How Ayurveda Can Help Hypothyroidism

According to the American Thyroid Association, an estimated 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease,1 many of whom are experiencing hypothyroidism. How can Ayurveda help hypothyroidism? Let’s first take a look at the causes.

What Is The Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in the neck below the thyroid cartilage. The main function of the thyroid gland is producing thyroid hormones, the principal ones being triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 are synthesized from both iodine and tyrosine. The thyroid also produces calcitonin, which plays a role in calcium homeostasis.

The two conditions resulting from impairment of the thyroid glands are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, of which hypothyroidism is more common.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a major condition affecting many people. Most are unaware they have thyroid disease as the clinical signs are not visible externally. Only when they take the blood test will they know. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not produce a sufficient amount of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

What Causes Thyroid Disease?

One cause of thyroid disease is autoimmune disorder. Antibodies present in the body itself attack the thyroid glands resulting in a condition named autoimmune thyroiditis which eventually destroys the thyroid gland.

Another reason is physical and mental stress. Physical stress can be defined as stress on the physical body where it is not able to accommodate a lifestyle such as fast food, disturbed sleep patterns and environmental risk factors. Mental stress can arise from work pressure, emotional weakness, grief or family disputes.

All of these factors result in the secretion of cortisol, the hormone which acts as a protective mechanism to stress. Originally developed as a response to physical threat, when the duration of stress increases too much cortisol causes the tissues to no longer respond to the thyroid hormone signal. This is known as thyroid resistance. It can cause thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels to be elevated while T4 and T3 are within the normal range.

How Ayurveda Can Help Hypothyroidism

Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism

Chronic fatigue, weight gain, depression, low blood pressure, sensitivity to heat and cold, paresthesias, bradycardia, elevated LDL- cholesterol, reactive hypoglycemia, hoarseness, constipation, headache, muscle weakness, joint stiffness, swollen face, menorrhagia (heavy and prolonged menstruation), cramps, memory loss, visual problems, infertility and hair loss.

Ayurvedic View

The main causes of thyroid disease are diet and lifestyle factors that imbalance the digestive fire or agni and metabolism. Stress and overwork also play an important part as this causes imbalanced agni and vitiation of the dosha. In thyroid disorders kapha dosha is vitiated which can cause a depletion of ojas. Once the ojas is affected then the immune system begins to act improperly, attacking the thyroid gland and resulting in depletion of thyroid functions and body metabolism.

Ayurvedic Treatment For Thyroid Conditions

Kapha dosha has the property of guru which means heaviness. It also has the property of manda or dullness. Treatment should focus on reducing manda guna of Kapha dosha.

Ayurvedic herbal formulas for thyroid include Vaisvanara curnam for Agni Dipana, Varunadi Kasayam, Punarnavadi kasayam and Kancanara guggulu. The practice of nasya is also beneficial.

Recommended Foods

Foods high in iodine like shellfish should be included in the diet. High selenium foods such as Brazil nuts, oysters, tuna, sunflower seeds, whole wheat bread, pork, chicken, mushrooms, whole grains and milk are also beneficial.2

Foods To Avoid: alcohol, coffee, cabbage and cauliflower.

The practice of yoga and meditation everyday can reduce stress significantly. Pratimarshya nasya with appropriate medication can control kapha vitiation. Exercise for half an hour daily can be very beneficial. People with thyroid diseases who regularly exercise for half an hour stimulate the thyroid gland and increase body metabolic function thereby reducing excess weight gain.

References
1 “General Information/Press Room.” American Thyroid Association, American Thyroid Association, www.thyroid.org/media-main/about-hypothyroidism/.
2 House, Paul. “Top 10 Foods Highest in Selenium.” HealthAliciousNess, HealthAliciousNess, 22 June 2017, www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-selenium.php.

mm
Sruthi Bhat is an Ayurvedic Physician from India. She obtained her BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) in 2014 from Amrita Ayurveda Medical College, Kollam. Sruthi was born and raised in Kerala, India and did her higher secondary education in Saraswathi Vidhyanikethan Kochi, where she was exposed to practicing Yoga and its benefits. After studying Ayurveda it gave her a deeper understanding of Yoga. After completing her BAMS degree she shadowed with Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Beena, an expert in the field of Shalakya (ENT disorders) and herbal remedies. She learned hands-on techniques which are very effective in common health conditions. Sruthi is currently pursuing her master's degree in public health from Nova Southeastern University, Florida.

24 comments

  1. Hi

    I am writing you this on behalf of my father.
    n November 2017, my father started becoming symptomatic with dyspnea on exertion and further investigations were carried out. U/S NECK showed: an enlarged heterogeneous thyroid gland with increased vascularity in both lobes. The right lobe predominantly occupied by a heterogeneous nodule measuring 4.4 x 2.6 x 2.2 cm. Another hypo echoic nodule was noted most likely suggesting a colloid cyst measuring 1 x 1 x 1.4 cm. The left lobe measuring 6 x 7.6 x 5.6 cm, hyper vascular with small cystic degenerative changes. Both lobes showed retrosternal extension.
    A follow up CT SCAN NECK WITH CONTRAST was carried out and showed: Significant left thyroid gland enlargement approximately 7.36.29.0 cm in size with 4.5 cm retrosternal extension with tracheal narrowing and displacement to the right. Furthermore, the patient was seen by an endocrine surgeon and advice for an elective thyroidectomy was made based on the patients’ symptoms and radiological investigations.

    However my question is at this stage we are trying to avoid surgery, do you think at this stage will Ayurveda help ?

    will be looking forward to your reply.

  2. FT3- 5.61 pmol/L
    FT4- 17.51 pmol/L
    TSH ULTRA- 5.71 uIU/ml

    I’m underweight, nausea, constipation and high sensitivity to hot temp. in cold weather. plz suggest treatment

  3. Hi sir,
    my wife TSH level is 150 after delivery we check the thyriod test . doctor suggest Levothyroxine 100 mg. and next month increase dose 150 mg. and also doctor prescribe depression tablets etc.she is suffering from depression, loneliness, fatigue,joint pains, concentration problems plz suggest what i do

  4. Hello Sir,
    My T4,T3 test report is normal. But my TSH remains high( presently 6.45).I was go through laser treatment for hair removal on neck and face in 2015, after that I got pregnant and go through abnormal weight gain. My gyno suggested me to take check up for thyroids. I’m taking 50mg thyroxine since then.I am facing a lot of health issues like low b.p., tingling hands, heavy and painful mensurations, severe headache, depression, fast heartbeat, to much arrogance, etc. can i cure my imbalanced thyroids by ayurveda??? Plz reply
    My age is 25, mother of one baby boy(2ys old)

    • mm

      Hi Lakhveer, You may consider looking at “Ayurveda and thyroid health course’ by Dr Akil Palanisamy. It looks into the root cause of the autoimmune phenomenon that makes the thyroid to work sub optimally and suggest step by step measures to take care of these. It may help you with your weight as well. Hope you would find the information useful.

  5. my tsh is 5.5 now, i am taking kanchnaar gugal 2 tab twice and one tab arogya vardhini twice. its not becoming normal. i am 25 /M

  6. Hello Sir,
    My son aged 9 having TSH level 13.59. worried for him. Please suggest what to do.

  7. where can i buy this book? Its not available on Amazon, india

    • The Ayurveda Experience

      Hi Tonia,
      Ayurveda & Thyroid Health is an online course. You can purchase it by clicking here: https://goo.gl/xT4Jox It comes with a text companion you can download if you prefer to read the course.
      Jennifer

  8. Hi, I am having Hypothyrodism and i am taking Eltroxin 88mcg and i am taking medication since 5 years. Recent tests done for Anti TPO test result shows >1300. But doctor asked me to continue eltroxin and they didn’t not take any step to reduce the Anti TPO level. These days i noticed that saliva creation is also less for me. When i surfed on Internet, I saw the posts related to Zync, Selenium & Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause this issue.

    So i wanted to know whether there is any hope in Ayurvedhic treatment to reduce the Anti TPO level which will give me positive results in hypothyroid level? Can you please suggest me some good treatment?

    • mm

      Hi Thilaga, You may consider looking at “Ayurveda and thyroid health course’ by Dr Akil Palanisamy. It looks into the root cause of the autoimmune phenomenon involving thyroid antibodies and thyroid function. hope you would find the information useful.

  9. Hi. Mr. Deepak, I read over and I thought we couldn’t ingest any type of wheat, and the program suggests whole wheat bread is ok. I’m not 100% GF yet, but try to avoid it..

    • mm

      Hi Nancy, The gluten is definitely to be avoided who get symptoms after consuming it. The course suggests first elimination and then reintroduction. The final list could vary from person to person. So if you wish to avoid wheat you can bank upon gluten free grains.

  10. Hi Deepak sir, my tsh level 7, and anti tpo 1700.pls suggest

    • mm

      Hello Geeta,
      This is a situation when an autoimmune phenomenon is active in your body and where Ayurvedic dietaryand lifestyle guidance along with appropriate herbal supplements can have a positive effect. We have a wonderful course on this subject by Dr Akil Palanisamy, an integrative medicine specialist based in USA. You can view this course and you will find many answers. Equipped with this knowledge, you can contact an Ayurvedic centre/practitioner near you who can guide you further after examining you.

  11. I am 43, having hypotyrodism from May-2013. started with 125mcg thyronorm and now using 50mcg thyronorm together with Kanchanara guggul (1-1-1) , Gayatrin (2-0-1), GT Kashayam,Varunadi kashayam. Undergone yearly VIRECHANA karma. How to improve further?

  12. May I know if triphla is helpful in tsh 16??

  13. How to cure hair fall induced because of autoimmune thyroid condition. I also have low ferritin level.

    • mm

      Hi Arpita, First you need to get your thyroid to be working optimally. For this you may consider following the advice given in the ‘Ayurveda and the thyroid health’ course by Dr Akil Palanisamy, while continuing with your current medication.For a low ferritin, which is also a cause of hair fall, you may need to take an iron supplement in consultation with your doctor.

  14. Hi Sruthi , Thanks for the post.

    Can you suggest some Ayurveda medicines for mitigate the growth of Thyroid nodules, or to reduce their size if present ?

    • mm

      There is no single solution for the condition. The herbs mentioned in the article are indicative only and are popularly used by Ayurvedic practitioners.
      You need to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner near you for a holistic management.

Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.