Successful alternative therapies for graves disease?

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Hi, last year my sister has been diagnosed with graves disease (hyperthyroidism) she has bee on meds since then unsuccessfully. The consultant is prepari g to either surgically remove the thyroid as use radioactivity to kill it. She is particularly interested to see if anyone has successfully controlled hyperthyroidism with diet, natural supplements, accupuncture, drink or another alternative therapies. Would really appreciate any advice before they remove the gland totally and then won't have any oprions. Tia, Sal

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    When you say she has been unsuccessfully on meds, what do you mean?  The most important lab tests that are followed are TSH, Free T3 and Free T4.  It is always recommended that patients get and keep a copy of their lab tests and post the values to this Board, along with the ranges for normal in brackets beside your results.  For myself, my Free T3 and T4 came down into mid range immediately but my TSH remained at less than 0.001 for two years.  Then I read a research article by Italian Endocrinologist Dr. Salvatore Benvenga on the benefits of hyperthyroid patients using L-Carnitine along with any prescribed meds.  You can Google the article.  After I got tested for my Total Carnitine and Free Carntiine levels, I found out I was deficient in them and took the recommended dosage of 3,000 mg  My TSH rose for the first time in two years.  I then experimented with different carnitines and took Acetyl-L-Carnitine and my TSH shot up very quickly into the normal range, however, I had to have more frequent monitoring and adjustments of meds and supplement to stay at a level I wanted within range.  I found out I was also deficient in vitamin D (very important vitamin for proper thyroid functioning) and also magnesium so took them as supplements also.  I believe all hyperthyroid patients become deficient in these areas and need supplementation.  B12 is also important.  I would not rush to the other irreversible therapies until trying these.  Please post her lab test results to this Board and we can better advise.  In the meantime, see if she can get tested for those values of carnitine, vit D, magnesium and B12 levels.
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      Hi Linda, I am a rather new GD patient and new-today member of this forum (although I have read many posts, especially yours b4 joining today). I like your messages clearly written with your personal experience. So here is the info I hopefully can ask and receive from you: after many years (correct me if wrong) of treating your GD with convential and supplemental medications, is your sickness in control, out of medication, or in remission now? Are you also in autoimmune diet protocol?  How about herbs?   Thank you for your help.       Koa
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    I take a low dose of Methimazole (2.5 mg three times a week) although I was given the option of stopping it altogether.  I didn't want to do that because I have a lot of stressors at work and stress is one of the things that triggers the disease.  For the first two years after diagnosis (2007 to 2009) my Free T3 and Free T4 normalized immediately but my TSH remained at 0 for those two years until I started adding supplements to my treatment.  I started with 3,000 mg a day of Regular L-Carnitine, vitamin A 1,000 to 5,000 IU per day and Magnesium 200 mg per day.  I have also taken other supplements for a stomach infection like Curcumin, N-acetyl cysteine (known as NAC) and garlic etc.  I also took Acetyl-L-Carnitine in 2009 which shot my TSH right up well into the normal range.  It required a lot of adjusting of meds and the Acetyl dosage, even stopping the Acetyl for long periods or using it only every other day.  This one supplement (Acetyl-L-Carnitine) while very very helpful to my remission is also very sensitive and needs to be heavily monitored and adjusted frequently based on your values and how you are feeling at the time.  So if you are going to try supplements, I would start with the others first.  

    I am happy that I can keep my values normalized and I feel fine.  I don't care if I have to take this low dose and supplements the rest of my life, I prefer it to the other two treatments.  My Endo was shocked at my results when I started taking the supplements.

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      Hi Linda, It's me again. So I assume you are in remission now. It's very encouraging to know someone in remission from GD without taking RAI or surgery. Wonder how long you have been in remission? I am a newly diagnosed (this early May: subclinical hyper; early July: GD) GD patient. My endo gave nothing but med, RAI, or surgery and not even talk about alternative treatments at all... I have personally decided not to take RAI or surgery, at least to this point. I am taking low dose MM and ALC (and some herbs) now and also following autoimmune diet protocol. I hope I can tackle my immune system to make my thyroid back to normal one day (probably long way to go but keep the hope). I started taking MMI 5mg on 7/19 (under my endo direction) and it's all nightmare (side effects) after with not much of hyper relief! Not until after 8/11 when I started taking ALC and other supplements + herbs; for just a few days all med side effects were mostly diminished and hyper symptoms were greatly improved. 8/6 blood numbers showed a return to subclinical condition (TSH rising but still low, T3 T4 normal). But 9/8 numbers became a bit twisted: TSH 0.12 (up from 0.01), T4 0.9 (down to just above lower limit), and T3 74 (down to below lower limit). It's apparently a reverse situation from hyper to hypo, but my endo said not hypo yet and directed me continuing 5mg MMI until TSH back up to normal! I was very disappointed and upset for her direction (she even didn't ask my feeling on the condition). Got home and I was total hypoed... then I went to buy a pill cutter and cut all MMI to half (2.5 mg). Since reducing med dose, I feel much better and back to normal most of time. And I realized one very important critical thing about my autoimmune problem: STRESS is the biggest enemy/trigger ! Everytime I become stressful, my immune system become crazy/misfiring!  And it becomes very stressful everytime I see my doctor! How funny it is!!!  I need to learn how to relax for sure. My 5c. (my next test: 10/13 and 12/8)

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      I have been in remission since 2009 or 2010.   I let my Endo adjust the Meds dosage and i adjust the supplements.  And he and other docs know nothing about supplements because they are not trained in it.  But since I started using supplements and got such good results, I must say that I really feel we are partners in my health care.  At first he was the arrogant doc and was not comfortable with the fact that I was knowledgeable about this disease.  But later he relaxed a lot more around me and i am really glad now that he is my Endocrinologist.  Yes I believe stress is what triggers this disease.  Have you tried any stress relievers like Mindfulness practice?  I will email you more about this privately.  If you find you are going from hyper to hypo very quickly, you may have both Graves AND Hashimoto's so you can ask your doc about this and ask her to rule that out.  If you have Hashi's at all, your thyroid will be far too sensitive to prescribed medications like Methimazole or even Synthroid thyroid hormone replacement.  I see Hashi patients who have posted to this Board really swing dramatically because of the increased sensitivity Hashi patients have.  They do much better with treatment with natural means and remain more stable from the shares that these patients have posted to this Board.

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