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Understand Thyroid – A Functional Myriad, and Clear Skepticism on Hypothyroidism

Dr. K. V. Narasimha Raju & Dr. B. Swapna

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With the exception of certain conditions, the treatment of hypothyroidism requires life-long therapy. T4 [levothyroxine sodium (Levoxyl, Synthroid)] is a more stable form of thyroid hormone and requires once a day dosing, whereas T3 is much shorter-acting and needs to be taken multiple times a day. The average dose of T4 replacement in adults is approximately 1.6 micrograms per kilogram per day. This translates into approximately 100 to 150 micrograms per day. Other conditions for the treatment intervention are:

  • Children require larger doses.
  • In young, healthy patients, the full amount of T4 replacement hormone may be started initially. 
  • In older patients without known heart disease, starting with a full dose of thyroid replacement may result in uncovering heart disease, resulting in chest pain or a heart attack. For this reason, patients with a history of heart disease or those suspected of being at high risk are started with 25 micrograms or less of replacement hormone, with a gradual increase in the dose at 6 week intervals.

Ideally, synthetic T4 replacement should be taken in the morning, 30 minutes before eating. Other medications containing iron or antacids should be avoided as they interfere with absorption.

Therapy for hypothyroidism is monitored at approximately six week intervals until stable. During these visits, a blood sample is checked for TSH to determine if the appropriate amount of thyroid replacement is being given. The goal is to maintain the TSH within normal limits. Depending on the lab used, the absolute values may vary, but in general, a normal TSH range is between 0.5 to 5.0uIU/ml. Once stable, the TSH can be checked yearly. Over-treating hypothyroidism with excessive thyroid medication is potentially harmful and can cause problems with heart palpitations and blood pressure control and can also contribute to osteoporosis. Every effort should be made to keep the TSH within the normal range.

Complementary Therapies
Ayurveda: The Ayurvedic treatment of hypothyroidism is aimed at controlling the symptoms and reating the basic pathology of the disease.

Medicines like Kachnaar Guggulu, Brahmi Vati, Pippali Vardhaman Rasayan, Yograj Guggulu, PanchTiktaGhruta Guggulu, ArogyaVardhini, Chandraprabha Vati, MahaManjishthadi Qwath, Triphala Guggulu, Medohar Guggulu and shilajit are used.

Panchakarma procedures comprising of Virechan, Niruha & Anuvasan basti, Nasyam, etc are also administered along with the medication.

Herbs Effecting Thyroid Hormones : Following medicinal herbs possess proven effect on the regulation of thyoid hormones where they stimulate and enhance the secretions of T3 and T4.

lShigru, Apamarga, Akshotaka, Kaanchanara (Bauh-inia veriegata), Gugg-ulu (Commiphora mukul), Punarnava (boerhaavia diffusa),  Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Patola (Tricosanthe dioica), Paatha (Cissampelos pareira), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) and Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris).

Yoga & Pranayama: Yogasanas like Sarvang-asana, matsyasana, Halasana, Surya-namaskara, Suptavajrasana and especially Ujjayi Pranayama have been found to be very effective in treati-ng thyroid problems.

Diet: Diet is an important contribution to the health of thyroid gland. This involves foods that enhance thyroid function, such as Milk, Rice, Barley, Bengal Gram, Green Gram, Cucumber, Potatoes, carrot, green vegetables, Coconut Oil, Fish oil, Essential fatty acids, Raw Seeds, Prunes, Apricots, Dates, Apricots, Flaxseed, Walnuts, Almonds, Egg Yolks, Sugarcane, Molasses and Parsley. fishes such as Salmon & Cod, Seaweed, chlorella and algae should also be consumed frequently as they are rich in iodine and essential nutrients that maintain thyroid functioning.

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