Hyperthyroidism (Thyrotoxicosis)

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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2016-11-11 (EDT)

Hyperthyroidism (Thyrotoxicosis)
Causes Dietary Factors, Food Colourings, Smoking, Environmental Toxins, Stress
See Also Endocrine Conditions, Thyroid Disorders, Adrenal Fatigue
Books Books on Endocrine Diseases
Articles Articles on Endocrine Conditions

Hyperthyroidism, or thyrotoxicosis, is a thyroid disorder characterized by an increase in free T4 and/or T3. The vast majority of hyperthyroidism cases are associated with an autoimmune disorder or Graves' disease.[1] However, hyperthyroidism may also result from Hashimoto's Disease or Toxic Multinodular Goiter. [2]

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune and is triggered by a number of factors.


  • A diet that is too high in iodine may cause Iodine-induced hyperthyroidism.[1]
  • Food colourings such as Erythrosine can have an adverse effect on thyroid activity by increasing thyroid hormone levels which can in turn result in a hyperthyroid state. This dye was shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats in a study conducted in 1990.[3]


  • Retrospective studies have linked stress to autoimmune disease (one of the biggest causes of hyperthyroidism)[4], however there have been no specific clinical trials linking stress to hyperthyroidism. [5]



  • Smoking cigarettes increases risk of hyperthyroidism.[6]

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Thyroid dysfunction such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can be caused by the drug Amiodarone, an antiarrhythmic medication [7]
  • Supplements
  • Hyperthyroidism can be caused by caused by dieters taking thyroxine for weight loss.[1]


  • Certain gene variants appear to increase susceptibility to autoimmune thyroid disease.[8]

Diagnostic Testing


Individuals with thyroid enlargement and/or signs and symptoms suggestive of thyroid disease should be tested to assess thyroid function. Although screening of the general population in not recommended, certain high risk groups benefits from screening:[9]

  • All newborns (neonatal screening)
  • Women over 50 years of age
  • Women trying to conceive
  • Pregnant women during the first trimester
  • Women 6 weeks to 6 months postpartum
  • Patients on medications known to cause thryoid dysfunction or autoimmune disorders
  • Patients with hyperlipidemia, hypertension or diabetes mellitus.

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Other thyroid disorders than can present with hyperthyroidism signs or symptoms include:[1]

  • Graves' disease
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Toxic multinodular goiter
  • Thyroid carcinoma
  • Trophoblastic tumours


The symptoms for hyperthyroidism are generally common symptoms. Only if a person is experiencing a number of the following symptoms would it be common for them to be tested for hyperthyroidism:[2]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Hyperthyroidism is typically a chronic disease that can be treated quite effectively.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Engage in regular moderate exercise. Avoid extreme exercise programs.
  • Ensure that you get adequate sleep. Ideally following the circadian rhythm.
  • Stress control is vital,[1] ensure stress is managed appropriately using medication, yoga, tai chi or other forms of relaxation.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for hyperthyroidism include:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Acupuncture is reported to be an effective treatment for hyperthyroidism. According to traditional Chinese medicine, hyperthyroidism symptoms are typically caused by rising liver fire, phlegm stagnation, qi and yin deficiency.[15]
  • Hydrotherapy such as: neutral baths before bedtime, or daily cold compress to throat.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Pizzorno Jr. Joseph E, Murray Michael, Joiner-Bey Herb (2008) The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine Churchill Livingstone.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Friedman Michael (2005) Fundamentals of Naturopathic Endocrinology, Complementary & Alternative Medicine Guide CCNM Press.
  3. UK Food Guide, http://www.ukfoodguide.net/e129.htm
  4. Stojanovich L, Marisavljevich D. (Jan 2008) Stress as a trigger of autoimmune disease. Autoimmun Rev;7(3):209-13. PMID: 18190880
  5. Bagnasco M, Bossert I, Pesce G. (2006) Stress and autoimmune thyroid diseases. Neuroimmunomodulation;13(5-6):309-17. PMID: 17709953
  6. Nygaard B (Oct 2007) Hyperthyroidism. Am Fam Physician;Vol76(7):1014-6. PMID: 17956073
  7. Tsang W, Houlden RL (2009 Jul) Amiodarone-induced thyrotoxicosis: A review. Can J Cardiol;Vol25(7):421-24. PMID: 19584973
  8. Tomer Y (2010 Jul) Genetic susceptibility to autoimmune thyroid disease: past, present, and future. Thyroid;20(7):715-25. PMID: 20604685.
  9. Guidelines for the Use of Laboratory Tests to Detect Thyroid Dysfunction (2007) Ontario Association of Medical Laboratories
  10. Traube E, Coplan NL (2011) Embolic risk in atrial fibrillation that arises from hyperthyroidism: review of the medical literature. Tex Heart Inst J;Vol38(3):225-8. PMID: 21720457
  11. Toulis KA, Anastasilakis AD, Tzellos TG, Goulis DG, Kouvelas D. (2010 Oct) Selenium supplementation in the treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis: a systematic review and a meta-analysis. Thyroid;Vol20(10):1163-73. PMID: 20883174
  12. Ogura F, Morii H, Ohno M, Ueno T, Kitabatake S, Hamada N, Ito K. (Oct 1980) Serum coenzyme Q10 levels in thyroid disorders. Horm Metab Res;12(10):537-40. PMID: 7439878
  13. Benvenga S, Ruggeri RM, Russo A, Lapa D, Campenni A, Trimarchi F (2001 Aug) Usefulness of L-carnitine, a naturally occurring peripheral antagonist of thyroid hormone action, in iatrogenic hyperthyroidism: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab;86(8):3579-94. PMID: 11502782
  14. Locke A (1998) The Family Guide to Homeopathy: The Safe Form of Medicine for the Future. Penguin.
  15. Chen, J (2010) Treatment of Hyperthroidism: Western Medicine vs. Traditional Chinese Medicine. California Journal of Oriental Medicine;21(1):11-14.