hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
May 25, 2024 ·  12 min read

Signs, Symptoms, Triggers, and Natural Approaches to Hypo and Hyperthyroidism 


The thyroid gland, a small, butterfly-shaped gland, is situated in the neck. It is one of the most vital endocrine glands in the human body, responsible for producing and releasing thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate various bodily functions such as metabolism, growth and development, body temperature, heart rate, and cognitive function. The thyroid gland releases two primary hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), essential for maintaining a healthy and balanced metabolism (Gereben et al., 2008). The pituitary gland intricately regulates the levels of these hormones. This master regulator detects the amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream and sends signals to the thyroid gland to adjust its production (Cho et al., 2023). The thyroid gland also produces a hormone that aids in regulating calcium levels in the body (Campbell, 2011). 

When things go wrong with your thyroid, you can develop different types of thyroid disease. This medical condition refers to a range of disorders affecting the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the two most common types of thyroid disease, with each type having its own set of symptoms and underlying causes. Hypothyroidism is associated with an underactive thyroid gland that doesn’t produce enough hormones (Chaker et al., 2017). At the same time, hyperthyroidism is marked by an overactive thyroid gland that produces too much hormone (Doubleday & Sippel, 2020). 

The possible causes of thyroid disease are diverse and may include autoimmune disorders, radiation exposure, certain medications, or genetics (Gessl et al., 2012). 

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by thyroid hormone deficiency. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health effects. Due to the variation in clinical presentation, the definition of hypothyroidism is mostly biochemical. It can be overt or clinical primary hypothyroidism or mild or subclinical hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland’s hormone production slows, decreasing metabolic activity and significantly affecting overall health and well-being (Chaker et al., 2017). Hypothyroidism is a condition that can be categorized into four types: primary, secondary, tertiary, and peripheral. Primary hypothyroidism is a common type that is caused by a lack of thyroid hormones. Secondary hypothyroidism is due to a deficiency of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
In contrast, tertiary hypothyroidism is caused by a deficiency of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). Peripheral hypothyroidism is a rare type that occurs outside the thyroid gland. Central hypothyroidism, which includes both secondary and tertiary types, is also rare and accounts for less than 1% of cases (Persani, 2012).

Hypothyroidism Symptoms 

Hypothyroidism is a condition that may cause a range of symptoms in adults. Still, the most common ones include fatigue, lethargy, cold intolerance, weight gain, constipation, change in voice, and dry skin. It should be noted that the symptoms can vary depending on age, sex, and the time between onset and diagnosis (Carlé et al., 2015).

Hypothyroidism Treatment 

Levothyroxine, also known as L-thyroxine, is a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine(T4) monotherapy, taken on an empty stomach, and is the treatment of choice by conventional medicine (Jonklaas et al., 2014). Due to adverse side effects, natural remedies may be an alternative to thyroid prescription medication (T4). These may include a selenium-rich, sugar-free, or gluten-free diet, vitamin B-complex supplements, elements like iodine, and trace minerals like zinc, copper, and magnesium (Bashar & Begam, 2020). In some cases, natural remedies may have fewer side effects and better fit into one’s lifestyle (Wang et al., 2023). However, they should not be considered a medication replacement, and it is advisable to talk to your doctor before trying natural remedies.

Foods contain selenium, including:

  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Brazil nuts
  • Grass-fed beef

Food contains vitamin B, including:

Vitamin B is essential for maintaining good thyroid health, especially for Vitamins B2, B3, and B6 to stimulate the production of the T4 hormone, which is crucial for the thyroid’s proper functioning (Aktaş, 2019). The good news is that many foods are rich in these vitamins, including:

  • Milk
  • Fish (salmon)
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Beans
  • Almonds, and 
  • Grains

Hyperthyroidism

Did you know that Hyperthyroidism is a rare form of thyroid disorder? It’s not something you hear about every day (Gessl et al., 2012).

Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition caused by the overproduction of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces these hormones. When the thyroid gland becomes overactive, it makes too much T4 and T3, leading to hyperthyroidism (Mathew et al., 2024). 

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can vary, but some of the most common ones include a fast heartbeat, increased appetite, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, or sudden weight loss (Boelaert et al., 2010). Recognizing these symptoms and seeking medical attention as soon as possible is essential.

Hyperthyroidism can manifest in three primary ways. It may result from thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid gland. Alternatively, it could be due to a thyroid nodule that produces an excessive amount of T4 hormone. Lastly, an autoimmune condition called Graves’ disease can also lead to hyperthyroidism (De Leo et al., 2016). 

It is essential to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for hyperthyroidism, as it can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Treatment options include medication, radioactive iodine therapy, surgery to remove the thyroid gland or following natural therapies and diet protocol. 

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms 

Symptoms of overt hyperthyroidism may include heat intolerance, palpitations, anxiety, fatigue, weight loss, muscle weakness, and irregular menstrual cycles in women. Clinical findings may include tremors, rapid heartbeat, lid lag, and warm, moist skin. Other symptoms include weight loss despite an increased appetite, nervousness, irritability, trouble sleeping, shaky hands, frequent bowel movements, and muscle weakness. Additionally, sweating or difficulty tolerating heat may also be present, and an enlargement in the neck is called a goiter (Cooper, 2003) (Sharma et al., 2011).

Hyperthyroidism: a Natural Approach 

If you are dealing with hyperthyroidism and want to manage the symptoms using natural therapies, remember that you shouldn’t attempt to treat it alone. It’s highly recommended that you find a clinician to support your healthcare team, and that may include an endocrinologist. Natural therapies can help ease the symptoms in combination with medical treatment, but it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before trying any treatment.

Address Possible Nutrient Deficiencies  

Suppose your thyroid gland is producing excess hormones. In that case, it can lead to a condition called hyperthyroidism, which can significantly impact your overall health. The excessive production of hormones can cause your body to deplete essential nutrients, leading to a range of health issues. To determine which nutrients your body needs, it is advisable to undergo testing for nutrient deficiencies. Maintaining a well-balanced and nutrient-dense diet is crucial for effectively managing hyperthyroidism.

Studies conducted on rats and in a lab (in vitro) have shown that plant extracts from two species, Lycopus (bugleweed) and Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), have anti-thyroidal effects. Recently, two patients with Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder) caused by an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) were treated with these plant extracts, which showed promising results. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the potential role of bugleweed and lemon balm as adjunctive therapy in humans with Graves’ disease (Kaplan & Dosiou, 2021).

Is There a Prefered Diet or Certain Foods to Consider for Hyperthyroidism?

It’s important to note that no one-size-fits-all diet solution supports hormone health. However, there’s a clear winner – cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables provide a wealth of nutrients and help regulate hormone levels. They can even assist with an overactive thyroid by competing with iodine for uptake in the thyroid. It’s essential to remember that this isn’t a stand-alone approach or a replacement for other medical approaches. It’s all about balance and incorporating various foods into your diet (Tonstad et al., 2014).

Including these powerhouses in your diet is a great idea.

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok Choy
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens

 *It is imperative to investigate the food choices for hyperthyroidism thoroughly. 

Hypothyroidism: Supplements to Consider

Selenium

Selenium is a crucial element for proper thyroid function. The thyroid gland, which has a high selenium concentration, needs this element to convert T4 to T3 (Drutel et al., 2013). Deiodinase enzymes that are dependent on selenium facilitate this conversion process.

Product: Natural Factors SelenoExcell Selenium – Natural Factors Selenium is a mineral supplement for maintaining healthy body cells and good health. The chelated form of selenium (HVP Chelate) allows the mineral to be more readily absorbed and metabolized by the body, making it an ideal choice for those with low stomach acid or other digestive issues.

Zinc and Copper 

Zinc is a mineral necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Its deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. Zinc, taken alone or combined with selenium, can improve thyroid function. 

Copper, a key player, aids in the production of T4 and also prevents its excessive absorption in blood cells by maintaining the body’s calcium levels. The scarcity of these minerals, including copper, zinc, and selenium, can intensify the symptoms of hypothyroidism and contribute to the overall deterioration of thyroid health (Rasic-Milutinovic et al., 2016).

Product: NOW L-OptiZinc — Zinc is essential to the normal function of many organs and systems within the body, supporting healthy immune, logical, and endocrine functions. L-OptiZinc® is a form of Zinc complexed with the amino acid Methionine. Research has demonstrated that this product has skeletal, neurological, and endocrine functions and is better absorbed and retained longer than several other zinc-tested forms. High zinc intake may lead to a lowering copper stores in the body. Therefore, this formula is balanced with copper to prevent declining levels.

Magnesium

Studies have shown that individuals with hypothyroidism have shown to be at a greater risk of magnesium deficiency. This is because hypothyroid patients tend to excrete more magnesium than usual and may have difficulty transporting it across cell membranes. This excess excretion of magnesium can lead to a deficiency in the body, which can cause various health complications. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals with hypothyroidism consume higher amounts of magnesium to compensate for this excess loss. Sufficient magnesium intake is crucial for optimal thyroid function and overall health (Jones et al., 1966). 

Product: CanPrev Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200 GentleCanPrev’s Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200 Gentle contains as much as 20% more elemental magnesium than other magnesium supplements. It works to restore magnesium to optimum levels and helps fuel all the essential functions it’s called on to help. Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200 Gentle offers a potent, therapeutic dose of 200mg of pure elemental magnesium in a form known for its superior absorption and gentleness on the bowels. 

Takeaway 

The thyroid gland in your body produces hormones that perform various functions in various systems. When your thyroid produces excessive or inadequate amounts of thyroid hormones, it may lead to thyroid disease. This evidence-based article focused on two types of thyroid diseases: hyperthyroidism, which is caused by the overproduction of hormones, and hypothyroidism, which is caused by the underproduction of hormones. Both these conditions can cause a range of symptoms and can affect your health in several ways. Knowing the specific type of thyroid dysfunction you are experiencing can be crucial in determining the best action for addressing it naturally. With this knowledge, you can decide which dietary changes, natural supplements, lifestyle modifications, or conventional medicine modifications may be most effective in resolving your condition.

Read More: Sweating In Your Sleep? 7 Possible Reasons for Night Sweats

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    Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.