Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in which the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It is a common disease that affects about 0.5-5% of the US population (1Trusted Source).
Thyroid hormones help regulate several body functions, including growth, cell regeneration, and metabolism. As a result, people with hypothyroidism may experience fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, cold intolerance, mood swings, and constipation, among many other symptoms ( 2Trusted Source ).
Medication is the first line of treatment for hypothyroidism, but following a healthy diet and lifestyle can help improve thyroid function and symptoms.
This article is based on research on the best diet for hypothyroidism, including which foods to eat and which to avoid.
What is hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the front of the neck.
It makes and stores thyroid hormones, which affect almost every organ system in your body ( 3Trusted Source ).
When the thyroid gland receives a signal called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), it releases thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. This signal is sent by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain, when thyroid hormone levels are low ( 2Trusted Source ).
In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone even when TSH is high ( 1Trusted Source ).
Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid gland, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in iodine-rich areas of the world, including the United States ( 4Trusted Source ).
Other causes of primary hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency, certain medications, thyroid surgery, acute thyroiditis, and medical treatment that damages the thyroid (1Trusted Source).
In other cases, the thyroid does not receive enough TSH. This occurs when the pituitary gland does not function properly and is called secondary hypothyroidism.
When your thyroid isn’t working properly, symptoms range from extreme fatigue to constipation. Some people with hypothyroidism have a lot of symptoms, while others have no symptoms at all.
Your health care provider will choose the appropriate treatment plan based on your thyroid function, symptoms, and other health concerns. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with thyroid hormone replacement drugs such as levothyroxine (Synthroid) or natural thyroid hormone drugs such as Armor Thyroid (1).