Thyroid Series: Hyperthyroidism Part #1

Thyroid Nodules, hyperthyroid

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Welcome to our Thyroid Series of blog articles. This article covers hyperthyroidism and how to address it using Functional Medicine and diet.

Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormones.

1.2% of people in the US have hyperthyroidism, which is approximately 1 person out of 100 (National Institutes of Health, 2016). Hyperthyroidism is less common that underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism.

Women are 2 to 10 times more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism (National Institutes of Health, 2016).

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

  • Nervousness, anxiety, irritability
  • Increased sweating
  • Heart racing, fast or uneven heartbeat or palpitations (pounding in the heart)
  • Hand tremors: shaking in hands and fingers
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Thinning skin
  • Fine, brittle hair
  • Weakness in muscles, especially in the upper arms and thighs
  • Many people initially have a lot of energy. But as time goes on the body tends to break down, so being tired becomes very common
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • A swollen thyroid (called a goiter), swelling at the base of your neck
  • Losing weight suddenly, without trying
  • Having more bowel movements, diarrhea is not common
  • Changes in menstrual cycle, menstrual flow may lighten and menstrual periods may occur less often

Hyperthyroidism Causes

  • Graves’ disease
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Thyroiditis
  • Postpartum thyroiditis
  • Excess medication
  • Excess iodine

Other Root Causes of Hyperthyroidism

  • Gluten
  • Mercury
  • Leaky gut / Gut health
  • Infections
  • Inflammation

The Standard Medical Treatment for Hyperthyroidism:

  • Medication: Anti-thyroid drugs or Beta-blockers
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Surgery

Functional Medicine Solutions to Hyperthyroidism:

There are also many non-pharmaceutical solutions to address hyperthyroidism. It is best to work with a FM practitioner to assess your case and decide on the best protocol for you, as sometimes medications are helpful or even necessary.

Diet for Hyperthyroidism

Foods to avoid:

  • High-iodine foods: Sea vegetables: Kelp, dulse, nori or other kinds of seaweed, Seafood: Shrimp, scallops, crab, oysters, etc., Fish, especially from saltwater: Cod, tuna, canned salmon, sushi, Iodized salt, Dairy products: avoid cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc., Eggs, Prunes, Iodine supplements
  • Gluten
  • Nitrates
  • Caffeine
  • Processed, packaged, fast or junk foods, excess sugar and vegetable & seed oils

We recommend following a whole-foods based, blood sugar-balancing, anti-inflammatory diet. Examples are the Paleo diet or a gluten-free Mediterranean diet.

In addition, specific foods should be eaten to help thyroid function:

  • Eat a low-iodine diet. Low iodine foods include: Non-iodized salt, Fresh, canned and frozen vegetables in cooked or raw form, Unprocessed meats, including beef, pork and poultry, Rice, Egg whites, Fresh fruit, Unsalted nuts, Unsalted nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter, Dark, non-dairy chocolate
  • Get adequate selenium.
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables. 

For the detailed version of this article, please CLICK HERE.

** Follow our blog next week **

Hyperthyroidism & Solutions Part #2

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