On a global scale, a staggering 200 million people suffer from thyroid conditions, with more than 50 percent remaining undiagnosed. And with the instances of thyroid disease on the rise, it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse.
So there’s never been a better time to embrace Ashwagandha – an adaptogenic herb that’s been proven to help keep your thyroid happy and healthy.
The thyroid gland may be small, but it’s certainly mighty. Located just below the Adam’s Apple area, this bow-tie shaped gland performs a number of vital functions for the body. Most importantly, it’s responsible for the production of two important hormones found in both men and women – triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), both of which are regulated by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
When TSH is released it stimulates the production of T4 and T3, which in turn help turn calories and oxygen into energy. On top of aiding metabolism, these hormones have a number of important functions:
The thyroid plays so many important roles that when something goes wrong, your whole body feels the effects. Thyroid dysfunction presents itself in two main ways:
Hyperthyroidism – this is caused when the thyroid creates too little T3 and T4. Symptoms include irritability, anxiety, weight loss, fatigue, heart palpitations and enlargement of the thyroid.
Hypothyroidism – this is caused when the thyroid creates too much T3 and T4. Symptoms include weight gain, hair loss, tiredness, constipation and dry skin.
Native to India, ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety and insomnia. In fact, its name translates directly to “the strength of the stallion” – a hint at the energy-boosting properties of this superfood.
Its name is also tied to ashwagandha’s status as an adaptogenic herb, meaning it can help the body adapt to both physiological and environmental challenges.
Adaptogenic ashwagandha has been shown to help support the thyroid in a number of ways. Here are just a few:
According to recent studies into the effectiveness of ashwagandha on thyroid health, the herb selectively increases the production of T4 hormone, whilst reducing cell damage caused by free radicals. One particular placebo-controlled study conducted in 2014 measured thyroid indices in 60 patients being treated with ashwagandha for bipolar disorder.
The study found that T4 levels were higher in patients treated with ashwagandha, and TSH levels were normalized. The researchers concluded that for those suffering from hypothyroidism, ashwagandha may well offer some relief thanks to its T4-elevating.
Numerous studies have shown ashwagandha to help improve the cognitive symptoms of an underactive thyroid, including depression, stress and anxiety.
In one 12-week placebo-controlled study, 87 participants with anxiety were given 300 mg of ashwagandha twice a day. Those patients treated with ashwagandha resulted in much greater improvements in anxiety than the placebo group.
Exhausted adrenal glands can damage your body’s stress response, causing anxiety, chronic fatigue and low energy. However, ashwagandha may be able to offer support.
As an adaptogenic herb, this superfood normalizes cortisol levels and resists chemical stressors. This means it has the potential to help treat thyroid conditions caused by autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease.
Adaptogens have been shown to help modulate hormone balances in the body, which means that taking a supplement like ashwagandha can assist with an underactive thyroid.
But surprisingly, it’s not just hypothyroidism that ashwagandha supports – the herb can also help improve conditions caused by an overactive thyroid by regulating the production of hormones based on your body’s needs.
As diagnoses of thyroid conditions rises, researchers are becoming increasingly interested in natural treatments like ashwagandha. And as recent studies have shown, this adaptogenic herb really does have the potential to boost thyroid health.
Plus, it’s affordable, easy to find, and safe, making it a useful supplement for those hoping to improve their thyroid function naturally.
You can read more about ashwagandha here: