10 Good Reasons To Use This Spice For Your Thyroid

turmeric for thyroid

Conventional medicine relies heavily on thyroid medication alone to treat hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. However, recent research studies confirm that an active component of turmeric called curcuminoids or curcumin can be used to counteract damaging effects of thyroid disease.

Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent but most importantly it has many thyroid specific benefits for people with Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, goiter and those who undergo radioactive iodine I-131 treatment. As a result many research studies recommend to add turmeric as a spice to your diet and start using it as a supplement.

So, today I’d like to share 10 ways how curcumin can benefit people with hypothyroidism and autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease and how to use turmeric for your thyroid.

10 Thyroid Specific Benefits Of Turmeric

1.Turmeric is an immune system modulator that down-regulates Th1 cells in Hashimoto’s

The human body produces inflammatory cells in response to an injury or an alteration in the body tissue. These inflammatory cells are called cytokines. Th1 and Th2 are two major types of cytokines.

Up to 90% of people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have Th1 dominance and Th2 suppression of the immune system. While over-activity of Th1 cells result in autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis, a shift towards Th2 cells domination is responsible for intestinal conditions like ulcerative colitis.

Curcuminoids can not only stop Hashimoto’s progression but has been shown to relieve pain in rheumatoid arthritis by down-regulating the Th1 part of the immune system.

2. Turmeric acts as an effective painkiller

Turmeric has been proven to reduce or eliminate pain better than the many leading prescription medications. Research studies found that components of turmeric were effective alternatives to the drugs sulindac, naproxen, phenylbutazone and diclofenac for the treatments of stiff joints. This is a blessing for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism.

3.Curcuminoids protect the gut and restore the integrity of a protective intestinal barrier

Intestinal permeability plays a key role in the initiation and progression of autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s disease. Intestinal mucosa is a necessary protective barrier to prevent penetration of bacterias, viruses, parasites and undigested food particles from the inside of the gut through the abdominal cavity.

When the intestinal lining and mucosa become inflamed and damaged, the first symptoms of autoimmunity start to appear. Full spectrum curcuminoids have been shown directly to protect intestines against a leak of unwanted particles through compromised tight junction barriers by reducing inflammation and help repair the damage caused by a leaky gut syndrome.

4.Turmeric supports thyroid hormone pathway by reducing toxic effects of heavy metals, fluoride and some drugs

Your liver function is essential for your thyroid because it supports the detoxification of estrogen and conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to its active form T3. However, your liver function can become impaired due to chemical-driven liver damage. Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and copper are toxic chemicals that can cause loss of a healthy liver function.

Furthermore, a lot of commonly used over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol also have a toxic effect on the liver. Luckily for us, turmeric has the ability to reduce these toxic effects, enhance the protection against liver damage and even help to regenerate affected liver cells.

In addition, turmeric can contribute to improving the health of the gallbladder that so often becomes sluggish due to hypothyroidism.

Fluoride is a well-known endocrine disruptor that has damaging effects to the thyroid and brain. A new study has shown that turmeric can protect against and even reverse toxic effects caused by fluoride.

5.Cucurmin reduces the frequency and severity of Hashimoto’s flare ups by boosting glutathione levels

Almost all patients suffering from Hashimoto’s disease share a common deficiency of glutathione which is a powerful immune system modulator and an antioxidant that prevents cells from oxidative stress.

Glutathione helps boost the Th3 part of the immune system that helps to balance the Th1 and Th2, enhance tissue recovery and boost natural immune regulation. When glutathione becomes depleted it triggers a destructive inflammatory response and drastically increases your susceptibility to an autoimmune disease and its severity.

This is especially true for Hashimoto’s where re-building glutathione reserves can result in less chemical sensitivity, fewer autoimmune flare-ups and a faster recovery from Hashimoto’s flare-ups. Curcuminoids not only prevent glutathione depletion but also reverse on-going losses.

Using cucumin supplements to boost glutathione is often more superior than glutathione creams and for sure has more potency than glutathione supplements that cannot be effectively absorbed by the body.

6. Turmeric can ease side effects and genetic damage in people who undergo radioactive iodine treatment

Radioactive Iodine therapy induced hypothyroidism is quite common among those who were treated using radioactive iodine I-131 for hyperthyroidism and Graves disease. Simultaneous use of curcuminoids with this therapy is associated with significantly lower risks of post-therapy hypothyroidism and less direct genetic damage.

7. Turmeric acts as a natural antidepressant

Among other symptoms of hypothyroidism, mood instability and depression often go un-resolved with using thyroid medication alone. In older thyroid patients depression and frequent mood changes are unfortunately often taken as a normal geriatric issue and just left untreated.

While there’s a lack of complete understanding on this particular action of turmeric, it has consistently shown to benefit people suffering from thyroid related mood fluctuations.

8. Turmeric can be beneficial in goiter treatment

An enlargement of the thyroid gland is called goiter and there are several factors that can contribute to this condition:

  • Goitrogenic foods or goitrogens like cabbage, cauliflower, kale and others
  • Too much or not enough iodine in your diet
  • Both autoimmune thyroid conditions Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves disease
  • Thyroid inflammation or thyroiditis
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Thyroid cancer

Taking thyroid medication can completely or partially reduce the size of the thyroid goiter, however this is not always the case. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can be beneficial for goiter treatment.

Curcumin controls the inflammatory activity in the thyroid by inhibiting the activity of nuclear factor-kappaB, a protein that down-regulates the production of inflammatory agents and increase the production of anti-inflammatory agents.

As a result the use of curcumin can reduce pain, swelling and inflammation of the thyroid gland, lower the risk of goiter incidence, inhibit cell proliferation and excessive growth of the goiter and even help to reduce its size.

9.Turmeric helps to protect and destroy thyroid cancer and prevent metastasis

Curcumin treatment causes DNA damage in thyroid cancer cells, stops their growth, prevents them from proliferating, inhibits metastasis of thyroid cancer and its spreading to other parts of the body.

A positive prognosis of papillary and follicular carcinoma of the thyroid increases several folds when turmeric use is combined with other therapeutic interventions, like anti-thyroid medications and surgical procedures.

Curcumin heightens the anti-tumor effect of an anti-cancer drug Sorafenib and chemotherapeutic drug Docetaxel that are commonly used for the treatment of thyroid cancer.

10. Turmeric balances blood sugar and cholesterol

Many hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s patients have blood sugar and cholesterol imbalances as direct consequences of low thyroid function and slow metabolism.

Curcuminoids act directly on insulin producing cells of the pancreas helping to regulate blood sugar. An absolute increase in good cholesterol (HDL) and progressive decrease in bad cholesterol (LDL) is also observed in patients with dyslipidemia.

turmeric for thyroid

How To Use Turmeric For Thyroid

Using turmeric as a spice is the simplest method to get a consistent amount of turmeric  without putting yourself at risk to exceed the therapeutic range. Cooking with turmeric is particularly safe during pregnancy and early childhood.

Curcuminoids have a relatively rapid rate of metabolism. They are flushed out within an hour or so. To cope with this particular issue an alkaloid found naturally in pepper and called piperine, is added to the daily dose.

Turmeric is fat-soluble, and if you want to be able to absorb this magnificent spice and experience all of the health benefits it has to offer… it has to be taken with fat or oil!

So, the best way to enrich your diet with turmeric is adding some black pepper as well as healthy fats (coconut or olive oil) in order to increase the absorption and healing potential.

turmeric supplements

Indian culinary practices have evolved around use of turmeric in almost all cooked vegetables and curries. However, strong pungent smell, slight gastric discomfort and a bitter taste is not what everyone can tolerate.

Daily intake of curcumin is shown to bring results within a month, in most cases. This, however requires a carefully titrated dose in an appropriate formulation.

Turmeric extract or curcuminoid derivatives are available in a supplement form, however

Not all forms of turmeric are created equal…

Most of the turmeric supplements you see on the market come as a turmeric powder in a capsule form. Unfortunately, this type of supplement provides little benefits due to its very low bioavailability and loss of healthful components during the harsh preparation process. This means that a good portion of it isn’t properly absorbed and utilized by your body making it less effective.

Turmeric must be formulated in a certain way in order to ensure greater absorption and  provide you with notable thyroid benefits.

liposomal turmeric for thyroidThere is another NEW form of turmeric that actually tastes amazing and is easy to absorb. This is a full spectrum turmeric extract that’s “liposomalized”—meaning it’s specifically blended to make the turmeric bind to phosphlipids (fats) that increase its bioavailability 10 to 20 times.

Liposomes are small phospholipid (healthy fat) shells (about 1/2 the width of a human hair) that surround the turmeric, that are resistant to digestive juices, alkaline solutions, bile salts and free radicals.

Thus, this liposomal “fatty protection” around the turmeric formula increases its bioavailability multiple-fold (up to 20 times).

This formulation takes all that turmeric has to offer and presents it in a format that your body is able to consume.

So, if you’re really serious about improving your thyroid, give turmeric a try. However, make sure to pick up a liposomal turmeric extract.

References:

Protective effects of curcumin against genotoxicity induced by 131-iodine in human cultured lymphocyte cells. Pharmacogn Mag. 2014 Apr;10(38):106-10. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.131020.

Curcumin induces glutathione biosynthesis and inhibits NF-kappaB activation and interleukin-8 release in alveolar epithelial cells: mechanism of free radical scavenging activity. Pharmacognosy Magazine 10(38):106-10, 2014

Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Affect Disord. 2014;167:368-75.

Analgesic Efficacy and Safety of Curcuminoids in Clinical Practice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Pain Med. 2015

Effect of Turmeric and its Active Principle Curcumin on T3-Induced Oxidative Stress and Hyperplasia in Rat Kidney: A Comparison. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2010 Oct; 25(4): 393–397.

Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence. Pharmacogn Mag. 2014 Jan-Mar; 10(37): 61–65.