Home remedies for hyperthyroidism include usage of various herbs such as hawthorn, bugleweed, motherwort, and lemon balm. The inclusion of foods like oats and food rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D may help in preventing problems associated with hyperthyroidism holistically. In addition to this regular exercise and proper sleep can be beneficial in curing hyperthyroid conditions.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism refers to the state of overactivity of the thyroid gland in the body. It is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormone and is also sometimes referred to as thyrotoxicosis. Thyrotoxicosis is a condition which is characterized by an increase in the level of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. The thyroid gland is a critical organ of the endocrine system which has a shape like a butterfly and is responsible for secreting this essential hormone into the blood. These hormones play a significant role in keeping the body energized and ensuring overall growth and smooth functioning of various critical processes and metabolism of the body.
The thyroid gland produces hormones which include tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3, T4 hormones regulate body metabolism. The thyroid hormones in the blood determine the metabolic rate. Pituitary gland located in the brain regulates the production of these hormones by secreting a chemical called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
Difference between Hyperthyroidism & Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid, whereas hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid. Both these conditions have opposite effects on the body – while hypothyroidism causes depression, weight gain, and tiredness; hyperthyroidism causes anxiety, increased heartbeats, and weight loss.
In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland slows down the production of hormones and thereby results in slowing down the metabolism. Hypothyroidism is mostly caused by a condition called Hashimoto’s disease, in which the body starts attacking its own immune system. This prevents the production of hormones by the thyroid gland.
In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland increases the production of hormone and thereby results in an overproduction of the hormones. This causes an increase in the metabolism. Hyperthyroidism can most commonly be seen in the form of Grave’s disease that causes goiter and inflammation of the eyes.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
According to the University of Maryland medical center, thyroid hits more women as compared to men and typically happens after 60 years. Causes of hyperthyroidism include:
Graves’ Disease: Graves’ disease is an autoimmune inflammatory disease and is the most commonly found reason for hyperthyroidism. It is characterized by the retraction of upper eyelids along with swelling and erythema. Graves’ disease is caused by the release of excess thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. This happens because of the antibodies present in the blood, stick to particular activating sites on the gland, which triggers the growth of thyroid gland resulting in excess secretion.
Toxic Nodular Goiter: Another reason for hyperthyroidism to occur is the gradual growth of lumps or nodules in the thyroid gland. These lumps lose their regulatory mechanism and boost the activity of thyroid gland resulting in excess secretion of the thyroid hormone into the blood. It is also known as multinodular goiter.
Immune System Malfunction: Some viral infection in the thyroid or immune system may also be a cause of hyperthyroidism. This condition also known as thyroiditis can cause leakage of stored thyroid hormone by the gland.
Excess of Iodine: Ingestion of excess iodine intentionally or inadvertently from various sources such as disinfectants and X-ray contrast mediums can also lead to hyperthyroidism in vulnerable individuals.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Due to the enlarged thyroid gland, people suffering from Graves’ disease may experience swelling in front of the neckline also known as ‘goiter’. Some patients may have raised upper eyelids making their eyes look enlarged and protruding.
Individuals suffering from hyperthyroidism might also experience other symptoms such as weakness in the upper arm and thigh muscles, heart palpitation, nervousness, intolerance to heat, increased sweating, trembling in hands, shortness of breath, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and thin and fragile hair. Apart from these, some patients may also have repeated bowel movement, loss of weight even with a good appetite.
Women suffering from hyperthyroidism may experience irregular menstrual cycle with the light menstrual flow. Overactive metabolism as a result of hyperthyroidism may primarily lead to an over-energized body. However, eventually, the body breaks down with the persisting hyperthyroidism leading to general body fatigue and tiredness.
Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism
Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is done by conducting a simple physical test generally detecting an enlarged thyroid gland and fast running pulse. The patient might exhibit rapid reflexes and as already stated, some abnormality in the eyes in case of Graves’ disease. The physician would also conduct lab test to confirm the level of tri-iodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and TSH. Tests conducted on an over-active thyroid gland normally result in low level of TSH and high level of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. In addition, the physician might also conduct a thyroid scan to reveal the basic cause and necessary details.
Home Remedies for Hyperthyroidism
Home remedies that provide relief from hyperthyroidism include:
Bugleweed is a traditional anti-thyroid herb that works by reducing the output of T4 hormone and slowing down the conversion of T4 to T3. This aids in inhibiting the production of excess thyroid hormone by restricting the ability of thyroid-stimulating antibodies in Graves’ disease. A study conducted on patients suffering from hyperthyroidism suggests that bugleweed may help in reduction of symptoms like restlessness, headaches, and palpitations.
Oats are valuable in hyperthyroidism to combat the weakness and exhaustion caused by the excess hormone secretion in the body. These excess thyroid hormones boost the metabolic rate of the body and increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, adds to the degree of stress and fatigue in the body. Oats have been traditionally considered as a mild stimulant and nervine effectual in nervous debility.
Avoid Diet Triggers
Certain foods which are a part of your normal diet may be the troublemakers in hyperthyroidism. Stimulating foods such as caffeine, alcohol, and other food items like soy, corn, and gluten based products are likely to cause problems. Encouraging the inclusion of food items like fresh fruits, sea vegetables, brassica and raw cruciferous veggies in your diet can prove valuable in hyperthyroidism.
Another effective remedy for hyperthyroidism is the lemon balm. Extracts from lemon balm have a restrictive effect on TSH which obstructs the activation of the thyroid gland. This, in turn, assists in reducing over secretion of thyroid hormone. Along with this, lemon balm works at the ground level by detoxifying the body and strengthening the immune system.
Motherwort has been considered as a valuable remedy for hyperthyroidism attributing to its anti-thyroid activities. Motherwort has the qualities of a natural beta blocker and helps in providing symptomatic relief from cardiac symptoms like palpitation and elevated heart rate. Definitely, you cannot replace the commercial beta blocker with this but it is an effective natural method to combat the heart-related symptoms.
Hawthorn is a time-honored European medicine attributing to its cardiovascular benefits. It has been trusted by both conventional as well modern studies for its positive effects on coronary blood flow, energy utilization, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All these factors make hawthorn a potent remedy for cardio symptoms implicated in hyperthyroid conditions.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Hyperthyroidism may have detrimental effects on the bone health and may lead to thinning of bones. It becomes extremely vital to get that extra dose of calcium and vitamin D on a daily basis to prevent your bones from the risk of osteoporosis. Discuss with your physician regarding the dietary guidelines and about the requirement of additional calcium and vitamin D.
Magnesium plays a key role in maintaining thyroid health particularly with respect to the metabolism of iodine which is again critical for the body. A study conducted on hyperthyroid patients has shown a significant reduction in calcium, magnesium, and zinc concentrations. The inclusion of magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds in the diet can greatly help to compensate for the deficit in the body.
Cut Down on Sugar & Refined Foods
Eliminating refined foods and sugar from their diet is another thing from which the people suffering from hyperthyroidism can benefit from. Excess of these foods will lead to a rush in the insulin and cortisol hormone which in due course will begin to strain the adrenal glands and pancreas. Improper or weaker functioning of adrenal glands may lead to weaker immunity which in turn can make way for autoimmune disorders such as Graves’ disease.
Get Proper Sleep
This is yet another factor which contributes to the weaker adrenal glands. Insufficient sleep can affect the adrenal activities which as mentioned already is not good for hyperthyroidism. One should ensure to take enough sleep to keep the body and mind calm and relaxed.
Kick Away Stress
Stress can aggravate any problem on this earth. Chronic stress can also contribute to the growth of hyperthyroidism. While it won’t be possible to eliminate stress completely out of our lives, you should definitely make a strong effort to keep a positive attitude and handle stress in a constructive manner. A composed mind and body can go long way in combating with hyperthyroidism.
Exercising regularly can help in hyperthyroidism. It helps in blood circulation and ensures good cardiac and adrenal activity. Post medical advice, you can engage in a specific regime of cardiac exercise for better results.
Reduce Exposure to Environmental Toxins
Certain environmental toxins can have negative effects on the thyroid health. While you cannot totally change the exposure outside, go for natural products while choosing household items to minimize the exposure at home.
In case you have been diagnosed with Graves’ disease then you may try soothing your eyes using a cool compress, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful ultra-violet radiations, keep your head elevated than the rest of your body to reduce the fluid accumulation in the head. This would also alleviate the pressure on your eyes. These easy home remedies can be utilized to bring relief from swelling and erythema or redness caused by Graves’ disease.
Hyperthyroidism: Key Tips to Remember
Do not miss or alter your thyroid medication without a discussion with you endocrine doctor. Please be advised that these herbs are not recommended for emergency circumstances such as thyroid storm occurrence. Depending on the severity of the disorder, it becomes necessary to take anti-thyroid medication and beta blockers on a provisional basis or longer. However, for a prolonged duration, proper thyroid medication along with holistic and natural approach for treating hyperthyroidism can go a long way and help lead a normal life.