AYURVEDA FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM

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The thyroid hormone manages metabolism, growth, and other bodily functions. The major hormones produced by the thyroid gland are thyroxine or tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Excess and reduced secretion of thyroid hormones can play havoc with a person’s bodily functions. 

Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid gland. Bradycardia, intolerance to cold, fatigue, weight gain, and constipation may be indications of an underactive thyroid. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland function is in excess, and it may manifest as weight loss, muscle weakness, heat intolerance, and diarrhea.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Researchers say that women are five to eight times more likely to face thyroid problems than men. One woman in eight is said to develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. However, nearly 60 percent of people with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.

  • Depressed feeling 
  • Constipation 
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Puffy face, eyes, and eyelids
  • Reduced density of eyebrows
  • Increased hair growth on lower legs
  • Reduced heart rate while at rest (comes under 65)
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Cracked heels
  • Dry and rough skin
  • Sudden weight gain, which is hard to lose

Ayurveda identifies an underactive thyroid as a Kapha condition. Kapha is characterized by heaviness and slowness and hypothyroidism, too, exhibits similar signs. Slow metabolism, otherwise known as manda agni is found in individuals with Kapha dosha and imbalance.

Apart from autoimmune conditions, radiation or surgery and stress can also cause hypothyroidism. Stress causes an imbalance of doshas (Vata) which can contribute to many illnesses.

Ayurveda offers individualized management, and it addresses the root cause of the illness. Your Ayurveda physician will work to address the cause of the illness, like – diet, lifestyle, and stressors. Later, they will move on to the management of Kapha and Vata doshas. Improving agni or digestion and including Kapha balancing measures can help all individuals. Ayurveda advises a focus on a diet, reducing stress, toxic exposure, and lifestyle changes to manage the dosha. Panchakarma (Ayurvedic cleansing), meditation, pranayama, and yoga also help manage the Kapha dosha.

Triphala, methi, and aloe vera are considered good to manage hypothyroidism. Consuming fresh aloe vera juice is good to balance both Vata and Kapha in the body. 

Brahmi is considered to increase the amount of T4 and is useful in hypothyroidism. It also helps to detoxify the nervous system and improve memory. Ashwagandha is another herb that impacts thyroid secretion. While it improves thyroid levels in those with hypothyroidism, it may worsen the condition for those with hyperthyroidism. Iodine is an integral part of T3 and T4. Iodized table salt, seafood, seaweed, and vegetables are good sources of iodine. Reduced iodine intake can give rise to iodine deficiency and decreased thyroid hormone synthesis. You should always consult an Ayurvedic physician before taking any herbs for thyroid conditions.

Spices like ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and cilantro are considered warming herbs that improve your metabolism and are considered good for people with low thyroid secretion. Leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and zinc-rich legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and beans contain amino acids like tyrosine, minerals like selenium, B-complex vitamins, and antioxidants. Moringa is said to stabilize the hormones T3 and T4. It is useful for increasing the energy levels of patients with hypothyroidism, which is characterized by low energy levels. Blueberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and other foods rich in antioxidants can improve overall health and the functioning of the thyroid gland. Among teas, green tea is preferred for thyroid patients. 

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