1 supplement in Hashimoto’s & Graves’ to reduce thyroid antibodies. Updated 2017

On the search to feel more energetic, more upbeat and regulate weight with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease?  Have you heard about the mineral selenium?  It is one of the most extensively researched, science based, natural treatments for reducing the autoimmune attack on the thyroid!

sonia mcnaughton, thyroid,autoimmune, hashimotos, graves, hypothyroidism, hypothyroid, hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroid, hormones
Image Courtesy: Pixabay: Sasint

The Selenium Story: Continue reading “1 supplement in Hashimoto’s & Graves’ to reduce thyroid antibodies. Updated 2017”


Hashimoto’s or Graves & still tired, sick & depressed?

Vitamin D levels are often low in Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism as well as Graves hyperthyroidism.  

Unfortunately low ‘sunshine vitamin’ levels mean possibly a higher risk for a whole host of problems including:

  • depression
  • osteoporosis
  • inability to resist colds and ‘flus.

So simple fix right? Spend more time lolling about in the sun!  Continue reading “Hashimoto’s or Graves & still tired, sick & depressed?”

Hypothyroid, not yet medicated, but need to feel better?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) is the most common autoimmune disorder in the world affecting more than 10% of females and 2% of males causing hypothyroidism with fatigue, weight gain / difficulty losing weight, infertility, constipation, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, dry skin, dry hair, hair loss, swelling and more.

A study was completed on women in their 30‘s whose lab tests were showing a slowing of thyroid function because of Hashimoto’s but they were not yet bad enough to need medication – medically these patients are said to be ‘sub-clinically hypothyroid’ (Nordio & Pajalich, 2013).   It’s important to acknowledge that whilst lab results may not have not declined enough to support medication the person could be experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of a slow thyroid (Davis & Tremont, 2007). Continue reading “Hypothyroid, not yet medicated, but need to feel better?”

Lost libido in women: Let’s Marvin Gaye & get this conversation on!

Reduced sex drive in women can have a profound negative impact on their quality of life.  When sexual desire decreases there really isn’t a pill you can pop or food you can eat that will miraculously create the urge to merge (Arcos, 2004).

There is no one solution because we women are complex!  It could be due to altered hormone levels, decreased vaginal lubrication, and/or pain – especially common with thyroid disorders and throughout menopause.  Or flagging libido could be a hint at a more serious underlying health concern needing investigation (Arcos, 2004).

So what can you do when you want to get it on?

As an evidence based practitioner I abhor the massive ads on billboards and social media claiming miracle responses in pills and potions for this very complex issue.  It is not a well researched topic in the scientific literature so I can’t support strong claims on the effectiveness of any product unless I see the research… in short …show me the data (Just warning you now if you follow that link you’ll get 2 glorious minutes of early-Tom Cruise &  a half naked Cuba Gooding under the guise of it being related to evidence based solutions …surely permissible on a post about female libido )

So do we give up? No not at all! There are many strategies that have been shown time and again to work to restore desire it’s just that if they don’t work for you it’s time to do some investigative work with a trained professional to get to the bottom of why your libido is lost.

I often find myself using these strategies with my clients with some degree of usefulness.


L-arginine, an amino acid, is the precursor to nitric oxide involved in the relaxation of (vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle of) the clitoris and vagina (Kellogg-Spadt & Albaugh, 2003).

Arginine is a widely used and typically helpful therapy for assisting men to achieve erection and it seems in the early research on women it could also be useful to enhance female orgasm and female desire (Youngworth, Chek, & Zaslau, 2001).

If you have a history of the herpes simplex virus you need to know that high doses of L-arginine can potentiate oral and/or genital herpes outbreaks.


female desire, women libido, sex drive, thyroid, menopause,
Damiana Image: herb-info.com

Damiana is a plant used traditionally in herbalism as an aphrodisiac for women.  It is thought it works to enhance dopamine levels in the brain (Kellogg-Spadt & Albaugh, 2003).


Although there are no quality studies on Damiana used alone anecdotal reports tout the effectiveness of a daily cup of Damiana tea for increasing female sexual desire (Ratsch, 1997; Watson, 1993).  A cup of organic, herbal tea which tastes quite nice is a pretty cheap, low risk strategy to try and you never know it might just work for you!

L-arginine & Damiana used together

Preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of oral supplements containing L-arginine and Damiana have demonstrated that up to 70% of pre and postmenopausal women experience significant improvement in desire and sexual responsiveness after 4 to 6 weeks of daily use (Trant & Polan, 2000).

Relaxation & Marvin Gaye

The cycle of sexual response begins in the brain, where a memory, an image, a scent, music, or a fantasy can act as a trigger to prompt sexual arousal.  Thus, the brain may be the key and good starting place for treatment of sexual dysfunction (Arcos, 2004).

female desire, sex drive, libido, thyroid, menopause
Damiana Image: herb-info.com

My prescription is for at least 15 uninterrupted minutes in a relaxing bath with

Marvin Gaye’s soulful notes


Just like they say in the song, let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on…. 

If you’d like to talk about lifting your libido contact me via www.facebook.com/SoniaMcNaughton.Naturopath or for an appointment (02) 4968 2157.

To source Damiana tea & l-Arginine contact me via:  www.facebook.com/SoniaMcNaughton.Naturopath


Featured Image from: Treatment Today

Arcos, B. (2004). Female sexual function and response. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 104(1_suppl), 16S-20S.

Billups, K., Berman, L., Berman, J. Metz, M., Glennon, M., & Goldstein, I. (2001). A new non-pharmacological vacuum therapy for female sexual dysfunction. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 27,435-420.

Kellogg-Spadt, S., & Albaugh, J. A. (2003). Herbs, amino acids, and female libido. Urologic Nursing, 23(2), 160.

Modelska, K., & Cummings, S. (2003). Female sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women: Systematic review of placebo-controlled trials. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 188(1), 286-293.

Meston, C.M., & Worcel, M. (2000). The effects of l-arginine and yohimbe on sexual arousal in postmenopausal women with SAD. Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.

Munariz, R., Talakoub, L., & Garcia, S. (2001). DHEA treatment for female androgen insufficiency and sexual dysfunction. Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.

Ratsch, C. (1997). Plants of love. Berkeley, CA: Ten-Speed Press.

Trant, A.S., & Polan, M.L. (2000). Clinical study on a nutritional supplement for the enhancement of female sexual function.  Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.

Watson, C.M. (1993). Love potions. New York: GP Putnam Books.

Youngworth, H., Chek, K., & Zaslau, S. (2001). A topical therapyfor female sexual dysfunction: Results of a pilot study with1 year follow-up. Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.

I call bullshit on oversimplified info on supplements

The amazing peeps at Harvard are trying to help the average shopper interested in their health with an article on why information on nutrients and supplements (and I think herbs too) is so confusing and overwhelming.

Simply put it comes back to the science: what formulation of the nutrient was used in the scientific trials, what dosage, what gender were the participants, what age were they, how long did they take the nutrient for and importantly were the participants healthy or sick?  Even more confused? Well that’s not surprising!

sonia mcnaughton, newcastle, naturopath, herbalist, supplement, nutrition, thyroid, pms, pcos, graves, hashimotos, evidence based naturopathy, evidence based medicine, acne, menopause

In short has the person giving you the advice read the original research or are they aware of the original research specific to differing formulations, dosage, duration of treatment and suitability for population groups? I’m often reading blogs my clients ask me to check out for them on thyroid issues, menopause & PMS and I am pretty frequently amazed/horrified by the misinformation being peddled by clearly caring and well meaning human beings who just unfortunately haven’t read the original research.  ‘Cause only when you know this level of detail can you draw a conclusion on whether or not you will get the sorts of results you are after.

I call this ‘bang for your buck’!  A simple strategy of only using nutritional supplements and herbs that have been tested on people that are similar to you.

Personally I think it is just not ethical to lump all the results of all the trials on a specific nutrient/herb together, mash them up, and spit out a universal one liner.

Sonia McNaughton, naturopath, herbalist, newcastle, vitamins, minerals, nutrition, confused, vitamin d, magnesium, thyroid, pms, acne
Image: floliving.com

Let me give you an example I hear almost every day:  a client will ask me if magnesium is good for their thyroid disease/ weight problem/ muscle soreness/ constipation/ skin issues/ period pain/ mood disorder/ sleep issues etc etc because they are beginning to suspect their very expensive bottle of magnesium is not working for them.

Well if we dive into the detail here for a moment different formulations of magnesium at differing dosages have been shown to help with most of these concerns, however, the type of magnesium may mean you are taking a pill you hope will help with your period pain when all it has been tested to do is relieve constipation!  Or you are taking too small a dosage to have any impact at all and wondering why you are the only person not on the magnesium bandwagon.

This is one of the reasons why I became an evidence based natural therapist – yes it is more work but it is also more rewarding seeing my patients’ health improve!

You can read the article that started this conversation, some might say rant, here.  


Have you ever been given advice on a nutrient or herb that you later found just simply did not work for you?

Sonia x


For more information or to contact me for a consultation (02) 4968 2157

Main image: smartypantsvitamin.com


Healthy, delicious, fast lunch

Keeping on track with my 2016 goals gets hard when I’m time poor!  What I need is a quick and healthy meal to help me stay alert, calm and full throughout my busy afternoon while lovin’ my liver.
Challenge accepted!
Carrot & Beetroot Salad (with thanks to Everyday Cookbook)
1 carrot
2 beetroot (raw)
½ green apple
¼ red onion
Blitz together in food processor / Thermomix 3 secs (speed 5 for Thermie lovers).
Dump into large bowl & take 1 serving for lunch. Cover tightly and enjoy the rest with dinner.  I don’t find I need a dressing with this salad as the beetroot, carrot, apple and onion all get very moist when you process them together.
This salad is paleo, AIP (autoimmune paleo/protocol), thyroid friendly, Mediterranean diet friendly, low calorie, low fat… let’s face it this salad should join the UN it crosses so many different diet boundaries!
I add a tin of Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon to this meal to boost the protein, calcium, essential fatty acid content and most importantly for me personally balance my blood sugar levels so I stay energised and calm all afternoon!
wild alaskan salmon_sonia mcnaughton naturopath herbalist
I drain the tin into a sink and with a fork mush the bones into the salmon flesh so they become one with the salmon.
Making the salad and adding the salmon takes only a few moments so really most of my 5 minutes is spent cleaning up!  I rinse the food processor bowl and drain it on the sink and pop my leftovers in the fridge.  I also had time to spare to take a quick pic & upload to Facebook 😉
For more quick and healthy lunch ideas check out my Facebook page: SoniaMcNaughton.Naturopath or make a time to see me (02) 4968 2157 at Mayfield Medical Connection.
Do you have a healthy ‘go-to’ lunch idea you can make in less than 5 mins? I’d love to hear it!

Infertility, miscarriage & thyroid

I wish more than anything in the world that I had found a thyroid-literate naturopath & doctor before I suffered through so many miscarriages & spent thousands of dollars on IVF. It’s one of the reasons why I went back to school for 4 years of full time study to become a naturopath myself & why I am so passionate about supporting women with thyroid issues.
Why? Hypothyroidism is the 2nd most common condition affecting women of reproductive age and the terrible tragedy is the pregnant woman with hypothyroidism is at increased risk miscarriage and other major gestational morbidities. That’s why.
Sonia McNaughton, Naturopath, herbalist, thyroid, hypothyroid, hashimotos. thyroiditis, infertile, miscarriage, baby
My gorgeous niece!
Naturopath, herbalist, thyroid, hypothyroid, hashimotos, thyroiditis, infertile, miscarriage, baby, autoimmune, goitre, graves, thyroid, energy, fatigue, weight loss, infertility,
My gorgeous niece!
If you know someone trying to fall pregnant who suspects they may be hypothyroid or is experiencing repeated miscarriages give them a gift of a lifetime with this instructional article by Dr. Hugh D. Melnick, Medical Director of Advanced Fertility Services in New York City on infertility, miscarriage and sub clinical hypothyroidism from his published response in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology setting out the need to test newly pregnant women for thyroid disorders.
If you suspect you have a thyroid condition or you have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition and still don’t feel tip top let’s talk:  sonia@soniamcnaughton.com.
Sonia x

Cherry Ripe Muffins – healthy & delicious!

How do you enjoy the taste of chocolate when you need to be dairy-free & gluten-free for your health?

I wanted to bake an afternoon tea treat my friend who loves chocolate with a deep passion would enjoy without all the nasty side effects that milk and butter cause in my body.  I also didn’t want a lot of fast-release sugar in the treat to ruin the rest of my day.  Sugary snacks leave me tired, cranky and itchy – a hat trick I’m keen to avoid.  And let’s face it if you have any sort of autoimmune issue it’s pretty wise to avoid gluten wherever possible (Visser et al, 2009). Continue reading “Cherry Ripe Muffins – healthy & delicious!”

Eliminating triggers to overeating

So I made a commitment to myself to go “sugar free”.  I’ve tried before but radically underestimated how deep my food addiction was and failed in the early stages.  This time I’m employing the very best science has to offer looking to the evidence for high quality research on weight loss.

Weight loss is a complex equation that has many variables; scientific research tells us it is not as simple as calories in and calories out.

I’ve learnt unearthing personal triggers for overeating is vital. On my journey to wellness I’ve had to be searingly honest with myself and recognise healthy but simple sugars are the “gateway drug” of my addiction.

Sugar-addiction-life-cycle-I start with a couple of dried dates, add a banana, then it’s an raw cacao power ball – not so bad hunh? An hour later I’m obsessively thinking about raiding the kitchen when I get home from work to bake a cake, gluten-free, coconut/almond flour combination.  Sound healthy to you?  Well according to the blogosphere avoiding highly processed sugars via these foods should be  encouraged – no donuts were murdered in the pursuit of my health 😉

Continue reading “Eliminating triggers to overeating”