Treatment of an underactive thyroid
With an underactive thyroid (med. Hypothyroidism) too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) is produced. This can be due to an insufficiency, i.e. a weak production of the thyroid gland itself, or a dysfunction of the pituitary gland. Therapy usually consists of a lifelong supply of the hormones in tablets. Another cause of an underactive thyroid can be an iodine deficiency, which can be alleviated by increasing iodine intake with food.
The most important therapy options are listed below and then discussed in detail.
- Iodine tablets
- L-thyroxine as a hormone replacement
- Homeopathic companion therapy
- Diet change and home remedies
- Schüssler salts
Iodine deficiency is a possible cause of an underactive thyroid. The thyroid hormone, thyroxine, requires several iodine molecules to be made. If there is not enough iodine in the thyroid storage, then not enough thyroxine can be formed and released. An iodine deficiency is unlikely, but possible, due to the addition of iodine in table salt, for example. An additional intake of iodine can therefore be a supportive measure in the therapy of an underactive thyroid or even the first measure taken for treatment. Iodine tablets can initially or additionally remedy a latent iodine deficiency.
You may also be interested in this topic: Thyroid medication
L-thyroxine is used when the body's own thyroxine (T4) level is found to be too low. It resembles the molecular structure of the body's own thyroid hormones and replaces them accordingly by triggering the same effects in the body as the hormone itself.
Read more about this here: L-thyroxine or Thyronajod®
Homeopathy for an underactive thyroid
The use of homeopathic remedies is based on the symptoms and personal characteristics, which together represent the so-called “remedy picture”. Every homeopathic remedy has a remedy picture which indicates that the person needs the corresponding remedy. There are several drug pictures that include an underactive thyroid. If, in addition to the thyroid disease, there is also cardiac, stomach and spinal weakness noticeable, Kalium carbonicum should be tried in the potency D12. Calcium carbonicum Hahnemanni can help if sluggishness and self-sacrifice are noticeable in the person and if there is also an appetite for sweets and protein-rich foods. Of this, 5 globules in the potency D12 should be taken three times a day. If the person concerned also feels restricted in their mental abilities and, for example, has the feeling that they cannot think so quickly (anymore), the remedy barium carbonicum can help. Here, too, the D12 potency with a dosage of 3 times 5 globules a day is ideal. If, in addition to the hypothyroidism, chronically high blood pressure occurs, the homeopathic Lespedeza Sieboldii should also be used in the above-mentioned dosage and potency.
Diet for an underactive thyroid
In addition to paying particular attention to the iodine content of food, attention should also be paid to the intake of certain vitamins. Vitamins A, C, D and B12 in particular can alleviate the symptoms of an underactive thyroid: While vitamin A can reduce light sensitivity, vitamins C and D support the immune system, among other things. Vitamin B12 is important for the formation of red blood cells (erythrocytes). As a result, these substances can help you to feel more vital and to be less aware of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
While vitamins A and D are fat-soluble substances and are therefore mainly contained in fatty foods such as vegetable oils, avocado or fish, citrus fruits are a good supplier of vitamin C. Vitamin B12 is mainly contained in animal products such as eggs and milk , but can also be taken as a dietary supplement. Another aspect that should be considered in the diet is the adequate intake of magnesium. This trace element has to be taken in with food by all people, but in the case of an underactive thyroid, due to the deteriorated metabolism, the intake may not be sufficient for the requirement. In addition, the thyroxine prescribed as part of the therapy promotes both the excretion of magnesium and its absorption into the cells, which can lead to a slight deficiency in the blood.Foods that are a source of magnesium are, for example, legumes, flax seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Also read: Vitamin D
Home remedies for therapy support
In addition to the homeopathic remedies, a conscious lifestyle and certain home remedies can also influence the course or the degree of severity of an underactive thyroid. Such methods include, for example, the diet described above, which pays greater attention to the intake of certain vitamins and magnesium. A balanced diet and exercise also prevent weight gain, which is often caused by poor metabolism and appetite. Increased appetite (especially for carbohydrates) and a deteriorated metabolism almost always occur with an underactive thyroid. In the long term, however, prescribing drug therapy can help to alleviate the symptoms of hypothyroidism and should be considered in the case of more serious illnesses. The conscious lifestyle or homeopathic or alternative medical therapies can then be used in addition to these drugs.
The drugs that replace a messenger substance, i.e. a thyroid hormone in this case, require a prescription. They are therefore not available without a prescription from a doctor. This has to do with the fact that the thyroid is subject to a control cycle that can be severely disturbed by improperly taking such tablets. Iodine tablets, for example those containing the active ingredient potassium iodide, do not require a prescription but require a pharmacy. These supply the body with the element iodine, which can be excreted by the body in the event of an oversupply. However, since iodine is fat and not water soluble, excretion is difficult for the body. It is therefore important to warn against overdosing on iodine tablets, even though they are readily available.
If you want to treat the hypothyroidism with Schüssler salts to support medical therapy, salts that contain iodine are ideal. These are, for example, Arsenum iodatum (No. 24) and Kalium iodatum (No. 15). The iodine is said to stimulate the thyroid to become more active. Potency D6 or D12 is recommended for dosage. Of these, 3 to 5 tablets per day can be taken until symptoms improve. However, a specialist should be consulted for a more precise dosage. If there is no improvement in the symptoms after a few weeks, the dosage or remedy should be changed or adapted.
Treatment side effects
Normally, the treatment of an underactive thyroid with thyroxine tablets has only mild or, in the best case, no side effects at all: Since the tablets supply the body with the insufficiently produced thyroid hormone (or its precursor) as a substitute, they should primarily compensate for the deficiency symptoms become. However, undesirable effects of the medication can be noticed especially in the first phase of treatment. This is mostly due to the dosage of the medication that has not yet been coordinated well enough or to the need to get used to the therapy, as the body may perceive the presence of enough thyroid hormones as "too much" at the beginning. Then symptoms such as palpitations, increased sweating or occur, which are normally associated with an overactive thyroid. However, these should soon go away by themselves, otherwise the attending physician should be consulted about adjusting the dose.
Duration of treatment
In most cases, an underactive thyroid will last a lifetime. Accordingly, the duration of treatment is also long-term, especially if it is a drug that replaces the hormones relevant for the thyroid gland, such as L-thyroxine or T3 / T4. Since these replace messenger substances that are missing in the body, discontinuing the medication would lead to the same symptoms as before the start of therapy. It can look different with an iodine deficiency, which has a negative effect on the thyroid gland and should be remedied with iodine tablets: If the thyroid values are in the normal range, this means that the serious deficiency has been remedied and the tablets can now be taken if necessary.