A healthy thyroid plays a key role in overall health, producing hormones that regulate metabolism and affect every part of the body. Dr. Andrew Weil offers advice for thyroid health with tips on medicine, diet and alternative approaches.
Thyroid diseases affect more than 20 million Americans, according to the American Thyroid Association. These include a variety of conditions caused by the thyroid producing too much or too little thyroid hormone, which can cause a wide range of symptoms such as weight changes, depression, anxiety, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue and vision problems.
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For hypothyroidism, when the thyroid produces too little hormone, Weil has recommended the synthetic drug Thyroloar, which provides a mix of T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) hormones similar to the natural mixture produced by the thyroid, according to his website.
In addition, he recommends an anti-inflammatory diet, regular exercise and relaxation techniques and avoiding excessive amounts of goitrogens such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, peanuts and soybeans, which can interfere with the thyroid.
Take thyroid medicines on an empty stomach for best absorption and to avoid interactions.
Those experiencing hypothyroidism also should avoid iodine supplements, Dr. Weil said in another post on his website. Alternative therapies such as hypnosis, psychotherapy, and guided imagery therapy also may easy symptoms, which sometimes coincide with emotional ups and downs.
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When it comes to thyroid supplements, Weil urges caution. Some over-the-counter products include T4 and/or T3 hormones and could push people above the ideal amount of these hormones, resulting in negative symptoms such an insomnia, anxiety and mood changes.
Some thyroid supplements also include iodine, which can be harmful in excess, Weil said. Those with glandular extracts from cows carry potential risks such as Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Weil urges people to consult with a physician, who can monitor hormone levels and prescribe medicine at appropriate doses to keep the thyroid on track.
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This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.