Ruth asks…

Does anyone know a good, natural supplement for hyperthyroidism? I don’t want to take prescription medication?

Helen answers:

I agree with your decision. Drugs for hyperthyroidism have serious side-effects. Out of the frying pan and into the fire is my experienced opinion. There is a high risk of them damaging your white blood cells and they almost always result in making the thyroid under-active. Not to mention the radioactive iodine that increases the risk of cancer at a later age. It’s simply a barbaric treatment.

Nutritional and natural herbal support can bring the raised thyroid hormone levels down to a safe level. It can be a long term approach but even if you start with a bit of supplementation and get some symptom relief it will give you confidence to carry on.

Magnesium is very important for supporting the nervous system. At a high enough dose it can quite quickly alleviate the tremor that is often felt. Long term supplementation often reduces tachycardia (fast heart rate) that is often associated with hyperthyroidism.

Foods: The Brassica family of vegetables – that’s cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts etc, inhibits thyroid function. I feel you would have to eat truckloads of these veg to make any difference especially if the hyperthyroidism is due to the autoimmune condition, Graves disease. However, eat them anyway, they are beneficial and you may have the psychological effect of knowing they must benefit in some way. They are excellent for your liver too.

Specific herbs that inhibit thyroid function are Bugleweed (blocks TSH receptor from antibodies and decreases conversion of T4 to T3). Also lemon balm.

There are other herbs that may be indicated for you depending on your individual condition. Eg Nettle is high in minerals and is a urinary tonic, it can help to reduce the fluid that may build up on the shins and eyes in a person with hyperthyroidism.I am sure an experienced herbalist could help you a lot.

Persevere, feed yourself well, get enough sleep, take supplements and herbs and you will improve your condition greatly. All the best to you.

John asks…

Radioactive Iodine Info?

My Mum is due to get Radioactive Iodine and is hoping to hear from anyone who has had this done and was it worth it. And what were the side effects after having it done?

Helen answers:

RAI treatment and surgery are last resort treatments if anti thyroid drugs have not worked. 90% who have RAI treatment will be permanently hypothyroid. A very small percentage of patients are at risk of a life threatening thyroid storm after RAI treatment. More info…

Treatment of Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism:

Ken asks…


Does any one know the translation of the word ‘Graves Disease‘ to vietnamese? Thanks a bunch!

Helen answers:

As far as I’m concerned, there is actually no exact Vietnamese translation of the phrase “Graves’ Disease”. Vietnamese doctors call it “Ba do* do^” (“Basedow”) and describe it as “buo’u co^? Ac’ tinh’ ” caused by “cuong` gia’p” (hyperthyroidism). Hope that helps.

By the way, I have a question about the treatment of this disease. I’ve been a Graves’ patient for 10 years. After treatments with anti-thyroid drugs & surgery, now I’ve seen a Graves’ disease recurrence. The doctor recommends Radioactive Iodine therapy, but I am reluctant for fear of its serious side effects (I’m only 24 yrs old).

Instead, I’m now taking alternative treatments like: meditation, Universal Energy Healing, prayers & affirmations …

Can anybody please advise me whether I should follow Radioactive Iodine therapy or opt for the above alternative treatment? Thanks a million!

Mark asks…

Can you still have a thyroid issue if….?

Can if you still have hypothyroidism WITHOUT a goiter? I went to the Dr today and with the symptoms I’m having he said it sounds like I’m having a thyroid problem. I show signs of both Hyper and Hypo. He checked for a goiter and said I don’t have one but he still gave me a blood test to check for thyroid ( and other things). Has anyone had thyroid issues without a goiter? I thought you had to have a goiter…

My symptoms

Excess sweating
Heat intolerance
Short cycles (period)
Excess facial hair
Chest pain ocassionally lasting no more than 3 minutes ( which I’ve been to a cardiologist and my heart is fine)
Slight thinning of hair where my bangs are
No patience
Panic attacks ( occasionally)
Sensitivity to noise
Slight muscle pain every once in a while
Infertility. Trying for over a year ( seeing a gyno on the 7th).
Dry skin

Does it sound like a thyroid problem?

Any opinions will be helpful

Helen answers:

Yes it is common to have thyroid disorder and not have a goiter. If you had hyperthyroidism you may have Grave’s disease, the biology of Graves consists in the body to produce antibodies which react with the receptors of the thyroid and leads to it’s stimulation, the result is the over production of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Your antibodies (autoimmune disease) on the same time slowly destroy the thyroid and you will end up with hypothyroidism in the long run.
One solution is to wait but you have to take the Levothyroxine anyway at some point (medication hormone replacement). The dose will be specific for you determined by measuring your TSH level every 6 weeks in the beginning. The other solution is to get a treatment of radioactive Iodine, it will eliminate your thyroid and then you will take Levothyroxine. All depend on your treatment decision. If you haven’t done so consult an endocrinologist they are the specialist who help you decide about the treatment based on your ongoing symptoms present and future. Please note thyroid variations can also be due to TSH over/under production by the pituitary gland.
It is not a good idea to get pregnant if you have thyroid hormones variations, the hormones are essential to the development of a fetus. Once it is regularized and you are on a stable dose of Levothyroxine it is save. Short cycles and excess facial hair is not a side effect of thyroid hormone, women secrete a small amount of androgens (Androgens are like testosterone) through their adrenal gland and ovaries, if there is too much production that can lead to these symptoms. A blood test can determine the levels of Androgens produced by your adrenal gland the endocrinologist takes care of that test. You also maybe did a FSH/LH test since the adequate levels during the cycling is essential to get pregnant, another point to bring up with your Endo. The hormones which control these organs are produced by the pituitary gland located in the brain, these secreted hormones stimulate the organs and in return the production of hormone in the organs tell the brain to decrease the production of hormone in the pituitary, that’s the way the body is self regulating itself, if there is any disregulation it needs to be corrected. So the suggestion is to get a full hormonal blood test and thyroid antibody blood test.

Charles asks…

Have any of you had Radioactive Iodine to kill your thyroid, will i gain a lot of weight?

ok. please i need some advice from some one. i talked to my doctor about this, but i didn’t get all the info i wanted. the thing is, i have graves disease now, which means my thyroid is very very over active. i need to get it treated. doctor wants me to take the radioactive Iodine to kill my thyroid off. i’m scared about this. i don’t like the idea of having to be on medication for the rest of my life. and the doctor said i wouldn’t even be able to start taking the thyroid medication for about 4 months after getting my thyroid killed off. so what am i suppose to do. run around with no thyroid at all, feel tired and horrible and gain heaps of weight? any one been through this and have any advice. i’m worried. i really don’t want to gain lots of weight. and i need my energy.

Helen answers:

A coworker had thyroid cancer last year and went through treatment. She is fine and has not packed on any weight. Another coworker did it years ago, but I didn’t know her then. She is also fine.

Decide which potential side effects are worse and then go with the treatment option that is less harsh.

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