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Hormone replacement has proven to be good therapy for an underactive thyroid. However, there are also more natural and safer options, including thyroid glands from animal sources, natural practices and mind and body techniques.

Hypothyroidism is a disease that demands attention and medications throughout the entire life. When it comes to drugs, they can be dangerous. If taken for too long, they can make your bones weak and trigger blood pressure ups and downs, as well as an irregular heartbeat. This is why you have to make sure that you treat your disease in more than one way.

It's also bad if you don't manage your underactive thyroid – the lack of therapy can lead to pulmonary edema, cardiomyopathy, any many other heart diseases.

Hormone replacement has proven to be a good therapy for underactive thyroid. What nearly all patients recommend and swear by is levothyroxine sodium – a better and improved version of the thyroid-stimulating hormone. If you decide to opt for levothyroxine, you're recommended to take it once every day.

Although many people with an underactive thyroid turn to more natural and safer options in the treatment of hypothyroidism, liothyronine and thyroid glands from animal sources are still in use and quite popular.

Levothyroxine sodium

There are treatments that can help you with hypothyroidism, in the first place the man-made thyroid hormone known as levothyroxine. This medication is able to make you feel less tired within weeks, and not just this – there are good chances that your cholesterol will go down, as well as your weight.

If you suffer from hypothyroidism, chances are that you'll need the medication for the rest of your life, so it's important to establish the right amount. This is why most doctors suggest regular screenings of TSH – at least four times a year.

Levothyroxine sodium simply makes up for a hormone that your system is lacking, so most patients won't have any problems with it, but it's important that you don't go beyond the recommended dose, or you might experience things such as:

  • Angina
  • Headaches
  • Overactive sweat glands
  • Nausea
  • Problems with digestion

Liothyronine sodium

Liothyronine sodium is an artificial replacement for the hormone triiodothyronine. It is used when a person's system does not make enough of this important hormone, causing the condition known as hypothyroidism. The medication was put on the market in 1956, and it can be purchased under the trademark names Triostat and Cytomel. As with most other drugs that regulate thyroid hormone levels, it's important to consume liothyronine sodium around the same time every day for its full potential.

Some of the possible adverse reactions to the medication are:

  • Unusual heart beats
  • Heart attack
  • Bad digestion
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Abdominal pain
  • Head tension

There are drugs that don't go well with liothyronine such as those that have magnesium or aluminum in them, calcium and iron supplements, antacids, as well as many other drugs. It's important to speak to your physician about your disease and let them decide what's the best therapy for your specific case.

Treatment with desiccated thyroid extract (DTE)

Desiccated thyroid hormone is a replacement hormone usually made from pig or bovine glands. Desiccated animal glands are preserved and – together with other chemicals – made into thyroid medication. They've been around since the 1980s. 

Most general practitioners as well as expert endocrinologists are skeptical towards these hormone pills because of the possible bad reactions and the lack of research of their consequences on overall health. Instead, they suggest synthetic levothyroxine sodium, which is still widely used but studies have shown that lately more and more patients opt for the animal thyroid extract, mostly because of its ability to help them shed some extra pounds. Some hypothyroidism sufferers don't care about the possible adverse effects and it's only important to have the thyroid-stimulating hormone under control.

Alternative solutions for underactive thyroid

Many of those who suffer from hypothyroidism decide to turn to natural practices to complement their medications. These techniques help to:

  • Endure through adverse effects of certain drugs such as tiredness, increase in body weight, and physical and mental tension
  • Offer comfort in accepting the possibility of a long-lasting illness
  • Recover from the condition

The most common alternative practices that can help to ease the symptoms of underactive thyroid are:

  • Those with a mind-body approach including meditation, yoga, and hypnosis
  • Vitamins and mineral supplements
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Massage
  • Alternative therapies such as homeopathy, naturopathy, and chiropractic treatments.

There's plenty of research to support the benefits of yoga for people with an underactive thyroid gland. Still, many doctors refuse to acknowledge the benefits of any form of therapy other than conventional medicine and state that unconventional and modern approaches may have an adverse effect on medications.

Nutritional and diet supplements aren't verified as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, so you can never know are you safe with them, as well as with unorthodox therapies such as naturopathy or homeopathy.

Most of these therapies are quite expensive, may affect the absorption of your medications, and mess with your endocrine glands.
All things considered, most physicians advise that holistic medicine shouldn't be your main method to treat hypothyroidism, but an addition to your medications and a healthy diet.

Underactive thyroid gland: The importance of good nutrition

Even though there's no specific food regimen for people with hypothyroidism, most experts advise that you should eat a varied and healthy diet, and avoid foods rich in iodine because these can make your condition even worse. To ease the symptoms of hypothyroidism, some patients turn to vitamins and other supplements.

Most endocrinologists suggest healthy food as a way of treatment for hypothyroidism, and those with underactive thyroid often tend to exaggerate with the healthy stuff. Exaggeration is always harmful, even when it comes to wholesome and nutritious food consumption.
Things that don't go well when combined with thyroid medication are:

  • Coffee, as it can decrease the absorption of your thyroid drugs
  • Soy, for the same reason as coffee
  • Dulse – although seaweed is often recommended for individuals with hypothyroidism, its whopping iodine content can be dangerous for your condition.

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