Dietary Counseling and Consultations

Hormones for His & Her Health


Published February 17th, 2008 in Hormones for His & Her Health


Joseph Pizzorono, N.D.

Insufficient thyroid hormone, either by decreased production or increased breakdown, is known as hypothyroidism.

Symptoms: Fatigue, weight gain, slowed heart rate, constipation, irritability, sensitivity to cold, mental depression, slowness or slurring of speech, drooping and swollen eyes, swollen face, recurrent infections, increase in allergic reaction, headaches, hair loss, brittleness of hair, female problems such as heavy menstrual flow, painful periods, and premenstrual tension, decreased immune functioning, and calcium metabolism problems. In childhood hypothyroidism can cause a retardation of normal growth and development.

Occurrence: This is a very common health problem. Hypothyroidism is recognized by medical doctors. However, unusual cases of hypothyroidism, such as borderline cases of underactive thyroid, or individuals who have normal laboratory levels of thyroid hormone, but, in their personal case, respond best and function optimally when supplemented with either thyroid nutrients or thyroid itself, are often unrecognized. Thus, they often go untreated. Undiagnosed thyroid problems can be the underlying cause in many reoccurring or nonresponsive health problems.

Consider: Food allergies, deficiencies of B vitamins, iron or digestive enzymes, liver disease, hormone imbalances, or parasites.

Special Notes: In Hashimoto’s disease, the body becomes allergic to its thyroid gland and forms antibodies against it, causing low thyroid.

Home thyroid test: Keep basal thermometer by bedside. In the morning, before arising, lie still, and put thermometer under armpit and hold it there for fifteen minutes. A temperature below 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit may indicate a problem with the thyroid gland. Take the temperature in this manner for three days, except for the first few days of the menstrual cycle, and the middle day of the cycle, and calculate the average temperature. If it is consistently low, it is a suggestion that low thyroid may be a problem. The lower the temperature, the greater the degree of hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism  Alternative Treatments

Refer to alternative therapy chapters for more information before evaluating or applying any treatment. Some conditions, including yours, may require a physician’s care.

Diet: Consume foods that are naturally high in iodine such as fish, kelp, vegetables, and root vegetables such as potatoes. Avoid foods that naturally slow down the functioning of the thyroid such as: cabbage, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, broccoli, turnips, kale, spinach, peaches, and pears. Avoid sulfa drugs and antihistamines which aggravate this problem. If you are on thyroid medication, increase calcium supplementation, as studies show that the drug increases bone loss significantly. Also, increase daily consumption of foods high in vitamin B complex such as whole grains and raw nuts and seeds, and of vitamin A rich foods which are dark green and yellow vegetables, avoiding repetitive consumption of the ones mentioned above.

Nutritional Therapy:

  • Thyroid glandular
  • Tyrosine amino acid
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin B
  • Calcium/magnesium
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc

The following therapies can be undertaken at home under appropriate professional supervision.

  • Biofeedback Training
  • Fasting
  • Qigong
  • Yoga

Herbs: Mild cases sometimes respond to herbal bitters such as gentian or mugwort. Kelp has been used in the past, but is only specifically helpful where an iodine deficiency is present. Associated constipation may be alleviated with yellowdock, butternut, or cascara sagrada. The antidepressant herb St. John’s Wort can be helpful.

Homeopathy: Calc carb. 1M is effective in treating hypothyroidism and improving thyroid function.
Hydrotherapy: Contrast application: apply daily to stimulate thyroid function.
Juice Therapy: Never juice raw cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower.
Lifestyle: Aerobic exercise is important.

Naturopathic Medicine: A commonly unrecognized cause of hypothyroidism is excessive consumption of brassica (cabbage) family foods. A component of the cabbage binds to iodine, making it unavailable to the thyroid gland for thyroid hormone production. Half a head of cabbage or the equivalent amount of broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc., can be as effective in binding iodine as the medical drug thiouracil used to treat hyperthyroidism, according to Joseph Pizzorono, N.D.