Hypothyroidism is the term given to the condition where the thyroid is unable to produce enough thyroid hormone, thyroxine, to keep the body healthy. It’s a very common condition in the US, with approximately 1 in 50 women and 1 in 1000 men experiencing problems with their thyroid at some point in their life. It’s a condition that can’t be prevented, with the most common cause being an autoimmune response where the immune system attacks the thyroid, thus preventing it from producing sufficient thyroxine. However, while the condition can’t be prevented or cured, it can be controlled by daily doses of hormone tablets to replace the missing thyroxine.
Synthetic thyroid hormones
The most common treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking tables which contain the synthetic thyroid hormone, Levothyroxine, an oral medication which works to restore optimum hormone levels, and thus reverse the symptoms associated with the condition.
The treatment works relatively quickly with most recipients noticing an improvement in their symptoms within 7 to 14 days, especially in relation to fatigue. Levothyroxine also has the effect of lowering the level of cholesterol in your blood, and may help to reverse any weight gain that you may be experiencing. You will need to take this hormone replacement treatment for the rest of your life, however your doctor is likely to make annual checks of your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in order to ensure that you are on the correct dosage.
Ensuring the correct nutrition
Many alternative practitioners believe that poor nutrition may the cause of many thyroid issues, including hypothyroidism, and suggest that a diet rich in nutrients is vital to reverse the effects or to at least prevent any further decline in thyroid function. As a healthy thyroid depends on a range of nutrients, in particular iodine, selenium and folic acid, it makes sense to eat a diet which is rich foods which contain these. However, most people are unable to get enough of these nutrients through diet alone, so supplements are often needed. You should also add foods which are naturally high in B vitamins, including whole grains, nuts and seeds, and iodine containing foods, such as fish, seaweed, vegetables and all kinds of root vegetables.
If you do suffer from hypothyroidism, always consult your physician before taking any supplements, as excesses of certain substances can have just as detrimental effect on the thyroid as a deficiency. To avoid such a detrimental effect you need to take every possible precaution. Consulting your physician is one such precaution and this advice must not be taken lightly.