The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland in the neck that helps control the body’s metabolism. According to the thyroid foundation of Canada it is estimated as many as 1 in 10 Canadians have some type of thyroid condition. It can affect both men and women, but it is much more common in women and has a hereditary component.
Symptoms of an under-active thyroid, called hypothyroidism, include:
- Weight gain
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Brittle nails
One type of hypothyroid is a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid tissue. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is diagnosed by the presence of two types of antibodies: anti-thyroglobulin and anti-tissue peroxidase.
Naturopathic medicine is especially fitted for treating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, as it requires a holistic approach to be treated successfully. It is important to support thyroid function using minerals such as zinc and selenium. It is equally important to regulate the immune system and address the underlying cause of the thyroid condition. Diet changes, including testing for and avoiding food sensitivities can help to regulate a hyperactive immune system. Anti-inflammatory naturopathic supplements such as curcumin and sterols can also help to decrease the immune response.
As part of a holistic naturopathic approach it is also recommended to balance and support other hormones such as cortisol and DHEA as required to achieve optimal thyroid health.