Small Victories {Reversing Hypothyroidism Naturally}

DISCLOSURE: The longer this post is out on the web, and the more attention and readers it draws, the more I am reminded to point people to the disclosure on my site–you will find it in the side bar, and you can find it here.  In short, before you read this post, here is what you should know: 

This Blog [and this post] is for information purposes only. I, the author of Vegalicious, will not be held accountable for the use or misuse of the information contained on this site.  I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. As such, the information you read cannot be taken as medical advice or substituted for one.  Nothing on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  I shall not be held liable for the decisions made by readers of this blog.

What you are about to read in this post, is MY experience, and the experience of many others I have met since.  Having read this post, should you want to embark on the same journey, it is your responsibility to consult with your physician to make any major medical changes. 

Now, onward we go!   

Many of you know, or at least I hope that you read ABOUT ME page ;), that several years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  After the diagnosis I was told by my MD that I would have to live with it for the rest of my life, which also meant that I would have to depend on medication for the rest of my life–an idea that was diametrically opposed to everything I believe.  See, I believe in God who heals, and also believe that He gave us natural means to achieve healing.  So, nearly 4 years ago [having been vegan for a year already] I set out on a quest to reverse hypothyroidism naturally.

My TSH [thyroid function marker] went from 4.905 [in 1/2008] to 1.66 last year [7/2010].  I have not taken the test this year, but my suspicion is that I am right around 1.00.  You can read my adventure of How I Reversed Hypothyroidism Naturally by clicking on the link.

Hypothyroidism has many unpleasant symptoms and side effects.  Here are just a few:

  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Yellow skin
  • Hair loss, including the eyebrows
  • Swollen face, hands, legs, ankles or feet
  • Feeling cold
  • Aches and pains in muscles or joints
  • Hoarse or raspy voice
  • Constipation
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding or irregular periods
  • Fatigue
  • Slower thinking
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Slower speech or movement
  • Feeling down or depressed
  • Depression
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Changes in cholesterol
  • Slow heart rate
  • Infertility

I had the unfortunate lot to have experienced almost all of the symptoms on this list and then some.  Thankfully, as my body has been recovering on a whole foods vegan diet, and a plenty of prayer ;), the symptoms were melting off one by one.  But, as all good things, healing might take a while to become fully manifest.  So it is the case in reversing hypothyroidism.  Some of the symptoms dissipate before others.

Way before I fell prey to hypothyroidism I had long [normal] eyebrows.  As the disease set it, the outer edges of my browns disappeared.  Yep–true story!  About 1/4 of my eye brows on the outer edges fell out, and I had to resort to the help of a brow pencil to fill in what was missing.  It was not something I enjoyed, but certainly better than looking like I am missing something on my face.  In the last few months I have noticed a pleasant change in this visible symptoms–my eyebrows started to grow back in!  At this point my right brow has taken its rightful place, and the left…well, I just hope it catches up soon :), so I don’t look funny, and there is no way I am plucking the right side while waiting for the left to catch–for me having at least one of them grown back in, is like wearing a medal I earned in waging this war.

It’s a small victory, but I am excited.  It is a signal that my body is restoring its losses and I am on my way to full recovery.

Healing our bodies naturally does take a while, in some cases, but the reward is worth the wait–being medication free, and knowing that I am not masking my symptoms, but rather getting rid of them once and for all, is a welcomed, long awaited gift.  In addition everything that I had learned and applied in the process made me not only a better, healthier person, but also equipped me to help others, struggling with same, or similar, issues.

It’s a good day in beating hypothyroidism naturally!

UPDATE (12/2011): as of today, and for the last couple of months, I am happy to report that both of my brows have fully grown in–I attribute it to continual vitamin/nutrient rich plant based diet and the use of B12 supplementation

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  • Lauren

    Hi! I was wondering if there was any way you could make a top !10 foods list for vegans with hypothyroid? I’m struggling. I’ve been on .25 micrograms once daily for about a year and a half. I saw that my thyroid level was 4.2 back in December. I go to the gym 5 days a week,and lift weights,and do cardio. I don’t really see results though….

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Lauren, I have better than that–I have a plan you can follow. Check out the middle to bottom of the post for plan and suggestions http://www.vega-licious.com/dangers-of-birth-control-medications-part-6-how-to-reclaim-your-health-after-birth-control/.

      Today, for example, I heard from one of my one-on-one consults that she is finally off medications, following my plan, and is doing great, and better than expected by her doctor.

      In the beginning it might be a slower process for some than others, but the body is made to be self healing, if you give it the right tools.

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  • Ray Paquette

    Did you take selenium to help with your hypothyroid?

  • Crystal

    Hello, I have been following you for awhile, and researching alot on different ways to go about eating healthier for my family and I. I have hypothyroidism and was told I wil never get off the meds I have been taking meds for at least 2 years not knowing what I need to do… I take ARMOUR I belive it is called.  However since I have been doing this my levels have not changed and r staying the same, I am not sure the levels and I will be calling this week to find out the exact #”s but my one is to high and the other is to low even on the meds. In the back of mind since this journey has began I have felt that I can get off the meds and feel a lot better. I dnt take meds on a regular basis at all, I even hesitate to take meds for my sore muscles and ect after working out and my knee pain I always have more after I work out. I am glad I got to see this Post and read it all, I am hoping I can research more and do what I can to heal my body and get off meds. IF u have any suggestions for me I would appreciate it. I was conserdering going to a specialist who only deals with hormones. Thyroid is in my family on both sides of my family.  Thanks for all your information. I appreciate it all.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Crystal, hi! So, when you say “since I have been doing this” do you mean the meds, or the change in your diet?  Once you know your numbers, I would be curious to hear about them, especially your TSH.  

      And you are right, we can get our bodies to restore and get off meds… at least that is the opinion I hold because I did, and now many others, who follow the same plan (the one I teach during 30-day boot camps http://www.vega-licious.com/services/vegan-30-day-boot-camp-weight-loss-health-improvement/) have experienced improvements as well.  One of the participants just got off meds and is feeling great; one about 4 months ago dropped her TSH by  1.5 pts or so in just 6 weeks… and the stories can go on.  

      At this point, not knowing what your current lifestyle/diet are like, it would be hard to make suggestions.  You can also read some of the suggestions I make in this article: http://www.vega-licious.com/2011/09/reversing-hypothyroidism-naturally-few-words-of-advice-hypothyroidism-natural-treatment/ and see what else I did and how I eat here: http://www.vega-licious.com/health-nutrition/dangers-of-birth-control-medications-part-6-how-to-reclaim-your-health-after-birth-control/ –at the bottom of the post). 

      If you are on birth control, it would be something to look at to get off ASAP, since it would mess with your numbers, if you are not yet taking B12, you would want to add that, then removing estrogen creating substances, like plastic and chemical personal care would be another thing to do, as well as including maca root powder into your daily intake, etc… all of that in those articles. 

      I would actually strongly encourage for you to get into one of my boot camps, during which we talk in details about the steps I took to reverse my conditions.

      Let me know if you have other questions, and I wish you the best of health—all meds free! 

  • Mckenziegaby

    I have been vegan for 2 years and vegetarian for pretty much my entire life. I had been seeing a naturopath who really didn’t understand my veganism. My thyroid when I first started seeing her was 1.3 (TSH). She said that was bad and put me on a thyroid support. She tried to get me on a glandular pig support, but I told her I would only take natural, vegan herbs. So we found a few different things, and in two months (getting my blood tested each time) my TSH went up to 2.8 and then to 3.5! So I told her she was doing things wrong and I stopped seeing her. Now it is the new year and I feel like I am having to retrain my body to digest normally. Another thing about that last test was that my cortisol came back really high. I work part-time and go to school on an accelerated path, so I am definitely a bit stressed, but I think the Naturopath made me a lot worse. I have been on BC for 10 years! I really want to get off it, but I’m scared to have a weird period. Can you tell me how the BC caters to hypothyroidism? Seeing that that caters to hypo makes me want to get off of it even more. Do you think you have to get off of it slowly, or just throw it all away? My partner is more than willing to use condoms and the like…I just don’t know if there is any better way. Do you have any recommendations? Many thanks! I love this site–I just stumbled across it today and want to make all the smoothies right now! ;)

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Mckenzie, hi!

      First of all, welcome ;)  Secondly, make sure to read this post http://www.vega-licious.com/health-nutrition/how-to-reverse-hypothyroidism-naturally/ and all the links in it.  Also check through the comment section, because that is where I discuss options to birth control that will save your health. 

      Now, I cannot even believe that your ND told me that 1.3 was too high for TSH! Absurd! Normal range is .6-1.0 or slightly higher.  You were pretty normal, unless you had symptoms and she should have not messed with you AT ALL! To go from 1.3 to 3.5 under professional care is a shame! I am glad you got fed up and left! 

      You did not need thyroid support, what you needed is  high raw, high greens, plant based (vegan), whole foods diet–it would have taken care of it all.  If you would like to increase digestion, these are exactly the steps that you have to take.  If you are not doing green smoothies yet, start today! There are over 60 recipes in this e-book Life on Greens http://www.vega-licious.com/estore/.  I would even start off with the 3 day cleanse to get some junk out of you ASAP! It will start you on a new path.  If you are not sure what to do after, you can also join the 30-day boot camp, where I provide all meal planners with recipes and more info on do’s and don’ts, as well as other great things : http://www.vega-licious.com/services/vegan-30-day-boot-camp-weight-loss-health-improvement/  plus you will have a like minded community around you to support you. 

      To take care of stress effects make sure to follow a diet structured the way I just mentioned: high raw, high greens, plant based (vegan), whole foods–that way you will replenish depleted minerals.  You also MUST supplement with B12 (you can download the free report offered on this site–there is an entire appendix dedicated to it there; or read through the category, from beginning to end: http://www.vega-licious.com/category/health-nutrition/B12-deficiency-diagnosis-and-treatment/ As for BC, this is my opinion, I am not a doctor, but I speak from experience, so, take is as you would like to: RUN from it! I was on that trash for 5 yrs and when my brain finally clicked into the right gear I got it out of my system ASAP!  That was one of the best decisions I ever made.  Extended exposure to synthetic hormones, and that is what BC is, screws up your own hormone balance.  You are unnaturally stuck in the progesterone phase for VERY long–21+ days, whereas in real life we should be in this phase for about 12 days or so.  Synthetic hormones also have side effects–just read your BC’s insert and consider that some are not even listed there.  BC has killed people before, and it is still doing it–that is why there is always a lawsuit against one or more of the companies that produce them. A better way to do BC is discussed in the first post I mentioned. But I will repost a part of it here for your benefit: 

      After getting off BC [birth control] my husband and I learned the Creighton Model Fertility System, which I also combine with measuring my waking temperature to know when I ovulate and when I don’t, so that way we can decide when we would like to conceive. A great book to read on natural fertility care is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health book [http://astore.amazon.com/eaheb...] and, if you get your hands on it, Creighton Model Fertility Care system. You can probably find one through a local Catholic church–they are great at offering fertility education to their parishioners. My husband and I took some classes through one of their trained consultants to learn how to do it the right way. I can tell you that going off BC was one of the best things we did. I no longer have to worry about side-effects, my hormones are so much better and because of that our intimacy is 100%+ better as well. You owe it to yourself ;)Here are some reference sites for Creighton Model: http://creightonmodel.com/naprotechnology.compopepaulvi.comfertilitycare.org

      I wish you all the best! Welcome to the community.  If you need more personalized info, I do offer coaching: http://www.vega-licious.com/services/one-on-one-coaching-vegan-weight-loss-fitness/

      Elena 

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  • donna

    They tell me my thyroid looks like swiss cheese.  Is it too late to reverse hypothyrosdism?  I have been a vegetarian almost four years, vegan for a year.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Donna, I could not tell for sure, but I think that it is never too late to improve our health… unless we are dead.  More greens, adding things like maca root powder, high raw vegan diet, sea veggies–all should help improve your thyroid function. 

  • Nikulya7

    I’m missing half of my eyebrows too. lol… could it mean that I have same problem??? didn’t think to check it…but maybe I should, especially since my mother and older sister had and have thyroid problems… =(

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Nika, there is a possibility.  I would recommend checking your thyroid at least every other year–I do it annually.  In fact I am waiting for this year lab results now.  But even if your doc tells you that you ok and you are symptomatic you should be following up on it.  My docs told me I was fine for 5 years, while I was miserable, and struggling; until I refused to take their definition of what normal TSH [thyroid hormone levels] should be. 

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  • Moira

    Hello, I’m so happy to find out that Hypothyroidism can be reversed! I’ve been diag. w/Hypothyroidism since my son was 2, he’s 11 now. I still take Synthroid 88mcg., but hope raw foods can help me get off the medication.  What did you mainly eat or what did you eliminate from your diet to reverse your hypo symptoms?

    Thank you! Moira

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Moira, hi! Glad you found me.  Make sure to read this article: http://www.vega-licious.com/2009/08/how-to-reverse-hypothyroidism-naturally/–it will answer a lot of your questions, also sign up to get Vegalicious via e-mail so you can download the 100-page report on how I changed my diet–it will tell you what I no longer eat. 

      In short, I am high raw [still eat some cooked foods] and eliminated all animal and junk foods.  Including a lot of blended greens into my diet was a huge key toward recovery. 

      I hope to see you around an pray you heal as well.