The thyroid. Such a little part of our body and yet such a big impact it has.
Are you one of the 20 million people in America who deal with thyroid disease? Could be, as up to 60% don’t even know that have something going on. (Source)
With a huge spotlight on pharmaceuticals for treating thyroid conditions, adaptogens often get little attention. They are an alternative therapy. Sometimes seen as “hippy dippy” even though when we dig deep- there is a lot of science and history with the efficacy of using them.
In this article we’re going to be talking about what common thyroid conditions are out there, what adaptogens are, what adaptogens can help, and finally- a brownie recipe that supports the thyroid.
You should also know there you will find a TON of support when it comes to thyroid problems, as Founder Karen Berrios herself once had thyroid cancer. She tells stories, shares recipes, offers hope to anyone who reads her content, has created a line of super foods that support the body, and above all, will always remind everyone-- positivity will be your best medicine. She herself is proof of this.
Let’s get into it!
What is your thyroid responsible for?
First thing is first- the thyroid is a little butterfly shaped gland that sits on the neck, on the lower part of it. The thyroid’s main job is to determine how the body uses energy from food… aka your metabolism. It helps many bodily processes, among them is how well you burn calories, your body’s temperature, and your heartbeat. Your body will slow down if you don’t have enough thyroid hormone. (Source)
The thyroid is part of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands that make, release, and also store hormones in the bloodstream to be used by the body’s cells.
The two main thyroid hormones are T3 and T4.
Women are 5-8X more likely to experience thyroid problems than men. (Source)
What are common thyroid problems?
The three main thyroid problems are goiters, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. We will also touch on grave’s disease.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. It is estimated that 4.6% of the U.S population deals with hypothyroidism. Symptoms can include depression, brain fog, weight gain, and fatigue. One suffers because their thyroid is underactive. (Source)
Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. It is estimated that about ~1.2% of people in the U.S suffer from hyperthyroidism. It is also more common in smokers. Symptoms can include muscle weakness, weight loss, poor sleep, problems with eyesight, irritability and sometimes nervousness. (Source)
Graves’ disease is an extensive case of hyperthyroidism. It’s considered an autoimmune disorder that is often genetic and affects about less than one percent of the population. 1 in 200 people might have this. (Source)
A goiter can occur (sometimes) if your thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormone. A goiter is an abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland. It does not always mean your thyroid is malfunctioning but it is always worth inspecting in case it is. (Source)
Adaptogens That Help Your Thyroid
Let’s recap with adaptogens are. Be sure to read our article all about adaptogens here. We cover everything and it’s a great jumping off point.
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that can help the body resist stressors- be it physical, chemical or biological. They are meant to balance out the body where we need balance and there are many of them that can all provide different functions.
Let’s look into some that can help thyroid issues!
These can be wonderful for people with thyroid issues. Especially if they have auto-immune issues. (Source) If you have hypothyroidism, one of the best parts of Cordyceps is that they help ATP, our energy reserves… and that can be nice when your endurance is waning. (Source)
Bonus: beta glucans, which are the polysaccharide fraction of the mushroom, can also help thyroid function by helping regulate the immune system. (Source) One of the best ways to take it is by pill- make sure it is high quality and from a reputable lab. Worth checking out the Karen Berrios brand which has rave reviews!
Centella (Gotu Kola): This herb can help stimulate the thyroid hormone T4. This was found when studying the leaves of the plant. It can also help with energy levels so this would be best for hypothyroidism. Many people enjoy this in a tea and what is nice is that there is no caffeine in it. (Source)
Schisandra: this herb has been shown to improve thyroid function. It is a calming nerve tonic. It is truly great for bringing immunity functions into balance- including detox of the liver and kidneys. It also helps how cells proliferate- which the thyroid benefits from. (Source)
Holy Basil: Also known as Tulsi, this herb can help people adapt to stress. This supports the HPA axis and adrenals- which in turn also supports the thyroid. Holy basil is best for those with hyperthyroidism as it can decrease T4 levels. (Source)
Ginseng: Ginseng is another popular herb that directly supports the HPA axis and adrenals. It is thought to be incredible for people with hypothyroidism as it can really give someone a nice boost of energy. It has also been shown to help with increasing metabolism and endurance- a study done over 8 weeks proved positive results and said those with hyperthyroidism would want to stay away. Those with hypothyroidism would benefit from taking this in the morning to get their systems up and revved up so that by the time they go to bed they are naturally tired and worn out physically and mentally. (Source + Source)
Kidney Bean Cacao Brownies
Did you know that cacao can help thyroid function? Especially those with hypothyroid! Kidney beans are also great for sustaining energy. You will see that these ingredients are clean and this brownie is formulated with intention. Enjoy!
--This recipe is again inspired by Lil Sipper, but it is tweaked. 🙂
Courtesy of Katey Yurko @thevioletfog
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