Self-Help and Alternative Health Care for Thyroid Conditions

Tess Thompson

Thyroid dysfunction is a classic case of the limitations of modern medical science. Many times, blood tests show normal levels of thyroid hormones, but the patient shows debilitating symptoms of thyroid problems. Uncertainty of experiencing the listed symptoms is another cause for concern.

In addition to this, most doctors fail to associate most of the symptoms with a thyroid problem. This is mainly because a thyroid condition can actually manifest various general symptoms that may not be easy to associate with a thyroid problem specifically. It helps to be aware of the fact that there are alternative health care modalities that can help in preserving thyroid health. While alternative therapies like acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal Ayurvedic medicines, and chiropractic manipulations can help a lot in maintaining thyroid health, you can also keep your thyroid in good condition with some amount of self-help.

The two main hormones produced by the thyroid are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroxine is 65% iodine and triiodothyronine is similar to thyroxine, but with one less iodine atom per molecule. Seafood, shellfish, organic vegetables, and iodized salt are rich in iodine and crucial for maintaining good thyroid health. Plant foods like broccoli, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, soy, beans and mustard greens tend to suppress production of thyroid hormones and therefore should be limited.

Essential fatty acids aid in the production of hormones should form part of your daily diet, and refined oils should be avoided. A thyroid dysfunction disturbs the metabolic rate, the rate at which the body burns energy. Calcium and magnesium (taken together) can help in many metabolic processes. For desired results, both should be taken together (preferably in the ration of 3:1). If either of the minerals is taken alone, it may result in using up stored magnesium and calcium for processing supplemental intake.

Either of the two common thyroid conditions, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), interferes in the secretion of thyroid hormones. Deficiency or excess of these hormones can create havoc with metabolism. Hyperthyroidism is associated with symptoms like skin problems, fatigue, frequent allergic reactions, nervousness, gastrointestinal disorders, sleeping disorders, gaining or losing weight, swelling, and body pains. Hypothyroidism is more common of the two and is characterized by symptoms like dry skin and hair, chronic fatigue, unexplained weight gain, husky voice, increased sensitivity to cold and puffy eyes.

Thyroid dysfunction, once it occurs, must be treated. If left untreated, these thyroid disorders can have far reaching and long-term effects. These expose you to increased risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, hypertension, decreased respiratory function, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and psychological conditions like depression and anxiety.

Despite self-help, it is highly recommended that thyroid functioning be evaluated whenever you see symptoms that defy explanation.

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