The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland located in the front of the neck, just below the Adams apple. It produces hormones that affect the body’s energy level and metabolism. Thyroid problems usually come on slowly and are often mis-diagnosed.
The most common cause of over active thyroid is Graves’ disease, where the immune system over-stimulates the thyroid gland and too much thyroid hormone is produced. Symptoms include feeling hot, nervousness, irritability, jitteriness, shaking, palpitation, weight loss, exhaustion, changes to menstruation, increased frequency of bowel movements. Observable symptoms include warm moist skin, bulging eyes and eye irritation, a prominent stare and occasionally visual disturbances.
Treatment may be surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid, or the use of radioactive iodine to destroy part of the thyroid.
Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Multivitamin complex||Gives support to the thyroid gland.||as directed|
|Zinc||Needed for healthy function of the thyroid||as directed|
|Calcium||As the metabolism of calcium is affected in this disorder.||500 -1000mg daily|
|Turmeric||Can be helpful if the cause is an auto-immune disorder.||as directed|
|Ashwaganda||Moderates and balances the activity of the immune system.||as directed|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
The thyroid is very sensitive to heavy metals such as mercury, so it is worth getting a hair mineral analysis done.
It’s very important to check for and eliminate allergies, gluten and wheat wheat have been linked to this condition. A simple pin prick blood test can be done at home. See Food Detective.
The Brassica family (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, radishes, broccoli and kale) have small amounts of thiouracil, which inhibits the formation of thyroid hormone within the thyroid gland itself. If you are hyperthyroid you might benefit from eating these foods, cook them very lightly.
Soy contains phytoestrogens, which interfere with T4 reception in cell receptors.
Lemon balm tea helps reduce the stimulation of the receptor sites.
Cigarette smoking is linked to overactive thyroid.
Follow a well balanced diet with 5-7 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables daily. Eat good quality protein and include soya products in your diet.
Eliminate caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
Suggested further reading:
- Overactive thryoid explained
- Symptoms and treatments
- Food choices