Natural Alternative Cures with an Integrative Approach
Inflammation of the thyroid gland can result from many causes. The thyroid is located at the base of the neck just below the voice box. It makes hormones that control the rate at which cells burn fuel and how rapidly they create new fuel to store from food.
The most common form of thyroid inflammation is hypothyroidism, under-functioning of the thryroid, called Hashimoto's thryroiditis. Other forms are Postpartum, Subacute, drug-induced, radiation-induced and Acute.
Each different type of this disease has its own causes, clinical features, diagnoses, durations, resolutions, conditions and risks.
The Most Common Hypothyroid Symptoms
Common hypothyroid symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, feeling "fuzzy headed," depression, dry skin, and constipation. Other, more rare symptoms include swelling of the legs, vague aches and pains, decreased concentration and so on. When conditions become more severe, depending on the type of thyroiditis, one may start to see puffiness around the eyes, slowing of the heart rate, a drop in body temperature, or even incipient heart failure. On the other hand, if the thyroid cell damage is acute, the thyroid hormone within the gland leaks out into the bloodstream causing symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, which is similar to those of hyperthyroidism. These symptoms include weight loss, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, fast heart rate, and fatigue.
Thyroiditis can also be caused by an infection, like a virus or bacteria, which works in the same way as antibodies to cause inflammation in the glands. Certain people make thyroid antibodies, and thyroiditis can be considered an autoimmune disease, because the body acts as if the thyroid gland is foreign tissue.
Just because antibodies are involved does not mean that the 'cause' has been found. The question as to why the antibodies are attacking in the first place still needs to be answered. To find the cure for the thyroid, regardless of the 'itis' requires doing what will allow the body to correct the malady and put an end to the malfunctioning endocrine gland. Even when bacteria is suspected in an 'infection', being that most infections are handled just fine by the body itself, why not consider encouraging the immune system to fight the 'infection' itself?
Often the simple answer to cure is simple blood testing for the thyroid hormones, T3, T4, T7, and thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH. Often basic nutrients are missing so that the thyroid can rebuild itself. We often find that free radicals, molecules missing an electron, or heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury can interfere with chemical reactions....those heavy metals need to be chelated out of the body with oral chelating agents and the free radicals need to be neutralized with antioxidants.
Hormone replacement therapy should only be an option when the endocrine gland has been removed by surgery or eradicated with radiation treatments. As long as some of the endocrine gland remains, the safest approach is to nutrify it and detox the tissues at the same time after blood tests have confirmed the need. The blood test results can also serve as a yardstick to measure healing results on follow-up testing.
This is what a naturopathic, alternative approach encompasses...finding a way to allow the body to heal itself so that the person does not have to take a hormone replacement the rest of their life. When we give hormones to a person who is still able to produce some of the hormone themselves then we are actually encouraging the person to stop making their own hormones! This can only be to their detriment.
What about using bio-identical hormones? These molecules are closer to the original configuration of the molecule that the body makes itself. But the same problem exists...the body will be encouraged NOT to make its own hormone if another one is given orally from outside the body, as when we take pills.
Taking nutrients is different though. When we take nutrients orally, those molecules are molecules that are naturally found in foods in the form of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace minerals and enzymes. They usually are not hormone in nature. When we take these nutrients with our food, they mix with the food and make it more nutritious than it was before the mixing. If you look at how healthy our food was 100 years ago, compared to today, you would find a big difference. So when we mix nutritional pills with our food we are returning our food to the chemical strength it used to have 100 years ago.
The difficult part is determining which of the 2000 products in the health food store would be best for you. A 52 element blood test combined with a hair and urine analysis will yield about 103 separate pieces of information on which to choose the 10 or so most likely nutritional medicines to treat your thyroiditis.