Your Thyroid and Red Raspberry

Renowned Quaker herbalist, Henry Box once said, “A tea made from Red Raspberry leaves is the best gift God ever gave to women.” The therapeutic use of raspberry leaf was first described in 1597 in a book called “The Herbal,” or “A General History of Plants.”

Raspberry leaf is rich in vitamins and minerals, and is a wonderful tonic post-partum, that not only can help heal and tone the uterus after childbirth, but also to enrich the quality and quantity of breast milk while nursing your new little one. It has great amounts of organic iron, which is easily assimilated and utilized by the body, making it ideal for post partum nutritional regulation.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the front of your neck can wreak havoc in our lives or give us the best of days! Hormones produced by the thyroid gland are called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These two hormones will have an enormous impact on your health, when they are out of balance.

Thyroid disease interferes with metabolism, blood sugar (glucose) that would otherwise be used for energy can instead start to accumulate. This increases your risk of diabetes, and it makes it harder to manage your blood sugar if you already have diabetes. Iron is necessary for the body to synthesize thyroid hormones. Also, thyroid hormones play a major role in creation and metabolism of blood cells.

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can present a problem to regulate insulin. Hyperthyroidism, meaning and overactive thyroid, increases metabolism. Increasing metabolism means insulin is eliminated from the body faster than usual. This can lead to high blood sugar and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes or those taking insulin shots may need higher doses. Hypothyroidism, which means your thyroid is under active, insulin can linger, causing blood sugar to drop, which we know as hypoglycemia. Drops in blood sugar can sometimes be extreme, leading to dizziness, disorientation, and unconsciousness.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a given food increases your blood sugar. Though the GI for raspberries has not been determined, most berries fall into the low-glycemic category.

Does your allopathic practitioner keep telling you that your levels are “normal” but yet you still have “symptoms”? Have you been diagnosed with PCOS? Find yourself having trouble regulating your blood sugars? Maybe red raspberry would be a great addition for your daily regiment, let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

Raspberries are the edible fruit of a plant species in the rose family. They provide more than half of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C, which is a water-soluble nutrient essential for immune function and iron absorption. Raspberries also contain Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc. Raspberries are high in several powerful antioxidant compounds, including vitamin C, quercetin and ellagic acid. Compared to other berries, raspberries have a similar antioxidant content as strawberries, but only half as much as blackberries and a quarter as much as blueberries.

A review of animal studies suggests that raspberries and raspberry extracts have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects that may reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Another study in mice found that ellagic acid, one of raspberries antioxidants, may not only prevent oxidative damage but also repair damaged DNA.

Ellagic acid, which is found in red raspberry, is known for its antioxidant properties. This means that it removes toxins from the body and protects against harmful molecules called free radicals. Its bioactive polyphenols help bring down inflammation in the body. This additional healing characteristic paired with its astringency makes red raspberry leaf great for sore throats and leaky guts because it tightens internal tissue and stops it from expanding.

Raspberries are high in tannins, which block alpha-amylase, a digestive enzyme necessary for breaking down starch. This can have a great affect on blood sugars. By blocking alpha-amylase, raspberries may reduce the number of carbs absorbed after a meal, which lessens the impact on your blood sugar.

From ancient Greece to the Indian herbal practice called Ayurveda, red raspberry is regarded as one of the safest and most effective herbal remedies for women. Modern scientific study has shown that red raspberry leaf can help support a woman’s health throughout her reproductive years, including throughout perimenopause. The calcium, iron, and magnesium found in raspberry leaf are often the very nutrients that women’s bodies need. Other vitamins and minerals present in raspberry leaves include vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3 as well as vitamins C and E, manganese, niacin, and selenium (Gladstar, 2001; MyIntyre, n.d.; Young, n.d).

Because of its safety and delicious nature, this is also a great option in tincture form for children who need extra hormonal support. Red raspberry leaf contains Vitamin A this plays a key role in two important systems of the body: Immune response and reproductive health. Vitamin A helps your body defend itself by keeping your white blood cells abundant and healthy.

Scientific literature says that thyroid diseases affect hematopoiesis, or the creation of new red blood cells. Deficiency in thyroid hormone can lead to the repression of the bone marrow, as well as lower erythropoietin production, mainly because of the decrease in oxygen requirements. Thyroid hormone levels can affect the number of transferrin, which is the blood’s iron transport protein.

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause iron deficiency and anemia. In turn, iron deficiency can also trigger hypothyroidism. Iron deficiency is similar to those of thyroid disease, making them hard to spot. See your practitioner to help differentiate what you may be experiencing.

Due to its astringent nature and ability to strengthen smooth tissues, red raspberry has been studied to benefit uterine health. It helps relieve PMS symptoms and can help make your periods less painful. It also may boost fertility and help your body prepare for pregnancy.

Red raspberry leaves are a great source of iron. In fact, an ounce of the leaves contain 3.3 mg of the mineral. That is actually around 18% of the recommended daily iron intake for adult women.

It is very important for women to get plenty of iron to help combat anemia which many women experience during heavy periods.

According to the CDC, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting 6% to 12% (as many as 5 million) of US women of reproductive age. If you are trying to conceive, your need for healthy food habits increases exponentially. Eating healthy should not be a rare occurrence or an afterthought. We carry our ovaries for our entire lifetime, and they can accumulate a lifetime of toxins, it is important to make changes to your daily diet to lead to a healthier lifestyle. For centuries it has always been suggested as a tonic for women for pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and post-pregnancy issues.

It is popularly known for fertility, which means consuming it increases the chances of pregnancy, clearing the reproductive health issues, and increasing the chances of getting pregnant especially if you are suffering from PCOS. It is one of the favorites used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost pregnancy chances and support women’s overall health.

Be careful you do not have to much caffeine in your daily diet, it increases the chances of a poorly functioning endocrine system, which will also lead to a poor reproductive system.

Pregnancy can cause stress to the hypothalamus pituitary axis and increase cortisol levels putting stress on Mom and baby.  It is now recognized that normal development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is essential for: the regulation of intrauterine homeostasis; and the timely differentiation and maturation of vital organ systems including the lungs, liver, and central nervous system necessary for immediate neonatal survival after birth.

Corticosterone, the end product of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation and strongly regulated by stress, has been suggested to play a role in hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis regulation. The hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary gland, which in turn releases hormones that signals the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone, the adrenals to release cortisol, and the gonads to secrete the sex hormones. As a result, if someone is dis-eased at one of these axes, it can affect the secretion of these hormones, affecting mood to viable pregnancy! Your body is all connected!

If your system is already stressed due to toxins then the hormones will not be there to allow for a viable pregnancy. Heavy metals can also cause a disregulation in this sytem. It is also recommended to detox those metals. Regular biofeedbacks can help you monitor levels in your system as you detox.

In short Red Raspberry can:

  • Help improve reproductive health
  • Improve the chances of implantation
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort and pain
  • Balance hormones
  • Increase the chances of fertility
  • Decrease the chances of miscarriage by strengthening the uterine wall
  • Decrease the time of labor and ease childbirth

Love your thyroid, love your hormones! Make red raspberry a part of your daily routine, and be blessed!

Other Sources:
Mitrou P, Raptis SA, Dimitriadis G. Insulin action in hyperthyroidism: a focus on muscle and adipose tissueEndocr Rev. 2010;31(5):663-79. doi:10.1210/er.2009-0046.
Kalra S, Unnikrishnan AG, Sahay R. The hypoglycemic side of hypothyroidismIndian J Endocrinol Metab. 2014;18(1):1–3. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.126517
Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Different Types of Berries
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Polyphenolic-Enriched Red Raspberry Extract in an Antigen Induced Arthritis Rat Model.
Dietary berries and ellagic acid prevent oxidative DNA damage and modulate expression of DNA repair genes.
Different polyphenolic components of soft fruits inhibit alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase.
Effect of Dietary Vitamin A on Reproductive Performance and Immune Response of Broiler Breeders.
The fetal and neonatal hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis.
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