The thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones related to energy usage and metabolism, plays a big role in person’s ability to lose or gain weight. Those with experiencing hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) may find weight loss difficult while those with hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid) may find weight gain difficult.
A simple home test that can be done to determine thyroid function is something called the “Barnes” test. It is done by taking your temperature under the tongue first thing in the morning. 97.2 – 98.2 degrees fahrenheit (36.2 – 36.8 celsius) is considered normal. If you find your temperature falls below this, that may be a sign of under-active thyroid. Menstruating women should only take this test the 2nd or 3rd day after menstruation begins.
If you find your thyroid is over or under active, is there a way to bring the thyroid back into balance naturally?
Yes, but first you should always follow a doctor’s advice. Luckily, many thyroid prescriptions are made from natural thyroid and are good options. What I want to share with you here is simply what I’ve learned from a few doctors who’ve had tremendous success in treating both overactive and under-active thyroid with some natural interventions.
Before anything else, realize that the thyroid will be affected by foods you eat. Vegetable oils like soy, canola, safflower, etc. are particularly bad for the thyroid as they’re often oxidized as well as foods high in goitrogens like soy and lots of raw cruciferious vegetables like broccolli (which are fine in moderation and better when lightly cooked).
adrenal issues often come hand in hand. I believe the safest course of action, for minor thyroid issues, is to use adaptogenic herbs to gradually bring the body back into balance. Ashwagandha (Sensoril Extract) is particularly useful for helping both the thyroid and adrenals rebalance while reducing excess cortisol.
Looking at the thyroid, the most common mineral that comes to mind is iodine. Iodine is particularly important for the thyroid, but it also plays a role in other areas of the body and may be cancer protective. Conventional thinking says that iodine deficiency is rare due to iodized salt, and that too much iodine is harmful and leads to the thyroid problems.
The work of Dr. David Brownstein and Dr. Guy Abraham have shown that supplementing with higher doses of iodine is not only safe, but very effective in treating many thyroid conditions including both over and under active thyroid. Many Asian countries take in significant quantities of iodine through sea vegetables and maintain great health and thyroid function. This seems to indicate that whole food sources of organic kelp and dulse may be some of the best protection for the thyroid, and these foods are pretty much completely absent in the Western diet.
High doses of supplemental iodine like Lugol’s iodine is often used in treatment, and this may be ok but is a little more risky as it’s easier to overdo it and find yourself detoxing. The reason for detoxing is that bromide accumulation occurs in the body in the absence of adequate iodine, and when iodine levels are restored, the body detoxifies bromide. Higher intake of an unrefined salt can provide chloride to ease this detoxification.
It’s also important to note that iodine works with selenium. 1-3 Brazil nuts daily or the safer supplemental form of selenium (methylselenocysteine) can be taken at 100- 200mcg a day.
Coconut oil also supports the thyroid function and taking 1-3 tablespoons a day will provide the thyroid with nourishment.
If you’re worried about the health of your thyroid, please seek the professional care of an integrative physician.