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Alternative Medicine, Nutrition, and Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones produced. The most common cause for hypothyroidism in the developing nations is iodine deficiency. However, in the developed nations of the world, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune disorder) and radioactive hyperthyroidism.

There are three classifications of causes associated with hypothyroidism: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary hypothyroidism results from conditions that affect the thyroid gland itself such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and radioiodine hyperthyroidism.

Secondary hypothyroidism is the result of the pituitary gland failing to create a hormone known as TSH, which stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroxine. Generally surgery, radiation or some sort of tumor has injured the pituitary, consequently it can no longer communicate with the thyroid.

Tertiary hypothyroidism is a condition in which the hypothalamus gland does not produce enough TRH hormones.

Some early signs of hypothyroidism might include thin or brittle hair and nails, weight gain, lack of muscle tone, tiredness, intolerance to cold, and constipation.

As you can see, the early signs of hypothyroidism are similar to many other conditions, consequently hypothyroidism in its early stages is often difficult to diagnose. Late symptoms of hypothyroidism are generally more serious and might include: effusions, slow heart rate, shortness of breath, severe memory problems, a condition known as brain fog (cognitive difficulties), migraines, reactive hypoglycemia, slowed speech with voice hoarseness, and many others.

Hypothyroidism is usually treated with either synthetic or animal derived thyroid hormones in tablet form. The American Thyroid Association recommends levothyroxene as a hormone replacement for hypothyroidism.

A variety of sources indicate that the following micronutrients, supplements, and/or herbs may potentially be helpful for this condition. However, it may be wise to consult with your physician prior to taking nutritional supplements and this is certainly recommended for individuals with a diagnosed condition, particularly those who take prescribed medication.

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