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This is super exciting news. For the first time ever, a science-based natural compound has been shown to improve thyroid function in a placebo-controlled study. Is nigella sativa the next “miracle herb” that you need to know about? Let’s dive into what it means for you today.
Studies On Nigella Sativa
A new double blind study showed that a historical herb had dramatic effects at improving thyroid function and helping with weight loss for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The plant is called Nigella Sativa.
Common names include Nigella, black cumin, black caraway, onion seed, fennel flower and kalonji. For the purposes of the discussion we are having today, we will refer to it as Nigella.
I’m really excited about this plant, because it has a long track record of safe use and benefits in many other inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Dr. Khoshaba, in particular, has been talking for years about how much she loves this plant and how highly it is regarded in Middle Eastern cultures.
In fact, there is an anecdote that these seeds can help with “anything besides death” is something that has really stuck with me. While I am sure that it is not entirely true, I do know that since it can lower inflammation and can help our body’s internal antioxidant production, that it can certainly help in many conditions.
Key Insight: A new thyroid study that I want to talk about you today really has me standing up and taking notice about Nigella and how it can help your thyroid.
The Benefits of Nigella
In a broader sense, studies with Nigella have shown the following benefits:
- Autoimmune disease
- Cancer growth
- Hair Loss
- High Cholesterol
Now, we are going to talk about the thyroid study in particular.
Out of 100 possible candidates, there were 40 participants between the ages of 22 and 50 who participated – all of whom has
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Most (85%) were women. They had all been on a consistent dose of T4-only thyroid medication for at least 6 weeks before the study began, and until after it was over. None were taking other supplements or doing dietary changes during the time of the study.
The following graph actually shows how participants were chosen and excluded:
Over the course of the 8 week study, the researchers measured blood levels and body changes, including:
- Anti thyroperoxidase (anti-TPO)
- Body weight
- Waist circumference
- Hip circumference
Key Insight: Vaso endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a compound associated with the growth of new blood vessels. Hashimoto’s disease is characterized by more than normal numbers of blood vessels, and increased blood flow within the thyroid is associated with higher levels of VEGF. This elevation is also associated with the higher risk of thyroid cancer found in Hashimoto’s.
This was a placebo controlled double blind study. That means that roughly half of the participants took a pill with no active ingredients and neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was really getting Nigella until after the study was over.
Three people taking Nigella did drop out because of side effects including itching and nausea. It was interesting to see that 4 people dropped out of the placebo group for unstated side effects.
In Conclusion: The results for this study could hot have been more dramatic.
With no change in calorie intake, the group taking Nigella lost an average of 2.49 pounds – with absolutely no changes to diet or medication! They also lost roughly 1/2 an inch around their waists. Neither of these changes occurred in the control groups.
This level of weight loss, without dietary change, is understandable given the changes that occurred in thyroid blood levels.
Over the course of the study the group taking placebo pills saw no significant changes in their blood levels of thyroid function.
Those taking Nigella saw improvements in every single marker measured.
- TSH dropped by an average of 2.29 points
TSH is inversely related to thyroid hormone output. A lower TSH means that the gland is making more hormone than before.
- T3 increased by 0.14 points
- T4 increased by 0.82 points
T3 and T4 are direct measures of thyroid hormone output. When they are higher, the gland is making hormone more effectively.
- Anti TPO decreased by over 146 points
Anti TPO is the main antibody present in 60% of people with Hashimoto’s. To see it lower that dramatically shows that the gland is less inflamed and has a better chance to heal.
- VEGF decreased by over 1421 points
Lower VEGF means less active Hashimoto’s and even a lower risk of thyroid cancer.
How Did Nigella Help Heal Hashimoto’s?
Nigella contains a constituent called thymoquinone, which is known to protect cells from autoimmunity and speed the repair of damaged cells.
Previous studies from rats have shown that Nigella can:
- Help shrink the thyroid when it is swollen from inflammation
- Improve the cell’s response to T3
- Improve weight loss
How To Use Nigella
Nigella oil is not commonly available as a food. Some versions have been reported to be adulterated with other plants including black caraway. This substitution would make the compound ineffective for improving thyroid function.
For purposes of weight loss and greater thyroid health, take 2 gel caps of Nigella once daily with meals. Like any supplement, take it at a separate time from any other thyroid medication.
Plan to retest thyroid function after 8 weeks of use, simply because your dosage needs may decrease over that time period.
Nigella is safe for long term use. In the study, 3 people had rashes and nausea. These are side effects worth watching for, but those taking Nigella overall had fewer side effects than those on placebos. What this means is that people tend to get a few random symptoms over the course of 8 weeks whether or not they are trying anything new.
Because we have acquired access to an exclusive version of Nigella that parallels the form in the study we are excited to take pre-orders (1). Expect your supply to arrive in under 2 weeks.
In Conclusion: I am really excited to have found a safe, clinically proven adjunct to help Hashimoto’s. I’ve never pushed for “thyroid support” type supplements because so many supplements have been talked about without being safe or without having good evidence.
Is Nigella Right For You?
If you are thinking about Nigella to help heal your body, first you need to gain a better understanding of your thyroid and where it stands. Take the thyroid quiz (2) today, and discover the root cause and what might be going on within your body. Only once you have gotten the bigger picture can you start figuring out what is right for your health, so take the quiz and start today!
Here is Dr. C’s Nigella supplement:
Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.