Posted on 10 May 2012 11:01 AM
My mother has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She was at one time on Synthroid, but the horrific side effects of that medication forced us to discontinue its use. The only other option being offered is a medication that contains beef and pork, which brings in religious issues as well as the possibilities of a plethora of animal diseases. Are there any plant based sources that are effective? We were hoping that the team there at Amazing Discoveries might have run into this issue in the past and be able to offer some advice. Thank you so much for your help!
Hypothyroidism—and non-pharmaceutical ways to address it—is a tough one. There are other synthetic thyroid medications available which might be tried, but we do not know of any plant-based sources which will accomplish what the orthodox medications do. We acknowledge also that those medications come with unwanted side effects—some of which, at least, are of definite concern.
We do not know how “hypo” your mother’s thyroid gland is, nor how she’s faring now, but some things in general are helpful for hypothyroid sufferers.
First, of interest is a doctor’s study done on overweight patients.[i] They were instructed to change their eating habits so that their largest meal was in the morning, the mid-size meal was at lunch, and the lightest meal was the last one. That last meal ideally would be at noon but definitely no later than 3 pm. They were not to go to bed for at least 8½ hours after the last meal. (For some people, it would be easier to eat just two meals a day, which many people do and find their health improving!). They were asked not to change their diets.
Not only did clients lose weight; blood sugar levels normalized for the diabetic clients. Of interest to you, though, is that the hypothyroid patients ended up needing less daily thyroid medication. This result may be due not only to the change in meal sizes but also to the fact that breakfasts often are centered around fruits and grains, and not so much around meat and/or cheese.
Secondly, certain foods slow the functioning of the thyroid gland. They should be eaten in moderation or, if thyroid symptoms are severe, omitted entirely. These foods are cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, turnips—and peaches and pears, to the best of our knowledge at present. No consensus appears concerning mustard greens or radishes; one source says to avoid them while another says they’re beneficial if cooked.
Third, it is important to avoid free fats (margarine, butter, mayo, fried foods, cooking fats and oils, salad oils, and commercial peanut butter). Fat from animal sources negatively impacts anyone.
Also, drink only unflouridated, unchlorinated water, as fluoride and chlorine will block entrance of iodine into the thyroid, which suppresses its function. Only distilling or using reverse-osmosis filters will get rid of fluoride in treated water.
Fifth, it is important to have enough iodine in the diet for proper thyroid function. Taken daily, seaweed is probably the best source—and in particular Nova Scotia dulse or Norwegian kelp, two which have many other trace minerals. Kelp comes in raw, powdered, tablet or capsule form. Iodized salt is not a good source, because aluminum is added to keep it from caking. Sea salt is acceptable, too, so long as no anti-caking aluminum has been added.
Sixth, a thyroid deficiency can result from lack of adequate sunshine, and exercise will increase TSH production.
Seventh, a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables and as little processed food and flesh food as possible will benefit anyone’s health. The better the diet, the greater the possibility the thyroid may improve.
Finally, vitamin A (orange and yellow fruits and veggies) and B vitamins (grains, raw nuts and seeds) nourish the thyroid. Tyrosine supplementation is suggested in several sources.We must publish the disclaimer that we are not medical professionals, so we do not offer advice to replace professional medical counsel. That being said, we here at Amazing Discoveries wish your mother well in her steps toward health