Thyroid, hypothyroidism and metabolism have been hot topics for the last 10 years. In addition to appropriate information, 10 times more misinformation has emerged on how the functions of thyroids should be cured and how hypothyroidism should be treated. An example of this is an iodine supplement which has no effect on autoimmune disease and there’s no research evidence, but it’s still advertised as a solution. It is a different thing if an iodine deficiency has been diagnosed in a person. In this text, I present reliable information based on research evidence about treating hypothyroidism.
First of all - do you know what kind of disease hypothyroidism is? I wonder almost every day how many people with hypothyroidism don’t know the pathology of the disease.
90% of hypothyroidism is chronic autoimmune inflammation - which means that the body produces antibodies against thyroid tissue and prevents them from creating enough active hormones. This is a lifelong disease and the lack of hormones increases constantly.
Other cases of hypothyreosis are the result of surgeries or radioactive iodine therapy. Iodine deficiency is sometimes a big problem but rarely causes significant hypothyroidism in an otherwise healthy person.
Unfortunately, a big portion of hypothyroidism diagnoses are incorrect and made with vague symptoms or using indefinite blood test results. These people are unknowingly destroying their thyroids with medication.
When we talk about the thyroid gland, we usually talk about thyroxine and specifically its free or active part. In medicine, the abbreviation T4V is used.
Its functions in the body and physiological effects:
● Increases hearts work and pulse
● Speeds breathing up
● Increases the effect of stress hormones
● Increases the breakdown of carbohydrates and muscle proteins to energy
● Activates the autonomic nervous system
● Many other functions
What are the ways that have been researched to be effective in promoting thyroids’ functions?
The effect of aloe on hypothyroidism has been studied very little, but the most interesting study was made in 2018, which looked at 30 women with hypothyroidism. They were given aloe barbadensis juice daily for 9 months. The results were significant - autoimmune antibodies decreased by 56%, TSH by 61% and T4V increased by 23%! Therefore, aloe barbadensis clearly has a calming effect on autoimmune thyroiditis. (1)
Zinc and selenium are both minerals involved in thyroid metabolism. The low levels of both substances in the blood increase the risk of hypothyroidism. Both have been recommended for thyroid diseases. But what do we know about the effectiveness of these? A study in 2015 of 68 overweight women with hypothyroidism provided evidence. The effect of selenium, zinc, and a combination of these was studied on thyroid hormone levels. Zinc alone and in combination with selenium substantially improved TSH and T4 levels, while selenium had no effect. (2) Although selenium is widely recommended, its use can even lower thyroid hormone levels. (3)
Quit active and passive smoking
In a study in 2009 (as in numerous others) it was found that passive smokers had 9.2% and active smokers 12.6% lower levels of T4 than non-smokers. The same trend was seen in other thyroid hormones. (4)
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the biggest health risks in Western countries, exposing us to many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and apparently also to auto-immune hypothyroidism. A study from 2016 found that patients with auto-immune thyroiditis initially had lower levels of vitamin D and that vitamin D supplements significantly reduced their levels of antibodies. Other values also improved in the study. (5) “Vitamin D intake may be critical with these people,” say the researchers.
In a study in 2015, it was found that in women with hypothyroidism 3 months of regular exercise for an hour a day improved thyroid hormone levels by up to 80%! (6) This makes all non-medicated means the most effective method of improving thyroid levels.
As we can see, basic rules of being healthy are the best support to thyroid functions, in addition to a few minerals. All the other recommendations are for the most part speculation. Sleep well, eat healthy food, exercise, manage stress, lower your low-grade inflammatory conditions, and your thyroid and your whole body will feel better.
1. J Clin Transl Endocrinol. 2018 Mar; 11: 18–25. Published online 2018 Feb 14. doi: 10.1016/j.jcte.2018.01.003 PMCID: PMC5842288 PMID: 29527506. Marked improvement of thyroid function and autoimmunity by Aloe barbadensis miller juice in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism. Daniela Metro,a Valeria Cernaro,b Mattia Papa,a and Salvatore Benvengac,d,e,⁎
2. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(5):391-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.926161. Epub 2015 Mar 11. Effects of Zinc and Selenium Supplementation on Thyroid Function in Overweight and Obese Hypothyroid Female Patients: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial. Mahmoodianfard S1, Vafa M2,3, Golgiri F3, Khoshniat M4, Gohari M5, Solati Z1, Djalali M1.
3. Eur J Endocrinol. 2015 Jun;172(6):657-67. doi: 10.1530/EJE-15-0069. Epub 2015 Mar 4. Does selenium supplementation affect thyroid function? Results from a randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial in a Danish population. Winther KH1, Bonnema SJ2, Cold F2, Debrabant B2, Nybo M2, Cold S2, Hegedüs L2.
4. Thyroid. 2009 Aug; 19(8): 817–823. doi: 10.1089/thy.2009.0023 PMCID: PMC3643222 PMID: 19505184 Thyroid Hormone Levels Associated with Active and Passive Cigarette Smoking Offie P. Soldin,corresponding author1,2,3 Bethany E. Goughenour,4 Sappho Z. Gilbert,1 Helain J. Landy,4 and Steven J. Soldin2,5
5. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2016 Feb;86(1-2):9-17. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000269. Epub 2017 Jul 12. Vitamin D Treatment in Patients with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis may Decrease the Development of Hypothyroidism. Ucan B1, Sahin M2, Sayki Arslan M1, Colak Bozkurt N1, Kizilgul M1, Güngünes A1, Cakal E1, Ozbek M1.
6. The effect of regular physical exercise on the thyroid function of treated hypothyroid patients: An interventional study at a tertiary care center in Bastar region of India Akash Bansal1, Amit Kaushik2, CM Singh3, Vivek Sharma4, Harminder Singh5