It’s been about 10 years since I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and then quickly became pregnant with my first son. I am so thankful to be able to say that I no longer suffer from hyperthyroidism! I used diet to heal my thyroid, and, below, I’ll give you all the deets on my holistic hyperthyroidism treatment.
How the whole mess started – hyperthyroidism symptoms
I was 21 years old, in college, and working at a salon; taking care of my health was the last thing on my mind. Between a full class schedule, work, and trying to be a good wife and run a household, I had run myself nearly into the ground. In fact, that was about what my schedule had looked like for years: work, work, work, class, class, class, junk food, junk food, junk food… and utter exhaustion.
Having never taken care of my health and eaten a processed diet my entire life, by the time I began really abusing my body in my teens and early twenties, I had no nutritional stores to rely on. I became totally depleted and started having outward symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which include:
- fatigue (even pre-kids, I was always exhausted.)
- excessive sweating
- brain fog
- irritability and mood swings
- hyperactivity and inability to focus
- sleep disturbances
- weird heart rhythms
- inability to gain weight
So here I was, 21 years old, when I should’ve felt like the energizer bunny, but instead, I had such debilitating fatigue that I could barely function. Thinking I was having a mono flare (read about my experience with epstein barr virus, the virus responsible for mono here), I went to the campus health clinic, where I had blood work done.
When I returned, the doctor was somber: I had a condition which required medication, for which there was no “cure,” and now I had a pre-existing condition sans insurance. I had an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism. The doctor offered me no hyperthyroidism treatment and sent me on my way.
So I did what any invincible 21 year old does; I pretended I was fine and went on about my business. Then I had some kids.
My breaking point
After baby three, despite eating healthier and living a more natural lifestyle, I found myself suffering from the worst fatigue of my life, frequently experiencing vertigo, having horrible mood swings, and even developing early symptoms of multiple sclerosis: I began to get tingling and shocking sensations in my hands after busy days of house cleaning and dish scrubbing.
I already ate as well as I knew how; I was taking the time to sprout and grind my own wheat berries for crying out loud! I also knew I didn’t want anything conventional medicine had to offer me; I’d been down that route with little help.
I decided it was time to come up with my own holistic hyperthyroidism treatment. Over the next 3-6 months, I radically changed my diet, one thing at a time, until I felt better and better. Here’s how I did it.
My hyperthyroidism treatment
I took several steps in healing hyperthyroidism, and each one helped in its own way, however, the combination of all of these diet changes is what really worked to heal my hyperthyroidism.
Cut the junk
The very first thing I did in an effort to feel better was to cut the junk. I had already done that prior to my third pregnancy, but clearly it wasn’t enough. However, it was an integral part of getting started in the right direction. I cut out:
- food dyes
- monosodium glutamate
- hydrogenated oils
- high fructose corn syrup &
- artificial sweetners.
Eventually, I switched over to as much organic food as I could find and afford, including bread, crackers, and granola bars, before finally making absolutely everything from scratch. I honestly didn’t feel much better even with these changes, though. (The biggest improvement with these changes came in the form of better behavior from my kids. Read more here.)
I was elated when I finally found someone I could get raw milk from. Switching from pasteurized to raw milk was a huge turning point for our family.
Pasteurized milk had always made me feel sick and sometimes made me physically ill. I hardly ever drank it, which meant I was missing out on the nutrition that real milk had to offer. Once I switched to raw milk, I found that I actually liked milk (which I had never done- even as a kid). I began to crave it and it didn’t make me sick anymore.
Even better, my son tolerated raw milk, while pasteurized milk sent him into rages and caused other ODD– like behaviors.
Kick the sweet tooth
After my third son was born and I seemed to be feeling worse than ever, I was ready to make some serious changes. Remember, I was already eating whole, real foods, drinking raw milk, and even soaking and sprouting my grains using traditional methods. But I had a major problem: a major sweet tooth.
I still made all my favorite goodies, with my homemade sprouted wheat flour and organic sugar. I decided to try a 30 day challenge with no sugar. It was so much easier than I had anticipated- honest! I swapped out cane sugar for sweeteners that are easier on the body: honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. See my guide to sugars here for a thorough breakdown of the good, bad, and ugly of sweeteners.
I felt a little better and more energized.
Give up the grain
After I saw how easy it was to cut out sugar, I had to try cutting grains.
I had been reading about how much better people were feeling off grains, but I was convinced it wasn’t for me. I was already eating so healthy, how could cutting out grains make any difference? But then I kept reading about how people who were suffering from the same conditions and symptoms as me were healing them by removing grains from their diet. Could going grain-free be the missing link to my hyperthyroidism treatment?
It turned out, it was the missing link. It was everything I hoped for and more. Five days after removing grains from my diet, I felt like the clouds parted and the sun began shining. The debilitating fatigue was relieved and I had more energy than ever. Migraine headaches lessened in frequency. The concerning shocking and tingling sensations went away. I felt… happier. And more clear-headed than I had my whole adult life. The constant bloat I’d experienced after every meal and snack disappeared and I enjoyed a flat tummy.
I had originally planned to cut grains for only a month as a trial, but it’s a lifestyle I’ve stuck with for years now, because it’s how I feel best. It’s also best for my son who struggles with behavioral disorders.
I cut out wheat, oats, rice, rye, millet, spelt, corn, etc., etc., etc., and even my beloved quinoa. (There goes my crunchy mom status.)
Leggo the legumes
Legumes (beans, lentils, and peanuts), have some of the same problematic components as grains: difficult-to-digest proteins, nutrient-robbing phytates, and gut-destroying lectins. I eventually figured out that I reacted to peanut butter, and ended up cutting legumes altogether. This decreased my incidence of migraines and brain fog, as well as eased remaining digestive discomfort.
It’s not paleo… ok, it’s paleo.
You may notice that the diet changes I made sound an awful lot like a popular diet. That’s because my ideal diet happens to mirror what’s known as the paleo diet, although a strict paleo diet would eliminate dairy altogether. I’ve found that since our family tolerates raw and cultured dairy, and that it offers tons of nutrition, we haven’t had a reason to eliminate it completely.
On top of those crucial diet changes (which I credit for getting me 90% healed), I’ve also taken some good supplements, which I think everyone can benefit from:
- a good probiotic (this is the one I recommend), &
- a high-quality cod liver oil (this is the only one I trust).
Between a serious diet overhaul and some key supplementation, I was able to heal my hyperthyroidism and accompanying symptoms. Later, when I decided to delve deeper and heal remaining underlying conditions, I did the GAPS diet for even more healing, and took more targeted supplements for things like Lyme disease.
My hyperthyroidism treatment worked!
While I’ve still been working to heal my remaining symptoms (quite successfully, I might add- I’m probably 80-90% better overall and some days I feel 100%!), when I had blood work done last year, I learned that just after implementing the above diet changes and utilizing only minor supplementation, my thyroid disorder had been healed. My practitioner was able to report that my blood work no longer showed indications of hyperthyroidism.
That alone has been worth every forfeited dinner roll and slice of pie. (But don’t forget- I wrote a whole cookbook full of grain-free recipes, including pies and dinner rolls, just in time for the holidays! Check it out here.)
Do you need a hyperthyroidism treatment? Start with diet! Be sure to share this post for other mamas struggling with a thyroid disorder.
good to hear u r healed.thats what im doing right now to my daughter for 2 weeks and she is feeling better. Praying to God for her healing and with ds method she will completely healed. Godbless
Corrie W says
Hi Jaclyn! Thank you for sharing your story! (I’m typing this on my phone so sorry for any typos).
I am currently struggling with Hyperthyroidism, specifically Graves’ disease, and two weeks ago I was told my only options were surgery or iodine treatment to remove or kill my thyroid. Therefore I would be on thyroid supplements forever. I am very hyperthyroid and my levels are getting worse.
I’ve been searching for ways to naturally heal hyperthyroidism and I’ve started changing my diet already.
Do you know specifically what type of hyperthyroidism you had? It didn’t seem your doctor gave you much information initially but I am curious to know what you had.
I have all the sysmptoms you had and I am 23 so right in the same age range.
Thank you so much for this article!! This is giving me hope!!!
Hi Corrie. You’re correct, doc didn’t give me much info. I would definitely encourage you to keep going the natural route and changing your diet, as well as consider finding a functional medicine doctor who can give you other options and help support natural healing of your thyroid.
Nizza Guillena says
Hi Jaclyn. I am suffrring hyperthyroidism as diagnosed by my doctor last week. He just told me that I should have to avood eating seafoods. He also gave me medicines to take. After that,I started to search for another way to heal this condition and I have read your articles and it enlightens me that there are natural way of healing this condition. Thank you
I’m just curious, you cut out so much in your diet, what do you eat? I have not been diagnosed, in fact my levels were normal but I have all the symptoms and want to just try this to see if it will help. I just don’t know what I can still eat. Lol
A paleo-style diet. There’s still PLENTY of tasty, nourishing food to enjoy!
Mary Hernandez says
Hi Jaclin! Thanks for sharing your story. I was also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and I’m currently on medication. Although i’ve Been feeling better I still want to try going the natural way. The only problem is that I developed goiters and my doctor says that they will never go away unless they remove them. So my question is do you think that if I change my eating habits my goiters may go away. I really don’t want them to be removed. The doctor says that not everyone who has hyperthyroidism develop goiters.
Hi Mary, I’m sorry; I don’t have experience with goiters.
Hi Jacklyn, hank you for your article. I have been suffering from hyprethyroidism in early 2000 and my doctor prescribed 30mg carbimazole daily. I was on it for months and then slowly reduced to 5mg daily. I took the medication granted and always forgotten to take it and I ended up with 30mg again. My T3 and T4 readings were at the extreme. I had bulgy eyes for the longest time and My right eye is still a little bulgy. After reading your article, I want to try eliminating / cut down on the food you suggested. Good luck to me!
Melissa Nemarnik says
When you were diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and then got pregnant were you on any medications? I have a healthy 2 year old and was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism a year ago. I changed my diet and started exercising which helped me feel better. Fast forward to now I am 6 weeks pregnant and had blood work done. I have low TSH levels again but I know it can be caused by HCG hormone while being pregnant. So I wanted to know if you had a healthy pregnancy and if you took medication or just monitored it during your pregnancy’s.
I did not take any medications. I had a fairly healthy pregnancy, but developed pre-eclampsia towards the end, which is really just an indication of overall toxicity. I did not have that problem with subsequent pregnancies.
Thank you so much for posting this. It gives me hope. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism last year in July. So almost a year and I’ve been on medication since then. I have a large thyroid and it is visible. It certainly makes me feel insecure. I was curious if yours was enlarged too when you had hyperthyroidism and if it was, did it completely shrink back? Thank you
Hi Hilda. I don’t recall mine being visibly swelled, but it’s been a long time now!
Jennifer Ladd says
I do believe that hyperthyroidism can be cured by diet changes when it’s caused by autoimmune disease/graves. However, I have hyperthyroidism caused by a hot nodule which is very large. For the past 3 years, I have eaten paleo, gluten and grain free, organic, and took all the supplements, the ones mentioned here, plus L-Carnitine and more. However, i still have hyper levels when not on methimazole. I guess I just wanted to share my theory that hot nodules are a whole different beast, not caused by autoimmune issues such as graves. So, you can do all the right things, research and visit the best functional medicine dr in your area as I did, and still end up needing the surgery, medicine, or RAI at the end. And, it might not be because you failed to do all that you could do naturally. I. Did. All. The. Things.
Thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer.