Saul Marcus, ND - Naturopathic Doctor

247 West 35th street, 10th floor - New York, NY 10001

Phone:(646)330-0388 | Email: saul@drsaulmarcus.com

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Supplements For Hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease

The following supplements may help people with of hyperthyroidism. However, these supplements are primarly only to control symtoms.

While it may be safer to take supplements that have no side effects to control symptoms insted of medications that do have side effects, it's important to work on the underlining triggers also.

Some triggering factors to consider include: digestive system health, poor diet, food allergies including Celiac and gluten sensitivity, toxicity, inflammation, physical trauma to the neck area and immune system.

Additionally, if you are currently taking a medication for hyperthyroidism such as Methimazole (also known as Tapazole) and Propylthiouracil (PTU), please talk to your doctor first before changing dose. It is not the intent of this page, to tell people to discontinue medication that may be needed to control symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Herbs For Hyperthyroidism

Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus), Lemon Balm (Melissa), Passionflower (Passiflora) and Motherwort (leonaris Cardiaca) are some of the more common herbs for hyperthyroidism. These herbs have a calming effect on the heart, and so may be used in cases where elevated blood pressure, or heart palpitations are present.

Cactus grandiflorus (Selenicereus grandiflorus) may also be used for cardiovascular symptoms. Typically this is not in over the counter formulas, but practitioners may include it if needed.

Blue flag (Iris versicolor) has also traditionally been used for hyperthyroidism. It acts strongly on the lymphatic system. Therefore this may be helpful for swelling on, or around the thyroid. Blue flag can be taken orally, or applied topically over a goiter or enlarged thyroid.

Selenium and anti-oxidants

The thyroid has an affinity for selenium. Selenium acts as a strong anti-oxidant and may be helpful for both hyperthyroidism, and Grave's ophthalmopathy. Anti-oxidants in general may be helpful for Graves disease as well. [1] [2]

additional notes on use of selenium

Carnitine

Over time carnitine will blunt the action of excessive thyroid hormone at the cellular level. It will not effect the thyroid or lower thyroid hormone but it will calm down the body's response to too much thyroid hormone. Interestingly carnitine only blunts the action of thyroid hormone, in hyperthyroidism. If thyroid hormone is normal or low, carnitine has no effect on its action. [3]

Vitamins A, D

Vitamins A and D have profound effects of modulating the immune system. In recent years vitamin D has gotten much attention. However, vitamin A is also crucial is regulating the immune system. Remember, Graves disease is an immune system disorder that affect the thyroid gland, not a disease of the thyroid per se.

Nutritional Lithium

Lithium inhibits the thyroid's production of thyroid hormone.

There are several forms which lithium is available in, as a prescription medication, or as an over the counter supplement. The prescription lithium is used to treat "bipolar" disorder and "depression." Because of the form and dose it is given in, it has many toxic side effects.

Comparison Of Different Form Of Lithium
Form Lithium Carbonate Lithium Orotate Biotics Li-zyme Avg. Dietary Intake
Dose Starting at 300mg Starting at 5000 mcg Starting at 50 mcg 700 - 3100 mcg [3]

Some people are hesitant to use lithium to help with hyperthyroidism because of all the side effects associated with prescription lithium carbonate. However, low dose, nutritional lithium which is not in the carbonate form does not have the associated side effects.

To put into perspective the difference in dose between prescription lithium and supplemental lithium, we simply need to compare dose to the average dietary intake.

Assuming an average daily intake from food of 1000 mcg (or 1mg), a low dose of prescription lithium has 300 times more lithium, than what someone would get from diet. Many people are prescribed much higher doses, even over 1000 mg a day of prescription lithium.

On a other hand, nutritional lithium, at 5mg, has only 5 times an average daily intake.

A whole foods form of lithium, such as Li-zyme and Li-zyme forte from Biotics comes in 50 mcg and 150 mcg tablets, well inside the range of daily intake from diet. An aggressive dose of Li-zyme forte would be 3, 150 mcg tablets, 3 times a day. This is a total of 1350 mcg and well within typical dietary intaket.

The ancient greek physician Paracelsus is quoted as saying: "All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison." This is true for everything, including air and water.

Links to other websites about the safe use of nutritional lithium:

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1

What about iodine?

Although it is possible to supress thyroid function by taking a very large dose of iodine, I do not recommend using iodine in the maintence of hyperthyroidism.

Severe iodine deficiency cause hypothyroidm. In some situations iodine may help people with hyperthyroidism, but not necessarily by repleating a defieicney. Sometimes and influx of additional iodine causes a reflex, where the thyroid stops uptaking iodine.

If someone has been taking iodine to control hyperthyroidism, I don't recommend that they stop. However, when starting with a new person who is not taking any supplement, I believe it will be easier to control symptoms with other supplemetns that have far less chance of unintended effects.

 

References:

[1]

Vesna Bacic Vrca, Franjo Skreb, Ivana Cepelak, Zeljko Romic, Ljiljana Mayer, Supplementation with antioxidants in the treatment of Graves' disease; the effect on glutathione peroxidase activity and concentration of selenium, Clinica Chimica Acta, Volume 341, Issues 1–2, March 2004, Pages 55-63, ISSN 0009-8981, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cccn.2003.10.028. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009898103005321) Keywords: Graves' disease; Antioxidants; Selenium; Glutathione peroxidase

[2]

Selenium and the Course of Mild Graves' Orbitopathy

Claudio Marcocci, M.D., George J. Kahaly, M.D., Gerasimos E. Krassas, M.D., Luigi Bartalena, M.D., Mark Prummel, M.D., Matthias Stahl, M.D., Maria Antonietta Altea, M.D., Marco Nardi, M.D., Susanne Pitz, M.D., Kostas Boboridis, M.D., Paolo Sivelli, M.D., George von Arx, M.D., Maarten P. Mourits, M.D., Lelio Baldeschi, M.D., Walter Bencivelli, Ph.D., and Wilmar Wiersinga, M.D. for the European Group on Graves' Orbitopathy

N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1920-1931May 19, 2011DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1012985

[3]

BENVENGA, S., AMATO, A., CALVANI, M. and TRIMARCHI, F. (2004), Effects of Carnitine on Thyroid Hormone Action. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1033: 158–167. doi: 10.1196/annals.1320.015

[4]

Lithium: Occurrence, Dietary Intakes, Nutritional Essentiality
Gerhard N. Schrauzer, PhD, CNS, FACN,
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of
California, San Diego.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 21, No. 1, 14–21 (2002