Bladderwrack, also known as Fucus vesiculosus, may be an effective alternative treatment for hypothyroidism for some people as it contains iodine found naturally in the sea. Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is a condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. This results in one’s metabolism falling outside of the desired range. There are a wide range of thyroid medications available, both natural and pharmaceutical. As with all medicines, Fucus can occasionally cause side effects, so always consult your healthcare practitioner before starting treatment.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common form of hypothyroidism. It is considered to be an autoimmune disease as the body mistakes the thyroid gland for a foreign body and sends antibodies to attack it which eventually destroy it over time. This leaves the body without essential thyroid hormones that are required for controlling body temperature, appetite and rate of metabolism. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to serious health disorders that could prove fatal.
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include tiredness, reduced heart rate and pulse, weight gain, dry skin and hair, hair loss, sensitivity to cold, confusion, anxiety, depression, joint pain, headaches, numbness in the extremities and menstrual problems. However, as these symptoms can be attributed to any number of health problems they are often overlooked. If you are experiencing a combination of the aforementioned symptoms without any obvious cause, contact your doctor immediately for a check-up.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, those who experience hypothyroidism due to a iodine deficiency may be able to treat their condition with kelp. Iodine, found naturally in kelp, is required to enable the thyroid gland to function correctly. The majority of people in the western world use iodized salt and therefore do not need to supplement with iodine unless they suffer from hypothyroidism.
Bladderwrack is rich in iodine and is available in many different forms including tinctures and standardized extracts. According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, bladderwrack is often referred to as kelp as it is present in a large number of kelp tablets. However, kelp is not considered to be the same as bladderwrack as it is actually a different form of seaweed. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a dose of 600mg bladderwrack one to three times per day to stimulate thyroid activity. It is not recommended to self-treat hypothyroidism with bladderwrack.
According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, bladderwrack can help with a wide range of health conditions besides an underactive thyroid including constipation and acid reflux. Mercer University claims that it can help to increase the metabolism to combat obesity. As it contains medicinal compounds, it can relieve the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism when applied directly to painful and swollen joints.
Bladderwrack is only helpful for those experiencing hypothyroidism due to an iodine deficiency. Taking a large amount of bladderwrack can result in an overactive thyroid which is known as hyperthyroidism. If you begin treatment with bladderwrack, be sure to visit your doctor regularly for blood tests to monitor your thyroid levels. If you develop any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, stop taking bladderwrack immediately.
Mercer University: Bladderwrack
University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypthyroidism
NYU Langone Medical Center: Bladderwrack
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