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Natural compounds to improve thyroid function

Thyroid function
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(NaturalNews) One of the fastest rising health conditions in the US is hypothyroidism. The most common symptoms experienced are lethargy, depression and weight gain. Some of the newest reports are estimating that 15 to 30 percent of the population may have thyroid problems. Natural compounds can help improve your thyroid function.

Eighty percent of hypothyroid conditions in the US are thought to be auto-immune conditions. Few doctors test for thyroid anti-bodies and so most do not ever get the proper diagnosis. In the medical system, an auto-immune condition and a sluggish thyroid are treated the same, with synthetic T4.

Because the treatment is the same, most doctors do not concern themselves with testing for thyroid anti-bodies. From a natural health perspective it is especially important to understand if it is a sluggish thyroid, a sluggish liver or pituitary gland, elevated sex hormones or if it is an auto-immune condition.

There are many different compounds that can help the thyroid to function better. Some of these include the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha, vitamin A, selenium, zinc and manganese.


Thyroid disorders are characterized by increased inflammation in the body and in the case of auto-immune thyroid disorders there is a tremendous amount of inflammation around the thyroid tissue itself. Bromelain is a key proteolytic plant-based (pineapple) enzyme that helps reduce inflammatory stress in the body.(1)

Proteolytic enzymes work to modulate or coordinate the activity of inflammatory immune complexes and have no major adverse reactions. They work as a lock and key mechanism and have an affinity for pro-inflammatory cytokines such as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) and C Reactive Protein (CRP).(2)


This adaptogenic herb contains compounds that have been shown to have a stimulatory effect on both T3 and T4 hormone synthesis.(3) It has also been shown to improve liver function and boost intracellular anti-oxidants such as superoxide dismutase.(4) Oxidative stress and sluggish liver function are known to alter thyroid metabolism.

Ashwagandha also helps to balance blood sugar and stabilize cortisol. Elevated cortisol negatively effects the pituitary gland, suppresses T4-T3 conversion in the body and increases the inactive rT3. By stabilizing cortisol, ashwagandha has been shown to improve TSH, T4 and T3 levels and modulate blood sugar and inflammation.(5)

Vitamin A

The thyroid hormone binds to thyroid receptors and undergoes a process called intercellular transduction.(6) This carries the message of binding to the nuclear receptors. Thyroid hormone nuclear transcription is dependent upon vitamin A in order to be activated.(7)


This is the major cofactor for the key thyroid enzyme 5'deiodinase which is what converts T4 into T3. 5'deoidinase also degrades the inactive rT3. Studies have indicated that individuals with lower selenium levels are at higher risk for low T3.(8) Selenium has been shown to reduce rT3 levels and improve active T3 status.(9) It also reduces anti-thyroid anti-body formation.(10)


Low zinc status has been shown to compromise T3 production. Zinc plays an important role in immune modulation which may reduce thyroid anti-bodies.(11) Additionally, it is a key player in 5'deiodinase activity.


Manganese is involved in the function of numerous enzymes and is important for normal thyroid function. Manganese superoxide dismutase is a key anti-oxidant enzyme that is responsible for neutralizing the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species. This is especially important for individuals with thyroid problems as they are known to have higher levels of oxidative stress.(12)

Sources for this article include:

1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18482869

2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11577981

3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10619390

4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9811169

5) http://www.ajpcr.com/Vol4Suppl1/408.pdf

6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11470242

7) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10845098

8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8834378

9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14757964

10) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23046013

11) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23960398

12) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2067987/

About the author:
Dr David Jockers is a Maximized Living doctor and owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Georgia where he specializes in functional nutrition, functional medicine and corrective chiropractic care to get to the underlying cause of major health problems.

His website features great articles on natural health and incredible recipes. He is the author of the best-selling book SuperCharge Your Brain - the complete guide to radically improve your mood, memory and mindset. He has over 50,000 active followers on his social media and email newsletter and is a big influencer in the Primal Health movement.

Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance consultations and health coaching to help you beat disease and reach your health goals. For more information got to www.drjockers.com

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