Is Flaxseed Good for Thyroid? Let’s Find Out

What you consume affects your overall health and well-being. Thyroid issues commonly appear in people 12 years of age and older. However, there is always time to prevent this problem by making simple dietary changes and leading a healthy lifestyle.

You can manage your thyroid levels because the thyroid can alter how much weight you have by exercising and eating the right foods with few calories. Therefore, one must make dietary and lifestyle modifications to prioritise and care for health.

Flaxseeds have several benefits. Protein, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids are all in sufficient amounts in one serving of flaxseed.

As a result, it could help maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure and cholesterol, and lessen the risk of several diseases. However, does it help improve thyroid condition? 

Read on to understand the connection between flaxseed and thyroid conditions. 

Flaxseed – An Overview

Flaxseeds are a good source of dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid, Phytoestrogens called lignans, which resemble the hormone oestrogen, are also found in flaxseeds.

In addition, the seed coat of flaxseed contains fibre. It makes people feel less hungry when taken before a meal. It also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol the body absorbs from the diet.

Flaxseed is a multi-purpose ingredient that can enhance the flavour and texture of any recipe due to its mild, nutty flavour and crunchy consistency.

It is an excellent addition to overnight oats, homemade veggie burgers, morning smoothies, and pancake batter. In addition, flaxseed aid in lowering the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, constipation, etc.

Nutrient Profile of Flaxseed 

According to USDA, nutrients in 100 grams of flaxseed include

  • Calories: 534 Kcal
  • Protein: 18.29 g
  • Carbohydrate: 28.88 g
  • Fat: 42.16
  • Dietary Fibre: 27.3 g
  • Potassium: 813 mg
  • Phosphorus: 642 mg
  • Magnesium: 392 mg
  • Calcium: 255 mg
  • Iron: 5.73 mg
  • Zinc: 4.34 mg
  • Sodium: 30 mg
  • Vitamin C: 0.6 mg
  • Vitamin K: 4.3 µg
  • Folate: 87 µg
  • Selenium: 25.4 µg

Thyroid Gland and Disease: An Outline

The thyroid is a little butterfly-shaped gland on the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple. In around one in twenty people, thyroid abnormalities exist. These conditions can be either temporary or chronic. A study found that it is common and affects women more frequently. But occasionally, men, teenagers, children, and even babies are affected.

Your thyroid gland secretes the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The proper functioning of the body’s metabolism, growth, and development depends on hormones. Normal hormone synthesis by the thyroid regulates how your body functions, but thyroid disease occurs when the synthesis is impaired. Thyroid hormone synthesis usually takes two forms, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. 

Studies indicate when your thyroid generates too many hormones, it is hyperthyroidism, which raises your metabolism. Although men can also have hyperthyroidism, women between the ages of 20 and 40 have the highest prevalence of this condition. Shortness of breath, palpitations, increased sweating, and sleeplessness are all signs of this condition. Hyperthyroidism typically results from an autoimmune disorder or a developing tumour.

Studies indicate insufficient thyroid hormone levels get referred to as hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. People of all ages can develop hypothyroidism, although women over 50 are more likely to do so. Your body’s metabolic rate decreases as a result of the hormone lowering. This condition’s symptoms include weariness, weight gain, sensitivity to colds, a slow pulse rate, headaches, and depression. One of the main reasons for hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. However, this is uncommon in developed nations. 

Flaxseed and Thyroid: A Healthy Connection

According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids, ALA, lignans, and fibre, are all abundant in flax seeds. As a result, they support thyroid gland functionality. You can roast flax seeds, powder them, add them to curries and chutneys, and eat them daily. 

Investigations show flax seeds contain an active component called cyanogen, which is hazardous if taken in excessive quantities. You can consume 5g to 30g daily. However, iodine insufficiency (prevention of iodine absorption) can result from consuming more than 2 tbsp (30g). Thus, you may consume this in moderation for optimal outcomes. 

You must unquestionably consult an endocrinologist for medical assistance if you have hypothyroidism. One study found that diets poor in selenium, zinc, and iodine can result in thyroid problems. Flaxseeds contain a significant amount of selenium and zinc. Therefore, consuming it in recommended quantities will benefit thyroid activity.

Flaxseed Oil for Thyroid

Cold pressing is a common method used to make flaxseed oil because it effectively extracts the oil from the seeds. It is preferable to store this oil in dark glass bottles and a dark, cold area, such as a kitchen cupboard because it is susceptible to heat and light. You should not use flaxseed oil for high-heat cooking techniques like frying because its nutrients are heat-sensitive.

Flaxseed oil has a higher ALA content than flaxseeds that have been ground. Approximately 1.6 grams of ALA are present in just one tablespoon (7 grams) of ground flaxseed, whereas 7 grams are present in 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of flaxseed oil. However, ground flaxseed contains various other healthy elements, including fibre. Therefore, consider consuming as a whole if you want its full benefit. 

Flaxseed oil helps support healthy hormone balance and thyroid function. The ideal intake of flaxseed oil. 

Here’s How to Use Flaxseed for Thyroid

  1. Add 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast beverage.
  2. While preparing your sandwich, you can add flaxseeds.
  3. An excellent dessert choice for people is flaxseed with yoghurt.
  4. You may use flax seeds in other baked items like cookies and muffins.


Monitoring your metabolic health is crucial. For example, thyroid dysfunction gets linked to several issues, such as uncontrollable weight gain, weight loss, and other metabolic diseases. According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed and flaxseed oil get linked to several health benefits.

Flaxseed is beneficial for individuals with thyroid issues because it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can exacerbate symptoms of thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism. Additionally, flaxseed is also high in lignans. They have a beneficial effect on hormonal balance, including the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. 

It is important to note that flaxseed should be used in moderation, as it may interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone. Therefore, individuals with thyroid disorders should consult their physician before adding flaxseed to their diet. Also, medications can aid in restoring normal thyroid function. However, a full recovery in some rare thyroid conditions might not be achievable. For instance, you might need to take medication for the rest of your life to keep your thyroid functioning normally. 

Your thyroid levels may be tracked, monitored, and analysed using HealthifyPRO 2.0 from the comfort of your home. You also gain access to a completely personalised food plan from a certified dietitian, healthy at-home recipes, and workout schedules from an experienced fitness professional.

The Supporting Sources

1. Data by the US Department of Agriculture on raw blueberries |FDC ID: 1100610|

2. Chiovato L, Magri F, Carlé A. Hypothyroidism in Context: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going. Adv Ther. 2019 Sep;36(Suppl 2):47-58. doi: 10.1007/s12325-019-01080-8. Epub 2019 Sep 4. PMID: 31485975; PMCID: PMC6822815.

3. De Leo S, Lee SY, Braverman LE. Hyperthyroidism. Lancet. 2016 Aug 27;388(10047):906-918. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00278-6. Epub 2016 Mar 30. PMID: 27038492; PMCID: PMC5014602.

4. Chaker L, Bianco AC, Jonklaas J, Peeters RP. Hypothyroidism. Lancet. 2017 Sep 23;390(10101):1550-1562. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30703-1. Epub 2017 Mar 20. PMID: 28336049; PMCID: PMC6619426.

5. Parikh M, Maddaford TG, Austria JA, Aliani M, Netticadan T, Pierce GN. Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients. 2019 May 25;11(5):1171. doi: 10.3390/nu11051171. PMID: 31130604; PMCID: PMC6567199.

6. B. Dave. Oomah, Giuseppe. Mazza, and Edward O. Kenaschuk | Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 1992 40 (8), 1346-1348. DOI: 10.1021/jf00020a010

Read more  Prevalence of hypothyroidism in infertile women and evaluation of response of treatment for hypothyroidism on infertility : Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

7. Chung HR. Iodine and thyroid function. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Mar;19(1):8-12. doi: 10.6065/apem.2014.19.1.8. Epub 2014 Mar 31. PMID: 24926457; PMCID: PMC4049553.

8. Goyal A, Sharma V, Upadhyay N, Gill S, Sihag M. Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Sep;51(9):1633-53. Doi: 10.1007/s13197-013-1247-9. Epub 2014 Jan 10. PMID: 25190822; PMCID: PMC4152533.

— Update: 12-02-2023 — found an additional article 7 Thyroid-Suppressive Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism from the website for the keyword are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism.

Do you really know which foods to avoid with hypothyroidism?

Well, few people get this right.


Because most people (and experts) look at food in completely the wrong way.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details and miss the bigger and more important picture.

This is why so many experts recommend foods that are believed to be healthy for your thyroid while ignoring the overwhelming evidence showing how dangerous they really are.

You see… foods in general have a huge impact on your thyroid health.

And they can affect any part of your thyroid hormone pathway…

…from your thyroid gland all the way down to your thyroid hormone cell receptors and even the mitochondria of your cells.

I talk more about your thyroid hormone pathway and how you can overcome your hypothyroidism by fixing it in this post about “How We Overcome Hypothyroidism When All Else Fails”.

Today, however, we’re going to be looking at 7 foods that directly suppress your thyroid gland.

And they all suppress your thyroid gland in one of two ways:

  1. They block the production of thyroid hormone inside your thyroid gland.
  2. They block the release of thyroid hormone from your thyroid gland into your bloodstream.

The important point to remember is this…

You still need to avoid foods that directly suppress your thyroid gland regardless of any benefit you feel they might provide.

Otherwise, it will be like trying to fix a small leak only to flood your entire house.

It doesn’t make sense to solve one problem only to create an even bigger problem in the process.

And this is especially true for this first food to avoid with hypothyroidism.

1. Flaxseed

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism

Flaxseed is a commonly recommended and used dietary supplement today.

It’s most often used for constipation (a common hypothyroid symptom) and touted for many other supposed health benefits.

But what you might not realize is that flaxseed contains very large amounts of lignans and phytoestrogens, making it one of the most estrogenic foods around.

This is a big problem for your thyroid as estrogens directly inhibit the proteolytic enzymes that allow your thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone.

So, while it might help your bowels become more regular, you’re still doing a major disservice to your thyroid.

And if you think all those omega fatty acids are helping, then you’re in for treat with this next food too.

2. Polyunsaturated Fats

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) occur naturally in large amounts in many commonly used oils such as:

  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Fish Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Seed Oils
  • And more…

While these polyunsaturated fats are known to suppress thyroid function at all levels of your thyroid hormone pathway, their direct effects on your thyroid gland are similar to that of estrogen.

As Dr. Raymond Peat describes…

3. Grapefruit

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism

We often recommend certain fruits for their thyroid protective effects.

In fact, in the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol, I show you one of the most important fruits we use to boost thyroid function.

You can download this daily protocol here.

However, it’s important to note that not all fruits are created equal.

And grapefruit is a perfect example as it contains very high amounts of estrogenic flavonoids that interfere with your liver’s ability to detoxify estrogen.

Many have been led to believe that grapefruit or grapefruit juice is a healthy alternative to other citrus fruits, which is a common mistake.

4. Over-Eating Muscle Meats

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism

While adequate protein is essential for healthy thyroid function, the type of protein can make all the difference.

Muscle meats, for example, tend to be rich in certain thyroid suppressive amino acids such as cysteine.

And research shows that over-eating these amino acids can block the production of thyroid hormone inside your thyroid gland.

But this isn’t to say that you should avoid muscle meats, as a lack of protein is far more thyroid suppressive than an overabundance.

The goal is to balance the muscle meats you eat with other sources of thyroid-supportive protein such as broth or collagen protein which contains little to none of these thyroid-suppressive amino acids.

You can learn more about the collagen protein powder we use with our clients by clicking here.

5. Soy

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism

While soy is still often touted as a health food by many, more people are becoming aware of its dangerous effects.

Soy contains very large amounts of isoflavones and phytoestrogens, making it another highly estrogenic food that directly suppresses the thyroid gland.

And in doing so, it can directly block the release of thyroid hormone into your bloodstream.

As you can see from this study… estrogen’s effects on blocking the thyroid gland is one of the most common causes of goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) today.

6. All Cruciferous Vegetables

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism

Cruciferous vegetables are commonly over-consumed today and can also be extremely thyroid suppressive.

Some common examples of cruciferous vegetables include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kohlrabi

And it’s their goitrogens and plant toxins that are well known for their suppressive effects on your thyroid gland, which occur in two ways.

  1. They contain Isothiocyanates and Thiocyanates which make it more difficult for your thyroid gland to absorb the iodine it needs to produce thyroid hormone.
  2. They contain Oxazolidines and Thioureas which directly block the production of thyroid hormone by your thyroid gland.

(Note: This is covered in much more detail in the following post on “3 Reasons Broccoli May Be Dangerous To Your Thyroid”.)

While most people do cook these vegetables, it’s oftentimes not adequate to make them safe.

7. Alcohol

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism

Alcohol is another thyroid suppressive food that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

While it’s consumed in many forms, and can provide some antioxidant benefits, it also doesn’t take much to raise estrogen levels and suppress your thyroid gland.

All forms of alcohol are quite estrogenic including:

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Liquor

Alcohol contributes to estrogen dominance and suppresses your thyroid gland in multiple ways:

  1. Contains phytoestrogens.
  2. Promotes the conversion of testosterone to estrogen through aromatization.
  3. Decreases progesterone production while increasing prolactin.

You can find more specific detailed information on how alcohol affects your thyroid in the following post on “What Happens to Your Thyroid After Drinking Alcohol?”

So, there you have it.

Those are seven commonly used foods to avoid with hypothyroidism.

While avoiding these foods as much as possible is always recommended (except meats, which do need to be balanced with other appropriate protein sources)…

…avoiding all the thyroid suppressive foods out there is only one part of the solution.

Another big part of the solution is to instead focus on foods that help boost thyroid function while balancing them properly in your diet for optimal thyroid function.

And in the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol, we’ll show you the exact detailed protocol and the three simple foods that can help give your thyroid the boost it needs.

It’s a simple protocol used by each and every one of our clients and it can help you to start feeling calm, clear, and full of energy.

Get more information about the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol here.

If you’re not already using it, then you should get started today and see the difference it can make.

— Update: 12-02-2023 — found an additional article Dietary recommendations to Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism from the website for the keyword are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism.


Hypothyroidism: It is a common endocrine disorder in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It can cause a number of symptoms, such as tiredness, poor ability to tolerate cold, and weight gain.


– A sugary diet, caffeine and refined carbohydrates. Such foods can burn the thyroid and destabilize your blood sugar. Reducing or even eliminating these products can minize an underactive thyroid.

Energy bars, soy products and GMO foods, as they may hinder cell receptors and disrupt feedback system in your hormonal or endocrine system. Miso or tamari are exceptions as they have been fermented for 1 or 2 years.

Read more  The Importance of Electrolytes for Hashimoto’s

Gluten. Gluten is compound of glutein and gliadin proteins. Gliadin’s molecular structure is similar to the thyroid gland, so when the inmune system tags it for destruction not only destroys the protein gliadin but also attacks the thyroid tissue affecting the secretion of the thyroid hormone. The gluten from refined flour is much worse than gluten coming from natural sources as whole barley or oats.

–  Any inflammatory food that trigger autoimmune responses. It is specific for each person. You will know which ones through a intolerance food test.


Whole-grain-based carbohydrates and non-starchy vegetables, as they provide energy with no inflammatory or autoinmune responses.

– Protein rich foods as fish, legumes, eggs (1 or 2 per week), quinoa, nuts and nut’s butters. Protein transports thyroid hormone throughout your body.

– Healthy fat foods as oily fish, flax seeds, extra virgIn olive oil, avocado (no too much in winter or cold weather, more if you live in a tropical area).

Enough nutrients. Having inadequate supply of nutrients in the body can make thyroid symptoms even worse, as the inmune system becomes compromised.


Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism significantly, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.


– Too much seaweeds. We can find hiziki, wakame, arame, kombu and others seaweeds. They are very healthy because of minerals but they content iodine as well. Too much iodine could make the hyperthyroidism worse. For this reason iodized sea salt must be avoided.

Trans fats or hydrogenated vegetable oil. It is in commercially made cookies, crackers, doughnuts, margarines. If you avoid them  hyperthyroidism symptoms will be reduced.

Potencial allergens, such as dairy products, soy, corn and chemical food additives.

Sugar, caffeine and refined carbohydrates, as we said with hypothyrodism. Try the whole version, eating grains as brown rice, quinoa or buckwheat.


– Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and kale. They contain goitrogens that block the thyroid hormone production. They need to be raw or slightly cooked (steamed or blanched). Millet, the whole grain, is very rich in goitrogens as well.

– Calcium rich foods as almonds, parsley or fresh turnip. It will prevent osteoporosis, something that is common in cases of hyperthyroidism.

– Some root vegetables like rutabagas and turnips contain substances called thioglucosides that inhibit the absorption of iodine and help people with overactive thyroid.

Flax seeds because of its content in omega 3 fatty acids. They are important for normal function of the thyroid gland and therefore should be included in the diet for hyperthyroidism. Grind them just before eating to use all their benefits.

Lemon balm. This herb helps normalize an overactive thyroid. Lemon balm blocks activity of the antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland and restores your thyroid activity to a healthy level.

Blugeweed herb that reduces the amount of hormone produced by the thyroid. Pour boiling water into a cup with half teaspoon of blugweed and let it steep for two minutes. Strain and drink warm.

— Update: 12-02-2023 — found an additional article The Effect of Flaxseed on Hypothyroidism from the website for the keyword are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism.

Flaxseed holds substances that promote good health. Flaxseed is loaded with a fatty acid called alphalinolenic acid, which is beneficial for the heart. **This acid belongs to the group of omega-3 fatty acids.

** Good health requires a proper ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The average American diet consists of too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 fatty acids.


Hypothyroidism occurs when there is too little thyroid hormone in the blood. The thyroid gland makes thyroid hormones, and when the gland decrease in production, it causes the thyroid to become under-active. This causes several problems in the body. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include constipation, fatigue, inability to handle cold, mental confusion and a slow heart rate. Although the condition affects both men and women, it is most common in women.

According to “Alive Magazine,” many women develop problems with their thyroid after a condition that is physiological stressful such as a pregnancy or any increases to the adrenal hormones. The Mayo Clinic explains that different natural medicine textbooks advise caution in patients diagnosed with hypothyroidism using flaxseed.

Benefits of Flaxseed

Calories in Two Tablespoons of Ground Flaxseed

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil benefit the body by protecting against heart disease, lowering cholesterol, and helping to control blood pressure. **Other benefits of flaxseed include a reduced risk of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

** Foods containing flaxseed provide a valuable source of fiber, which helps reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. Flaxseed also relieves constipation and helps control blood sugars in diabetic patients. Magnesium is also present in flaxseed, and it helps control asthma symptoms by keeping airways open.

Flaxseed Caution

Flaxseed contains cyanogen, which is okay to have in small amounts; however, eating more than two tbsp. a day could prevent the thyroid from taking up the proper amount of iodine. To make cyanogen inactive, cook it. **Flaxseed also contains goitrogens.

Goitrogens suppress thyroid functions and are found in different foods such as broccoli, rye, and apricots. Goitrogens can cause a goiter, induce hypothyroidism, and further affect the function of the thyroid and the growth of a thyroid. A standard one cup serving of food containing goitrogens is suggested two to three times per week and can be tolerated by many individuals with hypothyroidism without danger. **

Flaxseed History

Vitamins & Flax Seeds

Flaxseed was introduced in Mesopotamia, and culinary use has been dated from ancient Greece. The popularity of it decreased after the fall of Rome. Charlemagne, the emperor, helped restore and shape flaxseed in Europe’s food culture. **He appreciated the different uses of flaxseed and passed laws of consumption and cultivation.

This resulted in a widespread use of flaxseed in Europe. It was not until the first colonists arrived in the United States that flaxseed was planted. **

Flaxseed Facts

Whole flaxseed can be stored in room temperature for up to one year only, and ground flaxseed should be stored in an airtight compartment frozen or refrigerated. There should be no light able to get into the container.

Refrigerated flaxseed should be used within 30 days of being ground, and frozen flaxseed should be used within 45 days of storing. Flaxseed can be added to hot cereal, muffins, pancakes, salads, salad dressings, yeast breads and more. It is better to start with a low dose of flaxseed because of its fiber content and slowly increase the amount.

— Update: 13-02-2023 — found an additional article How to Treat Hypothyroidism Naturally with Flaxseed from the website for the keyword are flax seeds good for hypothyroidism.

Are flax seeds good for hypothyroidismFlax seed may play a role in the health of your thyroid gland. The other day my dad asked if I could recommend a food that would help relieve a variety of symptoms he had recently been experiencing. He had high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches.

He also had a terrible memory, began experiencing hair loss, and had trouble sleeping at night, despite being exhausted. Some of his other symptoms included bruising fairly easily, dry skin and hair, sensitivity to heat and cold, tingling in his feet and hands, and dry eyes with blurry vision.

I thought about it for a minute. It sounded like he had several signs that can indicate an underactive thyroid—also called hypothyroidism. A comprehensive blood thyroid panel and saliva test would both confirm that low thyroid function was the issue.

I recommended that my dad start eating flaxseed and flaxseed oil every day. It is also known by the plant name Linum usitatissimum and is sometimes called linseed. Nutritionally, you can’t go wrong with flaxseed. These brown or yellow seeds are loaded with fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, folate, and vitamin B1 and B6.

Flaxseed is also by far one of the best plant-based sources of essential fatty acids you can get. These many nutritional qualities make flaxseed perhaps one of the first cultivated superfoods. Flaxseed has been cultivated for thousands of years, including in places such as India, China, and Greece. The ancient Egyptians also considered flaxseed a sign of purity.

What Is Hypothyroidism?

The health benefits of flaxseeds are seemingly endless. They are among the best natural remedies for hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when thyroid hormone levels are low and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are high in the blood. The normal range for TSH is considered between 0.35 and 5.00 milli-international units per liter (mlU/L). Based on TSH blood test results, it is estimated that five percent to 10% of the adult population have hypothyroidism. Among seniors, more than 20% have the condition. It is also eight times more prevalent in women.


Dr. Broda Barnes wrote a hypothyroidism book in the 1970s called Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness. In his book, Dr. Barnes estimated that 40% of adults would be diagnosed with hypothyroidism when symptoms and basal body temperature are considered.

Hypothyroidism symptoms

The first symptoms of hypothyroidism often include

  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

A partial list for other hypothyroidism symptoms include

  • Myxedema
  • Lethargy
  • Fluid retention
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of libido
  • Menstrual abnormalities
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Yeast infections
  • Dry skin
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Endometriosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Impaired kidney function
  • Decreased appetite
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Slow movement
  • Hair loss
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • High cholesterol
  • Heat intolerances
  • Nutritional imbalances
  • Heart palpitations
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Nervousness
  • Cancer

What is basal body temperature?

Lowering of basal body temperature is another extremely important symptom of hypothyroidism. To take your basal body temperature is easy and it can be done in the comfort of your home. It is best to perform the procedure after a good night’s rest, since it should be taken without food, excitement, or exercise for 12 hours.

To test your basal body temperature, place the thermometer firmly under the armpit for 10 minutes while lying still for the entire time period. Normal readings are considered between 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothyroidism is indicated when readings are below 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hypothyroidism causes

The most common hypothyroidism causes are considered

  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • Iodine deficiency.

Other root causes of low thyroid function include

  • radiation therapy on the thyroid
  • thyroid surgery
  • stress
  • inactivity
  • poor diet
  • pregnancy
  • pituitary disorder
  • congenital disease,

certain medications like

  • amiodarone and lithium
  • hormone imbalances, especially cortisol/dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and estrogen/progesterone

Effects of Flaxseeds on Hypothyroidism

Natural remedies to treat hypothyroidism will most definitely include flaxseed, especially since they are loaded with the essential fatty acid omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid. Many Americans are thought to get too much omega-3 and not enough of the other essential fatty acid—omega-6 and linoleic acid. The omega-3 essential fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory properties and they also promote hormone production.

The magnesium and vitamin B6 in flaxseed are also important for normal thyroid production. In a case study published in the journal Thyroid Research in 2011, flaxseed oil helped normalize TSH levels after eight weeks from starting the supplementation. The research determined that the omega-3 fatty acids were beneficial factors in the flaxseed oil for thyroid disease.

One tablespoon of flaxseed oil or two tablespoons of grounded flaxseed daily is the general recommendation to treat hypothyroidism.

Other Benefits of Flaxseeds

Besides hypothyroidism, flaxseeds also treat and protect against other conditions—many of which are also symptoms of hypothyroidism. Flaxseed will therefore indirectly improve various symptoms of hypothyroidism. Here are a select few of the other hypothyroidism symptoms that flaxseeds can benefit:

1. Lowers high blood pressure

Hypertension affects about one in three American adults, or around 70 million people. Blood pressure should read a systolic pressure under 120 with a diastolic pressure under 80 millimeters of mercury. According to Greek researchers, flaxseed oil may help reduce high blood pressure. A 12-week study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 found that ALA in flaxseed oil significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. A meta-analysis from 15 randomized controlled trials published in the journal Clinical Nutrition in May showed significant reductions in blood pressure after supplementing with various flaxseed products.

2. Helps with weight loss

Flaxseed consumption can also complement an effective weight loss plan, since it is full of fiber and healthy fats with ALA that help to lower inflammation. In a 12-week study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2010, researchers found that flaxseed and walnut supplementation may support weight loss and improve obesity.

3. Reduces cholesterol

Untreated high cholesterol can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Fortunately, the soluble fiber in flaxseeds can help treat high cholesterol. In a 2012 study published in the journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers found that flaxseed could reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

4. Useful for depression

Research has also found that flaxseed can help reduce depression symptoms. Studies have found that depression sufferers have reduced levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are omega-3 essential fatty acids found in flaxseeds. In other words, flaxseed consumption can help correct EPA and DHA imbalances.

5. Decreases risk of cancer

Flaxseeds can also fight and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including skin, prostate, colon, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research also found that flaxseed consumption may lower breast cancer risk. It is thought that the lignans in flaxseed may reduce the risk of breast cancer by converting intestinal bacteria into the natural hormone balancers enterodiol and enterolactone.

Other flaxseed health benefits

The lignans in flaxseed can also prevent and treat other health issues, including treating liver disease, improving digestion, helping to eliminate candida and yeast in the body, supporting healthy bacteria in the gut, and reducing the severity of colds and flus.

Lignans contain estrogenic properties and have been found to benefit postmenopausal women. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil can also improve symptoms of skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea, and acne.

Precautions to Take While Using Flaxseed for Hypothyroidism

Flaxseeds are considered safe on the thyroid; however, they may lead to digestion-related side effects such as nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, excessive gas, bloating, and diarrhea. It is also important to note that flaxseed contains glycosides known as cyanogen. They are safe in small amounts, but consumption of over two tablespoons may prevent the thyroid from obtaining the proper iodine intake.

Luckily, you can inactivate the cyanogen in flaxseed by cooking with it. Flaxseed also contains goitrogens that are thought to suppress thyroid function, but many individuals with hypothyroidism can tolerate foods containing it without harm.

How to Implement Flaxseed in Your Diet

How do you implement flaxseed in your diet? It can be an easy addition to your green smoothie or yogurt. To prepare your flaxseed, it is best to first grind them with a coffee grinder. Freshly ground flaxseed is actually better digested than whole flaxseed. It also retains more nutrition and contains greater amounts of omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Pre-ground flaxseed can become rancid from longer exposure to heat and oxygen. (It tastes rancid as well).

Flaxseed oil is a great addition to salad dressings. A healthy salad dressing you can make yourself would include two parts extra virgin olive oil, one part flaxseed oil, and one part sesame oil or sunflower oil. Half of the dressing would also contain an acid such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Feel free to add an assortment of your favorite herbs and spices. Make sure you keep your flaxseed oil refrigerated for ultimate freshness.

Sources for Today’s Article:
Murray, M., et al., The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Third Edition (New York: First Atria Paperback, 2012), 716-723.
Balch, J., et al., Prescription for Natural Cures: A Self-Care Guide for Treating Health Problems with Natural Remedies Including Diet, Nutrition, Supplements, and Other Holistic Methods (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004), 340-346.
Breese McCoy, S.J., “Coincidence of remission of postpartum Graves’ disease and use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements,†Thyroid Research, 2011; 4: 16, doi: 10.1186/1756-6614-4-16.
Paschos, G.K., et al., “Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in dyslipidemic patients,†European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007; 61, 1201-2106.
Ursoniu, S., et al., “Effects of flaxseed supplements on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trial,†Clinical Nutrition, 2015, pil: S0261-5614(15)00144-2.
Hongyu, W., et al., “Lifestyle Counseling and Supplementation with Flaxseed or Walnuts Influence the Management of Metabolic Syndrome,†The Journal of Nutrition, 2010; 140(11); 1937-1942.
Kristensen, M., et al., “Flaxseed dietary fibers lower cholesterol and increase fecal fat excretion, but magnitude of effect depend on food type,†Nutrition & Metabolism, 2012, 9: 8, doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-9-8.
Thompson, L., et al., “Dietary Flaxseed Alters Tumor Biological Markers in Postmenopausal Breast Cancer,†Journal of Clinical Cancer Research, 2005, 11; 3828, doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-04-2326.
Lay, G., “The Effect of Flaxseed on Hypothyroidism,†eHow web site;, last accessed September 24, 2015.


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About the Author: Tung Chi