Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed when TSH is low and Free T4 is high on blood tests. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is auto-immune thyroiditis or Graves’ disease.
REQUEST AN INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH DR. DIANA JOY OSTROFFThe symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be difficult to deal with, which is why many people take anti-thyroid drugs and/or beta blockers, while others receive radioactive iodine treatment. While it is sometimes necessary to take these prescription drugs on a temporary basis, the problem is that these conventional treatments do absolutely nothing for the actual cause of the condition, and a treatment such as radioactive iodine will obliterate the thyroid gland. On the other hand, the goal of an effective natural hyperthyroid treatment protocol is to not just manage the symptoms, but to restore your health back to normal, which is possible for many people.
As a result, many people are choosing natural hyperthyroid treatment methods over conventional medical treatment methods. While some will continue taking drugs or will receive radioactive iodine treatment, more and more people are realizing how important their thyroid gland is, and thus are doing everything they can to preserve the health of this gland. After all, the thyroid gland affects every cell and tissue in the body, and so the last thing you should want to do is destroy this important gland. While not everyone is a candidate for natural treatment methods, many people with hyperthyroidism can benefit from a natural hyperthyroid treatment protocol.
Conventional diagnosis and treatment of hyperthyroidism will either use drugs to suppress the thyroid gland and hope the body will revert back to normal levels, or destroy the thyroid gland, and then the patient will need to be on thyroid medications for life.
Graves’ disease patients are often given no treatment choices except to either have their thyroid removed and/or destroyed, or to take suppressive drugs only to have the more invasive thyroid procedures later. The thyroid medications (methimazole and propylthiouracil) are effective at controlling symptoms of Graves’ disease, but are toxic and have numerous side effects.
A naturopathic approach to limit medications and control symptoms
A natural plan for Graves’ disease begins with an anti-inflammatory diet and naturopathic medicinal agents. These agents can be essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, herbs, homeopathic medicine and/or bio-identical hormone therapy. All these should be prescribed by a licensed naturopathic physician specializing in thyroid issues to help restore health and balance, not just mask the symptoms.
Creating a nutrition program specifically tailored to the patient and removing offending foods and chemicals may be suggested.
In addition to specific and individualized dietary recommendations, naturopathic medicinal support, as well as modifications in a patient’s lifestyle, might then begin to replace the need for medications.
Since the thyroid medications may have toxic side effects, the goal is to be on as low a dose as possible, if medications are indeed indicated. A qualified naturopathic doctor can usually devise a protocol that will be effective in treating the symptoms, as well as creating health and well-being for the totality of the patient.
Tailoring the treatment to the patient
Grave’s disease is viewed as an immune system disorder that effects the thyroid gland. There are numerous factors that can unbalance the immune system. Each person is different, so the same disease may require different treatment plans. The trigger of one person’s auto-immune disease may be mostly related to gastrointestinal issue, while in another person it may have more to do with exposure to heavy metals.
The ultimate goal of natural therapy is to regulate the immune system, so it no longer attacks the thyroid. Regulating the immune system means returning it to normal and healthy function. This is not the same thing as suppressing the immune system with drugs.
Some supplements are generally helpful for most people with auto-immune disease (ie. fish oil, vitamin D, anti-inflammatories such as curcumin). At times when working with patients I will use more specialized supplements, such as isopathics, homeopathy, and customized topical cremes for goiter, or swelling on lymph nodes. This is always part of an individualized plan. There is no “Graves’ disease protocol” for everyone. This is why it’s best to work one-on-one with a natural health care professional.
Basic supplements of lithium, vitamins A and D, selenium and herbs bugleweed, lemon balm, motherwort and passionflower, in a medicinal form, may be useful. But always make sure they are prescribed properly by a licensed naturopathic physician who has been trained and licensed to prescribe them.
Please note that, just like medicine, these supplements and herbs can have side effects if not used properly or in the proper combination.
*Results may vary from person to person.