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What Are the Different Alternative Treatments for Hypothyroidism?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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Pig gland extracts, supplements, and herbs are some types of alternative treatments for hypothyroidism. The extracts from pig glands provide hormones that benefit people who have hypothyroidism. Over-the-counter (OTC) supplements can also help relieve symptoms of hypothyroidism, if not believed to outright cure the problem. Herbs are also a popular alternative treatment and may even be backed up by scientific research in the future. A health professional should be consulted before beginning an alternative treatment, however.

Hormones acquired from pig glands are available as an alternative to synthetic thyroid hormone. While synthetic thyroid replacement medications contain only thyroxine, the pig hormones also contain triiodothyronine, which is also required by the human body. Some people believe that this makes the pig hormones more desirable than synthetic medications, but this is debated, because the human body can acquire triiodothyronine if it has access to thyroxine. Pig gland extracts are an accepted medicinal alternative to synthetic hormones and are typically prescribed in a similar manner.

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Supplements like L-tyrosine and omega-3 fatty acids can help treat the symptoms of hypothyroidism or encourage the body to produce more thyroid hormone. L-tyrosine can be taken in 500-milligram doses up to three times daily, but this supplement cannot be combined with conventional, prescription thyroid medications. Omega-3 fatty acids can be consumed by eating fish or taking fish oil tablets. If taking the fish oil by tablets, a person should use one to two tablets every day. Eating foods that are rich in B vitamins, such as certain vegetables and beans, can also help.

Some people use herbs, such as coleus, bladderwrack, and or guggul, to cure or treat their hypothyroidism. Leaves or flowers should be steeped for up to 10 minutes in boiling or near-boiling water, while roots can be steeped for up to 20 minutes. For coleus, bladderwrack, and guggul, the maximum recommended dosing per serving is usually about 100, 600, and 500 milligrams, respectively. These herbal alternative treatments for hypothyroidism can be consumed in 1-cup portions three times daily. A doctor should be consulted before starting self-treatment with herbs because some herbs can interact with other medications or worsen a condition.

The safety and effectiveness of herbs, supplements, and other alternative treatments for hypothyroidism vary. Sometimes attempting to treat a health condition with unproven techniques can make the situation worse. Running the treatment by a doctor and going in for regular checkups is always recommended.

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