
Coleus forskohlii - A traditional Ayurvedic thyroid herb, Coleus contains essential oils and diterpenes. Thyroid hormone production and secretion are increased by coleus (2).
Selenium - a crucial nutrient in everyone’s diet, and is essential for the metabolism of thyroid hormones (3). Clinical research shows that taking selenium up to 200 mcg daily in combination with levothyroxine significantly reduces thyroid peroxidase antibodies by about 6% to 30% more than placebo in adult patients with autoimmune thyroiditis after 3-12 months of treatment (4).
Here at Remedy we carry some great thyroid supportive supplements. One in particular is our Thyroid Support from Gaia’s Professional Solutions line. In addition we carry adaptogenic formulations which are always helpful anytime endocrine support is required. “Stress Care” by Himalaya, for example. We also have Pure Encapsulations Selenium. If you are on prescription thyroid medication, please come talk with us on the best way to incorporate natural approaches to support your thyroid. We can set you up with the appropriate help you need!
4. Gartner R, Gasnier BC, Dietrich JW, et al. Selenium supplementation in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis decreases thyroid peroxidase antibodies concentrations. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87:1687-91.