Best Thyroid Supplements – 2015
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The Thyroid gland is situated right at the spot where a neck tie is worn. The Thyroid gland is a brownish-red organ with butterfly like wings and is responsible for the control of metabolism, growth and structure of bones, sexual development and the proper functioning of the various parts of our body. The Thyroid disease occurs when the Thyroid gland doesn’t produce the necessary amount of hormones required by the body. Sometimes the Thyroid glands also cause a problem by producing excess amounts of hormones, resulting in Hyperthyroidism. In such a scenario, a person’s body uses all the energy faster than it should and shows high levels of chemical activities. So in order to live a healthy life, you should ensure that your Thyroid glands are functioning properly. Below mentioned are some natural Thyroid remedies that you might want to consider.
Below mentioned are some of the symptoms of the Thyroid disease.
1) Cold hands and feet
3) sensitivity to cold
7) fragile nails
8) joint aches
9) dizziness etc…
If you are suffering from the Thyroid disease, then your family doctor might advice you to take some prescribed pills that will help you maintain the level of Thyroid hormones in your body, however you can also try the below mentioned tips. Please make a note that while you are suffering from the Thyroid disease, you won’t be able to lose your body weight easily. So try and shelve your weight loss goals until you have gained control over the Thyroid disease.
Natural Thyroid Remedies:
In order to overcome any Thyroid gland related problem, you need to cleanse your system by eating healthy, drinking enough of water and resting appropriately. You should eat as many fruits as possible and give special preference to apple, grapes, orange, pineapple and papaya. You should drink at least 1 glass of milk every 24 hours. If you are among those individuals who is suffering from constipation, then you should try to eliminate your bowels with the help of lukewarm water. Make sure that you are consuming a balanced diet that consists of seeds, nuts, grains, salads and fruits. Never try to overeat, when you are suffering from the thyroid disease.
Below mentioned are some food items that you should avoid.
1) White flour products,
2) White Sugar
4) Fried or oily foods
Since Iodine is the most important element required to overcome the Thyroid problem, you should eat the below mentioned food items. These are very effective low thyroid Supplements.
1) Watercress and Strawberries
3) Whole rice
As a Thyroid patient, you should try to safeguard yourself from any emotional stress and should try not to involve yourself in exhaustive tasks. At various intervals, you should try to eat foods that are rich in proteins. However, you should avoid foods with fresh proteins. Please note that you might have to follow the above mentioned tips for a period of 10 – 12 months to see improvements.
There is no such thing as a “thyroid supplement,” but supplements plays a critical role in thyroid health. Here we will discuss the role of dietary iodine in maintaining thyroid health and the role of low-iodine diets for thyroid cancer patients. This chapter also addresses hypothyroidism and weight gain, as well as the range of dietary habits that can combat constipation and poor energy. Finally, this chapter discusses the role obesity plays in thyroid disease.
Diet and Iodine
The thyroid gland extracts iodine from various foods to make thyroid hormone. Your thyroid gland will use about a milligram of iodine per week (150 mcg per day) to make thyroid hormone; that is a tiny amount, so a balanced diet provides more than enough iodine for the average thyroid gland. A healthy thyroid gland is designed to take what it needs from your daily diet, and it can store enough iodine to last for three months. Given that the thyroid gland needs such a small amount of iodine to do its work, it seems unlikely that iodine deﬁciency would be a problem. But it is; a healthy thyroid gland suffers without sufﬁcient quantities of iodine. On the other hand, there are therapeutic reasons why being on a low-iodine diet is critical, as is the case for thyroid cancer patients preparing for radioactive iodine therapies or scans.
Iodine Deﬁciency and the Thyroid
Without enough iodine in the diet, the thyroid gland cannot produce thyroid hormone. When this happens, the pituitary gland makes more TSH, continuing to stimulate the thyroid gland and causing it to enlarge, a condition called a goiter. Most people need about 150 mcg of iodine each day to produce enough thyroid hormone and avoid developing a goiter. Unfortunately, much of the world’s population lives in goiter belts—regions that have very low levels of iodine in the soil and water.
Without iodine supplements, people living in goiter belts consume insufﬁcient iodine to maintain their health. If this deﬁciency is severe, newborn children can suffer from mental retardation, short stature, hypothyroidism, and goiters; these symptoms together are called cretinism. Even in the absence of all the signs of cretinism, low iodine levels are responsible for decreased brain development and mental retardation; this is because the lack of iodine reduces the level of thyroid hormone during early development.
In regions with low levels of iodine in the diet, the reduction in mental abilities of its people contributes to poor social and economic productivity and is partly responsible for poverty and underdevelopment. Most mountainous areas of the world, such as the Andes Mountains, the Himalayas, portions of mainland China, the Alps, central Mexico, and much of Greece, are iodine deﬁcient. Large iodine-deﬁcient areas of the world also include northern and central Africa, the interior of Brazil, and the Netherlands. In most of the industrialized portions of the world, aggressive efforts to provide iodine supplementation have signiﬁcantly reduced this deﬁciency.
Many decades ago, for example, the Great Lakes region of the United States was a goiter belt, but this is no longer so. For the rest of the world, however, this remains a major problem with signiﬁcant health and social consequences.
In fact, over one billion people are at risk for iodine deﬁciency– related thyroid disease. Two hundred million people suffer from goiters, while twenty million people suffer from brain damage due to iodine deﬁciency during pregnancy and infancy. This is very disturbing, since these problems can be completely prevented by the simple addition of iodized salt or iodized oil (proposed in some regions) to the diet.
The ﬁrst International Goiter Congress was held in 1929 in Bern, Switzerland, after Switzerland and the United States introduced iodized salt. Many countries soon followed suit, and iodine deﬁciency has disappeared in most parts of the world. However, not much happened to eliminate iodine deﬁciency in underdeveloped nations until 1985, when thyroid specialists established the International Council for Control of Iodine Deﬁciency Disorders (ICCIDD), a group of about four hundred members from seventy countries.
In North America, only about one in four thousand newborns is born with hypothyroidism; in iodine-deﬁcient areas, 10 percent of all newborns are hypothyroid. Worse, up to 70 percent of the iodine-deﬁcient populations are severely hypothyroid. As a result, iodine deﬁciency is now recognized as the most common cause of preventable mental defects. ICCIDD works with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to develop national programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe with the goal of eliminating iodine deﬁciency in our lifetime. Most recently, the salt industry has joined in the ﬁght too.
Can an Iodine-Rich Supplement Prevent Thyroid Disease?
If you have a normally functioning thyroid gland but are concerned that you are at risk for a thyroid problem, can an iodine-rich diet prevent thyroid disease? It depends on where you live. We know that a lack of iodine can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge. However, too much iodine is believed to be responsible for triggering goiters and thyroid disorders as well. That’s one reason why taking kelp (seaweed) is not recommended. If you live in North America, you’re probably getting enough iodine in your diet from your food thanks to iodized salt.
Taking kelp with the belief that it will prevent a thyroid problem is a bad idea. It may trigger a thyroid problem instead of preventing one.
In North America, except for advising you against taking kelp, physicians do not generally issue warnings to people at risk for a thyroid disorder about avoiding food containing iodine. That’s because iodine is found in a host of different foods that offer important nutrients. Since iodine is present in so many foods, it’s unlikely that someone will suffer from iodine deﬁciency in North America.
The Problem with Excess Iodine
In countries where iodine has been made plentiful in the food supply, such as in the United States, hypothyroidism from iodine deﬁciency has disappeared. However, hypothyroidism from autoimmune disease has skyrocketed.
It seems that excess iodine in the diet stimulates the immune system to create antibodies that attack the thyroid gland and cause it to stop making normal amounts of thyroid hormone, a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (see Chapter 2). Also, among people who get thyroid cancer, iodine supplementation has changed the types of thyroid cancer, decreasing the proportion of follicular thyroid cancers and increasing the number of papillary thyroid cancers. The reasons why iodine supplementation does these things are unknown. In healthy people who take very high doses of iodine once in a while, such as using iodine-containing water-puriﬁcation tablets on a camping trip, excess iodine temporarily shuts off the thyroid gland and reduces its production of thyroid hormone. However, healthy thyroids will usually regain the ability to make thyroid hormone despite continued exposure to high iodine levels.
The Myth About Herbal Supplements
In general, herbs that are marketed for thyroid health are generally dangerous or useless for thyroid disease patients, who may be purchasing them in the belief that it will restore thyroid function. Kelp, sargassum, and bladder wrack are
especially noteworthy for these reasons. Manganese, iron, selenium (touted as “necessary for T4/T3 conversion”), magnesium, zinc, copper sulfur, and calcium are all sold as thyroid health supplements, but they do not have any effect on thyroid hormone conversion.
Food substances and chemicals that interfere with the thyroid’s production of thyroid hormone, often causing a goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland), are called goitrogens. In normal amounts by themselves, these goitrogens don’t affect the thyroid; in regions of the world with iodine deﬁ ciency, however, these goitrogens worsen the incidence of hypothyroidism. One type of goitrogen, the thiocyanates, comes from foods such as yellow turnips, cassava, maize, bamboo shoots, sweet potatoes, and lima beans. Another type, the ﬂ avenoids, are found in millet, sorghum, beans, and ground nuts. Some goitrogens enter the water supply from coal deposits. Similarly, thiocyanates, ﬂ avenoids, and hydroxypyridines are goitrogenic chemicals that enter the body via cigarette smoke.
Known goitrogens include vegetables from the brassica family (cabbage, turnips, kohlrabi, bean sprouts, cauliﬂower) and cassava (tapioca). But unless your diet is severely iodine deﬁcient, there is no need to worry about eating these foods, as they are excellent sources of ﬁ ber, important vitamins, and cancer-ﬁ ghting agents.
Some lay people wonder whether large quantities of goitrogenic foods can cause hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely unless the diet is severely deﬁcient in iodine and massive quantities of these raw foods are eaten. In the case of hyperthyroidism, such a diet could theoretically work to block the effects of thyroid hormone, but reality is not so obliging. It seems easier to take a methimazole tablet twice a day than to eat 20 pounds of raw cabbage, chew cassava, and follow a strict low-iodine diet each day. Also, a goitrogenic diet cannot cure the autoimmune disease that is causing thyrotoxicosis.
Inaccurate or Unproven Low-Iodine Diets
There are many versions of this diet that are inaccurate; some are very lax in that they tell patients to avoid only ﬁsh but that they can have everything else. The NIH recently modiﬁed the diet to allow some milk, although some insist that milk may completely spoil the diet and render it ineffective. Other patients and physicians have taken this diet to unnecessary extremes without proof that the excessiveness is necessary. Some claim that speciﬁc types of beans, rice, vegetables, or fruit should be avoided. Some versions of the diet propose that tap water and potato skins should be avoided.
One problem with these alternate diets is that many of the tables and assays for the iodine content of foods, beyond the stipulations of the basic low-iodine diet, are unreliable due to the difﬁculties in testing for iodine. Another problem is that a good low-iodine diet is not a no-iodine diet. The amount of iodine ingested in a twenty-four-hour period should be under 50 mcg. One way to assess this is to collect all the urine you produce in a twenty-four-hour period. The total amount of iodine in that urine sample reﬂects the total amount eaten during that time. In a variety of clinical trials, researchers measured the urine samples in many patients following the basic low-iodine diet and found it to be highly reliable without unnecessary additional restrictions.
Some thyroid cancer patient organizations, such as The Light of Life Foundation or ThyCa, offer downloadable recipes, but they are not kitchen tested. In the case of the ThyCa recipes, which many thyroid cancer patients use, the low-iodine diet used is the excessive one, banning certain types of rice and limiting quantities of meat and many types of vegetables. These excessive restrictions are unnecessary.
The Thyroid Diet for Life:
Low Glycemic Index, Low Fat, and High Fiber
The best diet to follow if you are hypothyroid or euthyroid is a diet that combines the principles of most healthy diets today: a low– glycemic index diet (called low GI), as well as a high-ﬁber diet. These diets are heart healthy, colon friendly, and diabetes friendly and are naturally low in fat. The Weight Watchers core plan is essentially this type of diet.
There are several good low GI cookbooks available, as well as a myriad of sources about ﬁber. A high-ﬁber diet that is low in saturated fat and richer in unsaturated fat can help relieve constipation and bloat, fatigue, and weight gain. In essence, this is a diet for life that will help you feel better when you are combating periods of hypothyroidism because you’re not properly balanced on thyroid hormone, as well as help to prevent cardiovascular and colon health problems. It will also compliment your thyroid medication, if you are balanced right now. And it will help you combat any preexisting weight problem that may be aggravated by your hypothyroidism.
The Glycemic Index
Low-glycemic eating, or the scientiﬁcally supported low-GI diet, emphasizes foods containing carbohydrates that break down slowly and thus release sugar into the bloodstream more slowly. These foods are called low glycemic index or low GI foods. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrate foods with a value of 0 to 100 according to their effect on blood sugar levels. Changes in blood sugar produced by a given food are measured against the rise in blood sugar produced by a load of sugar, or sucrose, which is 100 percent. To qualify as low GI, foods should have an index of 60 percent or less.
North America’s obesity epidemic over the last three decades has coincided with an increased intake of carbohydrate-containing foods, many of which are high glycemic index. What has made matters worse is our tendency to eat one or two large meals a day. This results in tsunami-size insulin peaks, which predispose us to weight gain, as well as a host of symptoms and side effects that are a result of excess insulin in the blood. To address these symptoms and side effects, low GI eating calls for frequent, healthy low GI snacks to maintain steady low levels of insulin in the blood. This has been found to be a very beneﬁcial diet for life, and it is also beneﬁ cial for thyroid patients— particularly those predisposed to Type 2 diabetes. Glycemic index food tables abound in books and online, and the information is pretty consistent in this area of health and nutrition. Stick to reliable nutrition or diet organization sites.
Feeling bloated and constipated is a classic hypothyroid ailment.
Much of the bloat is caused by constipation, as well as by not drinking enough water. What few people understand is that when you increase ﬁber, you have to increase your water intake as well. You can take ﬁber supplements and stool softeners while hypothyroid, which will help you when your ﬁber content is low. But these supplements can also be added to a high-ﬁber diet, discussed here. It’s important to note that ﬁber supplements can interfere with the absorption of your thyroid hormone, so you should take them a few hours after your thyroid hormone, or try taking ﬁber at night and your thyroid hormone pill ﬁrst thing in the morning.
Fiber is the part of a plant your body can’t digest, which comes in the form of both water soluble ﬁber (dissolves in water) and water insoluble ﬁber (does not dissolve in water but, instead, absorbs water); this is what’s meant by soluble and insoluble ﬁber. While soluble and insoluble ﬁber differ, they are equally beneﬁcial.
Soluble ﬁber lowers the low-density lipid (LDL) cholesterol in your body. Experts aren’t entirely sure how soluble ﬁber does this, but one popular theory is that it gets mixed into the bile the liver secretes and forms a type of gel that traps the building blocks of cholesterol, thus lowering your LDL levels.
Insoluble ﬁber doesn’t affect your cholesterol levels at all, but it regulates your bowel movements. As the insoluble ﬁber moves through your digestive tract, it absorbs water like a sponge and helps to form your waste into a solid form more quickly, making the stools larger, softer, and easier to pass.
Good sources of soluble ﬁber include oats or oat bran, legumes (dried beans and peas), soybeans, some seeds, carrots, oranges, bananas, and other fruits.
Good sources of insoluble ﬁber are wheat bran and whole grains, skins from various fruits and vegetables, seeds, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables (cauliﬂower, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts).
Most of us will turn to grains and cereals to boost our ﬁber intake, which experts recommend should be at about 25–35 g per day. Aim for cereals that offer 5–10 g of ﬁber per serving. Double ﬁber breads offer 5 g of ﬁber per slice. One bowl of cereal; two slices of low-calorie, high-ﬁber bread; and some vegetable servings will get you to your 25–30 g per day. If you’re a little under par, an easy way to boost your ﬁber intake is to simply take a ﬁber supplement or add pure wheat bran to your foods, which is available in health food stores or supermarkets. Three tablespoons of wheat bran is equal to 4.4 g of ﬁber.
Drinking Water with Fiber
It’s important to drink water with ﬁber. Water means water.
Milk, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and juice are not a substitute for water.
Unless you drink water with your ﬁber, the ﬁber will not bulk up in your colon. Think of ﬁ ber as a sponge. Obviously, a dry sponge won’t work; you must soak it with water for it to be useful. The same principle applies to ﬁber. In the general population, it’s advised that you drink roughly 8 ounces of water with a ﬁ ber supplement. This is a good rule of thumb, but note that too much water can be dangerous when you’re hypothyroid. Check with your doctor about how much water to drink with your ﬁber, as the amount will be based on your individual ﬁber intake and the extent to which you are hypothyroid.
Making Sense of Weight-Loss Diets
Dietary guidelines from nutrition experts, government nutrition advisories and panels, and registered dietitians have not changed in ﬁfty years. A good diet is a balanced diet that represents all food groups; it should be grounded largely on plant-based foods, or carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains, with a balance of calories from animal-based foods, or proteins and fats, such as meats (red meat, poultry), ﬁ sh, and dairy. Nutrition research spanning the last ﬁfty years has only conﬁrmed these facts. What has changed in ﬁ fty years is the terminology used to deﬁne a good diet and the bombardment of information we receive about which foods affect which physiological processes in the body, such as cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood sugar levels, and insulin. There are also different kinds of fats and carbohydrates, which has made eating so technical and scientiﬁc that ordinary people feel more like chemists when trying to plan for healthy meals and diets.
No matter how many properties in foods are dissected or what kind of diet program you buy into, healthy eating comes down to a balanced diet—something that actually means “a balanced way of life.” In fact, the root word of diet—diatta—literally means “way of life.” A diet is considered low fat when it restricts calories from fat to below 30 percent daily. There are dozens of established low-fat diets on the market, but they vary from extremely low-fat diets, which restrict calories from fat to about 10 percent, to more moderate low-fat diets, which restrict calories from fat to 15 to 30 percent. The limitations of the low-fat diet led people to gorge on “bad carbs” (meaning that they are high on the glycemic index, or considered simply sugars and starches) because they were led to believe that so long as a food was fat-free, it was healthy. Also, too few calories from fat left people hungry and craving food. Unfortunately, our society’s habit of gorging on carbs has led to a sharp increase in insulin-resistance from carbohydrate overload in the diet.
Then came the diet backlash: the low-carb diet, the high-protein diet, or the Atkins diet. Low-carbohydrate diets are the opposite of low-fat diets: they restrict carbohydrates (which a healthy diet ought to be based on) to about 5 percent and encourage mostly high-fat foods—the more saturated fat, the better. In clinical circles, these diets are known as ketogenic diets because they trigger ketosis, a condition in which insulin production is shut down, forcing the liver to produce ketone bodies. The brain switches its nutritional status from using sugar as a primary fuel and starts to consume ketones. People can certainly lose weight while in ketosis, but living in a state of ketosis does not seem to be exactly what nature intended for a healthy human body. Hyperthyroidism tends to worsen ketosis, perhaps by decreasing the effect of insulin. In hypothyroidism, the liver function is impaired, possibly reducing the ability to safely tolerate a diet high in fat. Much is unknown concerning the metabolic interactions of an Atkins diet on people with thyroid disease.
In addition to the potential dangers of ketosis, the Atkins diet can cause terrible constipation in the ﬁ rst phase, badly aggravating the intestinal problems associated with hypothyroidism. In addition, consuming high levels of saturated fat spells disaster for people with hypothyroidism by exacerbating their cholesterol status, especially for those with high levels of LDL. Many people also have a genetic condition that causes high triglycerides, which cannot be controlled through diet alone; in these people, the Atkins diet can be life-threatening, causing pancreatitis (while a very low-fat diet has been shown, since the 1950s, to be life-saving). Other groups who are warned against the Atkins diet are those who suffer from any disease that puts a strain on the kidneys, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and bladder infections or conditions. Of course, anyone who is pregnant should absolutely stay away from this diet.
Sound nutritional experts maintain that carbohydrates do not make us fat; it is overindulgence in carbohydrates or protein or fat that makes us fat. Eating fewer carbohydrates, less protein, and less fat—in other words, eating everything in moderation and expending more energy than is eaten—is the key to weight loss.
You can judge a good diet based on these four simple questions:
• Are all food groups present, including plant-based foods, grains, complex carbs, proteins, lean meats, and fats? If not, then stay away.
• Are you encouraged to take in the least number of calories from fats and discouraged from junk foods and reﬁned sugars? If so, this is sensible.
• Is weight loss promised averaging about one to two pounds per week, or is weight loss promised of ten or more pounds a week? Anything more than one to two pounds a week is suspicious and likely faddish. Gradual weight loss is sustainable for life; speedy weight loss leads to yo-yo effects, in which you gain as much back as you lost and sometimes more.
• Is it a diet that offers enough variety that you would feel good eating this way for life? Is feeding your whole family with the foods encouraged? If not, be wary.
The Low Thyroid Diet
If you are currently in the throes of hyperthyroidism and are thyrotoxic, it’s important to note that your thyroid helps to control gastric emptying, secretion of digestive juices, and motility of the digestive tract. When you’re thyrotoxic, despite a voracious appetite, you might lose weight and have hyperdefecation (frequent bowel movements).
While thyrotoxic, increase your calcium intake by eating more butter, cream, cheese, and other dairy products. This will also help to keep your weight up. Peanut butter, mayonnaise, and animal fats can help as well. To reduce diarrhea, cut down on fruit juices and fresh fruits.
Peanut butter is also good for binding. Sometimes, thyrotoxic people will develop sudden lactose intolerance, which can lead to gas and other unpleasantries. If this is the case, eliminate all milk products and take a calcium supplement while getting your fat from the other foods mentioned above.
Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes; all may stimulate your heart. You may want to take vitamin supplements as well. (Vitamins A, D, and E are stored in body fat and can be lost through excretion if you are thyrotoxic or hyperthyroid.) When you are in balance again, you will need to cut down on your fat and calcium intake.