Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Whole crushed black cumin seed – superior to extracted seed oils in that it contains all the immune enhancing glycoproteins and minerals which constitute and concentrate in the husk, is now shown to help people with hypothyroidism including Hashimoto’s disease. We have known this for years and recommended both oral and topical use of a blend of synergistic seeds – black cumin, raspberry and Chardonnay grape – the three most powerful anti-inflammatory seeds in nature. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease – its full name is Hashimoto’s auto-immune thyroiditis. (the “itis” at the end of the word means inflammation) So bring on natural anti-inflammation!
“…We have demonstrated beneficial effects of Nigella sativa in improving thyroid status, reducing VEGF and body weight in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis…”
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
SOURCE: BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016; 16: 471.
Published online 2016 Nov 16. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1432-2
ABSTRACT Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is an organ-specific T-cell mediated disease that affects the thyroid glands and is one of the most common human autoimmune disorders . The disease affects 2% of general population and is ten times more prevalent in women than in men [2, 3]. A significant proportion of patients have asymptomatic chronic autoimmune thyroiditis and 8% of woman (10% of woman over 55 years of age) and 3% of men have subclinical hypothyroidism .
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is characterized by the presence of thyroid auto-antibodies such as anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO-Ab) and anti-thyroglobulin (TG-Ab) antibodies in the serum while these antibodies have potential ability to deteriorate thyroid cells [5, 6]. The disease is characterized by gradual thyroid failure and occasional goiter development and the untreated forms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can ever lead to papillary thyroid cancer and thyroid carcinoma [7, 8].
From pathological point of view, thyroid enlargement and hyper-function in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is accompanied by a markedly increased blood flow and increased vascularization . A number of growth and vasoactive factors are produced in thyroid and are considered to be potentially responsible for changes in thyroid microvasculature and blood flow; vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) is a hemodynamic glycoprotein with potent angiogenic and vascular permeability enhancing activities . It has been proposed that VEGF and its receptors are present in epithelial cells of the thyroid and contribute in regulation of development and function of thyroid epithelial cells . In fact VEGF is unique among angiogenic factors because it is both vascular endothelial cell-specific mitogen and is secreted by thyroid cancer cells and high thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis promotes VEGF secretion from thyroid cancer cell lines .
Nesfatin-1, a peptide secreting from peripheral tissues, central and peripheral nervous system, is involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis related with food consumption mostly by passing through the blood–brain barrier . Moreover, several recent studies have proposed the possible role of Nesfatin-1 in in thyroid dysfunction [13, 14]. Liu et al.  reported that plasma Nesfain-1 levels are independently correlated with serum TSH concentrations in patients with T2DM. The Nesfatin-1 immuno-positive neurons have been reported to be co-localized with thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) neurons in the paraventricular nucleous (PVN) and the central Nesfatin-1 affects the membrane potential of TRH neurons suggesting the possible role of Nesfatin-1 in regulation of thyroid hormone function [16, 17].
Levothyroxine sodium is the treatment of choice for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; however its chronic use is related with cardiac dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy [18, 19] and rapid bone loss . Nigella sativa is one of the medicinal plants and belongs to the Ranunculaceae family . The seeds of the Nigella sativa are the main source of its active ingredients with considerable health promoting effects including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory properties and no side effects [21, 22]. Numerous researches have extensively studied therapeutic actions of Nigella sativa in improving chronic disease status including diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and gastritis especially in animal models; while human studies in this filed are scarce and limiting [23, 24]. Moreover the health effects of Nigella sativa in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis has been studied in only one animal model indicating its protective role in reversing hypothyroid status and ameliorating oxidative stress and thyroid cell damage in propylthiouracil (PTU)-induced hypothyroidism in rats . In the current randomized clinical trial we aimed to evaluate the potential therapeutic effects of Nigella sativa powder on thyroid function and serum VEGF and Nesfatin-1 concentrations in patients with Hashimoto thyroiditis.
The flowchart of the study is given in Fig. 1. A total of 40 patients completed the study. Three patients in Nigella sativa-treated group were excluded from the study because of itching and nausea; while four patients in control group refused to continue the trial. No other side effects were observed in the current study.
At baseline, there was no significant difference in general characteristics among groups. Nigella sativa supplementation significantly reduced anthropometric variables including weight, BMI, WC and HC in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (P < 0.05); while no significant change in placebo-treated group has been occurred (Table 1). Dietary energy and nutrient intakes before and after intervention are presented in Table 2. Energy and nutrient intakes were similar between groups before intervention and no significant change was observed after intervention. Serum TSH and anti-TPO concentrations reduced while serum T3 increased in Nigella sativa treated group (P < 0.05). Moreover, serum VEGF reduced significantly after 8 weeks of Nigella sativa supplementation (P = 0.02, Table 3). In stepwise multiple linear regression analysis when change in serum VEGF concentrations was entered as dependent variable and change in anthropometric variables and thyroid hormones as independent variables (Table 4) one model was obtained indicating change in WHR as predictor of change in VEGF concentrations. In similar procedure when change in serum Nesfatin-1 was entered as dependent variable, change in WHR, TSH and T3 were its predictors (P < 0.05).
We have demonstrated beneficial effects of Nigella sativa in improving thyroid status, reducing VEGF and body weight in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Although no significant change in serum Nesfatin-1 concentrations has been observed, change in anthropometric variables and thyroid hormones were significant predictors of changes in serum Nesfatin-1 concentrations.