Nutrients and hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is characterized by an increase in thyroid hormones within the body. It is often caused by Grave’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks and overstimulates the thyroid. The result is an extreme excess of thyroid hormones within the body.
Nutrients that have an impact on hyperthyroidism include:
While iodine was a traditional treatment for hyperthyroidism, long-term therapy using it has shown conflicting effects. Studies suggest that some people with hyperthyroidism do not experience the benefit of reduced thyroid hormone levels.
What is hyperthyroidism?
By definition, hyperthyroidism is the overactivity of your thyroid — a state that results in an excess of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
You may also experience frequent bowel movements and frequent sweating, along with a sensitivity to heat or bright light.
Medical attention is always required for hyperthyroidism. Left untreated, the high levels of thyroid hormones in your body can increase your risk of developing weak bones, heart problems, and more. Typically, your doctor will prescribe an antithyroid medication to balance the overactivity of the thyroid gland. Some treatment plans will include surgery or radiation therapy.
Along with prescribed treatments, managing your diet is an important step in supporting your thyroid health. Certain foods and the nutrients they contain can help balance the function of your thyroid.
Good foods for hyperthyroidism
Foods low in iodine
Research shows that iodine is an essential factor in the production of thyroid hormones. In the case of hyperthyroidism, consuming a low-iodine diet can help reduce the excess of thyroid hormones.
Low-iodine food choices include:
- Canned, fresh, and frozen vegetables and fruits
- Carbs like grain, cereal products, and pasta without iodine
- Egg whites
- Homemade bread made with non-iodized salt
- Honey and maple syrup
- Unsalted nuts and nut butters
Foods high in iron
Iron, which helps blood carry oxygen throughout the body, is essential to normal thyroid function. Eating iron-rich foods is a great way to potentially improve the health of your thyroid.
Foods that are rich in iron include:
- Fortified grain products like bread and cereal
- Lean meat
Foods high in selenium
Studies show that selenium plays an important role in thyroid health.
Selenium-rich foods include:
- Brazil nuts
- Cereals and other grain products
- Dairy products
- Fish and eggs
- Organ and muscle meats
Research has shown that some spices can have a positive effect on thyroid health. Turmeric, a popular spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties, may help reduce and manage hyperthyroidism. The same is true for consuming spices like green chili.
Bad foods for hyperthyroidism
Foods high in iodine
Research shows that iodine can aggravate the overproduction of thyroid hormones in hyperthyroidism. Consuming a low-iodine diet is essential for managing thyroid hormones.
High-iodine food choices to avoid include:
- Iodized salt
- Milk or dairy products — including butter, cheese, ice cream, milk chocolate, and yogurt
- Seafood — including fish, shellfish, sushi, kelp, or seaweed
- Soy products
- Vitamins or supplements that contain iodine
While caffeine may not directly affect the thyroid, the results of excessive intake are the same as some hyperthyroidism symptoms. Because of this, having a lot of caffeine in your diet may make it difficult to manage or observe the effects of a good hyperthyroidism diet.
- Black tea
- Energy drinks
American Thyroid Association: "Low Iodine Diet."
Canadian Medical Association Journal: "Diet and Hyperthyroidism."
Clinical Thyroidology: "Chronic potassium iodide therapy caused remission in about half of Graves’ patients who had side effects while taking antithyroid drugs."
Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism: "Turmeric use is associated with reduced goitrogenesis: Thyroid disorder prevalence in Pakistan (THYPAK) study."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Hyperthyroidism."
Journal of the Formosan Medical Association: "Hemoglobin, iron, and vitamin B12 deficiencies and high blood homocysteine levels in patients with anti-thyroid autoantibodies."
National Institutes of Health: "Iron."
National Institutes of Health: "Selenium."
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society: "Multiple nutritional factors and thyroid disease, with particular reference to autoimmune thyroid disease."
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glandular productsGlandular products are nutritional supplements used to enhance the function or mimic the effect of an organ. Glandular products can be used to treat hypothyroidism, low adrenal function, autoimmune disorders, adrenocortical insufficiency, hyperkalemia, ulcerative colitis, liver disorders, vascular insufficiencies, pancreatic disorders, and others. Common side effects of glandular products include allergic reactions, hyperthyroidism symptoms, iron overload, infection, and others.
How Does Graves Disease Affect the Body?Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. In this disease, there is an overproduction of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones control the body’s metabolism, so they affect almost all the organs of the body.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding.
Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms, Treatment, MedicationWhat are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism? What causes hyperthyroidism? What happens when you take thyroid medication? Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Learn hyperthyroidism causes, symptoms, and treatment.
iodineIodine is a trace mineral used by the body to produce thyroid hormones. Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) produced by the thyroid gland. Excessive iodine may lead to reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism) by feedback inhibition of thyroid hormone production and conversion of triiodothyronine (T3) to less active thyroxine (T4). Common side effects of iodine include metallic taste, fever, thyroid suppression, headache, joint pain (arthralgia), diarrhea, acne (high dose), hives (urticaria), fluid in lungs (pulmonary edema), swelling of tissue under the skin and mucous membranes (angioedema), and high blood count of eosinophil immune cells (eosinophilia).
levothyroxineLevothyroxine is a synthetic form of thyroid hormone used to treat hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), myxedema coma, pituitary TSH suppression, and organ preservation. Common side effects of levothyroxine may include fatigue, increased appetite, weight loss, heat intolerance, fever, excessive sweating, increase in pulse rate, increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), palpitations, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), chest pain (angina pectoris), congestive heart failure, heart attack (myocardial infarction), and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
lycopusExtracts from many of the lycopus species are used as an herbal remedy for insomnia, cough, anxiety, palpitations, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and many other conditions. Do not use lycopus if you have underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Do not use lycopus if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Limited available data do not show any significant side effects with recommended doses of lycopus.
methimazole, TapazoleMethimazole (Tapazole) is a medication used to treat hyperthyroidism. Grave's disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Review side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information prior to taking methimazole.
potassium iodidePotassium iodide is an oral medication that has been used for a long time as an expectorant to break up mucus and make it easier to cough up and eliminate phlegm. Potassium iodide is also used to inhibit thyroid hormone production in patients with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and thyrotoxicosis. Common side effects of potassium iodide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, gastrointestinal irritation or bleeding, metallic taste, iodide poisoning syndrome (iodism), and others. Use of potassium iodide during pregnancy can cause fetal harm.
Propylthiouracil (PTU)Propylthiouracil (PTU) is a medication prescribed to manage hyperthyroidism and Graves' disease. The most common side effects are related to the skin, such as rash, itching, hives, abnormal hair loss, and skin pigmentation. Since methimazole is associated with fetal abnormalities, PTU is used during the first trimester if an antithyroid drug is needed. PTU is excreted in breast milk in small amounts.
Thyroid Blood Tests
Thyroid blood tests determine the adequacy of the levels of thyroid hormones in in a patient. The blood tests can determine if the thyroid gland's hormone production is normal, overactive, or underactive. The level of thyroid hormones may help to diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. The test may also point to other diseases of conditions of the thyroid gland.
thyroid desiccatedThyroid desiccated is a dried form of thyroid, a naturally occurring hormone, used for replacement or supplemental therapy in people deficient in thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). Common side effects of thyroid desiccated include chest pain, palpitations, irregular heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia), high heart rate (tachycardia), shortness of breath (dyspnea), abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, increased appetite, excessive sweating (diaphoresis), hair loss (alopecia), fever, headache, heat intolerance, muscle pain (myalgia), cramps, impaired balance/coordination/speech (ataxia), tremor, and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Thyroid Disorders Symptoms and SignsThyroid diseases and disorders are caused because the body either makes too much or too little thyroid hormones, which are necessary for vital functions of the body.
Thyroid disease and disorder symptoms and signs depend on the type of the thyroid problem. Examples include heat or cold intolerance, sweating, weight loss or gain, palpitations, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, brittle hair, joint aches and pains, heart palpitations, edema, feeling bloated, puffiness in the face, reduced menstrual flow, changes in the frequency of bowel movements and habits, high cholesterol, hoarseness, brittle hair, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, a visible lump or swelling in the neck, tremors, memory problems, depression, nervousness, agitation, irritability, or poor concentration.
Thyroid problems are more common in women.
Thyroid DisordersThere are several types of thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. Symptoms vary by condition. Diagnosis is made with blood tests, scans, ultrasound, or biopsy. Treatments depend on the disorder and can include medication or surgery.
Illustrations of ThyroidThe thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. See a picture of the Thyroid and learn more about the health topic.
Your Thyroid: Common Thyroid Problems and Diseases ExplainedLearn about thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and more. Discover symptoms and treatments for various thyroid problems.
Thyroid QuizYour unexplained change in weight could indicate a thyroid condition. Take the Thyroid Quiz to learn about common symptoms and treatments of overactive and underactive thyroid disorders.
Thyroid ProblemsThe thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. The thyroid gland produces important thyroid hormones, which are produced by the pituitary gland. There are six types of thyroid problems. Home remedies, medications, surgery, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Usually, most types of thyroid problems can be managed with home remedies, medications, lifestyle changes (diet, yoga), and surgery.