Hyperthyroidism Diet

Following a hyperthyroidism diet that's rich in the nutrients your body needs can help you manage and prevent many adverse health conditions. Unfortunately, diet and activity levels have no effect on whether or not you'll develop hyperthyroidism.

If you've been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, there's nothing you can do nutritionally to change the fact that you have it; a hyperthyroidism diet alone can't reverse hyperthyroidism. However, some symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be affected by iodine in the diet.

In rare cases, hyperthyroidism can actually be caused by too much iodine in the diet. And in the case of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism, there's a chance that hyperthyroidism may be reversed if you remove the excess iodine.

Always be cautious about taking supplements that contain iodine. If you have a hyperthyroid problem, they can fuel the fire and make it impossible to complete some of the diagnostic testing used to detect the condition. The more iodine the thyroid has, the more hormones it produces. Still, iodine would have to be taken in very large quantities to cause a problem, either through supplements or excessive amounts of iodized or sea salt.

Talk to your doctor about whether you might need a diet that limits or avoids foods that contain significant amounts of iodine including:

• Sea salt and iodized salt
• Seafood
• Eggs
• Dairy products
• Plants grown in soil rich with iodine

There is some speculation that an all-vegan diet that includes plenty of soy protein could reverse hyperthyroidism. A vegan diet means the elimination of all animal-derived foods — no dairy, eggs, or meat — and a soy diet is a common replacement for these foods. But while a cholesterol-free, low-fat vegan diet may help ward off many health conditions like heart disease, obesity, and some cancers, again according to a soy study, soy doesn't have this kind of effect on thyroid function.

Another aspect of diet related to hyperthyroidism is its apparent connection to celiac disease, a digestive disorder that prevents the body from properly absorbing nutrients. For people with celiac disease, eating gluten, a protein found in starch, can have serious consequences. People who have celiac disease are also more likely to develop hyperthyroidism by way of an autoimmune disease like Graves' disease, a common cause of hyperthyroidism. If you have celiac disease, it's important to follow a gluten-free diet (no wheat, rye, and barley products) to try to reduce or better manage hyperthyroid symptoms.

Body weight doesn't have an impact on hyperthyroidism — being overweight or underweight won't cause the disease. However, hyperthyroidism can cause you to lose weight and make gaining weight more difficult because of high metabolism. People with hyperthyroidism may need to add calories to their diets so that they don't lose too much weight. Once hyperthyroidism is treated and under control, losing weight should no longer be an issue, according to the American Thyroid Association.

Diet very rarely causes, reverses, or helps to manage hyperthyroidism without additional treatment. But getting the best possible nutrition — in addition to a specified treatment plan — is an important consideration for someone with hyperthyroidism trying to stay healthy overall.

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