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5 Foods That Can Help with Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
5 Foods That Can Help with Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
before we understand the hyperthyroidism symptoms let’s understand the working of the thyroid gland:
Thyroid gland makes thyroid hormone, thyroxine which affects a person’s physical energy, their weight and their mood. It is located in the front portion of the neck. Thyroid gland takes iodine supplied by the diet and synthesizes thyroid hormone, absence of which can be observed through hyperthyroidism symptoms (1).
Thyroid hormone, thyroxine
Thyroid hormone is made from iodide and tyrosine, an amino acid (2). Thyroid hormone thyroxine is also called T4 as it contains four iodine atoms. The active form of T4 is T3 which is also known as triiodothyronine and it formed by removal of one iodine atom from T4 (3).
It is also important to understand the working of the thyroid-stimulating hormone before understanding hyperthyroidism symptoms:
The quantity of thyroxine secreted by the thyroid gland is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is secreted by the pituitary gland which is present at the base of the brain. The amount of TSH pituitary gland releases into the bloodstream depends on the amount of T4 by the thyroid gland. If there is less thyroxine being secreted by the thyroid gland then the TSH secreted will be more (3).
Hyperthyroidism is a condition (one of the hyperthyroidism symptoms) in which excess thyroid hormone is synthesized and secreted by the thyroid gland (4). Hyperthyroidism can also be described as excessive concentration of thyroid hormones in tissues because thyroid synthesizes increased amounts of thyroid hormones, excessive release of already formed thyroid hormones or maybe because of an endogenous or exogenous extrathyroidal source (5).
hyperthyroidism symptoms reported by people
Common hyperthyroidism symptoms seen in people (4, 5, 6) are listed below
- Tremor, trembling of hands
- Disturbed sleep
- Weight loss but appetite is the same or may actually increase
- Heat intolerance
- Hyperpigmentation (especially face and neck)
- Polydipsia, increased thirst
It is not necessary that everyone who has hyperthyroidism will have the same hyperthyroidism symptoms.
5 foods that can help with hyperthyroidism symptoms
When the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is diagnosed the doctor starts treatment as required. It takes time for the symptoms to subside. Certain foods can be included in the diet to help with decreasing the hyperthyroidism symptoms.
- Un-iodized salt
Iodine is very important in the making of thyroxine by the thyroid gland. Recommended dietary allowance of iodine is 150 micrograms for an adult man and woman. One teaspoon (which is about 5 grams) of iodized salt contains 284 micrograms of iodine (7).
If iodized salt is replaced by un-iodized salt it would be better for people who are afflicted with hyperthyroidism or showing hyperthyroidism symptoms as available iodine will be reduced and hyperactivity of thyroid gland to a certain degree will be reduced. Thyroxine to be made iodine is essential and if iodine availability of iodine is decreased thyroxine also will be reduced.
- Cruciferous vegetables
The cruciferous group of vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower etc. are good for people showing hyperthyroidism symptoms. Cruciferous vegetables contain progoitrin and indolylic glucosinolates which degrade to goitrin and thiocyanate, respectively.
These cruciferous vegetables when present in the diet may decrease thyroid hormone production to a certain extent. The possible mechanism may be iodine uptake by the thyroid is inhibited by goitrins (8). When thyroxine production is reduced it is beneficial for those with hyperthyroidism symptoms.
- Green leafy vegetables
Environmental iodine is in dairy products and iodine is essential to make the thyroid hormone (7). During hyperthyroidism there is reversible bone loss (9). Since dairy products are avoided because of iodine content calcium deficiency may occur in people showing hyperthyroidism symptoms. Including green leafy vegetables is necessary to meet calcium requirement.
In a condition such as hyperthyroidism the antioxidant levels in tissues go down. Fruits which are a good source of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, when included in the diet would be beneficial for people with hyperthyroidism (9).
In rat studies it was seen that antioxidant activity in tissues is reduced when hyperthyroidism is induced (10). Turmeric contains curcumin which is a potent antioxidant. Including turmeric in diet would be recommended to increase antioxidant activity. Instead of isolated components it is better to use turmeric as it has several other health benefits also to cure hyperthyroidism symptoms.
Along with medical treatment suggested by the doctor when the above foods are incorporated into a balanced diet, they may help in reducing the hyperthyroidism symptoms.
- Centers for Disease Control and prevention (2014). HTDS Guide – About Thyroid Disease: Section Summary. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/hanford/htdsweb/guide/thyroid.htm
- Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health, Nutrition, The minerals of our body: 265.Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Second Edition. New York and London.
- American Thyroid Association (2014).Thyroid Function Tests.https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-function-tests/
- De Leo, S., Lee, S. Y. and Braverman, L. E. (2016) Hyperthyroidism, Lancet (London, England). Vol. 388(10047).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5014602/
- Kravets, I. (2016) Hyperthyroidism: Diagnosis and Treatment, American Family Physician. Vol. 93(5). https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0301/p363.html#sec-3
- Mayo Clinic (2018). Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659
- Sharma, R., Bharti, S. and Kumar, K.H. (2014) Diet and thyroid – myths and facts, Journal of Medical Nutrition and Vol. 3 (2). http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278 -1870;year=2014;volume=3;issue=2;spage=60;epage=65;aulast=Sharma
- Felker, P., Bunch, R. and Leung, A. M. (2016) Concentrations of thiocyanate and goitrin in human plasma, their precursor concentrations in brassica vegetables, and associated potential risk for hypothyroidism, Nutrition reviews. Vol. 74(4). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892312/
- Sworczak, K. and Wiśniewski, P. (2011) The role of vitamins in the prevention and treatment of thyroid disorders, Endokrynologia Polska. Vol. 62 (4). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51607230_The_role_of_vitamins_in_the_prevention_and_treatment_of_thyroid_disorders
- Samanta, L., Panigrahi, J., Bhanja, S. and Chainy, G. B. (2010) Effect of turmeric and its active principle curcumin on t₃-induced oxidative stress and hyperplasia in rat kidney: a comparison, Indian journal of clinical biochemistry: IJCB. Vol. 25 (4). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2994577/