Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Can you tell me what causes hypothyroidism and what I can do about it?
A: Hypothyroidism has many etiologies, including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, treatment for Hyperthyroidism, thyroidectomy, or antiarrhythmic agents (such as amiodarone). I am assuming you have had the proper thyroid function tests, including serum TSH, and T4 index tests to confirm the diagnosis. The fatigue, lethargy, anorexia, cold symptoms, swelling and possible constipation, muscle cramps, and depression are all common symptoms of this disorder.
From a traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, you still need to continue taking the thyroid medication; this is necessary to prevent severe and dangerous complications. TCM often classifies hypothyroidism as a yang deficiency of the body.
These are my dietary recommendations:
1. Incorporate more warming foods into your diet, including lamb, scallions, cinnamon bark, seaweed, sesame seeds, soybeans, walnuts, lentils, and lotus seeds.
2. Avoid cold foods, cold fruits, raw foods, chlorine, and fluoride (found in most toothpastes). Additionally, you may consider taking Selenium and vitamin B for supplementation. Please check with your physician for the proper dosage.
As a good supplementary activity, I suggest tai chi or qigong exercises, because these will help with the fatigue and depression.