Can hyperthyroidism be cured?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, leading to symptoms such as anxiety, weight loss, and fatigue.
While there is no cure for hyperthyroidism, it can be managed with lifestyle changes such as diet modifications and supplements.
In this article, we will discuss how to manage hyperthyroidism through dietary changes and supplement use. We will also explore potential risks associated with these treatments so that you can make an informed decision about your healthcare options.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. This condition can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, irritability, and anxiety.
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder), an enlargement of the thyroid gland called a goiter or certain medications.
Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Weight loss
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
Can Hyperthyroidism be Cured?
The proper cure for hyperthyroidism depends on the underlying cause, but unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all cure.
Hyperthyroidism is not a condition you have to live with forever.
Doctors offer different methods of treatment, from radiation therapy which can damage the thyroid so it isn't producing too much hormone, to surgery which removes all or part of the gland.
With Graves' disease in particular these treatments are necessary and although they won’t eliminate symptoms completely long-term management may still be needed but you don't need to suffer indefinitely!
Will Hyperthyroidism Go Away On Its Own?
The short answer is that it depends on the cause of the problem.
Most cases of hyperthyroidism are caused by Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to produce too much thyroxine.
In some cases, Graves’ disease will go away on its own—a phenomenon known as spontaneous remission—but this is rare.
The odds of spontaneous remission depend largely on age; younger people have a higher chance of Graves’ disease going away without treatment than older individuals do.
Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland that can occur after a viral infection or other medical condition. In most cases, this inflammation resolves itself within 6-18 months and no further treatment is necessary.
Subacute thyroiditis (also known as De Quervain's thyroiditis) is usually caused by a viral infection and may cause symptoms similar to those of Graves’ disease. However, this type usually resolves itself within 3-6 months without any treatment or medication.
In addition, pregnant women may experience temporary remission due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. But even if the condition does spontaneously resolve itself during pregnancy, it may sometime return after childbirth.
However, these types of hyperthyroidism are relatively rare compared to Graves' disease - making up only about 5% of all cases - so for most people with hyperthyroidism, it will not simply “go away” without treatment.
Cures for Hyperthyroidism
While there are various ways to manage and treat hyperthyroidism, the most common treatments are diet modification and supplement use.
Generally, diet plays an important role in health and wellness. Eating a balanced diet can help regulate hormone levels and reduce symptoms, including fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, weight loss, and heart palpitations.
Foods to include:
Since iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, it is important to limit iodine intake if you have hyperthyroidism.
- Non-iodized salt
- Egg white
- Unsalted nuts & butter
Gut health has been linked to thyroid health, so it is important to consume foods that promote gut health.
- Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut
- Bone broth
- Fruits & vegetables
There has been a common misconception that cruciferous vegetables can worsen hyperthyroidism, but the evidence is limited.
These vegetables are actually nutrient-dense and contain compounds like glucosinolates that help support thyroid health.
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
Iron is very important for thyroid hormone production, so it is important to include iron-rich foods in your diet.
- Organ meats like liver
- Red meat
- Beans & lentils
- Whole grains
Being deficient in selenium can worsen hyperthyroidism, so it is important to include foods high in this mineral. Selenium balances iodine levels and helps to reduce thyroid antibodies.
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Weak bones are a common symptom of hyperthyroidism, so it is important to get plenty of calcium.
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale
- White beans
- Collard greens
The immune system must be kept strong to support the balanced production of hormones and to keep your thyroid healthy. Zinc plays a crucial role in immune health and is important for people with hyperthyroidism.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Beef & lamb
- Cocoa powder
Inflammation can be a major factor in thyroid health, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation.
- Olive oil
- Nuts & seeds
- Coconut oil
Foods to Avoid:
Since iodine can contribute to hyperthyroidism, high-iodine foods should be avoided.
- Seafood like seaweed, prawns, crabs
- Egg yolk
- Iodized salt
Gluten has been linked to autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease, so people with hyperthyroidism should avoid it.
- Soy sauce
Processed & refined foods
Processed and refined foods can contribute to inflammation, which can worsen hyperthyroidism.
- Packaged snacks & meals
- Sugary treats
- Fast food
- Hydrogenated oils
We live in times when foods are not as nutrient-dense as before, so supplementing may be necessary to ensure you are getting all the important nutrients.
Here are some supplements that could potentially help support thyroid health:
This is an essential nutrient for energy metabolism and hormone production. It can help with fatigue, insomnia, and hair loss.
As mentioned before, selenium is an important mineral for regulating iodine levels and reducing thyroid antibodies.
This essential mineral helps support immune health and can help reduce inflammation. Taking a zinc supplement can help support thyroid health.
Low vitamin D levels have been linked to autoimmune diseases like hyperthyroidism. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 can help reduce inflammation and regulate hormone production.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These essential fatty acids can help reduce inflammation, which is important for keeping the thyroid healthy.
Iron helps with energy production and hormone production, so it is important to supplement if you are deficient in this nutrient.
Other treatments for hyperthyroidism
Other than diet and supplements, there are other treatments that may help manage hyperthyroidism.
- Radioactive iodine therapy: This is a treatment option for people with Graves’ disease or toxic multinodular goiter. A small dose of radioactive iodine is taken to destroy the thyroid cells and reduce the number of hormones being produced.
- Beta-blockers: These medications are used to reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as anxiety and tremors.
- Surgery: This is a last-resort option for people with severe hyperthyroidism. The surgeon will remove part or all of the thyroid gland to stop the production of hormones.
Your Functional Medicine doctor can help you decide the best course of treatment for your particular situation. They may recommend diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, or other treatments to support optimal thyroid health.
With the right combination of therapies, you can manage hyperthyroidism and live a healthy and happy life.
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