April 30 2021
The health condition known as goitre can occur as a result of an overproduction (hyperthyroidism), underproduction (hypothyroidism), or the optimal production of thyroid hormones (euthyroidism) in the body. In some individuals, it can also result due to the overstimulation of the pituitary gland which in turn causes the thyroid gland to overwork.
The thyroid gland is a hormonal gland that is mainly involved in the production of two types of hormones, called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The function of these hormones is to ensure that the various body functions like regulating blood circulation and metabolism are carried out smoothly. The thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (or TSH receptor) is activated by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). This activated TSH receptor is involved in the production of T3 and T4. when too much or too little of T3 and T4 hormones are produced and released by the body, the condition known as goitre occurs.
Thyromegaly, also known as a goitre, is an enlarged thyroid. This usually manifests in the form of a visible swelling at the base of the neck. The symptoms of goitre include having tight feeling in the throat, Difficulty in swallowing.
Coughing, Hoarseness, and Difficulty in breathing. When the goitre enlarges to a large size, it can put pressure on the windpipe and food tube or esophagus. This causes difficulty in breathing especially when lying flat on the back. Swallowing can also be difficult when solid food is taken. there might also be pain in the thyroid area. The presence of a large goitre can manifest in the form of neck vein distention and dizziness which is mainly experienced when the arms are raised above the head.
Goitre Risk Factors
Some of the most common goitre risk factors are:
- Lack of dietary iodine — People who have a deficiency of iodine in their diets are at greater risk for developing goitres.
- Being female — women are more prone to thyroid disorders. They are also more likely to develop goitres.
- Age — The chances of developing a goitre increase with age, mainly after 40 years of age.
- Medical history — The presence of personal or family history of the autoimmune disease increases the risk of developing goitre.
- Pregnancy and menopause — Studies show that thyroid problems are more likely to occur during pregnancy and in women who have attained menopause.
- Certain medications — The use of various medical treatments such as immunosuppressants, antiretrovirals, amiodarone which is a heart drug and some of the psychiatric drugs like lithium increase the risk of developing goitre.
- Radiation exposure — In individuals who have had radiation treatments to either the neck or the chest or those who have been accidentally been exposed to radiation emitted in a nuclear facility, are more prone to develop goitre.
Graves disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, other forms of thyroiditis, and pregnancy are some of the other health disorders that increase the chance of developing goitre. Some of the natural remedies that can be used effectively in treating goitre include:
- Iodine deficiency
An enlarged thyroid gland also known as goitre is often found to be associated with underlying iodine deficiency. This occurs because the thyroid gland tries to entrap as many iodine molecules as possible. In individuals who have acquired goitre because of iodine deficiency, increasing the intake of iodine-rich foods can help in providing symptomatic relief. Consumption of seaweed, yogurt, baked potatoes, and cranberries in the diet help in providing the required amount of iodine in patients suffering from goitre. In addition to eating iodine-rich food, using iodine supplements is beneficial in such cases as it is effective in improving the functioning of the thyroid hormone.
- Addressing Nutritional Deficiencies
Along with iodine, deficiencies of other nutrients have been found to cause the development of goitre. The nutritional deficiencies associated with goitre include zinc, manganese, and vitamin A. Also, severe protein malnutrition may occur which can contribute to the inability of the body to effectively absorb and use the iodine that is present in the body. This in turn can lead to the formation of goitre. Consumption of Wild-caught fish like salmon and sardines, Coconut oil, Seaweeds like kelp, nori, and dulse, Probiotic-rich foods like kefir, Clean water, High-fiber foods, Bone broth, Fruits, and vegetables are effective in significantly improve the functioning of the thyroid gland. Foods such as conventional dairy products, gluten, refined sugar, unfermented soy products like tofu and seitan should be avoided to improve an underactive thyroid.
- Castor oil
Castor oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties. These can help in reducing the swelling in the thyroid gland. Using castor oil effectively detoxifies the liver. It also helps in facilitating the conversion of T4 to active T3.
- Coconut oil
coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid, which is a medium-chain triglyceride. This compound is converted into monolaurin which has potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also plays an important role in improving the rate of metabolic activities in the body.
- Dandelion leaves
Dandelion leaves have antioxidant properties. They also exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. Thus using a paste formed from dandelion leaves helps reduce the swelling of the thyroid gland.
Ashwagandha is a powerful Ayurvedic herb that has been a vital part of traditional medicine. Its most important function is to help in boosting the functioning of the thyroid gland. Using Ashwagandha effectively increases the production of T3 and T4 hormones. Ashwagandha powder is effective in fighting stress to stimulate the secretions of the endocrine glands.
Flax seeds contain good amounts of alpha-linolenic acid. They form compounds known as resolvins which have potent anti-inflammatory properties due to which they may help reduce swelling. Alvzia flaxseed oil supplements have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Garlic effectively stimulates the production of glutathione in the body. Glutathione production is necessary as it contains selenium, which is required for the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland.
Nuts are rich sources of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They also exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties. The presence of Selenium in nuts acts as a stimulating factor in the conversion of T4 to its active form which is the T3 hormone.
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help in the metabolism of thyroid hormones in the liver. Alvizia fish oil supplements contain omega 3 fatty acids.