Deficiency of this mineral, though rare in the U.S., can contribute to hypothyroidism. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 55 micrograms daily (400 micrograms is the recommended upper limit). Brazil nuts are unusually high in selenium, providing 544 micrograms per ounce. Tuna, cod and light meat turkey are good sources as well. You can also supplement. Try: Club Natural Selenium ($5 for 100 50-microgram capsules; physicianformulas.com).
Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, and chronic stress and insomnia can cause adrenal fatigue. That in turn, can lead to thyroid resistance, meaning your cells do not absorb the thyroid hormone you make. “During times of chronic stress, your body slows down to conserve energy,” says Gordon. “If this goes on for a long time, you start to get symptoms.” Reduce the stressors in your life, and get seven to eight hours of restorative sleep at night.
Take Adaptagenic Herbs
These have been found to help the body deal with fatigue and stress, as well as help normalize hormone systems. Two effective herbs are rhodiola (50 to 100 milligrams a day) and ashwagandha (500 milligrams two to three times a day) Try: Solaray Rhodiola Extract ($12 for 30 100-milligram capsules; vitaminshoppe.com); and Pure Encapsulations Ashwagandha ($17 for 60 500-milligram capsules; drugnatural.com).
Do Iyengar Yoga
This type of yoga, which focuses on correct body alignment, can be therapeutic. “I’ve had students who have been able to lower the dosage of their thyroid medication, and a few who have been able to go off it under their doctor’s supervision,” says Marla Apt, a faculty member of the Teacher Training Program of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Southern California. Inverted poses like Shoulder Stands and Ploughs are particularly helpful. You can find a qualified teacher or class at iynaus.org.
Go slowly into old age
Not everyone who is hypothyroid has severe symptoms. Some people just feel a bit cold and can live with that, says integrative physician Eric Gordon, M.D. And if you want to get your 100th birthday greeting from Willard Scott, you might decide to go that route: Studies have shown that low thyroid is associated with longevity and is a characteristic of many centenarians