Ashwagandha has garnered much attention in the world of health and beauty. You’ve probably noticed an uptick in the number of people who sing its praises and the number of products boasting it as a key ingredient. This is because ashwagandha is making huge breakthroughs, especially as it pertains to thyroid health.
Keep reading to learn how ashwagandha can support your thyroid health.
How the thyroid gland works
The thyroid gland is located directly above your collar bone. Just like other glands throughout the body, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate various bodily systems. Your thyroid is mainly responsible for metabolism, bone strength, growth and development.
The pituitary and thyroid glands are connected. The pituitary gland, which resides near the bottom of your brain, monitors thyroid hormone levels. Your thyroid produces two types of hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). When T3 and T4 levels are low, the pituitary gland releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in order to stimulate your thyroid.
People are diagnosed with hypothyroidism when their thyroid glands are incapable of producing sufficient T3 and T4 levels. Speak with a doctor if you suspect the presence of hypothyroidism so you can discuss potential treatments.
The science behind ashwagandha
The scientific term for ashwagandha is Withania somnifera, but the herb also goes by other nicknames like Indian ginseng and winter berry. Ashwagandha is regarded as a holistic form of treatment used for centuries across India and parts of Africa. While certain groups of people have revered the herb’s healing properties for a long time, ashwagandha has only recently broken into Western medicine. Scientists primarily focus on the herb’s root, which is usually available in capsule, liquid and powder supplement form.
Although evidence is limited, preliminary research suggests ashwagandha may assist thyroid hormone production. Ashwagandha belongs to a family of plants called adaptogens, which have been shown to lower cortisol levels. People take adaptogens to relieve mental and physical stress, but ashwagandha, in particular, might serve other purposes. Cortisol and TSH are directly related to each other, meaning if one rises or falls, the other typically follows suit.
Scientists are delving into the idea that ashwagandha helps lower TSH levels while simultaneously boosting T3 and T4 production. Several studies suggest that this herb helps your thyroid produce hormones on its own, without help from the pituitary gland. In response to this scientific discovery, some people are considering ashwagandha supplements as a natural alternative for thyroid support.
Ask your doctor for recommendations
Regardless of your health situation, everyone should ask their doctor about reputable supplement brands before making a purchase. Once a doctor has determined ashwagandha is safe for you to take, they can recommend supplements that are trusted to support thyroid health.
The research is promising, which means ashwagandha might be here to stay for the long haul. The herb is worth looking into, especially if you feel like your thyroid could use a little extra support. Further research is sure to uncover additional uses for ashwagandha. After all, the herb hasn’t been praised all this time for nothing!