Should You Take Ashwagandha For Thyroid Issues

Should You Take Ashwagandha For Thyroid Issues

Should You Take Ashwagandha For Thyroid Issues?

Ashwagandha is a herb recommended by herbalists for treating thyroid issues. However, scientific data supporting this claim is limited.

Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence supporting the use of ashwagandha for thyroid issues. While it may help with symptomless subclinical hypothyroidism, it could potentially worsen hyperthyroidism.

Before starting any herbal supplements, it is important to consult your doctor as they can interact with medications and impact medical conditions.

The thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism, growth, and development. It releases three main hormones: Triiodothyronine (T3), Tetraiodothyronine (T4), and Calcitonin.

What are common thyroid problems?

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the most common thyroid problems.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid is underactive and produces too few hormones. It is typically treated by hormone replacement therapy. Symptoms can be mild and include fatigue, weight gain, and depression.

Subclinical hypothyroidism is a related condition where the thyroid is underactive but does not cause noticeable symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is when the thyroid is overactive and produces too many hormones. The most common cause is Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder. Symptoms include anxiety, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and sensitivity to heat.

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a shrub found in India and Southeast Asia. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine for stress relief and as an anti-inflammatory. The root and berry are commonly used in pill, powder, or extract form.

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Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which helps the body adapt to stress. There is ongoing research to understand its effects on various medical conditions.

Is ashwagandha safe?

Preliminary studies suggest that ashwagandha is safe for short-term consumption. No significant changes in vital signs, liver function, or thyroid hormone levels were observed in studies conducted on healthy individuals.

Mild side effects such as nausea, headaches, and drowsiness were reported but they were temporary and went away after discontinuing ashwagandha.

More research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and safety of ashwagandha.

QUESTION

Who shouldn’t take ashwagandha?

Consult your doctor before taking ashwagandha if:

  • You are currently taking digoxin for heart failure or heart rhythm issues.
  • You are pregnant as high amounts could harm the baby.
  • You have hormone-sensitive prostate cancer as it may interfere with treatments.
  • You take medications that make you drowsy as it can increase drowsiness.

Can ashwagandha help with thyroid problems?

Although ashwagandha has been recommended for thyroid issues, scientific data supporting its effectiveness is limited. Some hospitals caution against using ashwagandha for hyperthyroidism as it may further stimulate the condition.

There is one positive study showing that ashwagandha can help with subclinical hypothyroidism. However, more research is needed to confirm these results.

What else could ashwagandha help manage?

Ashwagandha has been studied for its potential benefits in a wide range of illnesses. It is commonly used for stress relief, anxiety, and as an anti-inflammatory. Conditions that ashwagandha could potentially help with include arthritis, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, skin conditions, and epilepsy.

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However, it is important to note that just because a condition is sometimes treated with ashwagandha doesn’t mean it is safe for everyone.

Sources:

  1. Complementary Therapies in Medicine: "Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Study in Healthy Volunteers."
  2. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine: "A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults."
  3. InformedHealth.org: "How does the thyroid gland work?"
  4. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: "Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial."
  5. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "Ashwagandha."
  6. Mount Sinai: "Hyperthyroidism."
  7. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)."
  8. Winchester Hospital: "Ashwagandha."

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