WHAT DOES IT MEAN? WHAT'S CAUSING IT? WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Are you prone to a problem with 'Hypothyroid'?
If you run your hand along the front of your neck starting right below your chin, you'll eventually hit a slight bump - that's when you know you've hit the thyroid gland. Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located along the mid-line of your neck, only a few inches above your lungs. The thyroid produces the hormones that regulate your metabolism. The proximity of these organs almost begs us to assume an inherent relationship between respiration, oxygen, and metabolism.
How Does a Person with Hypothyroid Feel?When your thyroid become impaired, you may feel cold because thyroid hormones increase your metabolism, which generates heat. If you are the first to reach for a sweater or are intolerant to cold, you may not have a properly functioning thyroid. You may wake up in the morning still tired from the night before. Some people with low thyroid feel their mind isn't sharp or clear - in fact, many describe the effect on the mind as "brain-fog." You may feel drugged as if moving through water. You may notice more and more hair coming out in your brush or the shower, as well as brittle, flaky nails. You may experience weight gain, even with proper diet and exercise. Blood flow to your skin may be diminished, causing dryness. The bowels may also become dry or sluggish. Your breath may be shallow as well. Many women chalk up crankiness and intensely painful periods to peri-menopause, not realizing that their thyroid is actually compromised.
Symptoms of hypothyroid include: Slow pulse, fatigue, hoarse voice, slowed speech, goiter (caused by swollen thyroid gland), sensitivity to cold, weight gain, constipation, dry, scaly, thick, coarse hair, numbness in fingers or hands, confusion, depression, dementia, headaches, menstrual problems, paleness, muscle and/or joint pain. In children: slowed growth, delayed teething, and slow mental development.
Western Definition of Hypothyroid
Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid gland, located at the front of your neck, doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone (underactive thyroid). Thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating your metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fats. They raise basal cell temperature and play a role in the development and differentiation of all cells in the body. This condition is most common in post-menopausal women, yet can affect men and women of all ages. It's helpful to understand the roles of all three thyroid hormones, TSH, T3 and T4. Here's a simple explanation from the University of Maryland.
"Your thyroid gland produces two main thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. In addition, the pituitary gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which helps control how much T3 and T4 the thyroid makes. Your health care provider will draw blood to measure levels TSH. When levels of thyroid hormones are low, your body produces more TSH to increase production of thyroid hormones. Your doctor may also test for levels of T3 or T4.
Natural medicine practitioners may pay particular attention to levels of T3 hormone. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone. Your thyroid gland makes some T3, but the body also converts T4 into T3. If you are unable to convert T4 to T3, your laboratory tests for T4 may be normal, but you still may have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Talk to your doctor about including T3 laboratory tests in the treatment of your hypothyroidism."
Source: Hypothyroidism | University of Maryland Medical Center
Ayurvedic Approach to Low Metabolism & the Thyroid
Oxygen feeds the fire of your metabolism. Like snuffing out a candle, a lack of oxygen all but extinguishes your metabolism. Under certain conditions, oxygen gets scarce in your blood. When oxygen is scarce, what's the thyroid to do? Your thyroid will naturally shift to a hypo-active state. The placement of your thyroid close to the lungs is not coincidental, but has meaning.
The thyroid tends to get a lot of the blame in the metabolism & weight loss game. The thyroid approach can leave you feeling a little fatalistic about metabolism - as if it's a fixed thing - you were either born with a high or a low metabolism and there's nothing you can do about it. But the foods you eat can affect your metabolism.
Rich foods such as bread, cheese and sugar, depress your metabolism because they thicken your bodily fluids. As your blood thickens, it becomes harder to circulate. Your circulation is responsible for carrying oxygen to all the cells of the body. When blood is thick and sluggish, oxygen delivery is thwarted, depressing your metabolism. A thick coating of mucus in your lungs doesn't help. The mucus thwarts absorption of oxygen. So you should avoid these foods if you have a low metabolism, no matter what your thyroid count is.The effect of thick blood on your metabolism is similar to a campfire with too many logs on it. If you've ever built a fire then you've probably had this experience. When there are too many logs, the fire starts to smolder, especially when the wood is wet. This relates perfectly to heavy, rich foods slowing metabolism. The vitality of your metabolic fire becomes dim and smoky. It becomes cloudy, and unclear. Once your fire is choked, it takes even longer to burn off the logs. If you had a nice roaring fire and threw a bunch of logs on it the fire would rip right through it. But when your metabolism is already smoldering, adding more rich food just slows down your whole system. Everything gets stagnant and dim, starting with digestion, and including your metabolism. Even thinking becomes difficult, and your thoughts cloudy. This literally happens because of the changes in your blood.
Low thyroid is simply the end of a chain reaction. If you set off a long string of dominoes on a table - thyroid might be the last one to tumble. But the process started a long way back. In order to rectify it, you must start at the beginning.
Qualities of Hypothyroidism
In Ayurveda, treatment of any condition begins by understanding its qualities. By assessing the symptoms and feelings associated with hypothyroid, you can observe that the qualities of hypothyroid are Heavy, Slow, Cold, Soft, Stagnant, and Dull. All of these qualities are associated with heavy Kapha Dosha. By avoiding these qualities, you stop feeding the disorder. By incorporating opposite qualities of Hot, Sharp, Light, Mobile, and Dry, you can balance your thyroid.
Home Remedies for Low Metabolism
Breathing & Low Thyroid
In Ayurveda, oxygen is closely related to prana, or life force. Yogic breathing exercises, called pranayama, can help keep your diaphragm toned, and quickly oxygenate your blood. This leaves you feeling refreshed. Pranayama is one of the most effective home remedies for low thyroid. Click here to learn the most common types of pranayama. The three best types of pranayama for low thyroid are brahmeri, kapalabhati and bhastrika. Bhrameri includes a humming noise, which directly vibrates the thyroid gland, revitalizing it. But, even simple full-belly breathing will help!
If your thyroid is low, your smooth muscle tissue may lose strength and tone. Your heart, diaphragm, and intestines will become weak. As your diaphragm weakens, your breath becomes shallow and you get even less oxygen. Pranayama is a great way to strengthen your diaphragm and get a full breath again. It helps circulate the blood in your core, improving your circulation in general.
Pranayama detoxifies your body, the lungs in particular. Remember, one main cause of impaired circulation of oxygen is a too-thick mucosal lining in the lungs. So, incorporating a daily breathing practice cleanses, detoxifies, and whittles away at this thick layer of mucus. This allows your body to utilize the oxygen you inhale. The sensation of light, bright, clear-minded freshness you feel after just 10 minutes of breathing indicates that your body is receiving more oxygen.
Exercise and Your Thyroid
Exercise is another way to improve your metabolism. Like pranayama, moderate exercise like walking improves your circulation, strengthens your muscles, and oxygenates your blood. The following yoga poses can help your thyroid gland:
Diet for Low Thyroid
If you eat heavy foods your digestion may feel sluggish for a few hours. Sluggishness may resolve in your digestive tract quickly, but when it gets pushed to the blood it can take a month or more to burn off. A practitioner can help decongest your blood faster with a custom cleanse. A modest guided cleanse can speed up the process of resetting your blood and metabolism.
Green vegetables, and especially those with bitter taste, increase prana, making you feel fresh and vital. Examples include chicory, red leaf lettuce & cooked kale. Avoid raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale but these are fine when cooked. Avoid water containing fluoride, which was used as a thyroid suppressant in the 1950s.
Healthy fats are the building blocks for all hormones. Support your thyroid's hormone production by providing it with great materials to work with! Coconut oil, ghee, flax oil, and fish oil are all great sources.
Spices like ginger & black pepper stimulate your heart rate and get your circulation moving. Your circulation can also be improved through warm teas, turmeric, mild exercise, stretching, and massage.
Herbs for Thyroid Support
Beliefs that Support Your Thyroid
Speak up for your beliefs! Some people feel a lump in their throat when they are faced with a challenging discussion. That means you have musculo-skeletal tension in the area of your thyroid gland, putting this organ under stress. Pathological submission, inability to speak, & lack of righteousness is the spiritual cause of hashimotos and hypothyroid. The world needs your input and ideas to be made whole.
The Role of Your Adrenals
Many people with hypothyroidism of all types also suffer from depleted adrenals, known as adrenal fatigue. Typically, depleted adrenals comes first, followed by a depressed thyroid. The reason is that when adrenals become weak due to chronic stress, poor diet, trauma either physical or emotional, they release unnecessary stress hormones that put the body process of breakdown. Since the thyroid controls metabolism, it does it's best to balance the process started by your adrenals. The result is a slow thyroid as a result of weakened adrenals. This process can happen over a period of months to years. So, in order to support your thyroid function, it's imperative that you take notice of your adrenal strength. If they are depleted, you must address both your thyroid and adrenals.
Supporting your adrenals is quite simple. It takes rest and stress reduction, mainly lifestyle changes that calm down buzzy, anxiety ridden vata dosha. Many herbs that calm vata also support the adrenals as do adaptogenic herbs like ashwagangha, tulsi, eleuthro, and schisandra.
Disclaimer: 'Hypothyroid' could be serious and should be checked by a medical doctor.
STAGE OF DISEASE 4 - TISSUE DISEASEIf you have symptoms in this category it means your imbalances have overwhelmed your body's resistance causing a full-fledged disease. Once imbalance reaches this stage it is more likely to cause acute or chronic conditions. You might be tempted to focus your attention on fighting symptoms in this category, but dismiss earlier warning signs of imbalance - i.e. symptoms in the stage 1 category. It is ideal to find and address the root causes weakening your system and remove them first. This ensures you are not adding fuel to the fire of disease. Once the root causes are removed, you can work on addressing the disease head on along with strengthening your body. This typically yields a quicker recovery and prevents recurrence. Ayurveda's preventative approach suggests you pay careful attention to every stage of disease development.
ARE YOU NEW TO AYURVEDA?Are you wondering what Ayurveda is and how to use it for 'Hypothyroid' and health in general? LEARN MORE
REBALANCE YOUR BODY WITH DIET, LIFESTYLE & HERBS HAVING THESE QUALITIESEverything you eat has an effect on your body, which Ayurveda categorizes in a simple and easy way, using gunas. Gunas are qualities (like cold and hot) that describe the effect a food or herb has on your body. Cooling foods like cucumber, decrease metabolism. Heating foods like chili pepper, stimulate your body and increase metabolism. For 'Hypothyroid', you should select foods with the following qualities (gunas). Individual results will vary, based on your body type and the root cause of your imbalance. For best results, get a one on one consultation.
QUALITIES THAT MAY CORRECT IMBALANCESRELATED TO HYPOTHYROID
To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
FAVOR HERBS WITH THESE MEDICINAL PROPERTIESIngredient and herbs each have unique effects on the various organs of your body. Herbalists study these effects and categorize them, so it is easy to identify which foods and herbs are most helpful for your unique body type. Click on the medicinal properties below to learn more about them, and to figure out which recipes, ingredients and products will be a good match for you. Individual results will vary depending upon the root cause of your imbalance. The following medicinal properties are useful for a general case of 'Hypothyroid'. You must independently verify whether these medicinal properties address the root causes of your case of Hypothyroid.
Energy Vitality Strength:
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
Heart & Circulation:
CARDIAC-TONICStrengthens and tones the heart. Cardiac tonics are used to treat a wide range of heart issues.
BLOOD-THINNERHerbs that thin the blood. Helpful for people with heart disease or clogged circulation.
VASODILATORA vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
HYPOLIPIDEMICScrapes fats / cleanses blood vessels
Lowers Blood Sugar,
LOWERS-BLOOD-SUGARAn herb that lowers blood sugar.
RAISES-THYROIDAn herb that increases thyroid function.
DIET REMEDIES FOR 'HYPOTHYROID'
PRODUCTS REMEDIES FOR 'HYPOTHYROID'
LOOKING FOR WEIGHT LOSS RELATED PRODUCTS?See our herbs & products in these categories:
REMOVE THE CAUSES OF YOUR IMBALANCE
HYPOTHYROID USUALLY MEANS THESE
|GUNA||DO YOU HAVE THIS IMBALANCE?|
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Oily' guna
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Heavy' guna
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Gooey' guna
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Sweet' taste
To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalances (gunas). By eating an optimal diet that balances your gunas, your whole body is strengthened and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies - such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance your healing.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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