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Should Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroid Patients Take Moringa?

Can the popular supplement moringa benefit people with Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism?
Should Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroid Patients Take Moringa?
Last updated:
11/2/2022
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For centuries, moringa (also known by its botanical name moringa oleifera lam) has been a staple food and one of the more widely used medicinal plant extracts. Today, moringa is marketed as a miracle food and is a popular supplement found in powder, drink, and seed forms. But is moringa helpful – or potentially harmful – for patients with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s? Is moringa a possible therapy for hypothyroidism?

What is moringa?

Moringa oleifera leaves, roots, stems, and bark have been used for food by humans and livestock, including as a highly nutritious famine food in regions with food shortages.

Moringa is a nutritional powerhouse and superfood with high antioxidant activity. Research shows that when compared by weight, moringa provides seven times more Vitamin C than oranges, more Vitamin A than carrots, more potassium than bananas, and more calcium than milk. Moringa also includes other nutritional compounds, including protein, Vitamins B1, B2, and B3, iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

What are the uses of moringa?

Apart from its function as a food, moringa oleifera has been used as a traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including fatigue, ulcers, tumors, asthma, arthritis, digestive issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, immune support, infections, and breast milk production. Moringa is also applied to the skin, as its thought to have antimicrobial activity against skin infections.

To date, however, there are almost no clinical studies or scientific evidence that demonstrate proven beneficial effects of moringa in humans.

Can moringa be used to treat Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism?

The research on moringa and thyroid function is extremely limited. One research study, published in 2021 in Drug Metabolism and Personalized Therapy, concluded that moringa could improve thyroid levels and, as a result, could be effective in helping manage hypothyroidism.

This study is, however, contradicted by other clinical studies. For example, a 2000 research study published in the journal Pharmacological Research. That study reported that moringa is high in thiocyanates – goitrogenic compounds that promote thyroid enlargement known as goiter. As a result, moringa acts like an antithyroid drug, impairing the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3) and worsening hypothyroidism.

Another study from 2019, published in the Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, found that moringa is a more potent goitrogen than spinach and that prolonged consumption of moringa can cause hypothyroidism and goiter. Clinical studies on animals also show that because moringa impairs T4-to-T3 conversion, it hinders the conversion of thyroid hormones to their active form. Based on this finding, moringa is listed as a drug that negatively interacts with thyroid hormone replacement drugs.

The evidence suggests that patients with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s avoid moringa due to its adverse effects on thyroid conversion and its ability to worsen hypothyroidism and promote the formation of goiter.

Moringa and an overactive thyroid

Because of its potential to slow down the thyroid gland, researchers have suggested that moringa could play a role in treating an overactive thyroid – hyperthyroidism.  Human studies, however, have not been conducted to date on the use of this botanical remedy for people with hyperthyroidism. Because untreated or insufficiently managed hyperthyroidism can pose significant health risks, always consult your healthcare provider regarding the use of moringa or any supplements as part of your treatment for an overactive thyroid.  

For those who do choose to take moringa, the therapeutic dose range is between 420 mg and 1 gram per day. Besides the potential negative impact on thyroid function, moringa  supplements are otherwise considered safe for regular daily consumption. Note, however, that unprocessed moringa oleifera root and bark should be avoided, as moringa in these forms can contain unhealthy toxins.

A note from Paloma Health

For hypothyroid patients interested in incorporating thyroid-supportive nutrients into your hypothyroidism care, an excellent first step is Paloma’s Daily Thyroid Care supplement. Daily Thyroid care combines l-tyrosine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and Vitamins B2, A, B12, and D3 into a specially-formulated supplement to bolster healthy thyroid function.

If you’re hypothyroid, you can schedule a virtual visit with one of our thyroid-savvy top practitioners. Paloma’s doctors will work with you to create a comprehensive plan to treat and manage your hypothyroidism and resolve your symptoms.

And if you plan to incorporate nutritious foods and supplements into your health regimen, consider scheduling a consult with one of Paloma’s registered nutritionists. As experts in healthy eating for optimal thyroid function, the experienced team of Paloma nutritionists can help you make nutritional choices for optimal thyroid health!

References:

Alam MA, Quamri MA, Haider N. Efficacy and safety of Barg-e-Sahajna (Moringa oleifera Lam.) in primary hypothyroidism. Drug Metabolism and Personalized Therapy. 2021;0(0). doi:10.1515/dmpt-2021-0136

Tahiliani, P, Kar A. Role of Moringa Oleifera Leaf Extract in the Regulation of thyroid Hormone Status in Adult Male and Female Rates. Pharmacological Research. 2000;41(3):319-323. doi:10.1006/phrs.1999.0587

Mondal C, Chandra AK. Goitrogenic/antithyroidal potential of moringa leaves (Moringa oleifera) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) of Indian origin on thyroid status in male albino rats. Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2019;55. doi:10.1590/s2175-97902019000218005

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Mary Shomon

Patient Advocate

Mary Shomon is an internationally-recognized writer, award-winning patient advocate, health coach, and activist, and the New York Times bestselling author of 15 books on health and wellness, including the Thyroid Diet Revolution and Living Well With Hypothyroidism. On social media, Mary empowers and informs a community of more than a quarter million patients who have thyroid and hormonal health challenges.

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