Hyperthyroidism

Updated: Oct 25, 2020

This a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much of its hormones (tetraiodothyronine and triiodothyronine), these hormones regulate body’s metabolism. In case of hyperthyroidism, the body’s metabolism increases excessively. One of the main causes of hyperthyroidism is Grave’s disease which is an autoimmune disease and leads to body’s own immune system to attack the thyroid gland and cause it to over produce thyroid hormones. Females are more susceptible to this disorder especially if it runs in the family. Other causes of hyperthyroidism can be:

  1. Tumors in thyroid, pituitary, ovaries or testes.

  2. Over ingestion of tetraiodothyronine through drugs or supplements.

  3. Inflammation of thyroid gland known as thyroiditis.

  4. Excess iodine consumption.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism:

  1. Enlargement of thyroid gland (goiter) caused due to Grave’s disease.

  2. Protruding of eyes (exophthalmos) caused due to Grave’s disease.

  3. Unintentional weight loss.

  4. Increased appetite.

  5. Increased bowel movement.

  6. Rapid heartbeat.

  7. Nervousness and anxiety.

  8. Trembling of hands.

  9. Excessive sweating.

  10. Hypersensitivity to heat.

  11. Muscle weakness and fatigue.

  12. Changes in menstrual cycle.

  13. Difficulty sleeping.

  14. Thinning of hair and hairloss.

  15. Breast development in males.

Complications of hyperthyroidism:

  1. Cardiovascular risk: a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation increases risk of stroke.

  2. Eye issues: eye problems, including bulging, red or swollen eyes, sensitivity to light, and blurring or double vision.

  3. Bone problems: Untreated hyperthyroidism can also lead to weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis). Too much thyroid hormone interferes with body's ability to incorporate calcium into your bones.

  4. Skin problems: In rare cases, people with Graves' disease develop Graves' dermopathy. This affects the skin, causing redness and swelling, often on the shins and feet.

  5. Thyrotoxic crisis: a sudden intensification of your symptoms, leading to a fever, a rapid pulse and even delirium.

Diet recommendation for hyperthyroidism:

Food to have: consuming low- iodine foods and cruciferous foods which hamper its absorption may be beneficial as iodine is the major mineral required to produce thyroid hormones. Other minerals such as selenium are essential for healthy functioning of thyroid gland. Calcium and vitamin D help evade bone problems due to hyperthyroidism. Healthy unsaturated fats and spices help alleviate inflammation in the body and the thyroid gland.

  1. Iodine deficient foods: egg whites, fruits, nuts, oats, potatoes, honey,

  2. Cruciferous foods: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale.

  3. Iron rich foods: lentils, beans, leafy vegetables, red meats, seeds, whole grains & poultry.

  4. Selenium rich foods: chia seeds, mushroom, couscous, rice, sunflower seeds, meats.

  5. Zinc rich foods: beef, dark chocolates, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, cashews, chickpeas.

  6. Calcium rich foods: spinach, okras, collard greens, almonds, white beans.

  7. Vitamin D rich foods: beef liver, mushrooms.

  8. Healthy fats: nuts, seeds and their oils.

  9. Spices: turmeric, green chilies, black pepper.

Foods to avoid: eliminating iodine rich foods is very crucial. Caffeine, on the other hand can exacerbate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

  1. Iodine rich foods: seafood, iodized salts, diary, egg yolk.

  2. Caffeine: tea, coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks.

Superfoods for hyperthyroidism:

  1. Broccoli: belonging to the cruciferous family, broccoli decreases thyroid function, plus they are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and K.

  2. Organ meats: rich in selenium, zinc, vitamin A,D,E and K.

  3. Blueberries: loaded with antioxidants and boosts immunity.

  4. Avocadoes: good source of healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation.


References and further reading:


Davies, C., 2019. 5 Superfoods To Boost Thyroid Health — Neomed. [online] Neomed. Available at: <https://www.neomedinstitute.com/blog/5-superfoods-to-boost-thyroid-health> [Accessed 28 August 2020].


Iftikhar, N., 2019. Hyperthyroidism Diet. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperthyroidism-diet> [Accessed 28 August 2020].


Lights, V., 2019. Hyperthyroidism: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis & More. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperthyroidism> [Accessed 28 August 2020].


Mayo Clinic. 2020. Hyperthyroidism - Symptoms And Causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659#:~:text=Overview,a%20rapid%20or%20irregular%20heartbeat.> [Accessed 28 August 2020].


Osuna PM, Udovcic M, Sharma MD. Hyperthyroidism and the Heart. Methodist Debakey Cardiovasc J. 2017;13(2):60-63. doi:10.14797/mdcj-13-2-60


Ross, D.S., Burch, H.B., Cooper, D.S., Greenlee, M.C., Laurberg, P., Maia, A.L., Rivkees, S.A., Samuels, M., Sosa, J.A., Stan, M.N. and Walter, M.A., 2016. 2016 American Thyroid Association guidelines for diagnosis and management of hyperthyroidism and other causes of thyrotoxicosis. Thyroid, 26(10), pp.1343-1421.


Roti, E. and Uberti, E.D., 2001. Iodine excess and hyperthyroidism. Thyroid, 11(5), pp.493-500.


Wang, Y., Zhao, F., Rijntjes, E., Wu, L., Wu, Q., Sui, J., Liu, Y., Zhang, M., He, M., Chen, P. and Hu, S., 2019. Role of selenium intake for risk and development of hyperthyroidism. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 104(2), pp.568-580.


Wartofsky, L., 2016. Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid) | NIDDK. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: <https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hyperthyroidism> [Accessed 28 August 2020].