Bacopa and Thyroid Benefits

This era of modernization and westernization, has ornamented our every problem and query with a precise and subtle solution. Narrowing our talk to the fields of medical and health sciences, we can easily tell the leaps and bounds of success that allopathic medicine has evolved with. It has swept away almost every sphere of pharmacy with its magnificence. But, what gives Ayurveda, the oldest Indian healing technique an edge above the allopathic medicine and treatment? What has made people a tad more inclined towards this natural healing methodology? According to the 1970-WHO report Ayurveda is known to cure a broad spectrum of osteopathy disorders without significant side effects. The fact that allopathic treatment brings with itself a great deal of side effects is consistently making it the lesser preferred of the two options. Moreover Ayurveda is all natural and is beneficial for all age groups whereas allopathic treatment is highly age and gender dependent. Now most of our talk is going to revolve around an emerging ayurvedic drug which is often referred to as waterhyssop or Brahmi, and scientifically coined as Bacopa. It has wide applications in an efficient working of the human body, one among which is curing various Thyroid Disorders.

What is Bacopa?

Bacopa is a broad family of symmetrical, erectile stems with whitish flowers consisting mostly of 5 petals and leaves. The most important species and the one that interests us a great deal is Bacopa Monnieri, which has been in use in Ayurvedic industry for a long time now. It grows mostly in the tropical and the subtropical regions of the world, one of which is The Americas. It has a really wide range of benefits and applications. It positively affects the working of the Central Nervous system and helps recover memory and reduce anxiety. It is known to cure many thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism which will be discussed in detail in the further text. It is used all over the world with different names some of which are Brahmi, Aindri, Lysimachia monnieri L. Cent., Graticola monnieri L.Herpestis monniera L. Kunth., Water hyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola, Indian Pennywort, Jalabrahmi. Its affects are exponentially amplified when taken along with Ashwagandha (another Ayurvedic drug), Milk, green tea and Dietary fatty acids.

Know your Thyroid Gland

Thyroid gland is one of the smallest glands located in front of the neck, made of two lobes along the trachea or the windpipe and joined by a thyroid tissue called the Isthmus. The very basic function of the thyroid gland it take up Iodine from our food and then convert it into the two Thyroid hormones called the Thyroxine (T3) and Triiodothyronine (T4). Most of the body cells depend upon the thyroid gland for efficient metabolism and functioning. The ratio of the production of T3 and T4 is 2:8 whereas the strength ratio is the opposite. The Thyroid gland is tutored by the Pituitary gland, present right below the brain. The pituitary gland acknowledges the less or more levels of T3 and T4 hormones and stimulates the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) to increase or decrease the production of the T3 and T4 hormones respectively. So suppose the T3 level in the blood is less, it signals the TSH to produce more T3 and thereby regulates the balance of hormones in the body or the thyroid gland in this case. The interesting part is that the Pituitary is itself regulated by another master gland known as the Hypothalamus which regulates the formation of TRH (TSH releasing Hormone). It senses the need of TSH in the bloodstream and acts accordingly.

Various Thyroid Disorders

Hypothyroidism is the most prevalent thyroid disorder which as the name suggests is the low activity of the thyroid gland or the Low concentration of the T3, T4 hormones. According to EndocrineWeb, 10 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism and don’t even know about it. The main causes are the inflammation of the thyroid gland which weakens or renders the thyroid cells completely inactive thereby leading to the low thyroid hormone levels. This condition stimulates the Pituitary to produce more and more TSH which further leads to accumulation of this hormone in the gland leading to another disorder called Goiter. It is characterized by swelling of the neck region. This condition also paces down the complete metabolism of the body because the thyroid gland is largely responsible for the regulation of body metabolism.

Another grave thyroid disorder is called Hyperthyroidism which is completely opposite to Hypothyroidism. It is characterized by hyperactive thyroid gland and over secretion of the thyroid hormones. It paces up the body metabolism and leads to restlessness. It could be due to the Overconsumption of Iodine along with the Food products. Hypothyroidism can be greatly tackled with the help of our showstopper, Bacopa monnieri. Let’s find out how.

Benefits of Bacopa for Thyroid Disorders

  • Initially the experiments for finding out the uses of Bacopa for thyroid disorders were conducted on male mice were done by a group of individuals from a Thyroid research Unit. Samples of Bacopa monnieri, Aloe Vera and Aegle Marmelos were taken. The results suggested that Bacopa significantly increased the T4 level in the blood while the other two increased the T3 level in the bloodstream. The concluding fact is that Bacopa regulates the T4 level in the thyroid and can be used to treat Hypothyroidism. People suffering from it have a low concentration of thyroid hormones and must be medicated such as to increase those concentrations as TSH fails to play its part due to inflammation. Therefore Bacopa dosage of 200mg/kg leaf extract is recommended for treating Hypothyroidism. It increases the T4 level by 41% and solves most of the Problem.
  • Another thyroid disorder that it helps treating is Goiter. The main cause of the Goiter as explained earlier is the accumulation of TSH in the thyroid gland which was produced to regulate the T4 level in the thyroid, but could not. So a dosage of 200mg/kg leaf extract of Bacopa coupled with 150mg/kg of Aloe Vera helps counter Goiter. This dosage increases T4 secretion which relaxes the production and thereby the accumulation of TSH. This cures Goiter and is being replaced by the various allopathic and homeopathy treatments as it is natural, cheap, and herbal.
  • The same dosage coupled with 1000mg/kg of Aegle Marmelos, for 15 days significantly decreases the T3 level in the thyroid gland and can be used by people with severe hyperthyroidism conditions. It brings the Thyroid hormone level down by a staggering 62%  and balances the concentrations of thyroid hormones and thereby preventing this grave hyperactivity disorder.

Bacopa has helped counter many thyroid disorders and contains benefits for thyroid hormone production. No doubt they can be treated and cured with allopathic treatments and homeopathy medication but both of them come along with a long list of side effects. Sheer weight gain and loss, acne, intervention by liver and kidney problems and so many more. Moreover they come with innumerable restriction factors like age, gender and timings. Ayurvedic Bacopa is an evolving treatment for the Thyroid disorders and is Promising. Not only because it is natural, cheap, and herbal but because of the fact that it is really fast and effective.  The only significant disadvantage of Bacopa encountered till now has been its adverse taste. But how do you plan to gain without a minimal amount of Pain? You can’t. Ha-ha.

The normal dosage as available in the packed containers is a 300mg tablet. Plus it is widely available on some of the world’s top grossing online markets such as amazon, E-bay and flip-kart and can be therefore conveniently easily bought with some clicks on your Mobile screen.

Ashwagandha and Thyroid Facts

Ashwagandha is an Aurvedic herb that has been used for centuries in Asia. Although many consider it a stress relieving natural medication, studies have shown that Ashwagandha has many properties that can help alleviate symptoms caused by a dysfunctional thyroid. A recent article on Thyroid Advisor has detailed the many benefits of Ashwagandha.

Perhaps the most useful of these is that many studies have shown Ashwagandha can help produce more T4 hormones. Since T4 is one of the hormones, along with T3 and TSH, that control thyroid function, and thus a body’s metabolism, energy, and many other properties, the ability to raise this with a simple herb is very impressive. Of course, it won’t be a lot or anything near taking artificial thyroid hormones such as Synthroid, but the natural Ashwagandha treatment certainly helps a bit.

However, the increase of T4 hormones is not the only effect Ashwagandha has on the body. This thyroid supplement website has written an article on the benefits and truths regarding Ashwagandha. Within this article, the author writes about how Ashwagandha has also been linked to better mood. Perhaps the most surprising, however, it that it has promising benefits in helping alleviate the symptoms of cancer, and as detailed in some studies, the actual cancer cells themselves. Due to the immune and antioxidant properties in this herb, a study published in 1999 has concluded that Ashwagandha increased the number of white blood cells in the body – the cells that fight disease, cancer, and illness.

With all these great benefits, it is important to make sure you have the right dosage of Ashwagandha in order to maximize the benefits of this great herb. Doctors and scientists suggest about 600 mg to 1,200 mg a day along with a healthy diet with other vitamins and minerals.

I would highly suggest using this herb to help alleviate the symptoms of a slow thyroid. Be sure to check out thyroid support complexes that have Ashwagandha in their supplement facts list.

What Makes an Effective Thyroid Diet?

The first step in treating a thyroid disease is to address the causes of thyroid dysfunction such as inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal changes due to stress, and overuse of medications. Most patients prefer to do this through a thyroid diet.

A thyroid diet is a special diet that eliminates foods that may cause immune reactions and inflammations while focusing on foods that help balance hormones, reduce inflammation, and heal the GI tract. Below, we look at foods that should be included in the thyroid diet, foods that should never appear in the diet, and various supplements that can be used alongside the diet to fast track the healing process.

Foods to focus on

  • Wild-caught fish

Wild-caught fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA which help with hormonal balance and thus improve thyroid function. Omega-3 fatty acids in a thyroid diet also help to reduce inflammation and support neurological function. They are also known to boost mood and support a healthy immune system. There are many types of fish with high Omega-3 content. However, experts recommend salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

  • coconut oil on the wooden spoonCoconut oil

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids in the form of capric acid, caprylic acid, and lauric acid that support healthy metabolism, fight fatigue, and increase energy. An ever-present in any thyroid diet, the oil nourishes the digestive system, improves immunity, enhances brain function, and has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties that help in suppressing inflammation.

  • High-fiber foods

Fiber improves heart health, supports healthy weight, and balances blood sugar. You should aim for between 30 to 40 grams of the nutrient daily. This can be achieved by taking lots of fresh vegetables, berries, seeds, lentils, and beans.

  • Sprouted seeds

Hemp, chia seeds, and flax provide ALA, a rare type of Omega-3 fat that is critical in hormonal balance. ALA also supports healthy mood and brain function while lowering inflammation. Plenty of sprouted seeds in a thyroid diet also stabilize blood sugar and help with healthy weight.

  • Bone broth

Chicken and beef broth contain amino acids I-glycine and I-proline which help with repair of the digestive lining. The broths also nourish the digestive tract, help overcome food sensitivities, reduce fatigue, improve energy, increase immunity, and lower muscle and joint pains.

  • Probiotic-rich foods

These include kimchi, kombucha, kefir (a fermented dairy product), fermented veggies, sauerkraut, and organic goat’s milk yogurt. They help create a healthy gut environment by balancing microflora bacteria and reducing leaky gut syndrome, inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, and autoimmune reactions.

  • Seaweeds

Natural weeds are some of the best sources of iodine – a critical element in the thyroid diet. Kelp, dulse, and nori are the preferred choices here.

  • Fruits and vegetables

These are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and help combat free-radical damage while lowering inflammation. They also support healthy brain function, hormone balance, heart health, and healthy weight.

  • Clean water

Water is needed for hydration and digestive function. Drinking at least eight ounces of water every two hour can prevent constipation, low energy, and sugar cravings.

Foods to avoid

  • Refined flour products

High-carbohydrate products such as enriched wheat flour negatively impact hormone levels which can lead to weight gain. Products such as bread, pastas, cereals, and baked goods should therefore be minimized or removed altogether from a thyroid diet. Instead, people with thyroid problems should choose flour made from 100% whole ancient grains such as buckwheat and quinoa.

  • Goitrogen foods

Goitrogens are substances that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones by interrupting iodine uptake in thyroid glands. As such, all foods in this category including raw broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, soy, kale, and Brussels sprouts should be avoided. If you must take these vegetables, steam them for at least 30 minutes and keep portions moderate in size.

  • Gluten

Most people with thyroid problems are sensitive to gluten while some have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease which causes allergy to gluten. The best advice therefore is to keep away from gluten-rich foods such as wheat, rye, and barley products. Gluten sensitivity may raise inflammation, worsen hormonal problems, and create nutritional deficiencies.

  • Sugar

Sugar disrupts hormone balance, can cause fatigue, and has the potential to worsen depression and weight gain. Since people with thyroid issues already find it difficult losing weight, it’s best to avoid sugar-filled foods.

  • Conventional dairy products

Dairy products can be problematic to the thyroid as they are known to trigger reactions that raise inflammatory responses.

  • Tap water

Finally, avoid tap water as it contains chlorine and fluorine, two elements that inhibit iodine absorption.

Natural remedies to speed up the healing process

  • Ashwagandha (500 milligrams daily)

This is an adaptogen herb known to help the body respond to stress by lowering cortisol and balancing T4 levels. Patients will realize increased thyroxine hormone levels which reduces the severity of thyroid disease

  • Iodine (150-300 micrograms daily)

Supplementary iodine can cause significant changes in thyroid hormone function. Combine the supplements with natural iodine sources such as eggs, sea vegetables, and seaweed for best results.

  • Selenium (200 micrograms daily)

Selenium is essential for the production of T3 thyroid hormones that help in reducing autoimmune effects. It also decreases anti-thyroid antibody levels while improving the structure of the thyroid gland.

  • L-tyrosine (1,000 milligrams daily)

L-tyrosine is an amino acid used in synthesizing thyroid hormones. Supplementing the substance can improve sleep deprivation, combat fatigue, and improve mood.

  • Fish oil (1,000 milligrams daily)

Lastly, fish oil contains essential DHA and EPA Omega-3 amino acids that are critical for brain activity and thyroid function. These amino acids lower risk of thyroid symptoms such as anxiety, high cholesterol, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and weakened immune system. They also balance Omega-6 levels in the diet which can go a long way in improving health.

I have heard many thyroid supplements contain these natural remedies. In fact, recently the Huffington Post came out with an article regarding these thyroid supplements. I will be looking into this further as I believe others should as well.

A thyroid diet based upon this list can quickly relieve symptoms, effectively setting the patient on the path to recovery. Remember to collaborate with a licensed physician throughout the treatment period to help monitor your progress while providing valuable advice along the way.