Hyperthyroidism is a subject that is near to my heart. During my second year of medical school, I was one of the estimated 3 to 10 million people diagnosed with Graves’ disease, also known as an overactive thyroid.

Conventional medicine gave me three options:

  • Use radioactive iodine to ablate (blow up) my thyroid.
  • Surgically remove my thyroid
  • Take a medication known as propylthiouracil (PTU), which has awful side effects. 

None of those choices sat well with me. Had I known there was a better way through functional medicine and diet and supplements for hypothyroidism, I would have made a different decision. 

Inflammation is an immune system response at the heart of autoimmune conditions, thyroid dysfunction, and many other chronic health problems. 

First, I tried the PTU because that seemed like the least invasive choice. The medicine dried out my mouth and nose to an unbearable extent, and the medication turned my overactive thyroid into an underactive one. After weeks of feeling terrible, I returned to the endocrinologist. He told me that the PTU was beginning to destroy my liver in a condition known as toxic hepatitis. That was a one-in-a-million risk, and it had happened to me.

So I was down to two options. I chose to ablate my thyroid with radioactive iodine. It is a decision I still regret to this day. Conventional medicine failed me, so I’ve made it my mission not to have it fail you too. The good news is that you have control of your health, which is empowering. I will give you the tools to get to the root of your hypothyroidism and reverse your hyperthyroidism. Before I do that, let’s talk more about hyperthyroidism, causes, symptoms, supplements, and diet for an overactive thyroid. 

What Is Hyperthyroidism?

More than 12% of the U.S. population develop a thyroid condition. While not as common as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism affects 1 out of every 100 people between 12 and older.

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It produces hormones that regulate multiple body systems, from heart rate and energy levels to body temperature and brain health, when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. 

When thyroid hormones are too high, energy metabolism will speed up, causing the body to burn through nutrients too quickly, resulting in malnutrition and leading to a wide range of problems. 

What Is Hyperthyroidism?

More than 12% of the U.S. population develop a thyroid condition. While not as common as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism affects 1 out of every 100 people between 12 and older.

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It produces hormones that regulate multiple body systems, from heart rate and energy levels to body temperature and brain health, when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. 

When thyroid hormones are too high, energy metabolism will speed up, causing the body to burn through nutrients too quickly, resulting in malnutrition and leading to a wide range of problems. 

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Unintentional weight loss is just one of the many signs of an overactive thyroid. Here are other signs of hyperthyroidism: 

Supplements & Diet for Hyperthyroidism – infographic – Amy Myers MD®Supplements & Diet for Hyperthyroidism - infographic - Amy Myers MD® https://www.amymyersmd.com/article/hyperthyroidism-supplements-diet/Supplements & Diet for Hyperthyroidism – infographic – Amy Myers MD®

I was eating everything in sight and went from a size 4 to a size 0 in months. Trust me when I tell you that it was not healthy. 

The autoimmune disease Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Usually, the pituitary gland regulates thyroid function and signals the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones T3 and T4. 

With Graves’ disease, an antibody known as thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb) can mimic pituitary hormones and completely override the system, causing an overactive thyroid. You can also develop Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) antibodies or Antithyroglobulin antibodies. I did not have antibodies to TRAb, and I only had antibodies to TPO, and I saw this very frequently in my clinic. 

Underlying Causes of Hyperthyroidism

In functional medicine, we aim to get to the root cause of your symptoms. You can always trace it back to your immune system with an autoimmune disease. 

Your immune system is your first line of defense against viruses and pathogens. When your body recognizes a foreign invader, your immune system gears up for a fight! When working optimally, your immune system can differentiate between these foreign invaders and healthy cells.

Sometimes your immune system goes rogue and begins attacking your tissues. It could be your thyroid under attack, your intestines, skin, joints, pancreas, or another organ. No matter what part of your body is under siege, the underlying problem is within your immune system. 

Conventional medicine would lead you to believe you can only manage the symptoms, which typically involves harsh medications aimed at suppressing your immune system. In contrast, functional medicine sees the body as a whole unit. Instead of focusing on disease symptom management, functional medicine focuses on supporting and strengthening the immune system by getting to the root of what causes autoimmune disease in the first place. 

Here are the underlying causes of hyperthyroidism: 

Leaky Gut

Leaky gut happens when the tight junctions that hold your intestinal wall together become loose. I like to think of your gut lining as a drawbridge. Teeny tiny boats (micronutrients in food) travel back and forth and can go under the bridge without a problem and into your bloodstream. 

When you have a leaky gut, the drawbridge stays open, allowing much bigger boats that are not meant to get through, such as toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles and into your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these foreign invaders and attacks them. The continual strain on your immune system eventually causes it to go haywire, and it ends up attacking your tissues by mistake. Leaky gut is the most common cause of autoimmune disease.

Gluten

Gluten is inflammatory, and it’s in just about everything. It can wreak havoc on your gut, setting you up for leaky gut and immune system dysfunction. The building blocks of gluten share a similar molecular structure with your thyroid gland. The similarities cause your immune system to attack your thyroid in a process known as molecular mimicry

Mercury

Mercury is a heavy metal that damages your body’s cells and tissues, and research shows mercury exposure can accelerate the development of autoimmune diseases. Water, air, food, dental fillings, cosmetic products, and vaccines expose you to mercury. 

Infections

Infections can spark autoimmunity through the same process of molecular mimicry we discussed with gluten. These Infections such as the herpes family of viruses (HSV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), in particular, cause high levels of inflammation and have been suggested as a potential cause of autoimmune thyroid disease as a result.

Iodine

Sufficient iodine levels are one of the building blocks of your thyroid hormones. Iodine and its role in autoimmunity, however, is controversial. Evidence shows too little can cause goiter and hypothyroidism, and too much can cause hyperthyroidism.  

When the body detects an increased availability of iodine, this can trigger the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones. Suppose someone with a relatively low iodine intake suddenly consumes a very iodine-rich diet, then over time. In that case, that individual can produce an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, resulting in an overactive thyroid.

Testing for Hyperthyroidism

Many doctors who suspect a patient has something wrong with their thyroid only check their Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test levels, which indicates if the patient has hypo- or hyperthyroidism. If they’re lucky, a doctor will test their Free T4 levels to see if they are low on the storage form of thyroid hormones. While these thyroid test results do a great job of uncovering the nature of a patient’s disease, they only tell you a small part of the story, and they also will only measure it to what is considered normal and not optimal levels

Testing your thyroid hormone levels is the first step. In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) will be very low, and the Free T4 and Free T3 will be elevated. In autoimmune conditions, you will see elevated levels of antibodies as well. 

Talk to your functional medicine doctor If you believe you have hyperthyroidism. They can order a blood test to measure your thyroid levels. If you want to test your thyroid levels at home, I recommend using LetsGetChecked home thyroid tests. You can do the test in the privacy of your own home and then discuss your results with your functional medicine doctor. 

Now I’m going to tell you how you can address the root cause of your hyperthyroidism through diet and supplements. 

Supplements for Hyperthyroidism 

Conventional medicine focuses on treating your symptoms, and their three options are harsh medications, radiation, or surgery. In functional medicine, we know to truly solve the problem, you have to get to the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. If you’re diagnosed with hyperthyroidism or Graves Disease, you begin by taking the following steps:

Test for Heavy Metals

No matter how careful you are, exposure to heavy metals through the air you breathe, your food, and the water you drink will still happen. I recommend having your MTHFR genes tested and doing a DMPS chelation challenge test through a functional medicine practitioner to determine if mercury or other heavy metals are an issue for you. After you test, you can take steps to address mercury overload and see if your thyroid health improves. 

Address Your Infections

Ask your doctor about testing for infections such as HSV and EBV. Monolaurin from coconut oil is a beneficial addition to treatments for both HSV and EBV. A lysine-rich diet is also effective in combating HSV and EBV infections. Lysine is an essential amino acid necessary for growth, tissue repair, and regular production of hormones, antibodies, and digestive enzymes. 

Support Your Immune System

Supplements like vitamin D, omega-3 fish oils, and glutathione are potent immune modulators that can help support your immune system. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system, and Omega 3 fish oils help to reduce inflammation in the entire body. Glutathione is the most potent free radical scavenger in the body, which can help support a healthy inflammatory response.

Dietary for Hyperthyroidism

While you work to address the underlying cause of your thyroid disease, you can ease your symptoms and support your thyroid with supplements and diet. Here are changes you should make to your diet if diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. 

Remove gluten from your diet.

I recommend everyone remove gluten from their diets. It is an inflammatory food that leads to a leaky gut, leading to autoimmunity. If you have hyperthyroidism, I recommend removing all grains, legumes, and gluten-containing products from your diet. These foods contain lectins, a natural crop pesticide that wreaks havoc on the gut. Gluten is a well-known lectin. 

Repair Your Gut

To get to the root of your autoimmunity, you have to repair your gut. The Myers Way® Leaky Gut Breakthrough® Program gives you the tools to repair your gut and support thyroid health. It features 30 days of recipes and guides to heal your leaky gut and set healthy, thyroid-supporting habits for life. 

Take Thyroid-Supporting Supplements

We discussed a few supplements to incorporate into your diet for immune-system health. I’ve simplified the process of supplementing thyroid health by creating products specifically for a well-functioning thyroid. They include:

Adrenal Support

Chronic stress is a precursor to autoimmune diseases like Graves disease, and high cortisol levels put your immune system on a constant high alert. I formulated Adrenal Support to include a variety of the most influential and well-researched adaptogenic herbs, which supports a balanced cortisol production and a healthy stress response. I’ve also included L-Tyrosine, an amino acid that helps catecholamine production, crucial for those dealing with chronic stress. 

The Myers Way® Multivitamin

I recommend that everyone take a high-quality multivitamin. The Myers Way® Multivitamin is formulated with optimal selenium, zinc, and iodine levels to support thyroid health. It’s tailor-made for my patients with thyroid dysfunction, including Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. You’ll never find gluten, wheat, dairy, corn, soy, GMOs, or yeast in my multivitamin or supplements. It’s the ideal supplement to support your thyroid health, fill nutritional gaps, and power your body through a healthy life. 

Receiving a diagnosis for hyperthyroidism, Graves Disease, or another thyroid disease can be scary The good news is that you can take back your health and reverse your autoimmune thyroid disease with diet and supplements for hypothyroidism.

My New York Times Bestseller, The Thyroid Connection, explains the connection between how you feel and your thyroid health. It offers tips on how to work with your doctor for a correct diagnosis and how to jumpstart your thyroid health from the inside out. 

Multivitamin bottle.