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Approximately 10 million Americans, including 10 percent of all women, have an issue with hypothyroidism. (EndocrineWeb.com) That adds up to a lot of people looking for a quick fix to ease the symptoms of their condition.
Some sources claim there is a diet that can cure hypothyroidism. But the Mayo Clinic and other medical sources disagree.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is a chemical messenger used by the brain to control many functions in the body including metabolism, which is how the cells use energy.
As a fast-food-loving society, it may be a natural thing to assume we can “fix” a thyroid problem simply by improving what we eat. A search online shows many diets for hypothyroidism as well as hypothyroidism diet supplements that claim to help the thyroid gland produce more thyroid hormone. But these claims are not supported by published medical studies.
In writing for the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Todd B. Nippoldt says, “Although claims about hypothyroidism diets abound, there’s no evidence that eating or avoiding certain foods will improve thyroid function in people with hypothyroidism.”
That being said, people with hypothyroidism do need to be aware of certain diet restrictions when it comes to taking prescribed thyroid hormone replacements. The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is a pill containing either synthetic or animal thyroid hormone to supplement the body’s own production of the hormone.
Because the hormone is taken as a pill, it must be digested in the stomach and intestine in order to enter the bloodstream to carry out its function. Certain foods and supplements interfere with the body’s ability to process and use the thyroid hormone pill. If you are taking thyroid hormone replacement, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Thyroid hormone replacement should usually be taken on an empty stomach.