Natural Ways to Manage Hyperthyroidism
"Hyperthyroidism is less common than underactive thyroid, but it still affects many people."
Today we are wrapping up Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD’s series on thyroid health by taking a look at what happens when you have an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism.
Dr. Nancy will take you through the causes, signs and symptoms of this condition, also known as Grave’s Disease. You'll also learn great tips to better manage symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism.
- 00:06: Thyroid-friendly salad recipe
- 08:17: What hyperthyroidism is
- 11:13: Contributors to hyperthyroidism
- 12:29: Foods to remove from your diet
- 13:07: Gluten and dair
- 13:40: Artificial flavors and dyes
- 14:01: Refined sugars
- 14:55: Packaged and processed foods
- 15:14: Foods you should add to your diet
- 15:56: Green juices
- 16:19: Calcium-rich nondairy foods
- 16:52: Anti-inflammatory herbs
- 17:14: Cruciferous vegetables
- 17:59: Seeds
- 18:30: Lemon balm
- 19:20: Ginger and turmeric
- 20:52: The benefits of essential oils
- 25:53: Summing it up
Thyroid-Friendly Summer Salad Recipe
We're starting this article with a recipe! Whip up this delicious salad, which is perfect for people with an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism, and then check out the rest of the article.
- Raw beets. You can use red or yellow golden beets. Prep beets by chopping into bite-sized portions and adding olive oil, herbs of your choice, and Himalayan sea salt
- 1 cup of cauliflower. Saute in a pan so it’s softer
- 1/2 cucumber, diced. Persian cucumbers, if you prefer a sweeter taste.
- 3 radishes, diced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil. You can use the ones that are liquid at a room temperature or you can use the solid version.
- 1 tbsp chia seeds, a great source of healthy fats
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and toss, sprinkling the chia seeds on top. Add a splash of your favorite vinegar, to taste. Put your ingredients on a bed of mixed greens, and you have a delicious, thyroid-friendly salad that’s just right for spring and summer days!
Did you know the cilantro is a very powerful detoxifying herb? It's a great staple to have in your in your refrigerator. It helps to stabilize blood sugar, fights infection and much more. We’re highlighting cilantro, specifically, because it is considered to be the number one herb for taking the metals out of your body.
Heavy metal toxicity in the body from lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, and arsenic can seriously affect your thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism is less common than underactive thyroid, called hypothyroidism, but it still affects many, many people. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland becomes overactive. And when it's overactive, it produces too much of the T4 and T3 hormones. The most common type of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune disorder called Graves Disease, which is a condition where your body is producing an antibody known as thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI).
This TSI causes your thyroid gland to overproduce the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. When this occurs, you may experience all kinds of unpleasant signs and symptoms including: increased anxiety, trouble sleeping, constant agitation, or feelings of irritability — some people describe it as being unable to "turn off", or feeling constantly frenetic — an increased sensitivity to smell, thinning of the hair, irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations, excessive sweating, and sudden weight loss.
Contributors to Hyperthyroidism
There are several contributing factors to hyperthyroidism, but the main contributors include leaky gut syndrome, hormonal imbalances, toxicity from chemicals and heavy metals found in processed foods, pesticides, cleaning agents, shampoos, soaps, plastics, and food allergies. This includes reactions to gluten, reactions to dairy and soy, corn, preservatives, and chemical food additives.
Hyperthyroidism can be really serious if you ignore it. So, if you do suspect that you might have it, you need to see your doctor or a healthcare professional. Several treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. In severe cases, doctors may have to use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of the thyroid hormones. Sometimes treatment even involves surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems as well, which can make it really difficult to diagnose.
Foods to remove from your diet
Since hyperthyroidism is a condition in which our thyroid gland produces too much of the thyroid thyroxine, we really want to avoid any foods or additives that further stimulate the thyroid to increase production of the T3 and T4. We recommend that you avoid the following foods:
Gluten and dairy products
Both gluten and dairy products have been shown to intensify symptoms of leaky gut syndrome and inflammation, which both contribute to autoimmune issues and can result in an overproduction of thyroid hormones. So take the gluten and the dairy out of your diet.
Artificial flavors and dyes
The chemicals in these products cause inflammation, can trigger allergic reactions and stimulate thyroid function.
Sugar increases inflammation in your body almost immediately. It can make all autoimmune diseases, including hyperthyroidism, worse. Sugar fuels the growth of all sorts of harmful pathogens in your gut and is a major contributor to inflammation in the lining of your intestines, and a direct cause of leaky gut syndrome.
Packaged and processed foods
Packaged and processed foods are loaded with the sugar, fillers, trans fats and artificial flavors and chemicals, all which have been linked to inflammation and autoimmune conditions including the Graves disease and the hyperthyroidism.
Incorporate thyroid-friendly foods
When it comes to seeing improvements in your thyroid function and especially addressing hyperthyroidism, the best place to start is by improving your diet. It's the one of the most controllable thing you can do. Replace the above foods with natural, healing foods, such as:
Include these in your diet every day! Fresh green juices from nutrient-dense vegetables such as kale and spinach provide vital nutrients that are essential for reducing the inflammation and regulating the thyroid function.
Calcium-rich non-dairy foods
This includes broccoli, almonds, parsley, fresh turnips, beans, bok choi, salmon, chestnuts, and citrus fruits. Not only are these foods powerful antioxidants, they also help prevent osteoporosis, which is very common in people with hyperthyroidism.
Eat herbs like basil, rosemary, cilantro, and oregano. All of these are anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants, and help improve the thyroid function.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, kale, and bok choi. These nutritional powerhouses contain goitrogens that block the production of excess thyroid hormone. They need to be eaten raw or slightly cooked (steamed to al dente, or blanched) for maximum benefit. Steam them very lightly for a couple minutes after the water has boiled.
There are three types of excellent seeds: flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. These all contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and they are very important for normal function of the thyroid gland. These should be part of any diet designed to support and manage hyperthyroidism.
This little known but powerful herb helps to normalize an overactive thyroid. Lemon balm blocks activity of the antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland and restores your thyroid activity to a healthy balanced level. Take a couple of sprigs of fresh lemon balm, and put them in hot water for a delicious lemon balm tea. You can also toss lemon balm it in a salad, or add it to your morning green juices or smoothies.
Ginger and turmeric
Both these roots are anti-inflammatory and can help boost immune function. Turmeric is one of the best things that you can put into your foods. It is super, super fast acting in the body. Also, inside turmeric is curcumin. the bioactive ingredient. If you want to experience the full effect, you need to have a supplement. The right kind of supplementation can really be an inflammation game-changer. So take Smarter Curcumin every single day. It includes the bioactive curcumin, as well as ginger root, astragalus, and black seed oil, so it’s a powerhouse inflammation fighter.
The benefits of essential oils for managing hyperthyroidism
Essential oils can't stop your body from producing too much thyroid hormone, but some oils can help improve the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Lemongrass. This oil can be used for cleaning around the house. Add to vinegar, water, and baking soda for a great homemade cleaner. Lemongrass makes everything smell fresh and clean, and is well-known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. You can also diffuse it into the air. If you have a swollen or inflamed thyroid area, applying lemongrass topically can provide some relief. Make sure that you use a carrier oil, like almond oil, jojoba oil, or fractionated coconut oil, as lemongrass applied directly to the skin without a carrier oil can burn.
- Frankincense. Frankincense also has anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and pain relieving properties. It is really effective in treating dry skin, which can be a symptom of hyperthyroidism. It relieves the flaking and the itching and it helps your skin heal. Remember, frankincense, just like a lemongrass, is quite potent and you need to dilute it with another oil. Use one drop of frankincense with a three or four drops of the carrier oil, and apply to dry patches on your skin.
- Lavender is probably one of the most popular and well-known essential oils. If you are experiencing anxiety, irritability, or mood swings caused by the hyperthyroidism, use lavender oil. Lavender oil has been used for centuries as an agent to promote relaxation and calm. You can add it to nearly anything, or diffuse it in the air to help you feel more calm. You can even get an essential oil diffuser for your car! When you diffuse essential oils like lavender into the air, it creates a sense of wellbeing and peace.
- Wintergreen. The active ingredient inside wintergreen oil is methyl salicylate. It has been demonstrated to have pain relieving properties similar to those provided by aspirin. It's kind of like Icy Hot, in that it has both a cooling effect, and a heated effect. You can massage wintergreen oil into areas that are uncomfortable or dry. It soothes tired muscles and your joints, especially those caused by thyroid conditions.
Summing it up
In part one of the series, we covered the thyroid gland: what it is, why it’s important, and the effects of imbalance. In part two, we learned about hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's. Today in part three, we discussed hyperthyroidism, a condition caused when the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormones. And we also discussed Graves disease, the most common type of hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism and Graves' disease include weight loss, increased anxiety and irritability, inability to relax, trouble sleeping, thinning hair, and irregular heartbeats.
If you are suffering from Graves disease, we recommend adjusting your diet by avoiding gluten, dairy, refined sugars, artificial colorings and dyes, trans fats, and processed and packaged foods, all of which contribute to the inflammation in your body. Inflammation affects the body's immune response and can then in turn stimulate the overproduction of thyroid hormones. It becomes an unhealthy cycle, unless you break it!
Start by removing inflammatory foods from your diet, and then implement good habits and foods that decrease your inflammation. Eat the foods that are known to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties including: green juices, fresh herbs, cruciferous vegetables, raw nuts, healthy seeds, ginger, and turmeric.
We also recommend the use of good quality supplementation with Smarter Curcumin and also Smarter Gut Health, a probiotic that restores the bacteria balance in your gut. Gut Health is really important as well, especially if you're experiencing leaky gut syndrome.
We also reviewed effective ways to support thyroid health and alleviate symptoms of hyperthyroidism and reviewed some natural, organic essential oils including lemongrass, frankincense, lavender, and wintergreen.