The thyroid gland produces two primary hormones – thyroxine (also referred to as T4) and tri-iodothyronine (also referred to as T3). An overactive thyroid releases too much T4 and T3 into the bloodstream, causing the metabolism to speed up too much. It affects more women than men, in fact 2 in 10 when will experience hyperthyroidism after pregnancy but in most cases it will resolve itself.
The most common cause of Hyperhyroidism is Graves’ disease. This is an autoimmune condition in which antibodies behave like thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and stimulate the thyroid uncontrollably.
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include –
Tremor (shaking) of the hands
Sweating and sensitivity to heat
Weight loss (despite an increased appetite)
Nervousness, agitation and anxiety
Goitre (More on this throughout the week)
• Brassica family—cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale—as they can suppress thyroid function
• peaches, pears, spinach, radish, apples, almond, walnuts, soy fibre and turnip for the same reason.
Foods to avoid
• kelp and other sea vegetables, as they contain iodine.
• bugleweed is specific for an overactive thyroid and, of course, other herbs are needed to support the individual’s imbalance. Ask for this in your health food store.
• omega 3 oils and vitamins C and E help decrease the inflammation associated with this type of disease.
• avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea (all caffeine in fact) and nicotine
• bone loss may result, so keep your magnesium and calcium levels up—a bone density test wouldn’t hurt
• malabsorption may result due to increased digestion, so maintaining a good diet is important
• if you have this disease you will most likely be under the care of a clinical endocrinologist
• have your thyroid hormone (T4) checked regularly
• your heart and liver may also be affected, so keep them in good health by maintaining a diet high in fibre, plant protein, complex carbohydrates and leafy green vegetables. (Excerpt from my book ‘Elixir: How To Use Food As Medicine’.)