Do you have Hashimoto’s and have not been able to lose weight even though you are medicated?
This week I read a new study that might just signal some help for those suffering with the all too common symptom of weight gain and the difficulty of losing weight with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
The study was on a seed from a plant called Nigella sativa also known as black seeds or black cumin. Nigella sativa has long been used in folk medicine in the middle and Far East as a traditional medicine for a wide range of disease including infections, obesity, high blood pressure and gastrointestinal problems.
In this most recent study, treatment with 2 grams of powdered Nigella sativa taken daily for 8 weeks significantly reduced body weight and body mass index (BMI). And for those of you who track your lab results it also was found to reduce TSH, increase T3 and reduce thyroid antibodies! A stunning result.
Previous studies on Nigella sativa found its most prominent constituent, thyimoquinone, improved thyroid status in animals.
So if you’re like me and want to delve a little deeper here are some key snippets of the research:
40 Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients, aged between 22 and 50 years old, randomly allocated into two groups for 8 weeks of treatment one receiving 1g of powdered Nigella sativa in a capsule twice/day and the other a placebo capsule of starch twice/day.
Changes in anthropometric variables, dietary intakes, thyroid status, serum VEGF and Nesfatin-1 concentrations after 8 weeks were measured.
After 8 weeks:
- Serum concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) antibodies decreased in the Nigella sativa group.
- Serum T3 concentrations increased in the Nigella sativa group.
- Treatment with Nigella sativa significantly reduced body weight and body mass index (BMI).
- None of these changes had been observed in placebo treated group.
It is important to share that during the trial, three patients in Nigella sativa-treated group experienced itching and nausea which are possible side effects of taking this herbal remedy.
The researchers concluded:
Our data showed a potent beneficial effect of powdered Nigella sativa in improving thyroid status … in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. … Considering observed health- promoting effect of this medicinal plant in ameliorating the disease severity, it can be regarded as a useful therapeutic approach in management of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Well 1 study is not a strong piece of evidence and let’s face it 40 people is not a big group for a result. If the study had been in the thousands or if it had been repeated a few more times I’d be more excited about recommending it for lifting T3 and reducing weight. But considering how gosh darn-it hard it is to lose weight with low T3 in Hashimoto’s I’m certainly going to introduce it to my clients to see what they think. Would you like to trial it with me?
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Farhangi, M. A., Dehghan, P., Tajmiri, S., & Abbasi, M. M. (2016). The effects of Nigella sativa on thyroid function, serum Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)–1, Nesfatin-1 and anthropometric features in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16(1), 471.DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1432-2