Is it possible to Naturally Treat Thyroid Nodules?
Do you have thyroid nodules?
If so, you have probably wondered, at least at some point, how to treat or reduce the size of those nodules.
And that’s exactly what we are going to be talking about today.
Natural treatments for thyroid nodules and just thyroid nodule treatment in general.
In this discussion, we will talk about both NATURAL therapies as well as MEDICAL therapies (meaning you need a prescription)
Why should you care about your thyroid nodules? Are they really a problem if they aren’t causing you any harm?
The problem is not necessarily the nodule itself (though it can be a problem if it is big enough) but instead what that nodule can turn into.
And, of course, I’m talking about thyroid cancer.
All thyroid nodules have a small risk of being cancerous or turning into cancer at some point in the future.
Because of this, it behooves you as the patient to try and minimize this risk as MUCH as possible.
The good news is that MOST thyroid nodules are benign and NOT cancerous (about 95% (1)) but you should still take care to minimize your risk of thyroid cancer.
You might be asking yourself “why do I have to worry about my nodule?”, won’t my doctor do that for me?
Well, yes and no.
Your doctor WILL keep an eye on your nodule through ultrasound imaging and certain tests but they most likely will NOT recommend any treatments or ways to try and shrink or reverse the nodule.
I can’t tell you exactly why they only opt for this type of approach but because of their approach, it becomes VITAL that you as a patient understand what things you can do to manage your nodules.
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6 Ways to Manage & Treat Thyroid Nodules
Even though your doctor may not be willing to mention any of the therapies available for people with thyroid nodules there are many things that YOU can do.
Below you will find a list of various ways that you can approach managing and potentially shrinking your thyroid nodule to try and prevent growth or potential future thyroid cancer.
These treatments are all based on factors that we know (based on medical research), cause or contribute to the development of thyroid nodules.
So don’t be afraid to mention these to your doctor because some of them may require the help of a physician.
#1. TSH Management.
The first thing you should be aware of is the impact that your TSH has on your thyroid gland tissue (and thus, thyroid nodules).
TSH is a hormone secreted from the pituitary gland in your brain and it stands for thyroid-stimulating hormone.
And TSH does exactly what it sounds like it should be based on the name.
It STIMULATES your thyroid gland.
Typically we think of this stimulation of the thyroid gland as a stimulation of the production of thyroid hormone (which it does do) but it ALSO stimulates thyroid gland tissue.
And this stimulation is the thing that we get worried about when it comes to thyroid nodules (2).
The last thing we want is for your brain to send a signal to your thyroid gland via TSH to tell your thyroid nodules to get BIGGER or to GROW.
So, what can you do to prevent this?
It turns out that YOU can manage your TSH levels to prevent this from occurring (or at least do your best to prevent it from occurring).
And you can do this by keeping your TSH in the optimal or LOW range.
You do NOT want your TSH to be higher than it needs to be because a high TSH will send the growth signals that we are trying to avoid.
A high TSH is often seen in people who have HYPOTHYROIDISM or low or sluggish thyroid function.
And, unfortunately, many of these people are not treated with sufficiently high doses of thyroid hormone to cause a REDUCTION in the TSH.
So it is possible, and even probable, that if you have hypothyroidism (and thyroid nodules) your TSH is higher than it should be.
And this poses a potential threat as it may stimulate the growth of your thyroid nodule if you aren’t careful.
The best thing to do is to make sure that you keep your TSH somewhere in the range of 0.5 to 1.0 uIU/ml.
This TSH range is what I consider to be optimal anyway for most healthy adults but you might find that your doctor doesn’t necessarily want you to be in this range (or isn’t concerned if you are not there).
I would argue that the TSH range is healthy no matter what condition you are in but it is especially important if you have a thyroid nodule (or more than one)!
Most physicians consider a normal TSH range to be anywhere between 1.0 and 5.0 uIU/ml which makes this range MUCH larger than you would ideally want.
Make sure that you look at your TSH values to ensure that it is within this range and don’t accept a “normal” range as something that is good for your nodule(s).
The good news is that it is actually quite easy to drop your TSH and all it requires is an upward adjustment in your medication.
The more thyroid medication you take (of any type of thyroid medication) the more your TSH will drop or lower.
So if your TSH is higher than you want, and you are taking thyroid medication, all you need to do is increase your dose to see your TSH drop.
Some thyroid medications, such as natural desiccated thyroid hormone, are particularly useful for dropping the TSH.
What if you aren’t taking thyroid medication?
More good news.
There are ways that you can naturally IMPROVE and DECREASE your TSH level.
You can do this by naturally increasing your free T3 levels with the use of supplements or other therapies, by reducing inflammation in your body, and by changing up your diet (to exclude foods such as dairy which can block thyroid function).
Better yet, you can combine changes to your medication AND do the natural therapies I’ve listed above.
And we are just getting started here.
There are many other things that you can still do to manage your thyroid nodules.
#2. Iodine Management.
The next thing you should be aware of is your management of iodine.
We know, through various studies, that the amount of iodine that you ingest (and the amount of iodine that gets into your thyroid gland) impacts your risk of developing thyroid nodules.
But, here’s the deal:
Both high doses of iodine and low doses of iodine (3) have been implicated in causing thyroid nodules.
The good news is that we know that iodine has some impact on your thyroid nodules and this is a good thing because manipulating how much iodine you take can potentially treat your thyroid nodules.
The difficult part is figuring out how much is too much and how much iodine you should take.
We have several studies that show that unopposed iodine intake (especially in very high doses) does seem to trigger the growth of thyroid nodules in certain people.
On the other hand, we also have concrete evidence which shows that LOW iodine intake (or iodine deficiency) can also lead to thyroid nodules.
So, you can think of iodine as a Goldilocks nutrient in which you want to have just the right amount.
What is this amount?
It’s somewhere between 100 MCG and 12.5 MG.
And yes, I understand that this is quite a large range but it actually can help.
100mcg is what I consider to be the basic and lowest dose that all people with thyroid conditions should use.
Unfortunately, many thyroid patients are actually SCARED to use iodine because they heard it was harmful to the thyroid.
This sort of behavior may lead to iodine deficiency and thus thyroid nodule formation.
The 100mcg dose recommended as the base dose is a small enough dose to prevent any issues and will still cover the necessary amount of iodine that the body needs.
On the high end, we have a dose of around 12.5mg per day. I find that many people do quite well on this higher-end dose and don’t have any problems as long as they have normal levels of both selenium and zinc.
If you are concerned about what dose you should start at the best course of action is to start with the 100mcg dose and then work your way up to the higher doses.
But most people do fine starting out at the 12.5mg dose.
I do not believe that doses beyond the 12.5mg range (so-called iodine mega-dosing) are a good idea and may contribute to thyroid nodule formation.
The same is true for people who COMPLETELY avoid iodine because of some misplaced fear of this vital and important nutrient.
#3. Autoimmune Management.
Another very common trigger of thyroid nodules is autoimmune thyroiditis.
What do I mean?
I am referring to the autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
This disease is both a thyroid disease and an inflammatory disease that causes inflammation and damage to your thyroid gland.
The more inflammation and damage to thyroid gland tissue the more likely that tissue is to become disordered and turn into a nodule (4).
You can, therefore, address some thyroid nodules by attempting to LOWER or reduce the inflammation and damage done by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
And if you are thinking you don’t have to worry about this one because you only have hypothyroidism think again.
It is estimated that up to 70 to 90% of ALL cases of hypothyroidism (5) are caused by this autoimmune disease.
This is true even if you have NEGATIVE thyroid antibodies.
There exists a seronegative (meaning antibody-negative) form of Hashimoto’s (6) that many people have.
So, regardless of what type of thyroid disease you have (hypothyroidism or otherwise) you should address inflammation and take steps to try and improve your immune function.
There are specific ways that you can help reduce your thyroid antibodies by focusing on immune function and I’ve listed some of the most effective therapies in this blog post.
You will also want to look at other measures such as inflammatory markers (ESR and CRP), Vitamin D levels, Zinc levels, gut health, and your diet.
All of these things can contribute to inflammation and autoimmunity.
#4. Blood Sugar/Insulin Control.
Another factor that can CAUSE thyroid nodules is insulin resistance.
And with as many as 50% of people suffering from this condition (based on the latest research), it is a problem that plagues MANY people.
Insulin resistance is the same condition that leads to high blood sugar which is why these are lumped together.
You can think of insulin as a growth hormone because one of its main functions is to push to make its target grow.
So the higher your insulin level is, the more insulin resistance you have, and the more likely you are to have a thyroid nodule.
This means that treating and managing insulin resistance is a powerful way to treat and manage your thyroid nodules!
You can identify if you have insulin resistance by looking at certain blood tests such as your fasting serum insulin and fasting blood glucose or fasting blood sugar.
Another way to identify the presence of high blood sugar is with the use of the Hgb A1c test.
If any of these markers are abnormally high AND you have thyroid nodules then you should do your best to address this problem.
You can treat insulin resistance and high blood sugar naturally by focusing on your diet and by taking certain supplements.
Consuming fewer carbs than normal (utilizing diets such as the keto diet or low-carb diets) can help drop your blood sugar and lower insulin levels.
You can also take supplements such as fish oil, turmeric, berberine, chromium, and alpha-lipoic acid.
All of these supplements have been shown to help reverse insulin resistance by either affecting insulin levels directly or by reducing inflammation in your body.
Radiation is probably not as common as some of the other things we have discussed so far today but it is still something you should be aware of.
Exposure to radiation is both a cause and a risk factor for developing thyroid nodules.
The good news is that most of you have probably not been exposed to radiation without proper protection, at least not recently.
When I talk about exposure to radiation here I am mostly talking about exposure to high-powered radiation such as exposure from certain medical imaging tests such as CT scans and perhaps x-rays.
Nowadays, we are well aware of the damage that radiation can cause to the thyroid gland (which is exquisitely sensitive to radiation) and most radiation technicians will do their best to protect your thyroid gland with a special lead guard.
But this guard isn’t always possible to use, especially if you need imaging of your neck or upper chest.
We are also exposed to radiation when we eat food, when we sleep next to our partners, and when we fly on airplanes.
This is not the type of radiation (and dose) that you should be worried about, however.
Instead, you really want to avoid unnecessary medical imaging tests that can expose you to unnecessary excess radiation and may contribute to the growth of your thyroid nodules and the potential for thyroid cancer.
#6. Vegetables and Produce Consumption.
Lastly, you should be aware that the consumption of vegetables and produce from the grocery store has been associated with a decreased risk of developing thyroid nodules (7)!
We can reverse engineer this and apply it as a therapy, which is why we are talking about it now.
What do I mean?
I mean that we can infer that produce provides some protection against the development of thyroid nodules so by consuming a lot of fresh produce we can potentially treat existing thyroid nodules.
This is how I want you to think about it.
If you have a thyroid nodule, your goal should be to consume as much fresh produce as you possibly can.
Don’t worry about the potential negative effects that certain food has on your thyroid gland (from so-called goitrogens) as this risk is largely overblown.
Instead, eat as much organic or non-organic produce as you can find and afford.
The protective plant compounds found inside of these plants can help reduce inflammation and potentially treat your thyroid nodule(s).
The main thing I want you to take away from this article is that you DO have options when it comes to treating your thyroid nodules.
This is sometimes lost on people who suffer from nodules because MOST doctors focus solely on the identification and long-term monitoring of nodules.
They rarely ever offer up any treatments because they are only ever trying to rule out cancer (which is a good thing but doesn’t help those who want to try and improve their situation).
Treatment can come in the form of either natural therapies (such as consuming healthy foods or taking supplements) OR it can come from the use of certain medications such as thyroid hormone.
One last thought:
You may have to try several of the therapies above before you find something that works well for you.
Don’t be surprised if you need to manage your TSH, reduce inflammation in your body, eat more healthy produce, and take some iodine.
This is the type of approach you want to take, especially with LARGE nodules that may look cancerous.
Now I want to hear from you:
Do you have thyroid nodules? If so, what size are they?
Have you tried any of the therapies listed here?
If so, did they work for you? Why or why not?
If not, are you planning on trying any of these therapies?
If you have please leave your experience below by leaving a comment or a question!
17 thoughts on “Thyroid Nodule Treatments: Natural & Medical Options”
Your articles are very helpful. I have nodules. One small one that looks suspicious but biopsies are negative and it has been the same size for the last 12 years and one big one that looks ok but keeps growing. My THS is 0.2 and I’m keeping it that way for now. I recently started to take half of iodoral tablet per week, so far no problem. What about estrogen progesterone imbalance? High estrogen can fuel growth of nodules, goiter….?
I am 71 years old woman. Since I remember myself I had side effects of thyroid problems, such cold hands and feet constipation. I was very active and full of energy.40 years ago I developed Ulcerative Colitis. Now I am on remission.Still have some inflammation. 35 years ago a GI doctor felt the thyroid nodules I developed all testing showed they are benign. I was active had energy. Suddenly I became Hyper. still the nodules were benign low antibodies . During the year 2013 I was treated with RAI without trying to medicate me or give me any different treatment since that I cant get my life back. I am Hypo. Still have some thyroid left and the nodules are there. No Endo. or doctor can tell me if I can still get cancer. My anti.bodies are low. I cant convert T4 to T3 I am on T3 only, about 30 mg. increasing slowly. The T3 doesn’t go to the cells, due to low Iron, high cortisol and inflammation . I have interactive doctor who knows less than me about my condition .I am following the STTM protocol I am wondering if you believe in pooling? Its pretty much like your protocol. I belong to many support groups, I wish I knew more and didn’t trust the doctor that gave me radiation. Due to my Ulcerative Colitis I can’t take herbs. So its hard to reduce the high cortisol, I cant increase the Iron as its going to the storage my ferritin is high Iron is low. Fisher Wallance has instrument that can reduce cortisol and help with sleep problems.You use one similar to it. I might get it.I read all your mails and enjoy reading them. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Yes I take Armor for my Thyroid. They have never done a ultrasound. I am going to start taking fish oil again.
My thyroid labs are all over the place. Several people in my Father’s family have (had) thyroid issues. I had half the thyroid with nodules removed 30+ years ago (not cancerous) and after that was always very thin without trying. about 5 years ago the thyroid numbers plummeted, weight ramped up, the hot flashes went crazy, hair falling out, nasty skin breakouts. I lost track of how much lab work & scans has been done over the years, last time TSH was almost off the chart at 0.001. Dr decreased the levothyroxin dosage and I go back in 30 days. The scans show nothing other than what was removed long ago. Still have nasty hot flashes (I am past “the change” and still take estrogen). I have asked about Armour-throid or nature-throid or Cytomel or trying some other meds but Dr will not change it other than up and down on the dosage. There is no endocrinology specialty within 6 hours of us. I have been diligent doing keto with under 50g of carbs and about 1000 calories per day for weeks and gained 5 pounds, I am always hungry. Tired, bone weary tired and grumpy crabby. Now what?
With calorie restriction like that, it sounds like you have a damaged metabolism. You can read more here: https://www.restartmed.com/gaining-weight-to-lose-weight/
Could you please tell me if there is iodine in sea salt? And if we are eating fresh food everyday not processed would it be okay to take a supplement (multivitamin) that has iodine in it? Or should we avoid supplements that have iodine in them?
Usually not. Celtic sea salt and Himalayan pink salt both do not have iodine in them and they are considered to be the healthy alternative to regular iodized table salt. So if you consume these salts you probably do not get any iodine from them. I am a huge fan of iodine for thyroid patients which is why I put it in my thyroid multivitamin and several of my other thyroid specific supplements.
Hello Dr Childs
I am on T4(50mcg) and T3 (5mcg) both on low dosage , can I still take T3 Booster?
Yep! It can be used with all types of thyroid medication including T3.
I have nodules that were detected because of a persistent sore throat/hoarseness. Biopsy determined they were benign, but then when I read the actual report, it said the cells were consistent with Hashimotos thyroiditis (my endo failed to tell me this). My nutritionist, that I have been working with for months for food sensitivities & leaky gut, ordered a full thyroid panel for me, but the blood work was all normal, except for my low total T3 (70ng/dL) and high T3 uptake (37%). My free T3:rT3 ratio is .1875. I’m having symptoms, but they may be more related to stress (LOTS of stress this past year) and cortisol than thyroid, but I’m not sure. Eating well and getting proper supplementation has probably already helped me a great deal, or I would probably be worse. I would like to shrink these nodules, because they will likely bother me more when school resumes (I homeschool and read/talk a lot). Thanks!
Hi Dr Childs. Thanks for the info.
Does this apply to people with Multinodular Goiter and Hyperthyroidism? My endo straight up recommended RIT even though my nodules are benign. I would love to try to treat it naturally first.
Hi Dr westin Child, I would like to speak to you regarding my thyroid .Please contact me
I have Hashimoto’s with a small goiter and 2 small non-suspicious nodules. My naturopathic doctor recommended using a castor oil pack on my thyroid. Can this do anything for nodules or inflammation?
I’m personally not very familiar with castor oil so I can’t comment on its efficacy. I know some people who swear by them but I don’t have much to add to the conversation without more research on the topic.
Hi Dr Childs.
I have just seen my endo, who completely discounted my high reverse T3 levels (said they only indicate other illnesses). That doesn’t make sense to me. Why would reverse T3 exist, if it didn’t have an important regulatory function in the thyroid? My T4 and T3 levels are relatively ok, antibodies ok, TSH very low. I have a nodule, 1.6mm. My gut tells me, the nodule is producing hormone, and the thyroid is cleverly diverting the extra T4 to reverse T3, while making TSH low. Does this make sense? It seems to me that my body is acting very cleverly, to divert T4 to reverse T3 to protect me, while lowering TSH to protect me as well. So the other question now is, what can I do to shrink that nodule to bring my thyroid back into balance? I don’t like the sound of any of the treatments the endo suggested. An uptake scan using radioactive dyes suggests damaging my thyroid. Biopsy of the thyroid – could this cause a benign nodule to turn cancerous? And Carbimazole? Eeek. Damages bone marrow. Or alternatively, radioactive ablation of the nodule? All fill me with terror. Why would I choose any of these, as all can damage my thyroid. And then surgery, she said, would remove half of my thyroid. And where would that leave me? I just want to know what I can do to reduce the nodule naturally. And one final question, if the nodule is producing hormone. If you treated that with thyroid hormone, would that stop the need for the nodule to produce? Or do nodules just not react in the way we would expect the thyroid to behave.
Sorry for so many questions. But I am a curious person 🙂
You are definitely correct in some of your assumptions! Please see this article for more information: https://www.restartmed.com/reverse-t3/
Hi Dr Childs, I enjoyed reading your articles – best ones I found in my search to understand my medical issues.
Hot Nodule ( thyroid scan) was found April 2022, 3.6×1.7cm, fna benign. Advised surgery to remove nodule, then told no surgery but RAI instead then told surgery again now told to wait and see? Told I was subclinical hyper cos of nodule but symptoms all hypo – weight gain extreme fatigue, memory loss, brain fog, constipation, very dry skin, reduced sweating, lower BP and pulse, carple tunnel, joint and muscle pain and stiffness, hearing loss/ tinitis, brittle nails and hair, low mood, low energy, interest, blurred vision…
Low TSH has been gradually getting lower ( 0.1)
Low Free T4 (0.7)
Free T3 3.25
FSH 77 ACTH am 11
MRI – sella ok no tumour seen
Anti TG and TPO ok
Recently told the nodule is suppressing the thyroid causing hypo so need to get right lobe removed and then start thyroxin until.thyroid recovers.
Told cannot be central thyroidism- too rare
Told cannot be pitutery issue as FSH (77) and ACTH AM (11)
Last advice was to go to work to ‘take mind off symptoms’, start 50mg Thyroxin and wait and see?
Everytime I see the endo doc I am advised something different?
Can you please advise?
Should I get different tests? Could it be Central Hypo? Pitutary issue?
Would a lobectamy fix the low TSH and help fix the hypo symptoms?
Wait and see? What are were waiting for?
Ps just had my second Sphenoid Sinus surgery – infection removed – are these related?