While flaxseed is a rich source of essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, more research is needed regarding the possible risks and benefits of consuming the plant-based food.
By Sharmila Saha Roy
A YouTube video, with over two million views (at last count), claims that flaxseed can cure thyroid problems. Consuming flaxseed powder every morning on an empty stomach, the video in Hindi explains, is the most effective way to treat all thyroid-related health conditions.
Given that thyroid problems are increasingly becoming common among people across ages today, home remedies that claim to restore the hormone levels to their proper balance are rather popular. However, there is lack of scientific evidence to support these claims.
It's important to first understand what is thyroid. A butterfly-shaped small gland, wrapped around the trachea in front of the neck, it releases thyroid hormones that help to control many important functions of the human body. Problems arise when the gland either releases too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). Both conditions are serious and call for timely medical care.
“Whether it’s hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, it’s essential to get the right diagnosis first and then, treat the condition in a scientific manner,” says Dr Shimna Azeez, a public health professional and writer based in Kerala, India. She cautions against the adoption of unscientific practices, such as consuming flaxseed powder, in order to cure thyroid-related issues.
While flaxseed is a rich source of essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids (that help to promote healthy hormone production and act as anti-inflammatory agents), more research is needed regarding the possible risks and benefits of consuming the plant-based food. It’s important to talk to your doctor before using any nutritional supplement or home remedy to treat a medical condition.
Without the right diagnosis and proper treatment, thyroid problems can cause a number of health issues, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease, to name some. Today, there are several anti-thyroid drugs, thyroid replacement medication, beta blockers (medications to help control symptoms) as well as surgical treatment options available to patients.
Unfortunately, there is also no dearth of myths and misinformation about thyroid problems and their pseudo-scientific cures.