Managing hyperthyroid with diet and lifestyle:advice?

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Hi there,

I havent nessasarily been diagnosed, but my bloods came back hyper and ive been getting alot of episodes and symptoms recently, when I changed my diet (with too much iodine in it). My doc is just waiting 6 weeks to see if less iodine settles it down (and going to test anitbodies then too).

I have a lot of little questions, and I cant find this out anywhere obvious on the net. Hopefully you guys can help!

Firstly, iodine levels in diet.

Its hard to get reliable info and the content varies a fair bit, but from what Ive worked out you need 60mcg for your thyroid per day. My doctor has advised me to stay under the RDA of 150mcg. I am probably getting around 70-80mcg ATM roughly from my extensive research and diet analysis. I guess that technically leaves me some room to add things, but its not clear to me, how much you need, or how much triggers symptoms..

Because I am not medicated, and only managing via diet. Seems pretty important I get good nutrients too, so its not just about what I dont eat, or eat less of, also what I do eat.

So, I wonder would it hurt to have the occasional moderate amount of medium iodine food, such as: A cup of baby spinach, half a cup of grated cheddar, some unsalted butter, some low iodine salmon (bout 12mcgs total, unsalted raw). A single egg. Say, only one of these things in a given day? (admitedly I think egg might be iffy, and not sure about the spinach's content either, and actually I think unsalted butter might be low in iodine...)

What about goitergenic foods? Spinach, english walnuts (only 9mcg iodine per cup as far as I can figure), almonds etc? Is it unwise to eat too many of these, or is it helpful?

And also exercise....I figure I can do mild exercise like walking...and am assuming high intensity like all out heavy lifting or sprinting would be a bit dodgy? (I was having palpitations and all that horrible stuff before I lower my iodine)

Thats it ATM.

Id also like to say, god, what a difficult situation this can be. The symptoms of being hyperT are terrible! Sympathy to everyone who struggles with this! Its hard. I have had to cultivate this autistic like emotionless zen calm to get through it.

Thanks for reading, and thanks heaps for any help you can offer me! smile

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  • Posted

    Hi Drael

    I've had Graves since 2002 but didn't want RAI so have been seeking alternatives. I've had periods of being OK but am on my third lot of medication and my GP is trying block and replace. I also sought advice to help deal with this through alternative methods and came across an American, Svetla Bankova who has cured herself of GD. I downloaded her e-book and part of that covers diet. I've copied some of the relevant stuff for you - I hope it copies OK. Svetla has a website if you Google her - there is lots of information there.

    Good luck and yes, the symptoms are awful if untreated.

    Graves' disease Diet. 56 commonly used foods with and their iodine content. For better results regardingGraves’ Disease, you may consider avoiding foods with high iodine content!

    It is highly recommended by doctors and endocrinologist if you haveGraves’ Disease to avoid iodine, saturated fats, caffeine, sugar, wheat and diary products. At the same time the goitrogens (these are foods containing chemical compounds that block iodine absorption) should be increased. These are foods that inhibit the uptake of iodine work on the same principle as some of the antithyroid drugs, inhibiting thyroid hormone synthesis, release or action.

    Goitrogens include foods of the Brassica family including broccoli, kale,

    kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, rape and mustard. Non Brassica

    with goitrogenic properties include horseradish, cress and radish. Levels of

    goitrogens are highest in the seeds of those plants. Look at the shorter list bellow

    to find what is good and not for your thyroid. Other goitrogens include sweet

    potatoes, millet, peaches, cabbage and members of the mint family, including

    mint, borage, basil, oregano, marjoram, mustard greens, pears, almonds and

    spinach, lemon balm, rosemary, lavender and hyssop. This is a list of some of the

    foods with their iodine content to help you determine what to include in your

    Graves’ Disease diet and what not:

    “Life Manual for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism”

    IODINE CONTENT IN FOODS ITEM Iodine (parts permillion)

    1 SALT Iodized 54

    2 Seasoned 40

    3 Sun-evaporated 30

    4 Unionized 19

    5 DRINKING WATER (US average) 8


    7 Kelp 1,020

    8 Squid 39

    9 Crab 33

    10 Sole 24

    11 Clams 20

    12 Shrimp 17

    13 Shark 15

    14 Sea bass 13

    15 Lobster 9

    16 Oysters 8

    17 Red Snapper 7


    18 Beef liver 325

    19 Turkey 132

    20 Chicken 67

    21 Stew meat 66

    22 Hamburger 44


    23 Cheddar cheese spread 27

    24 Butter 26

    25 Mozzarella cheese 13

    26 Homogenized milk 11

    27 Monterey Jack cheese 10

    28 Nonfat dry milk 7

    29 Sour cream 7

    30 Cottage cheese 5

    31 Yogurt 3


    32 Asparagus 169

    33 Broccoli 90

    34 Onion (white) 82

    35 Corn 45

    36 Brussels sprouts 23

    37 Peas 13

    38 Tomatoes 10

    39 Potato (Idaho) 9

    40 Carrots 8

    41 Green beans 7

    42 Spinach 7

    43 Okra 4


    44 Tortilla chips 80

    45 Wheat germ 46

    46 Potato chips 40

    47 Orange juice 18

    48 Almonds 17

    49 Oats 16

    50 Pretzels 15

    51 Apple 8

    52 White bread 8

    53 Vegetable shortening 7

    54 Pear 4

    55 Cola 3

    56 Milk chocolate 2

    57 Sugar 2

    10 foods that can help your thyroid condition

    • Broccoli (Brassica oleracea)–contains naturally occurring substances called isothiocyanates, which

    help restrain the thyroid from producing too much hormone.

    • Radish (raphanus sativus)- they naturally suppress thyroid hormoneproduction

    • Brussels sprouts

    • Cabbage

    • Cauliflower

    • Kale

    • Mustard greens

    • Rutabagas

    • Turnips

    8 Foods and Beverages to avoid

    • Coffee

    • Black tea

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  • Posted

    Hi Drael,

    I was diagnosed in April 2015 with hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease. My endo has been treating me with methimazole and propranolol. We haven't been able to get the medicine right however. It's gone into thyroid eye disease. She has taken 2.5 months off due to childbirth end of June but referred me to a surgeon and will no longer test my blood. At this point I have no Idea if I'm taking the right amount of medicine or not. I'm seeing my primary care doctor this Friday. The surgeon consult is scheduled for Aug 30th.

    You're right, this is a nightmare. My hair is falling out in droves, one eye is larger than the other. I've recently gone gluten free and am exercising. I've never been heavy but I'm 5'5" @ 145 lbs due to going hypothyroid during her exploration with the medicine. Normal wrought being around 135.... I hope you were able to see a doctor and be diagnosed and treated.

    If anyone knows what I can do about my hair and eye, please tell me. Thank you.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sandi

      Although I have never suffered with TED, I have information from someone who has and the following is advice from her:

      10 things that can help your TED and make your eyes feel better:

      1. Cold compress on your eyes

      2. Elevating head to relieve swelling

      3. Flax seed oil

      4. Lubrication eye drops (avoid the one that are treating red eyes)

      5. Lubrication ointments

      6. Humidifiers in your room

      7. Wear good sunglasses that are really protecting your eyes

      8. Corrective surgery to loosen the eyelids

      9. Decompression surgery

      10. Steroids and prisms (to correct double vision)

      The last 3 are used only in severe cases where nothing else can help.

      She also suggests eye exercises

      Eye Exercise #1

      1 Find a focal point on the wall or a subject that is in front of you

      2 Concentrate and hold for 5 seconds

      3 Do the same thing with a subject on your left, on your right and down,

      always holding for 5 seconds.

      4 Roll your eyes slowly, all the way around, in a circle trying hard to make

      them work together and exercising your eye muscles.

      5 Roll them in one direction, rest for a few seconds, then roll in the other direction

      6 Do that as many times per day as you can

      Eye Exercise #2

      1 Put your palms to cover your both eyes

      2 Press your palms against your eye balls and hold for 10 seconds

      3 You may feel some pressure, but keep your hands tight

      4 Remove your palms and open your eyes wide, like you are staring at


      5 Repeat at least 10 times per day to relief the pressure in your eyes

      Eye Exercise #3

      1 Close your left eye (or put your hand on it)

      2 With your right eye start drawing imaginary numbers from 1 to 10

      3. Close your right eye

      4 Repeat the exercise by drawing imaginary numbers with your left eye

      5 Do that with both eyes altogether

      She also recommends sources of Omega 3 as follows:

      Flax Seed Oil and Thyroid Eye Disease

      Flaxseed oil is the most abundant plant source of omega-3 fatty acid, alphalinolenic acid omega-3. The seeds and oil of the flax plant contain substances which are known to promote good health. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid that appears to be beneficial for a lot of diseases. ALA belongs to a group of substances called omega-3 fatty acids.

      Flax seed oil is good for: Circulatory System, Immune System, Reproductive System, Nervous System. There are a lot of reports that it can help your Thyroid Eye Disease and practically you can see results in 1 or 2 weeks. The recommended dose is 2capsules/1000 mg each, 3 times per day- or as directed on the label. You can find

      Flax seed oil in any GNC or Natural Store. You can also add flax seeds to yoursalad and just sprinkle them. Most of the clients that started to take Flax seed oil had a noticeable improvement within 2-3 weeks. Also some people with goiter reported that after taking Flax seed oil for a month or so their goiter just “shrunk”, so it’s a good option to give it try.

      Chamomile cold compress is used for relieving puffiness and found that very helpful.

      Chamomile Cold Compress

      Chamomile is used often to reduce swelling.

      L-Carnitine is also said to reduce hyperthyroid symptoms but you will probably find that once your blood tests show you are in balance, initially with medication, then other symptoms should reduce.  I keep in a stable condition by taking a multi vitamin and mineral tablet daily, omega 3 supplement, and drink aloe vera whole leaf juice - 10 ml daily - all of these are food-state rather than chemically produced products so that the body digests them like food and doesn't wash them through the body undigested.  I eat a varied diet with all food groups and colours and get plenty of exercise.  I also meditate daily for at least 30 minutes and concentrate on any problem/niggle I might have or just concentrate on keeping calm and relaxed and free from anxiety - whatever applies to you really.

      I hope your symptoms improve soon as they really are miserable!

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