- Alternative & Natural Medicine
For removed thyroid glands due to goiter, what are the natural remedies to supplement thyroxine?
Thyroid hormone is for metabolism
My research revealed that the thyroid hormone is essential to proper development and differentiation of all cells of the human body. These hormones regulate protein, and carbohydrate metabolism affecting how human cells use energetic compounds. They also stimulate vitamin metabolism. Thyroid hormone leads to heat generation in humans. Thus, every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism.
Thyroid hormone is produced by a normal thyroid gland which is the biggest gland in the neck. The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine(T3). Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine.
The most common problems or diseases associated with the thyroid gland include:
- · Goiter or a dramatic enlargement of the thyroid gland
- · Hyperthyroidism or too much thyroid hormone
- · Hypothyroidism or too little thyroid hormone
- · Thyroiditis or an inflammation within the thyroid gland
- · Thyroid nodules
- · Thyroid cancer
Actual thyroid conditions
Of the six conditions mentioned above, I have actual and challenging experiences with two, i.e., goiter and thyroid cancer. My mother used to suffer from a normal goiter since her early 30’s and at the age of 40, a faith healer supposedly had successfully removed her goiter miraculously. Her goiter actually shrunk in size. But it reappeared when she was in her 50’s. And because she was afraid to undergo surgery, the growth was not removed at all. At age 74, she died of asphyxia due to dramatic enlargement of the thyroid gland. According to the endocrinologist, hers was a rare case of anaplastic thyroid cancer (very invasive type) growing within her goiter.
Such experience served as a resounding wakeup call, thus, one month later, in January 2005, I had my own enlarged thyroid surgically removed. Much earlier, my younger brother had also been afflicted by this condition. In 1981, he had a portion of his thyroid gland removed by surgery. Thirteen years later, the other half had to be operated on as well because of undue enlargement which was about to compress his lungs.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Once the thyroid gland has been removed, thyroid hormone is no longer produced by the body, thus, one has to submit to a hormone replacement therapy. My brother and I are undergoing such hormone replacement up to now and for life. This is where pure and synthetic thyroxine plays an important role. Thyroxine is a synthetic version of T4 and is the most common pharmaceutical for the treatment of hypothyroidism worldwide. It is taken daily in the form of a tablet as prescribed by the doctor to replicate the normal thyroid functioning.
Thyroxine and natural supplements
Are there natural supplements for thyroxine? In general, it seems to me that natural supplementation usually works best as preventive method. However, because of the importance of thyroid hormones in regulating body metabolism, thyroidectomy cases seem to be better served by taking synthetic thyroxine for actual hormone replacement. Yet, it may still be worthwhile to take a look at the following bits and pieces of relevant information.
- One natural way is to increase thyroxine absorption to boost its efficacy. High-fiber diets have been shown to decrease thyroxine absorption. It is very important to be aware that thyroxine absorption is increased when taken on an empty stomach. Thyroid hormones should be taken an hour before eating, at the same time very day.
- If you are taking supplemental calcium, it should be taken at least four to twelve hours apart from the thyroid hormone to avoid problem.
- It is also known that taking iron tablets, or vitamins with iron -- such as prenatal vitamins -- at the same time as your thyroid hormone can make the thyroid hormone less effective. Many doctors recommend at least two to four hours between taking iron and the thyroid hormone.
- Some herbal supplements can have an impact on thyroid function. Herbs such as the ayurvedic herb "guggul," and supplements such as tyrosine, and products containing iodine such as vitamins, or kelp and bladderwrack supplements have the potential to either increase or decrease thyroid function.
- Desiccated (dried and powdered) thyroid drugs, including Armour Thyroid, have been in use for more than 100 years, and remain popular with holistic, alternative and integrative physicians as a thyroid treatment and for thyroid hormone replacement in hypothyroid patients. Since these are obtained from pigs, it is said that these animal thyroid are not purified. The balance of T4 and T3 in the animals are not the same with that found in the human body. In this sense, one can say that they are not natural for humans. Also, there appears no evidence that will show for dessicated thyroid to have any advantage over synthetic ones. Thus, these drugs are controversial and the drugs regularly come under attack. Thus, it can be a challenge to find doctors who will prescribe them. Though they can be obtained when sold as supplements.