One of the most highly recommended ways to self-test for the possibility of a hypothyroid condition, is to simply take your temperature before you get out of bed in the morning.
Dr. Broda Barnes, MD, refutes allopathic (traditional medical) methods of testing the thyroid gland, and is emphatic that this is actually the best way to know. Your basal body temperature should be at or above 97.8° F. Dr. Barnes believes that doctors do not use this method because it is too simple and they will not make any money from the test. Sadly, I believe it is also possible they feel they can not trust their patients to read a thermometer correctly, or to tell them the truth! If your temperature is not above 97.8°, then you can benefit from some changes to your diet, and additions to your life. And if you do not do something to change the path you are on, worse health issues may be in your future.
Many people in the US struggle with hypothyroidism. Symptoms can be mild to severe. I have been told by several naturopaths in casual conversation, that over 80% of the patients that walk through their doors have thyroid glands that are under active. Another couple of a percent consist of patients that have hyperthyroidism (a thyroid gland that is too active). On this page you will find information and links to more information and products that may help you.
Thyroid problems – often undiagnosed – are extremely common among Americans. In point of fact, most (if not all) people who later develop more serious afflictions – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, crohn’s disease, etc – have hypothyroidism years before these more serious problems arise.
Books you may wish to read:
Living Well With Hypothyroidism by Mary Shomon
This book, exhaustively researched by a professional writer and hypothyroidism patient, is written for patients, their families, their doctors, and the countless number of people with undiagnosed or under-treated symptoms of the disease-frustrated as the author was, by the lack of information on the subject.
Hypothyroidism: the Unsuspected Illness by Broda Barnes, M.D. and Lawrence Gaston
Dr. Broda Barnes and Lawrence Galton tell what the thyroid gland is, how it works, the problems its dysfunction can induce. They detail case histories of patients, often thought hopeless, whose problems were discovered to be related to hypothyroidism and were cured by Dr. Barnes’s simple effective techniques. And they discuss whether you too may be hypothyroid, affected by a condition even a physician may not recognize.
First Some Basics
Alkalinizing your pH and getting minerals
There seem to be several things that most, if not all nutritionists and naturopaths, use to help people with hypothyroidism. The following items are here based on my reading and talking with nutritionists and naturopaths.
First on the list is a way to replace many trace minerals that have been missing in the diet. The human body has a narrow window of pH where vitamins and minerals are best assimilated and utilized. As we age, most Americans become increasingly acidic: The pH of the tissue salts is lower than what the bodies should optimally maintain. People with cancer, hypothyroidism, AIDS, arthritis, heart disease and other serious diseases also experience an elevated pH acidity, and cannot properly process the nutrient intake which they should be receiving from the food they eat.
This is probably one of the main causes for the condition developing in the first place. You can measure your pH easily with pH test strips. Most health care practitioners use these test strips to check the pH of saliva and urine. Blood pH must be kept within a very narrow window in order for oxygen to be taken into the red cells while they circulate through the lungs. There is a tiny change in the pH that occurs as the blood moves on to the cells so that nutrients and oxygen can then be released. Using whole food supplements that are natural to try and increase minerals, and eating foods that are alkalinizing to the body will help reverse this situation.
Wilderness Family Naturals’ Green Food Feast helps to alkalinize the body, so that the minerals and vitamins will be in a more favorable pH range. It also contains several trace minerals to assist the requisite changes in body chemistry to restore proper balance. As your body becomes more alkaline, you will assimilate and utilize more and more of the vitamins and minerals it contains. Wilderness Family Naturals’ Green Food Feast contains sea vegetables and blue-green algae, along with wild-crafted herbs that replenish those critical minerals most people with hypothyroidism lack. In addition, it has specific herbs that are beneficial to the thyroid gland and endocrine system.
Wilderness Family Naturals also carries coral calcium, which will help to alkalinize the body. Alkalinizing and adding these naturally-state trace minerals is foundational to improved health.
Acid and Alkaline Producing Foods and Acid and Alkaline Balance in the Body provide helpful informational resources.
The Fats You Eat are Important!
It is imperative to examine the unsaturated fats, hormone-like substances, and toxins in your food supply. Estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones are cholesterol based biochemicals in your body. Years ago, our predominant hormones were naturally produced within the body. Today, we are bombarded by hormone-mimicking substances – from the plastics which package our food, the herbicides and pesticides which are employed to treat our grains, plants and vegetables, and the synthesized hormones fed to animals we in turn consume, for example. These hormone-like substances and their inherent toxins are powerful endocrine system disruptors, inhibiting thyroid functions. The unsaturated fats in our food supply impact similarly.
An expansive variety of researcher has shown that unsaturated fats cause a profound inhibition of the functioning of the thyroid gland. These unsaturated fats are found in many oils – soybean, flax seed, corn, canola, sunflower, peanut, etc. Olive oil, butter, lard, coconut oil and palm oil are the only oils which will notinhibit the thyroid gland. Coconut oil actually has the effect of stimulating the thyroid gland, and is the oil of choice for those suffering from an under active thyroid.
Estrogens also slow down the thyroid gland. Farmers know that if they give their cattle estrogens they will greatly increase weight. Soybeans are full of phytoestrogens, which retard metabolism and result in rapid weight gain, increasing profitability for the farmer. This same process occurs in people, as estrogens and estrogenotic compounds are increasingly found in our meat supply… the result of more and more animals biring fed soy products, and administered supplemental hormones. IN addition, many plastic containers exude estrogens into our food supply!
Careful scrutiny of packaging should be of primary importance when purchasing food products, with preference given to glass, metal, or paper products over packaging which employs derivative of plastics or polymers.
Both men and women in our society are being bombarded with estrogens: The use of progesterone cream – by both sexes – helps to restore balance. Increasingly, people who treat their hypothyroidism naturally use some type of progesterone. Cleansing the toxins from your system is important to establish the optimally functioning immune system. Eliminating further estrogens and toxins from entering into your body should be a high priority.
Most natural treatments include elements that will add trace minerals and good nutrition to alkalinize and eliminate estrogens and unsaturated fats… replacing them with healthy alternatives that balance hormones and restore proper rates of metabolism. Occasionally, stimulating the thyroid gland and the entire endocrine system (including the digestive system), as necessary to return the body to optimum health.
Just a note about nutrition, hypothyroidism and some misinformation that is out there:
Some people believe that iodine is harmful to the thyroid gland: If a medical doctor wants to destroy the thyroid gland prior to surgery, he administers a strong iodine solution, taken orally. This pure iodine solution will very quickly go to the thyroid gland, and as the extremely high concentration of iodine can not be utilized or processed, a toxic effect ensues, destroying the thyroid.
Iodine levels are low, however, in people with hypothyroidism: Adding natural iodine – with other trace minerals – is considered to be very beneficial. There is no evidence to show that introducing substances like kelp, irish moss, and bladderwrack (all containing iodine) does anything thing but benefit the thyroid gland. In fact, studies where synthetic iodine (even in high dosages) was given in concert with key supportive trace minerals, have supported the beneficial result to the thyroid gland. Consuming seaweeds containing iodine and other trace minerals – which our Green Foods Feast containts – in this “natural packaging” had proven very helpful to improving the health of both the thyroid gland and endocrine system. .
We invite you to visit Green Food Feast for further information and ordering.
Alkalinizing the Body with Coral Calcium
Purchasing Coral Calcium in bulk gives you the flexibility of making your own capsules, sprinkling it on your food, adding it to sauces, dressings, dips, or any recipe to make your food more alkaline forming with less expense.
Wilderness Family Naturals offers the raw material other companies use to make their capsules and tablets. It is pure coral calcium and contains no binders, fillers, or additives (All tablets and many capsules have these types of elements added.).
Read: Acid and Alkaline Balance in the Body
When we first moved to Minnesota from Iowa I had my first experience with vegetable gardening and soil pH. You see in Iowa, the soil is prime soil for growing things. You can just throw seeds our your back door and they will grow. In Minnesota I babied plants in my garden that only grew a few inches before we have a frost! The pH of the soil is Iowa was always 6.5 to 7.0. Here in Minnesota it is 4.5. In looking at charts and in reading I discovered that minerals and vitamins necessary for the plant to survive are only available to the plant if the soil is in a certain pH range. Most garden plants require a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. There are some plants like blueberries that only live in acid soil (like our 4.5 pH) other plants thrive in a more alkaline soil as you might fine in Texas. But for garden vegetables you need your soil to be in that tiny window in order to produce good fruit. The minerals and vitamins will not be available to them otherwise.
People seem to be somewhat the same way. It is interesting to note that people with cancer, arthritis, AIDS, hypothyroidism and other very serious diseases always have very acidic saliva. While our bodies always maintain a blood pH in a very tight window, the organs which help to maintain this window become less efficient as we get older, and you will find that at the cellular level, if the diet is an acid forming diet, (high in meats, processed/refined foods, and grains-this includes even organic or grass fed animal flesh and most organic grains), they will become more and more acidic. Also the more cooked the veggies and fruits are the more acidic they become. So it is easy to see how the typical American diet causes people to become more and more acid the their cellular pH.
Coral Calcium comes from a coral reef near Okinawa Japan. It is cut, washed and powdered. When this coral, which contains alkalinizing minerals is taken into the body it has an alkalinizing effect. A more alkaline body is a more efficient body. It seems that at least one root cause to many diseases, including hypothroidism, cancer and arthritis is a body that has become too acidic to efficiently uptake, assmilate and utilitze properly mineral and vitamins from food. Alkalinizing the body with a good green foods that also gives and abundant supply of minerals and vitamins is very important.
Adding coral calcium will help to alkalinize the body more quickly. The pH strips will help you to know how alkaline you are. False alkaline readings will occur is you are totally deficient in digestive enzymes and normal flora. The right balance in the body is one that is alkaline 7.0 to 7.5 and has a healthy population of normal flora.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
There are many side effects of a sluggish thyroid gland and the resulting slower metabolism. First of all it effects your energy level greatly, and with a slower metabolism and subsequent reduction in activity (and energy) there is often unwanted weight gain. Unfortunately, a person’s health is effected, as well. Coconut oil can help with a lot of these problems. Several health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and osteoporosis are more prevalent in those people who have slow metabolism. Any health condition is made worse if the metabolic rate is slower than normal, because the cells can’t heal and repair themselves as quickly. People with hypothyroidism desperately want to live normal, energetic lives and it is quite possible adding coconut oil to your diet will be part of your answer.
Increase your Metabolism and Energy Level
Coconut oil (or some form of it) is used in many hospital formulas to help the very old, the very young, and the very ill to regain their strength and vitality. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are much different than the long chain fatty acids found in the seed oils. This difference effects how the body utilizes this oil, how it is digested and metabolized, and how it aids the body.
The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are easily absorbed and put to use nourishing the body. Unlike other fats, they put little strain on the digestive system and provide a quick source of energy. On the other hand, long chain fatty acids are usually digested by enzymes from the liver and take a long time to breakdown. Less enzymes and less energy are required for coconut oil digestion. You see, the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are digested and absorbed quickly with minimal effort. Because of this there is less strain on the pancreas, liver and the digestive system. This is important for persons who suffer from metabolic problems.
Once digested long chain fatty acids go on to be stored in adipose tissue to be used later. However, coconut oil, because it contains shorter fatty acid chains, is absorbed into the blood stream and used by the body for energy. Many people describe the “burning” of coconut oil as being similar to the “burning” of carbohydrates for fuel.
The long chain fatty acids, which are digested by the body, must be linked up with carrier proteins (they are called lipoproteins) and carried though out the body. They can be used by the cells or organs for energy or stored in adipose tissue or dropped off on the sides of arteries, etc. The fats which do this are cholesterol, long chain saturated fats, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. The medium chain fatty acids, however, are not packaged into lipoproteins, but travel to the liver where they are converted into energy. Ordinarily they are not stored to any significant degree as body fat. Medium chain fatty acids produce energy. Other dietary fats produce fat.
For energy, if the body uses carbohydrates, insulin, produced by the pancreas, is required for the glucose molecules to be able to enter into the cell. Many, many people develop a resistance to insulin as they get older and it becomes increasingly more difficult for the body to get these molecules into the cells. Any extra glucose which can or does not get used by the body for energy is turned into triglycerides and then carried by carriers all over the body. You can have high triglycerides in your blood and not eat an ounce of fat. Even total vegetarians can have high triglycerides from eating a high carbohydrate diet. Triglycerides and the lipoproteins, in the same manner as glucose, travel across the cell membrane to be used as energy, and they too require carriers (enzymes) in order to permeate both membranes of the cell’s mitrochondria where their energy is released. Since the longer chain fatty acids demand special enzymes to pull them through the double membrane, the energy production process is much slower and taxing on the enzyme reserves. Medium chain fatty acids are unique in that they can easily permeate both membranes of the mitrochondria without the need of enzymes and thus provide the cell with a quick and efficient source of energy. This is great news if you are feeling fatigued.
Eating foods containing medium chain fatty acids is like putting high octane fuel into your car. The car will run smoother and get better gas mileage. Likewise, with medium chain fatty acids, your body will perform better because it has more energy and greater endurance. Because MCFA are funneled directly to the liver and converted into energy, the body gets a boost of energy. And because MCFA are easily absorbed by the energy-producing organelles of the cells, metabolism increases. This burst of energy has a stimulating effect on the entire body. Many people, those with relatively good health, those with significant health problems, and those who are overweight notice a speeding up of their heart rate, their metabolism and their body temperature when they add coconut oil to their diet.
It is important to realize that insulin is not involved in any of the process of getting these medium chain fatty acids into the cells and so you will not see a “sugar high” (or peak in your sugar level) and a “sugar low” where you want to go to sleep.
The fact that MCFA digest immediately to produce energy and stimulate metabolism has led athletes to use them as a means to enhance exercise performance. There are several studies showing this to be true. For example, in one study, investigators tested the physical endurance of mice who were given MCFA in their daily diet against those that weren’t. The study extended over a six week period. The mice were subjected to a swimming endurance test every other day. They were placed in a pool of water with a constant current flow like that found in a river. The total swimming time until exhaustion was measured. While at first there was little difference between the groups of mice, those fed MCFA quickly began to out-perform the others and continued to improve throughout the testing period.1
Besides increasing your energy level and your metabolic rate, there are other very important benefits that results from using coconut oil: it helps protect you from illness and speeds healing. When metabolism is increased, cells function at a higher rate of efficiency. This heals injuries quicker, old and diseased cells are replaced faster. Young, new cells are generated at an increased rate to replace the worn-out ones. Even the immune system functions better.
Eat Fat, Lose Weight
In the United States 55% of the population is overweight. One in 4 adults is considered obese. Being overweight increases risk for gall bladder, disease, osteo-arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and early death.
You can reduce you food intake, reduce your fat intake, and you can be hungry all the time, feel miserable, depressed and not lose many (if any) pounds. Most people eventually give up with no lasting or significant weight loss. Each time you lower your calorie intake your body lowers it basal metabolism and you require less calories to go through a day, which will result in more weight gain once you give up your diet. It is a vicious cycle. Young people require more calories than older people. Physically active people use more calories than less active ones. People who are fasting, starving, or even dieting use less calories than people who are not. And over weight people use fewer calories than lean or muscular people. Overweight people who are dieting have even lower metabolism. And then if your thyroid gland is not working well, you may feel quite desperate. Interestingly enough, many people find, that by changing the fats they have in their diet from the unsaturated long chain fatty acids (found in seed oils) to the medium chain fatty acids (found in coconut oil), they gradually over the the weeks and months lose weight effortlessly. It has also been well documented in numerous dietary studies using both animals and humans that replacing long chain fatty acids with medium chain fatty acids results in a decrease in body weight gain and a reduction in fat deposition.
The reasons seem to be two fold. Since carbohydrates are usually used for energy, if they are not in excess they will not be turned into triglycerides and go into fat stores. Proteins are rarely used for energy. They make up the building blocks of much of our cells and systems and are usually used in that function. But fats, if in long chains, will almost always go into fat stores unless the calorie intake is low and they are needed for energy. However, the medium chain fatty acids will not do that. They will help in the digestion of the fat soluble vitamin, and they will fight bacteria and viruses (lauric acid is known for its effect in dissolving the lipid envelope that protects many pathogenic viruses and bacteria) and in the end rather than adding to fat stores these fatty acid chains will be used up for energy by the body. And since coconut oil will speed up metabolism, your body will actually be burning more calories in a day and you will have more energy. You may even become more active. This will only help to accelerate weight loss and renew your health. It is very interesting to see studies that show the unsaturated fats as having an effect on the body of causing hypothyroidism and a lower metabolic rate and the coconut oil speeding up metabolism and increasing thyroid activity.
So Virgin Coconut Oil is another one of those products that is very thyroid supportive. Patients who are not converting T3 to T4, seem to be doing that a month later after switching over to this coconut oil. Patients that are cold because of their low body temperature, or tired all the time because of their slow metabolism see their energy gradually come back and their body temperatures rise. Most of our customers just eat a tablespoon or two at a time, raw or in a hot drink. They need at least 2-3 tablespoons a day to get their body temperatures up, but many have been able to cut back on their thyroid meds as the weeks go by that they are using our virgin coconut oil. People also cook with this oil, but that just gives them an added boost. They consider anything extra a plus.
Progesterone is a hormone precursor to Estrogen in women and Testosterone in men. Unfortunately as the endocrine system slows down this effects all hormone production. It has been discovered that progesterone cream, when only a tiny bit is rubbed into the skin each day, will increase those hormonal levels and it is very thyroid supportive. Progesterone cream is almost a must for people with low thyroid function, at least until they are on the road to recovery. Estrogens levels can be found in large amounts in our food supply. Much of our meat contains estrogens, soy products are loaded with estrogens, plastics that our food is sold in put estrogenotic chemicals into the food we eat. We are bombarded by estrogens, both men and women constantly everyday. Estrogens slow down the thyroid gland and endocrine system. Adding progesterone cream back into the system will give hormonal balance. Like the virgin coconut oil, progesterone cream seems to also help with weight loss, at least in women. Often times the hormonal imbalances cause PMS and or water weight. As the hormonal levels become balanced these type of problems less or are eliminated.
Raw Glandulars are used by people not wishing to use Synthroid (a synthetic prescription thyroid hormone replacement, or Armour thyroid (a “natural” prescription thyroid hormone replacement) or those who need an alternative.
These Thyroid support options come from natural sources, and are commonly used by people who need more help than they might receive from using the progesterone cream, the virgin coconut oil and green foods.
Raw Thyroid Capsules:
Distributed by Naturals Sources, these contain Raw Thyroid Glandular Concentrate with Synergistic Complex.
Each capsule is comprised of: 50 mg of thyroid tissue from bovine sources, free-dried at or below -5° C to preserve natural occurring vitamins, enzymes, nucleotides, lipoproteins and all other cellular components; 20 mg adrenal tissue; 10 mg pituitary tissue; 5 mg thymus tissue; 5 mg spleen tissue; and 300 mg of kelp.
This raw tissue concentrate – imported from New Zealand – originates from the toxin-free lyophilized glands of animals grazed on rangeland free of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics or chemical additions.
This natural product is made without sugar, starch, preservatives, artificial colors or flavorings, and contains no corn, wheat, yeast, soy or milk derivatives.
Suggested Dosage is one 50 mg capsule per day, following a meal.
Thyroid Support, Liquid:
This is a liquid thyroid tincture in a 20% alcohol base by Natra-Bio. It is a Natural Homeopathic Medicine.
It contains Active Ingredients: Thyroidinum (Thyroid Gland) 8X and Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water and 20% alcohol.
I would recommend using the capsules by Natural Sources for your main thyroid support, and using this tincture at times during your day when you need added support to increase your metabolism, improve your energy level, when your hands and feet are extremely cold and your are miserable or restless.
People who only need occasional support, might also consider this tincture for those low times.
The recommended dosage is 15 drops under the tongue, four times day.
Replenish enzymes and nutrition using cultured milk and veggies, rather than digestive enzyme replacement:
Many Naturopathic Doctors and Nutritional consultants put their hypothyroid patients on digestive enzymes, because their entire endocrine system is suppressed. It appears that all people with hypothyroidism have low digestive enzyme levels and consequently are not getting the nutrients they need from their food. They require a variety of trace minerals and vitamins that their compromised digestive tract is lacking. The common belief is that capsules or tablet supplements are the only solution to replacement of those nutrients their systems – through lack of proper digestive enzuymes – fail to supply.
Most – if not all – natural health care professionals believe that there is no way to get the body to increase those digestive enzyme stores, and suggest their patients remain on digestive enzymes supplements for the rest of their lives.
High amounts of digestive enzymes actually make the system more acidic, appearing effective for the food in the stomach, but they do not seem to store in the body or be recycled by it. So taking digestive enzymes long term may even predispose us for other degenerative illnesses from increased acidity… with no actual cure of the root problem. It is a “band-aid”, that allows the body to once again receive nutrients from food, but – as tehe body never truly “recovers”, will always need to be taken.
We prefer not to rely on pills and capsules: Thankfully, a few practitioners believe there is another way. They do not put their patients on digestive enzymes, but rather encourage them to culture their organic milk and organic young coconuts in kefir, encouraging cultured buttermilk, sour cream and cultured butter. They also recommend cultured vegetables and sprouting. These foods add enzymes to the system naturally, and- while adding enzymes – they are loaded with easy-to-digest nutrition (already partially digested), so they put no additional “load” on the system. In additions, they repopulate digestive tract “friendly’ bacteria that aid in digestion and help keep pathogens from taking over. These cultured products are foundational, if you believe you have a candida overgrowth, parasites, ulcerative bowel problems, and the like. Sally Fallon (of Weston A. Price )calls them super foods, and they are foundational to Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet. Both kefir and cultured vegetables are very alkalinizing to the body, aiding digestion (especially of proteins), and replenishing healthy, friendly bacterial cultures in the digestive tract. Culturing milk and vegetables is something everyone – even those who are not ill – should consider doing, to maintain optimum health.
There are nutritional consultants that refuse to put their patients on digestive enzymes, recommending instead that they employ a regimen of good green foods, virgin coconut oil, and progesterone cream. In concert, these eliminate all the bad fats, estrogens, and foods that are thyroid supressive. Patients are also encouraged to consume cultured foods, along with a good health diet.
Hypothyroidism is greatly helped by a diet rich in these types of foods: Visit Kefir Culture Starter, andVeggie Culture Starter for additional information.