Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland becomes overactive resulting in Thyrotoxicosis. Thyrotoxicosis is a condition characterized by elevated levels of circulating thyroid hormones. The most common cause is Graves disease, also known as Autoimmune Hyperthyroidism. It can also be caused by toxic nodular hyperthyroidism, Thyroiditis, excessive iodine intake, and overuse of hypothyroid medicines.
In blood tests, these patients will present with elevated levels of T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (Triiodothyronine) along with reduced levels of TSH. The elevation of thyroid hormones results in speeding up of all processes in the body starting with metabolism.
When thyroid hormones are elevated, a patient may experience symptoms such as:
– Weight loss
– Excessive sweating
– An increased frequency of bowel movements
– Fine tremors
– Thyroid enlargement
– Ophthalmopathy (bulging of eyes)
Shankhapushpi is an Ayurvedic herb which is used for treating metabolic, neurological and psychiatric disorders. In a clinical trial, 980 patients with Thyrotoxicosis were divided into three groups. Each group was either given an ayurvedic herb known as Shankhapushpi, a standard pharmaceutical drug known as neo-mercazole or both combined. Shankhapushpi was found to be more effective than the pharmaceutical drug in early cases of Thyrotoxicosis. Shankhapushpi also had no side-effects (see study). Keep in mind that this is an Ayurvedic herb and can have serious adverse effects if misused. Ayurvedic herbs do have drug interactions and should only be used under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid which has been well studied for treating a wide range of illnesses including Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Hepatic Encephalopathy, and Hyperthyroidism. In a clinical trial, supplementation with L-Carnitine resulted in the reversal and prevention of symptoms of hyperthyroidism as well as improved bone mineralization (see study).
3. Other herbs that have demonstrated Anti-Thyroid effects in experimental research:
– Bugleweed (see study)
– Lemon balm (see study)
– Gypsywort (see study)
In this condition, I have found that different patients require different types of diets. It is best to have a diet put together by an Ayurvedic doctor or dietitian. However, I will explain a few brief details about what goes into a typical anti-thyroid diet.
It is crucial to consume foods that are iodine-free or low in iodine, anti-inflammatory, anti-thyroid, and osteogenic.
Low-iodine foods such as non-iodized salt, eggs whites, honey, potatoes, fruit.
Anti-thyroid foods such as cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, broccoli, etc).
Anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, turmeric, blueberries, etc
Osteogenic foods such as beef liver, fatty fish, mushrooms, spinach, kale, etc
Supplementation with certain nutrients such as Vitamin D is also important for managing this condition. Make sure to have proper nutritional testing done to make sure you cover all essential nutrients as well as co-factors.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a physician)
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by Dr. Nishal Ramnunan BAMS
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