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Supplements for Hyperthyroidism

Naturopathic Medicine takes a personalized medicine approach to treat diseases like hyperthyroidism. The goal of a patient-centered approach is to identify the root cause of the condition for each person, re-balance hormones accordingly, and manage symptoms. This integrative healthcare approach guides naturopaths (NDs) to which diet and lifestyle techniques to implement, and which herbs and supplements make the most sense depending on the individual needs of each patient.

Integrative healthcare is a safe and cost-effective approach that has been shown to improve patient outcomes and work well for managing conditions like hyperthyroidism. 

This article will highlight health supplements, and nutraceuticals, that are used in treating hyperthyroidism in a holistic health setting, along with lifestyle factors that can support treatments. 

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What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid gland. It is a condition that affects the thyroid gland and causes it to release too much thyroid hormone. The thyroid controls metabolism and is connected to nearly all body organs. A high level of thyroid hormones can cause many of your body systems to speed up, which could be detrimental to organs and muscles, and cause nutrient deficiencies. 

Hyperthyroidism is rare, and according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), most cases are caused by an autoimmune disease called Graves’ Disease. With Graves’ Disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to overproduce the thyroid hormones Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). 

Diagnosing hyperthyroidism includes blood tests, which measure the level of T4 and T3 and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). NIH states that if levels of T4 and T3 are high, and the TSH is low, this is usually an indication of hyperthyroidism. 


Treatments for Hyperthyroidism

A patient-centered treatment plan is integrative and may include a combination of conventional treatments and lifestyle adjustments, like nutrition and supplementation to address nutritional deficiencies, and stress reduction, depending on what’s causing a patient’s hyperthyroidism. 

Using an evidence-based medicine approach, your ND will look for the underlying factors for your disease along with all possible options for treatment and create a treatment plan accordingly.  

Conventional Treatment

According to NIH, the options for treatment typically include the use of anti-thyroid medications, radioactive iodine, beta-blockers, and in some cases, surgery. The severity and the cause will determine which conventional treatments doctors will use. In endocrinology, conventional treatment options include:

  • Anti-thyroid medication. The antithyroid medications, methimazole and propylthiouracil (PTU) suppress the function of the thyroid, preventing it from releasing too many hormones.

  • Radioactive Iodine therapy. Treatment with radioactive iodine damages the thyroid and causes it to shrink, stopping the release of hormones. Patients usually require synthetic hormones to replace the loss of hormones since this treatment eventually causes an underactive hormone or hypothyroidism.  

  • Beta Blockers. Beta-blockers are used to manage symptoms rather than the hormones themselves. They are used alongside other treatments until thyroid hormones normalize. 

  • Thyroidectomy. A surgical procedure to remove all or parts of the thyroid gland to stop the release of thyroid hormones. Patients will need synthetic hormone replacement since there is no thyroid to make them. 

Alternative Medicine Treatment Protocol for Hyperthyroidism

Testing for root cause is a key element to a personalized approach. NDs will look at a patient’s medical history, family history, and a physical exam of the thyroid when determining a thyroid issue. They will also test for the following to assess the state of a patient’s thyroid health:

  • Micronutrient testing 
  • Thyroid antibody testing 
  • Gut health testing
  • Thyroid gland exam

Your ND will also take into consideration the pharmacokinetics of a person’s disease, like metabolism, absorption, and elimination may affect treatment because the thyroid speeds things up so much.  Based on the results, your ND will create a plan that might include a therapeutic nutrition plan and supplementation to address nutritional deficiencies and gut health. Research supports that a healthy thyroid function relies on sufficient micronutrients, antioxidants, and amino acids.

Some supplements can interact with thyroid medications. If you are taking a holistic approach by combining conventional thyroid medications and supplementation, it’s imperative to work closely with your ND will help you avoid drug-supplement Interactions. 


L-carnitine plays an important role in ensuring thyroid hormones get into the cells. It is also effective at managing and reversing symptoms of hyperthyroidism. L-carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally occurring in muscle tissue.

Hyperthyroidism causes damage to muscle tissue. Loss of muscle depletes levels of l-carnitine, which then affects the amino acid’s ability to do its job in thyroid hormone function. Replenishing the reserves of the l-carnitine can be healing in patients with hyperthyroidism. Clinical studies show that L-carnitine supplementation helps with the uptake of thyroid hormones into the cells and both reverses and prevents symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Symptoms, like muscle weakness, nervousness, racing heart, and insomnia are greatly improved in patients with hyperthyroidism. 

L-carnitine was shown to be especially helpful in patients with Grave’s Disease, the autoimmune condition that causes hyperthyroidism. A complication of Grave’s disease is something called a “thyroid storm”. A thyroid storm is when a sudden onslaught of thyroid hormone is released quickly. It causes a high heart rate and raises blood pressure and body temperature. While a thyroid storm is rare, it is a severe and life-threatening complication of hyperthyroidism. Treatment with L-carnitine improved patient outcomes in those experiencing a thyroid storm.  

L-carnitine is found in protein food sources such as meat, dairy, and fish. People with hyperthyroidism may also need additional supplementation, but it’s important to work with your ND to determine if it’s right for you and what is the proper dosing based on your causes, severity, and symptoms. 


Selenium is a mineral that serves an important role in the body for immune function and endocrine function. One of the endocrine jobs of Selenium is that it is responsible for regulating thyroid hormones. According to NIH, the thyroid contains the highest amount of selenium than any other part of the body, and without it, the metabolism of thyroid hormones is disrupted, causing an ill-functioning thyroid. 

Selenium is also responsible for the antioxidant function of the thyroid which is highly effective in reducing oxidative stress and scavenging free radicals that damage the gland. Because hyperthyroidism causes the metabolism to speed up, having the disease can deplete your body with this important micronutrient.

Research shows that patients with Graves’ Disease, the autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism, tend to have low levels of selenium. When selenium is part of the treatment plan, Graves’ Disease patient outcomes improved greatly. One of the side effects of Graves’ Disease is something called Graves’ ophthalmopathy– which causes bulging eyes. Treatment with selenium was particularly helpful in these cases.  Clinical trials have also documented the benefits of selenium in preventing and treating Graves’ disease. 

According to research, thyroid health and function were restored in patients with hyperthyroidism after supplementing with selenium. Selenium has the following well-known benefits for use in managing hyperthyroidism: 

  • Thyroid gland protector: Protects the thyroid gland from becoming destroyed by too much iodine. While iodine is essential for thyroid hormone function, too much of it can damage the thyroid, such as with hyperthyroidism. 
  • Reduces antibodies and symptoms in Grave’s disease. Low levels of selenium also put one at risk for developing Grave’s disease. 
  • Prevents complications of thyroid eye disease. 
  • Helps with increased absorption of hyperthyroid treatments, methimazole, and radioactive iodine. 

Treatment with selenium may include a diet rich in selenium foods and supplementation. Foods high in selenium include:  

  • Brazil nuts
  • Organ meats
  • Seafood, like tuna and sardines
  • Oatmeal, and other whole grains 

The bioavailability of selenium will be different for each person. Your ND will be able to help you determine the right amount for you and whether or not extra supplementation is necessary for your condition based on the severity and root cause of your condition. Too much Selenium is toxic, so working with your ND to get the right dosing is crucial.

Omega-3 Fatty Foods

Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing benefits in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, plaque build-up in the arteries, and heart health. Omega-3s provide structure and support to cells, strengthening the communication among cells. In short, for optimal cell health and for your body to function properly, it needs Omega-3s. Omega-3s play a crucial role in supporting all body systems, including the endocrine system where your thyroid is managed. Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Prevent inflammation
  • Boost immunity
  • Support blood vessels
  • Bolster brain and nervous system 
  • Improve liver health
  • Assist with hormone regulation
  • Strengthen hair, skin, and nails

Studies support the therapeutic benefits of Omega-3’s on hyperthyroidism and show the crucial role they play in managing thyroid conditions. Because of the overarching systemic support Omega-3’s have with cell health and signaling, these essential fatty acids help promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself by reducing inflammation, regulating immune function, and supporting thyroid hormone function. 

Likewise, according to NIH, the use of omega-3 nutraceuticals (foods with medical benefits) is powerful in treating and preventing autoimmune thyroid disease, like Graves’ Disease, as well as thyroid cancer. 

Studies also show Omega-3’s to be therapeutic for liver disease caused by hyperthyroidism.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids or EFAs. They are essential because our body needs them, but cannot make them on its own, so we need to consume them. The best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and oils. The fish that have the highest amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids include: 

  • Salmon
  • Sardines 
  • Mackerel
  • Oysters
  • Anchovies
  • Herring

Other good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Nuts, especially walnuts, and seeds
  • Seed oils, like flaxseed oil, organic soybean oil, organic canola
  • fish oil supplements, like cod liver oil

As with the use of any nutraceutical, work with your ND to determine how Omega-3’s may benefit you, and what the proper mechanism is for getting the Omega-3’s based on your specific condition. 

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Like Omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning they are necessary for normal body function, but we need to consume them. The body cannot make them. Omega-6 fatty acids sometimes get a bad rap for being inflammatory, but the truth is, our body needs them for normal functioning, including:

  • Brain Health
  • Cardiac health
  • Bone health
  • Metabolic health
  • Reproductive health
  • Hair, skin, and nails

As you can see, Omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for many of the body’s functions. Unfortunately, in the standard American diet, there tends to be an imbalance of Omega-6’s, which is why inflammation becomes a factor and why there is more emphasis on getting Omega-3 fatty acids.

According to NIH, a precise balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty (polyunsaturated fats, or PUFAs) acids is key to keeping inflammation down and body systems functioning normally. Over consuming Omega-6 fatty acids can lead to oxidative stress and inflammation, which can make hyperthyroidism worse, so the source of Omega-6 fatty acids is also important. 

Omega-6 fatty acids are naturally found in food, mostly in plants, nuts, and seeds. The best sources for Omega-6 fatty acids include: 

  • Nuts, especially walnuts, almonds, cashews
  • Seeds, like sunflower, hemp 
  • Eggs
  • Tofu (organic)
  • Avocado oil 

The following are high in omega-6 and should be very limited in one’s diet, as these oils can be very inflammatory:

  • Safflower oil (organic)
  • Canola Oil (organic)

Your ND will help you determine if Omega-6 fatty acids are something you need to focus on for your hyperthyroidism disease and how to manage your levels. You can have yourself checked through our free 10-minute consultation.



Studies of herbal remedies for hyperthyroidism have resulted in positive outcomes for managing symptoms and balancing hormones. The herbs that are most effective for hyperthyroidism are lemon balm and bugleweed.  

Lemon Balm. Lemon balm, or Melissa officinalis, is known for its calming properties. It is used to treat anxiety and insomnia, which are both common in people with hyperthyroidism. According to Research lemon balm prohibits the overproduction of thyroid hormones that come with hyperthyroidism. Patients have reported an improvement in symptoms with the use of the herb. 

Bugleweed. Bugleweed has been studied for its effect in decreasing high levels of thyroid hormones that come with hyperthyroidism. Bugleweed has sedative effects and can be very soothing. It has been used in traditional herbal medicine to help with hormone regulation for hyperthyroidism for many, many years. Not only does bugleweed help calm and soothe, but studies have shown that it helps protect against heart damage caused by hyperthyroidism. Studies indicate that it is as effective as beta-blockers in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. 

Konjac Glucomannan. Konjac glucomannan is a root vegetable similar to the potato. It is prevalent in Asian countries. The use of this herbal treatment has shown promise in lowering thyroid hormones in people with hyperthyroidism when used in combination with methimazole, a conventional medication used to treat hyperthyroidism. 

Lifestyle Factors. Lifestyle changes can be a very supportive supplement for hyperthyroidism treatment. Lifestyle factors like smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption put us at risk for many diseases, and studies show these factors, especially smoking, are also a risk for Graves’ disease. Engaging in these behaviors also makes symptoms of thyroid disease worse. Cutting out substances, tending to stress, getting good quality sleep, and exercising all have implications for thyroid health and treatment for hyperthyroidism. 

Stress Management

Managing stress may be one of the more crucial lifestyle factors to address when it comes to hyperthyroidism. Since hyperthyroidism causes your body systems to speed up, many of the symptoms are similar to those of stress, such as rapid heart rate & palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, and nervousness.  Stress can make those symptoms of thyroid dysfunction worse.

Stress has been shown to cause Graves’ disease. In these cases, studies show stress reduction techniques are therapeutic. Techniques that calm and soothe the central nervous system will help manage hyperthyroid symptoms. Stress-reducing techniques may include:  

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Massage
  • Yoga, Tai chi, and Qigong
  • Reiki 
  • Acupuncture and acupressure 

Exercise and Hyperthyroidism

Exercise is often a first-line therapy in holistic medicine for most illnesses and diseases. However, it can be tricky when it comes to hyperthyroidism. Strenuous, high-intensity, and aerobic exercise is generally not recommended for people with untreated, uncontrolled hyperthyroidism because it can cause undue stress on muscles, bones, and the cardiovascular system, all of which are compromised with hyperthyroidism.

The overactive thyroid causes muscle weakness, and this includes the heart muscle. Hyperthyroidism causes issues with heart health, like irregular heartbeat, palpitations, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. Adding strenuous exercise to the mix may be overly taxing and cause an undue burden on the body and heart when it comes to hyperthyroidism.

However, exercise is an important component of overall health and well-being. Calming and restorative exercises like stretching, yoga, tai chi, and qi gong can be useful techniques for keeping the body moving, but not overtaxing. These techniques are also incredibly stress-reducing, which is a plus with hyperthyroidism. 

If you have hyperthyroidism, the severity of your symptoms and state of health will guide you and your ND to the forms of exercise that will be the most supportive for your disease. 

Sleep Quality and Hormone Regulation

One of the most disruptive symptoms of hyperthyroidism is insomnia. And yet, a lack of good quality sleep is also conducive to dysregulated hormones. According to research, poor sleep is correlated with thyroid hormone dysfunction. In another study, there was a correlation between the duration of sleep and thyroid hormone function. When participants got the recommended duration of sleep, the thyroid hormone function improved. Those who slept for shorter periods, hormone function was disrupted, and were at higher risk for developing hyperthyroidism. 

With hyperthyroidism, sleep is often disrupted because of symptoms like rapid heart rate, nervousness, and anxiety. Night sweats and restless legs syndrome are also common with hyperthyroidism and can make sleeping through the night difficult. Patients with hyperthyroidism often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. 

The recommended duration of sleep for most adults is around 7 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you have hyperthyroidism, a few things you can do to help for a good night’s sleep include the following:

  • A good quality diet rich in vegetables, fruit, fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and limit or eliminate sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Daily exercise (if it’s safe for your hyperthyroid disease to do so)
  • Create an environment conducive to sleep: a cool, dark room; Turn off electronics an hour before bed;
  • Create a wind-down routine
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time every day. 

If you’re already doing these things without results, talk with your ND about additional supplementation and remedies that might help move you towards good, recuperative rest to complement your thyroid treatments. 

Pearls from Dr. Sue

While all of the above vitamins, minerals, and herbs show great promise with hyperthyroidism, it is important to note the emotional root causes of thyroid disorders. In clinical practice, both Dr. Sparks and I have seen patients develop thyroid disorders from suppressed trauma. In Eastern medicine, our thyroid is in our throat chakra, which is our communication center. 

Many of our patients will hold their emotions in and suffer in silence. They may be holding secrets of their childhood, or even adulthood out of shame and fear. I wrote an Instagram post “Is biting your tongue costing you your health?” that you can view on Instagram (@dr.susanc) because not speaking one’s truth can have a direct impact on the health of one’s thyroid.

We do ask questions of this nature to all of our new patients, as we know that delving into the mental/emotional, and spiritual aspects of their health can provide them with profound improvements in their health.

Louise L. Hay in “Heal Your Body” says that the emotional root cause of hyperthyroidism in particular is “rage at being left out.” She shares a new thought pattern “I am the center of life and I approve of myself and all that I see.”

We would then recommend therapies such as EMDR, somatic therapies, DBT, and even energetic healing depending on the patient’s case and presentation. There are many self-help books, as well as free YouTube meditations to support the throat chakra and overall self-care and healing. 

It is in our experience that we see full healing when diet, lifestyle, supplements, and emotional healing take place. 


Metabolism speeds up greatly with hyperthyroidism, which can cause nutrient deficiencies and stressful symptoms. Supplementing with nutrition, nutraceuticals, herbs, and lifestyle changes can have many therapeutic benefits for managing symptoms and deficiencies. In the case of hyperthyroidism, it’s important to work with a professional who can look at the whole picture– your symptoms, test results, health history, and other factors to determine the root cause of your disease so that the most effective supplement plan can be implemented for you.  

Start your healing journey with our free 10-minute consultation…

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