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How To Manage An Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism) Naturally Without Prescribed Medication

Dominika Blonska is a registered nurse, now working as an online health and fitness coach, helping women with weight loss and hormone management. She is the founder of Define by Dom Coaching and the Women Unleashed podcast.

 
Executive Contributor Dominika Blonska

It is possible to manage an underactive thyroid without prescription medication, I am living proof of this.


Young woman doing thyroid self examination indoors

Firstly, thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the front of your neck, it is responsible for producing hormones that regulate various metabolic processes within the body. The reason it is important to have a healthy thyroid is because it controls almost everything in our bodies from digestion, to brain development and bone maintenance

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Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid becomes underactive due to your thyroid gland not producing enough of the thyroid hormone. Unfortunately, women are more prone to developing hypothyroidism than men. According to the American Thyroid Association, about 1 in every 8 women suffer from thyroid illness during her lifetime.

 

Living with an underactive thyroid is tough; low energy, fatigue, weight gain, sensitive to cold, digestive problems, thinning hair, brittle nails, mood swings and joint pain; the list of symptoms goes on. Put it this way, you no longer feel yourself. For a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism you would need to get a full thyroid panel blood test including your TSH, T3, T4 and RT3.

 

After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism 3 years ago, I knew there had to be another way of healing than taking prescribed medication (Levothyroxine). I strongly believe that medication masks the symptoms and does not solve the problem. I want to help you manage your underactive thyroid in a holistic way just the way that I did (I am now 6 months out of remission).

 

Implement these into your daily routine, be consistent and patient and watch your thyroid levels increase and you regain your energy and life back.

 

Nutrition do’s and don’t

Nailing your nutrition is the no.1 factor when it comes to healing your thyroid. You need to think whole, nutritious food and step away from anything processed.

 

Cut the gluten

I know this may feel like a major lifestyle change, but it is the most crucial one.


Gluten can make you feel anxious, fatigued, lethargic, bloated and even cause brain fog. Since I have cut this out, I definitely feel a lot better and energetic.

 

The reason for this is that the molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, is similar to the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. The immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it.

 

Gluten is not just bread, pasta, couscous, wheat, barley and rye. But it is also in your favorite sauces including soy, biscuits, chocolate, ice cream, cakes, cereal, sweet and even gravy! Basically, anything processed.


Dairy

Dairy can also be a problem, not for everyone but it is something you should also consider. This is because casein, the protein found in dairy, is very structurally similar to gliadin, the protein in gluten. When your body reacts to gluten, there’s a good chance it can also react to dairy because of this protein. If the body sees gliadin as a pathogen, there is a good chance it might recognise casein as a pathogen as well, due to their similar structures.

 

This includes yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream etc. Items higher in lactose are worse than those lower in lactose. Cows milk, yogurt and cream are higher in lactose. Lower lactose foods include parmesan cheese and camembert. I would also use plant based alternatives such as coconut and almond, not soya.

 

Sugar, sweeteners and processed food

Can lead to increased inflammation in the body. Which then causes slow down in conversion of your T4 and T3, resulting in your symptoms worsening. Artificial sweeteners reduce the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut significantly. Gut microbes constitute around 80% of the immune system, this inhibits the immune system and thus the thyroid.

 

Food will be one of your biggest healers by providing your body with correct micronutrients. Making sure you consume a substantial amount of calories is super important. Under-eating will cause your thyroid problems to become worse and you are more likely to gain weight.

 

Food you want to include in your diet are

 

Omega 3 rich food

Fatty acids found in omega 3 help reduce inflammation. Foods rich in omega-3 are salmon, mackerel, sardines, and cod liver oil.

 

Coconut oil

Has so many health benefits, including increasing metabolism and regulating blood sugars.

 

Healthy fats

Fats are super important for hormone health, especially in females. As well as keeping us satisfied and full of energy. Avocado, nuts (brazil), olive oil, ghee, eggs, fatty fish etc.

 

Lean meat

For example chicken is a great source of protein for a balanced diet as well as high in zinc which is necessary for healthy thyroid hormone production

 

Filtered water

Filter your drinking water and consume from a glass or glass bottle. Plastic is full of BPA which interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis, transport, and metabolism

 

Are you overdoing exercise?

One of the biggest mistakes people with Hypothyroidism make is over exercising or not at all.

Weight training. Using weights is the best form of exercise as it increases energy levels, muscular strength and tone. It increases the number of calories burned throughout the day and promotes fat loss.


For those with hypothyroidism it is beneficial because hypothyroidism reduces the amount of thyroid hormone and slows metabolism.

 

Say no to HIIT

HIIT style training, whether that is cross fit, classes or circuits is a big NO when it comes to hypothyroidism. This is because during HIIT our body releases more cortisol than normal which inhibits thyroid function that in turn makes you feel worse as thyroid patients already have over stressed adrenals. Training should be 3-4 times per week of resistance training. Keeping active through walking is almost important, I would aim for 10,000 steps per day.


Listen to your body, don’t push yourself if you are feeling exhausted. You need to be able to differentiate between tiredness and laziness. Pushing yourself when you need to rest can cause a thyroid flare up with flu symptoms.

 

Supplements to support hypothyroidism

Supplements can be a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet. However it is important to focus on getting your nutrients from food.

 

Iodine

Is an essential mineral that is needed to make thyroid hormones, and a deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. Supplementing this should only be done under doctors supervision as it can be harmful if not dose correctly. Foods high in iodine are seaweed, dairy, tuna, shrimp and eggs.

 

Zinc

Not getting enough zinc can negatively affect your thyroid function and many other aspects of health.

 

Iron

Iron deficiency can decrease thyroid function.

 

Selenium

Helps protect the thyroid from damage caused by oxidative stress. Foods high in selenium include brazil nuts, tuna, eggs and sardines.

 

Magnesium

Low or deficient magnesium levels are associated with thyroid dysfunction and can increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism. It relaxes tight muscles and helps with production of T4 and conversion from T4 to T3.

 

Vitamin D3 +K2

Having low vitamin D levels can negatively affect thyroid function and worsen hypothyroid symptoms. Because vitamin D isn’t concentrated in many foods, supplementation is often necessary. To help with absorption it is recommended to take alongside Vitamin K.

 

Lifestyle practices for a healthy thyroid

 

Now that you have nailed your nutrition and training, the last piece of the puzzle is your lifestyle practices to help stimulate your thyroid gland.


  • Gargle for 30 seconds each day, morning and evening. This helps stimulate your vagus nerve which stimulates the thyroid gland.

  • If the vagus nerve is not firing properly, then there can be an imbalance in the thyroid, itself, because it's not getting the right messages. Humming helps with stimulation.

  • There are many health benefits to cold showers/cold therapy/ice baths. Most importantly linking to the thyroid, cold therapy helps promote a balanced inflammatory response. Try to build up to 3 minutes each morning.

  • Breathwork helps calm anxiety and depression and therefore reduces cortisol by calming the fight or flight response. Individuals with hypothyroidism often suffer with high levels of cortisol which negatively impacts their thyroid.

  • Meditation helps reduce anxiety, depression, brain fog and improves quality of sleep. Vital for thyroid healing.

 

Now that you have all the tools in your tool box to manage your underactive thyroid, it is time to implement them!


Read more from Dominika Blonska

 

Dominika Blonska, Online Health & Fitness Coach

Dominika Blonska specialises in weight loss, hormone management and improving self confidence. After competing in bikini bodybuilding for 3 years, and living a very restrictive lifestyle, she is now on her hormone and gut health healing journey. She is the CEO of Define by Dom coaching; a health and fitness platform, helping hundreds of women fix their hormones and regain their confidence. Her goal is to define every womans future.



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