If you have hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease and are looking for natural treatment solutions to bring the thyroid back to health and vitality whilst possibly avoiding radioactive iodine, then read on.
When our thyroid gland is overactive and makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone, it can result in Hyperthyroidism. As our thyroid controls hormones that regulate metabolic processes, an overactive thyroid can impact many of our bodies systems, such as energy levels, heart, kidney and even reproductive systems.
Hyperthyroid conditions account for about 20% of thyroid disease cases. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease, other causes include excess iodine consumption, excess thyroid hormone medication dosing or the presence of thyroid nodules. It can also be caused by thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid which may occur due to a virus or bacteria, an autoimmune disease or is triggered postpartum.
Graves’ disease being the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, is fundamentally an auto-immune disease, anti-thyroid drugs, surgery or radioactive iodine may only provide temporary relief. It does not treat the underlying root cause of Graves’ disease – autoimmune dysfunction and could lead to a state of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) as well as many other health complications. If you go from Hyper to Hypo-thyroidism you will go from “sweaty betty” to “sleeping beauty” and neither of these is the preferred option!
Risk factors for hyperthyroidism include:
- Being female – A family history of thyroid disease
- Taking or consuming excess iodine – Having Addisons’ disease
- Having type 1 diabetes – Have recently given birth
- Being Vitamin B12 deficient – Having a goitre or thyroid surgery
- Vitamin D deficiency has a strong link to Graves’ disease
- Stress has also a strong link to Graves’ disease
There is a wide variety of symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism, many of which are not overtly obvious, over time however one or several of these symptoms can seriously impact a persons day to life.
- Anxiety, nervousness and erratic mood changes
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat and hypertension
- Hand Tremors and Shakiness.
- Heat Intolerance and Excessive Sweating and dehydration
- Appetite, weight changes, nausea and vomiting.
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Insomnia and night sweats
- Fatigue, muscle weakness and/or spontaneous paralysis
- Fertility issues and menstrual irregularities.
- Increased frequency of bowel movements.
- Thinning or greying hair, peeling nails.
- Shortness of breath, hyperventilation or difficulty breathing
- Goitre, swollen neck or nodules
Early detection can help avoid more serious complications such as osteoporosis, diabetes, early onset menopause and cardiovascular issues.
Natural medicine in the form of herbs, minerals, vitamins and dietary protocols can assist in both alleviating symptoms and balancing thyroid hormones.
Magnesium is extremely valuable in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. It assists in stabilising blood sugar levels, reducing heart palpitations, arrhythmia, insomnia, stress and anxiety. It is also useful in reducing muscle fatigue, cramping and tremors.
You can boost your Magnesium levels by consuming seeds, legumes, wholegrains and nuts.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to assist in protecting thyroid cells from damage. Research has shown that patients who combine selenium with conventional treatment are more likely to recover as compared to taking conventional treatment alone.
Dietary sources of Selenium can be found in grains, chicken, turkey, eggs, spinach and fish. The recommended daily allowance is 150 mcg and it can be toxic in high doses, so always consult a Naturopath before supplementing.
Lemon Balm assists in the treatment of hyperthyroidism by decreasing the conversion of thyroid hormones and preventing thyroid-stimulating hormone binding to its receptor, reducing its activity. Research has demonstrated Lemon Balms ability to significantly reduce anxiety-related symptoms including insomnia.
Kudzu acts in a similar manner to beta-blockers, to reduce physical symptoms of hyperthyroidism. It has been shown to be effective in reducing palpitations, sweating, tremor and hypertension.
It may surprise you to know that Vitamin D is more of a steroid hormone and less of a vitamin. Too much or too little can lead to serious health issues which is why professional guidance is important especially if you have a complex underlying health condition such as Graves’ disease.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
It is recommended that those suffering from Hyperthyroidism avoid consuming foods rich in iodine such as seaweed as this may increase thyroid hormone production. Reduce intake of all stimulants such as caffeine, which may increase your metabolism and worsen symptoms.
Make sure that sufficient protein and caloric requirements are being met, a ratio of 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight is recommended in those with these elevated metabolic demands.
Hyperthyroidism is a complex condition, it can impact a person’s life in many different ways, however, early identification and the support of natural therapies may help to reduce the severity of conditional effects and symptoms.
To find out more make an appointment with one of our Naturopaths that specialises in Thyroid treatments.