Does Ashwagandha Improve Thyroid Health?
By Katey Davidson, MScFN, RD
Ashwagandha is a powerful herb also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry (1Trusted Source).
Extracts of its root are most commonly used and sold in tablet, liquid, or powder form.
Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, meaning it's believed to help your body manage stress. It's also used to combat aging, strengthen and build muscle, aid neurological disorders, and relieve rheumatoid arthritis (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
Used for centuries in traditional medicine, it has gained recent popularity as an alternative treatment for thyroid issues.
This article explains whether you should take ashwagandha to support thyroid health.
Types of Thyroid Disorders
The three main hormones important for thyroid health are (11Trusted Source):
- thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
- triiodothyronine (T3)
- thyroxine (T4)
TSH is controlled by the pituitary gland, a small peanut-sized gland located near the base of your brain. When T3 and T4 levels are too low, TSH is released to produce more of these hormones. An imbalance between them may indicate thyroid issues (11Trusted Source).
There are two main types of thyroid disorders — hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. It's usually associated with particular medications, iodine deficiency, or Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your body attacks healthy thyroid tissue (11Trusted Source).
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, constipation, goiters, and dry skin (11Trusted Source).
In contrast, hyperthyroidism is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormone. People with this condition usually experience shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, hair loss, and unintentional weight loss (12Trusted Source).
In Western countries, 1–2% and 0.2–1.3% of the population have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, respectively (13Trusted Source).
Both conditions are typically treated with synthetic medication. However, some may seek natural alternatives, such as ashwagandha.
Hypothyroidism is a thyroid disorder characterized by low levels of thyroid hormone, whereas hyperthyroidism is linked to high levels. Some people use ashwagandha to treat these conditions instead of synthetic medication.
Can Ashwagandha Improve Thyroid Health?
While ashwagandha has many potential health benefits, you may wonder if it's worth taking for thyroid health.
Does ashwagandha help with hypothyroidism?
In general, insufficient research exists on ashwagandha supplements and thyroid health.
However, recent studies indicate promising results regarding hypothyroidism.
An 8-week study in 50 people with hypothyroidism found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root extract daily led to significant improvements in thyroid levels, compared to taking a placebo (6Trusted Source).
Those in the ashwagandha group showed significant increases in triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) levels of 41.5% and 19.6%, respectively. Furthermore, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels decreased by 17.5% (6Trusted Source).
Ashwagandha's cortisol-lowering effects may be responsible.
Chronic stress increases cortisol levels, leading to lower levels of T3 and T4. Ashwagandha appears to stimulate your endocrine system, boosting thyroid hormone levels by reducing cortisol (6Trusted Source).
In another eight-week study, adults with bipolar disorder were given ashwagandha. While three participants experienced increases in T4 levels, this study was limited (14Trusted Source).
More studies are needed to better understand the long-term effects of ashwagandha on hypothyroidism.
Does ashwagandha help with hyperthyroidism?
No human studies have examined ashwagandha supplements and hyperthyroidism.
Therefore, it is important to speak with your healthcare practitioner before taking ashwagandha, especially if you have hyperthyroidism.
By boosting T3 and T4 thyroid hormone levels, ashwagandha may play a role in managing hypothyroidism but worsen symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Safety and Side Effects
- high blood pressure
- psychoactive disorders
What's more, ashwagandha may stimulate your immune system, potentially exacerbating autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus (1Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Therefore, it's best to consult your healthcare practitioner before using ashwagandha.
While largely considered safe, ashwagandha should not be taken by those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or hyperthyroid. As this herb can also interfere with several medications, it's recommended to consult your healthcare provider before taking it.
How to Use Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is usually taken in supplement form. Most supplements come in 300-mg tablets ingested twice per day after eating.
It also comes as a powder and is usually added to water, milk, juices, or smoothies. Some people mix it into dishes or sprinkle it on top of yogurt.
In addition, you can make ashwagandha tea.
As all current research uses the tablet form, it's not yet known if powders and teas have the same effects.
Because there's no human data on ashwagandha toxicity, it's generally considered safe for use. Follow the manufacturer's recommended dose unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare practitioner (7Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
Ashwagandha is usually taken as a supplement in 300-mg doses twice per day. It is also available as a powder or tea.
The Bottom Line
Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in alternative medicine.
Preliminary research shows that it may improve thyroid levels in those with hypothyroidism. However, it may worsen the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Therefore, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking ashwagandha for a thyroid condition.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
By Victoria Masterson
Using one of the world's problems to solve another is the philosophy behind a Norwegian start-up's mission to develop affordable housing from 100% recycled plastic.
Sustainable Homes<p>UN-Habitat says an <a href="https://unhabitat.org/un-habitat-aims-to-use-plastic-waste-to-support-housing-for-all" target="_blank">estimated 60% of people living in urban areas of Africa are in informal settlements</a>. At the same time, between 1990 and 2017, African countries imported around 230 metric tonnes of plastic, "which mostly ended up in dump sites creating a massive environmental challenge," the agency adds.</p><p>UN-Habitat deputy executive director, Victor Kisob, said the aim of the partnership with Othalo was to "promote adequate, sustainable and affordable housing for all."</p>
Artist's impression of an Othalo community, imagined by architect Julien De Smedt. Othalo<p>Othalo's process involves shredding plastic waste and mixing it with other elements, including non-flammable materials. Components are used to build up to four floors, with a home of 60 square metres using eight tons of recycled plastic. A factory with one production line can produce 2,800 housing units annually.</p><p>Following successful laboratory tests, Othalo's factory in Estonia has started producing components to build three demonstration homes for Kenya's capital, Nairobi; Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon and Dakar, the capital of Senegal.</p><p>Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti has been developing and testing the technology since 2016 in partnership with <a href="https://www.sintef.no/en/" target="_blank">SINTEF</a>, a 70-year-old independent research organization in Trondheim, Norway, and experts at Norway's <a href="https://en.uit.no/startsida" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">University of Tromsø</a>.</p>
Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti. Othalo<p>Almost <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html" target="_blank">seven out of every 10 people in the world are expected to live in urban areas by 2050</a>. More than 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.</p><p>"In the absence of effective urban planning, the consequences of this rapid urbanization will be dramatic," UN-Habitat warns.</p><p>Lack of proper housing and growth of slums, inadequate and outdated infrastructure, escalating poverty and unemployment, and pollution and health issues, are just some of the effects.</p><p>Mindsets, policies, and approaches towards urbanization need to change for the growth of cities and urban areas to be turned into opportunities that will leave nobody behind, UN-Habitat says.</p>
Pioneers of Change<p>Reimagining cities and communities for greater resilience and sustainability was a key topic at the<a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020" target="_blank"> World Economic Forum's Pioneers of Change Summit 2020</a>.</p><p>The digital event brought together innovators and stakeholders from around the world to explore solutions to the challenges facing enterprises, governments and society.</p><p>Opening the summit, <a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020/sessions/opening-plenary-8f731cbc65" target="_blank">Stephan Mergenthaler, the Forum's Head of Strategic Intelligence and a member of the Executive Committee</a>, said: "We need to change the way we produce, the way we live and interact in our cities to make this transition to net-zero emissions a reality…</p><p>"And as this year has illustrated so dramatically, we need to make every effort that we keep populations healthy, if we want to avoid jeopardizing all this progress."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/un-africa-recycled-plastic-housing/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649069252#/" target="_self"></a></p>
- What Happens to Recycled Plastic? Researchers Lift the Lid ... ›
- This Eco-Village Is Being Built From More Than 1 Million Recycled ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Brett Wilkins
Despite acknowledging that the move would lead to an increase in the 500 million to one billion birds that die each year in the United States due to human activity, the Trump administration on Friday published a proposed industry-friendly relaxation of a century-old treaty that protects more than 1,000 avian species.
- Hundreds of Thousands of Migratory Birds 'Falling Out of the Sky' in ... ›
- Scientists at Work: Sloshing Through Marshes To See How Birds ... ›
Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- California Winery Cuts Carbon Emissions With Lighter Bottles ... ›
- Wealthy One Percent Are Producing More Carbon Emissions Than ... ›
By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
Creating a Global Sustainable Transition<p>How the world recovers from COVID-19's economic damage could help drive a lasting shift in the global energy mix.</p><p>Nearly one-third of Europe's US$2 trillion economic relief package <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/eu-approves-biggest-green-stimulus-in-history-with-572-billion-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">involves investments that are also good for the climate</a>. The European Union is also strengthening its 2030 climate targets, though each country's energy and climate plans will be critical for successfully implementing them. The <a href="https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Biden plan</a> – including a $2 trillion commitment to developing sustainable energy and infrastructure – is aligned with a global energy transition, but its implementation is also uncertain.</p><p>Once Biden takes office, Kerry will be joining ongoing <a href="https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021/about#:%7E:text=The%20overarching%20goal%20of%20the,2030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development.&text=Accelerate%20delivery%20of%20United%20Nations,related%20issues%20at%20all%20levels." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high-level discussions on the energy transition</a> at the U.N. General Assembly and other gatherings of international leaders. With the U.S. no longer obstructing work on climate issues, the G-7 and G-20 have more potential for progress on energy and climate.</p><p>Lots of technical details still need to be worked out, including international trade frameworks and standards that can help countries lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming in check. <a href="https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Carbon pricing</a> and <a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-can-europe-get-carbon-border-adjustment-right" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">carbon border adjustment taxes</a>, which create incentive for companies to reduce emissions, may be part of it. A consistent and comprehensive set of national energy transition plans will also be needed.</p><p>The global shift to <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jan/A-New-World-The-Geopolitics-of-the-Energy-Transformation" target="_blank">clean energy will also have geopolitical implications for countries and regions</a>, and this will have a profound impact on wider international relations. Kerry, with his experience as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and Biden's plan to make the climate envoy position part of the National Security Council, may help mend these relations. In doing so, the U.S. may again join the wider community of countries willing to lead.</p>
- 14 States On Track to Meet Paris Targets - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Names John Kerry as First-Ever Climate Envoy - EcoWatch ›
By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.