Nigella Sativa and Thyroid
The most prevalent autoimmune disorder experienced by approximately 30 million of the United States population today is called Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism; this particular disease targets the thyroid gland, and presents more frequently in women than in men. Over time, Hashimoto’s eventually causes the thyroid gland to stop working properly, and can even lead to certain types of thyroid cancer. (1) The thyroid glands are located right below the cricoid cartilage AKA “Adam’s apple”, and is shaped like a butterfly. When hormones are released from the thyroid glands, they contribute to things like helping our brain and muscles work correctly, and also helps us maintain our body temperature. (4)
Also known as thyroiditis, the inflammation from Hashimoto’s usually leads to hypothyroidism, which leaves the thyroid glands underactive within the body. When this happens, a person might experience the symptoms of muscle weakness, pain in the joints, anxiety/depression, excessive tiredness, dry or pale skin, hair loss, an increase in weight, constipation and cold intolerance, just to name a few. (3)
Proper function of the thyroid glands is necessary, since they are responsible for initiating the growth of cells within the body as well. (2) Occasionally, the thyroid gets enlarged (typically referred to as a goiter), and this can be a visual sign of thyroiditis uponbexam (if your doctor actually takes the time to examine you). (4)
Some studies theorize that hypothyroidism is correlated with an excessive amount of inflammation in the stomach (otherwise known as gastritis) that is caused by stress. When there is an increased amount of stress, this inflammation in correlation with hypothyroidism can lower the metabolic rate in the body and disrupt the normal secretion of acid within the GI tract. If there are fewer thyroid hormones, then this makes metabolism drop drastically and decreases the growth and production of cells in the body. This combination is particularly problematic if there is abnormal bacteria or yeast in the gut since they will proliferate with lower levels of acid! (2)
Typically, an oral prescription hormone medication has been helpful for the symptoms of Hashimoto’s; however, since this drug may cause long-term damage to bones and the cardiovascular system, more natural ways to treat thyroiditis have emerged. One of these is the Nigella sativa plant, or otherwise known as fennel flower or black cumin! The seeds of this flower pack the most punch, and they have many positive health benefits. These include being utilized as an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant, and this plant has also been shown to help to boost the immune system (oil is the most common supplemental form). (1)
When it comes to a disease like Hashimoto’s, you want to find a treatment that will naturally and safely support the root cause, and reduce any possible side effects. Using properties from this plant, many studies have shown that improvement within the dynamics of thyroiditis have occurred, and there is possibly a correlation in using this natural treatment with the reversing of hypothyroidism (clinical levels of thyroid hormones do change with correct dosing). (1)
There are other proven ways that you can help treat Hashimoto’s naturally, and these include reducing stress levels, treating gut dysbiosis, limiting foods that might trigger symptoms (which will differ with each person), reducing inflammation (including using cold laser), and trying to reduce the amount of contact with toxins that might affect your antibodies.
Remember, the most important analogy you can visualize with autoimmunity is the hammer flying through a window. Once the hammer smashes the window, just because you remove the hammer doesn’t mean the problem is fixed! This is why we have achieved the consistent results with our functional medicine clients in Boulder. You have to rehabilitate the immune system after removing the triggers and then manage
the condition moving forward! (5)
Although much research is still needed, the improvements and headway that is being made to help naturally treat hypothyroidism is improving every day. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or need more information, but realize that they are other alternatives other than prescription drugs to help heal this auto-immune disease!
Hopefully this information will help your body come a little closer to optimal health.
Let your health soar again!
DC, MSc, IFMCP
(1) Farhangi, M. A., Dehghan, P., Tajmiri, S., and Abbasi,
M. M. (2016). The effects of Nigella sativa on thyroid function, serum Vascular
Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – 1, Nesfatin-1 and anthropometric features in
patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a randomized controlled trial. BMC
Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16(1), pp. 471.
(2) Abdel-Sater K. A. (2009). Gastroprotective effects of
Nigella Sativa oil on the formation of stress gastritis in hypothyroidal
rats. International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, 1(2),