A hyperthyroidism diet varies based on the underlying cause for the disease. Hyperthyroidism is a disease of the thyroid in which the gland is enlarged or overproduces, resulting in too many hormones in the blood stream. Though diet and exercise will not cure hyperthyroidism, nutrition can play an important part in the disease.
If you've been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, you may be wondering what you can do about it and if a hyperthyroidism diet can influence the disease. The truth is that in most cases of hyperthyroidism, diet has very little to do with whether or not you develop it. In rare cases, however, diet is a contributing factor. Below are two of those reasons.
- High Iodine Consumption - Though it isn't common, there have been cases of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism. Though iodine is a common ingredient in table salt, most usually individuals with iodine-induced hyperthyroidism will develop the condition as a result of taking iodine supplements or vitamin supplements that contain iodine. When this type of hyperthyroidism occurs, it is possible to reverse the conditions by removing excess iodine in the diet.
- Consumption of Thyroid Hormones - In another rare case, hyperthyroidism or other thyroid disorders can occur as a result of human consumption of foods, usually meats, contaminated with thyroid tissues that contain hormones.
The Connection with Celiac Disease
Another dietary connection has to do with a completely separate disease called celiac disease. Individuals suffering with celiac disease are more likely to develop Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the majority of cases of hyperthyroidism. In this case, too, the disease cannot be reversed with diet, but it can be better managed through the consumption of a diet free of gluten, a protein that causes severe illness in celiac disease patients.
How Hyperthyroidism Affects Weight Loss
One of the first symptoms of this condition is weight loss. This results because the overproducing thyroid glands affect an afflicted person's metabolism. Individuals already trying to lose weight may feel encouraged by the weight loss. However, it's important to consult a doctor immediately if you are experiencing unexpected or unexplained weight loss. Through medication and control of the disease, weight can be regained and loss can be halted.
Other symptoms of the condition include the following:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Difficulty sleeping
- Thinning hair
- Increased number of bowel movements
- Light menstrual flow
- Enlargement of the eyes
The Other Side of the Coin
Hyperthyroidism is often confused with another condition called Hypothyroidism, in which an individual experiences a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. This condition can occur when individuals do not consume enough iodine in their diet. Because iodine is now a common ingredient in table salt, cases of hypothyroidism are very rare.
There are several ways to treat hyperthyroidism. Prescription drugs can be used to slow the production of the thyroid hormones. Other medications can be used to treat symptoms of the disease. In more extreme cases, surgery can be performed to remove all or part of the thyroid. One of the most common treatments involves a patient ingesting a one-time dose of radioactive iodine that kills the cells in the thyroid, halting the production of the hormones once and for all. Though this treatment is not suitable for all types of hyperthyroidism cases, it is considered a successful solution for many people.
Though there is no sure-fire hyperthyroidism diet to cure the disease, there are many ways a healthy and balanced diet can address the overall wellbeing of someone suffering with the disease.