Can You Reduce a Goiter with Nutrition?
A goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland in your neck. In parts of Africa, Asia and South America, the goiter is often caused by a lack of iodine. However, the use of iodized table salt has reduced iodine deficiency in the United States, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 46. A goiter is also caused by hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, when the thyroid is underactive or overactive, due to various health conditions. In some cases, there is no known cause for goiter. While most thyroid treatments require medications prescribed by your doctor, there are a few complementary treatments you can add to your daily routine.
See your health provider. He will perform a variety of tests such as biopsies, scans and ultrasounds to see if your goiter is caused by inflammation. If he prescribes thyroid pills, discuss any complementary treatments including vitamin, mineral or herbal remedies before adding them to your daily routine.
Add iodized salt to your eating plan if your doctor recommends it. Other foods that are iodine-rich are shrimp, shellfish, sushi and seaweed. Reduce the iodine in your diet if your doctor determines that your iodine levels are too high. In some cases, too much iodine overstimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands and can cause a goiter.
Add locally produced dairy products as well as fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet if you live near the ocean. Trace amounts of iodine are absorbed from the soil by plants growing near the coast.
Incorporate beef, canned tuna, cod and turkey breast in your eating plan to absorb the mineral selenium naturally. Selenium deficiency may reduce thyroid function. If you suffer from Crohn's disease, had part of your stomach or small intestine removed, or are following a special medical diet for disorders, such as phenylketonuria, your body may not take in sufficient selenium.
A large goiter may require surgery if it is obstructing your throat or windpipe. Reduce inflammation with hot castor oil packs, as recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Castor oil packs are a traditional method of reducing inflammation in endometriosis, joint pain, lower back pain and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Iodine deficiency is a serious condition that may lead to birth defects, miscarriage, mental retardation, learning disorders and weight gain. Follow your doctor's treatment plan carefully. Castor oil is for external use only; do not swallow it. Keep castor oil out of reach of children and pets.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Iodine
- American Thyroid Association: What Is A Goiter?
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: Selenium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hyperthyroidism
- Linus Pauling Institute: Selenium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Endometriosis
- Thyroid: Risk Factors for Goiter and Thyroid Nodules
- Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images