Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine that is proven to be beneficial for those with hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones. In several studies, Ashwagandha has been shown to significantly increase thyroid hormones T3 and T4 in individuals with low thyroid function. However, it is advised to consult with a healthcare practitioner before supplementing with ashwagandha as it can interact with certain medications and is not suitable for individuals with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known by the Latin name Withania Somnifera or Winter Cherry, is an evergreen shrub within the nightshade family and is native to India, Africa, and the Middle East. The ashwagandha plant has been used in Ayurveda, a traditional medicine paradigm in India, for thousands of years to offer a natural solution for chronic stress and anxiety and has recently gained attention for its benefits on low thyroid function.
Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, which is a type of plant believed to help the body adapt to stress and normalize physiological functions that are out of balance, such as thyroid health by:
- Boosting thyroid hormones
- Improving adrenal function
- Reducing inflammation
In this article, we provide detailed information about the health benefits of ashwagandha and explore what the thyroid is, what hypothyroidism is (low thyroid function), and the efficacy and safety of ashwagandha for hypothyroidism.
What is the thyroid gland and its function?
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in the neck, but its impact on the body is huge. It produces thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in regulating metabolism, growth, and development.
The main circulating thyroid hormones involved include:
- TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
- Free T3 - the active form of thyroid hormone, also known as triiodothyronine
- Free T4 - the primary form of thyroid hormone in your blood before being converted to T3
- Reverse T3 - an inactive form of thyroid hormone that plays a role in regulating metabolism, stress, inflammation, and more.
The thyroid gland works in tandem with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in a complex feedback loop to maintain balance and ensure the proper function of many organs and systems in the body.
Without proper thyroid function, the body can experience a range of symptoms and health issues, such as fatigue, weight gain, mood changes, dry skin, constipation, and infertility. Therefore, supporting optimal thyroid health for overall well-being and vitality is essential. 
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid or low thyroid function, is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that up to 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease, and up to 60% of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. Hypothyroidism is the most common type of thyroid disorder and is usually more prevalent in women than men, and the risk increases with age.
Subclinical hypothyroid conditions may be even more common wherein only thyroid stimulating hormone is raised with normal levels of T4 and T3. Subclinical hypothyroidism can often signify the beginning stages of hypothyroidism and hence the importance of early intervention.
People with hypothyroidism can experience symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Depression and poor mental health
- Cold sensitivity
- Low body temperature
- Low libido
- Brain fog
Proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial, as untreated hypothyroidism can lead to more serious health issues.
Learn more about optimizing your thyroid health through diet and lifestyle from a nutritional therapist here.
What's the difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are two opposite health conditions that affect the thyroid gland, resulting in different levels of thyroid hormone production and bodily functions.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid is underactive and does not produce enough hormones. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone, resulting in symptoms like a rapid heart rate, weight loss, heat intolerance, anxiety, and low levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
Ashwagandha Benefits For Hypothyroidism
1. Boosts thyroid hormone levels
Human and animal studies have shown that ashwagandha can improve thyroid hormone levels in individuals experiencing low thyroid function.
For example, a randomized placebo-controlled trial on patients with subclinical hypothyroidism examined the effect of taking 600 mg of Ashwagandha root extract daily for eight weeks on T3 and T4 levels in the body. Researchers found that the ashwagandha group had a significant increase in their levels of T3 and T4 compared to those taking a placebo. 
In a study of hypothyroid rats, ashwagandha increased levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 while reducing levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), which is usually elevated in hypothyroidism.
By supporting healthy thyroid hormones, ashwagandha may, in turn, support your weight loss journey, which you can read about further here.
2. Supports adrenal function
Ashwagandha can support thyroid function by reducing stress. Chronic stress can impact thyroid function since the body's main stress hormone, known as cortisol, can increase thyroid stimulating hormone, which sends signals to the thyroid gland to produce less thyroid hormone.
High cortisol can also reduce the conversion of T4 into the active form of thyroid hormone known as T3, elevating the inactive thyroid hormone called reverse T3 contributing to suboptimal thyroid function. 
The great news is that ashwagandha has been clinically proven to help lower levels of cortisol and the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
One study revealed that individuals who supplemented with ashwagandha experienced a significant 27.9% reduction in cortisol levels after 60 days of treatment, whereas the placebo group only demonstrated a 7.9% reduction in cortisol levels compared to baseline. Multiple studies have shown a similar positive effect of ashwagandha on stress.   
3. Promotes healthier inflammatory pathways
Ashwagandha has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects thanks to a compound known as Withaferin A. It’s hypothesized that these anti-inflammatory properties may help to protect healthy thyroid tissue and support overall well-being. 
Traditionally, ashwagandha root was crushed into a paste and applied topically to help soothe painful and inflamed joints like those seen in rheumatoid arthritis. Research in animals now supports this benefit, with ashwagandha administration proven to lower levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein in arthritic rats with joint pain. 
What are the possible risks of taking ashwagandha for thyroid disorder?
It is important to note that while ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people, it may interact with certain medications and health conditions.
Since ashwagandha can increase thyroid hormone levels, this may worsen the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, in which thyroid hormone production is already higher than normal. Therefore, it’s recommended that these individuals avoid ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha should also be avoided during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and in those with autoimmune conditions.
What medications interact with ashwagandha?
Taking ashwagandha alongside medications for hypothyroidism, like thyroxine, could stimulate the thyroid resulting in symptoms of thyrotoxicosis (a state of extremely high levels of circulating thyroid hormones)
Ashwagandha may interact with other medications, such as:
Can you take ashwagandha without a thyroid?
If you've had your thyroid gland removed via thyroidectomy and are on hormone replacement therapy, the interaction between ashwagandha and your medication isn't fully known.
Ashwagandha has been found to influence thyroid hormone levels, so it could potentially affect the balance of hormones in your body. Therefore, it's crucial to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, such as ashwagandha. They can provide advice based on your specific situation and medical history, ensuring your safety and optimal health.
How to use ashwagandha for hypothyroidism
Taking 600mg of ashwagandha root extract per day can have beneficial effects on those with hypothyroidism, according to research.
However, when it comes to using ashwagandha for thyroid issues like hypothyroidism, it is important to work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who can help you determine the right dose and form of ashwagandha for your individual needs.
Ashwagandha supplements come in many forms, such as ashwagandha extracts in capsules, ashwagandha gummies, ashwagandha tea, or ashwagandha powder. The form in which you take ashwagandha may change how effective it is.
Ashwagandha extracts are generally the most effective since they contain higher quantities of the bioactive compounds known as withanolides. The efficacy of ashwagandha may also be improved when taken alongside black pepper extract, which enhances absorption.
NutriRise Ashwagandha extract is made from the root of the ashwagandha plant, which is where the highest concentration of withanolides is found.
To learn more about how to choose the right form of ashwagandha, read more here:
NutriRise Ashwagandha: The Superior Choice
NutriRise is a health and wellness brand providing dietary supplements to support the health of your mind, body, and spirit, including our top-selling Organic Ashwagandha, used by over 1 million happy customers.
Co-founders Basim & Ramsha Mirza started NutriRise in 2016, fuelled by the desire to transform their own health through the power of nutrition and ancient wisdom. NutriRise is now backed by a world-class team of researchers, chemists, biologists, doctors, and nutritionists. Every supplement we provide is produced in the USA in a CGMP-certified facility for unparalleled safety, purity, and quality.
At NutriRise, we ensure the quality and effectiveness of our Organic Ashwagandha Capsules and Ashwagandha Gummies by rigorous third-party testing. This stringent protocol helps us guarantee that the Ashwagandha we offer is of the highest standard.
We also ensure you're getting the most potent and effective form of Ashwagandha by only using the root extract of the ashwagandha plant. This delivers the perfect, safe amount of bioactive withanolides for optimal thyroid support, stress relief, sleep and mood, hormonal balance, and overall vitality, making it the superior choice.
Finally, we go beyond just creating and selling products; at NutriRise, we care deeply about the customer experience too. Through our efficient delivery system, we ensure your Ashwagandha reaches you in perfect condition. By choosing NutriRise, you can trust in the quality and potency of each product, from our meticulous production processes to its arrival at your doorstep.
What other types of herbs can benefit hypothyroidism?
The other types of herbs that may benefit thyroid health include:
- Bacopa Monnieri
- Black cumin
- Seaweeds like Irish Sea Moss and Bladderwrack
Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, could benefit individuals with hypothyroidism by increasing thyroid hormones and reducing stress.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough of the hormones T4 and T3, leading to symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, depression, and cold sensitivity.
Studies indicate ashwagandha may support thyroid and adrenal function and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.
One study examined the effect of ashwagandha root extract in subclinical hypothyroid patients and found it improved thyroid indices like T4, T3, and TSH levels.
While generally safe, ashwagandha can interact with certain medications and isn't recommended for individuals with hyperthyroidism during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Forms of ashwagandha include extracts, gummies, tea, or powder, but professional guidance for the correct dosage is advised.
- NutriRise Ashwagandha, which also contains black pepper extract for improved absorption, is the superior choice for your health and wellness goals.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking ashwagandha or starting any dietary supplement.
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