Hyperthyroidism is defined as a disease characterized by Thyroid gland overactivity, leading to increased production and action of thyroid gland hormones. In general, this leads to increased energy levels, due to metabolism acceleration and fast burning. This hyper-metabolic condition caused by the organism, due to the increased availability and action of thyroid hormones, is defined as Thyrotoxicosis.
The human organism could be easily likened to a factory. It constantly works and produces energy. The function of each part of the body influences its overall performance and production of the factory as a whole.
The thyroid gland is part of this factory. It produces hormones, which then influence the proper functioning of the body as a whole.
These hormones affect all cell types. Maintaining these hormones at proper levels is important for our overall health, as they are for the proper operation of the “factory”. These hormones help our body to produce and consume energy.
When the thyroid gland is overactive (Hyperthyroidism), each function of the body is accelerated due to thyroid hormones excess.
This is why the thyroid gland is characterized as a “mime organ”. Because it mimics the signs and symptoms of other diseases, in multiple systems and organs of our body. As a result they are often attributed incorrectly to other diseases, leading to misdiagnoses.
The onset of thyroid gland disease is usually a slow and insidious process, and symptoms are not promptly recognized by the patient and the doctor.
Hyperthyroidism diagnosis is characteristically confusing for both Patients and Doctors.
Hyperthyroidism, the symptoms include:
Hot flashes, unintentional sweating and weight loss with increased appetite.
Heat intolerance, frequent bowel movements, bowel hyperactivity and watery – loose stools or diarrhea
Difficulty sleeping and insomnia, stress, irritability and nervousness
Hyperactivity and emotional instability
Muscle weakness, tremors (trembling hand) and constant tiredness – fatigue.
Visual disorders, eye twitching (due to upper eyelid spasms), or even exophthalmos (bulging or protruding eyeballs).
Increased heart rate – tachycardia and other heart rhythm disorders.
Brittle and oily hair, together with skin thinning
Difficulties in speaking
Increased bone absorption and calcium transfer from the bones to the blood, hypocalcaemia and hypercalciuria
Increased catabolism of proteins and lipids and glucose intolerance
Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia
Increase of free fatty acids and cholesterol reduction
Menstruation disorders (such as oligomenorrhea, infrequent menstrual cycles)
Reduced libido (sexual desire)
Subfertility, erectile dysfunction in men, or even oligospermia, infertility and gynecomastia.
The size of the thyroid gland increases gradually, its texture changes, but it develops nodules, ending up to nodular goiter.
The proper functioning of the “factory” is disrupted.
To date, thyroid gland dysfunction is treated using drugs. The patient should be receiving drugs throughout his or her life, while the problem is never restored, and at the same time there is a risk of side effects from the chemical substances.
Hyperthyroidism and Types of Thyroid Hormones
The thyroid gland produces three hormones: Τ3 (triiodothyronine), Τ4 (thyroxine or tetraiodothyronine) and calcitonin (thyrocalcitonin).
T3 hormone (triiodothyronine) is thyroid gland’s active hormone and it regulates the metabolism of all tissues of the body. It is responsible for all the above mentioned symptoms and with their corresponding functions.
Τ4 hormone (thyroxine or tetraiodothyronine) is the inactive thyroid hormone It does not function on its own, it just waits to be converted to Τ3.
Calcitonin is an entirely separate hormone from both Τ3 and Τ4, and its action focuses on blood calcium levels regulation, preventing it from reaching pathological high values.
Hormones of our body may be in two states, free or bound. A free hormone means that it is active and it can do what it is supposed to do, i.e. deliver oxygen and energy in the case of T3 or be converted to Τ3 in the case of Τ4.
Hyperthyroidism and its possible causes
Gluten is an endosperm protein of soft wheat, barley and rye. Today it is one of the major nutritional problems for people. This is because it in included in most marketed foods or are available for consumption by the general public.
Continuous and increasing gluten consumption causes intestinal permeability (Leaky gut syndrome). The intestine is lined with a monocellular layer, which functions as a barrier, preventing the outflow of microbes to the blood. A permeable intestine is a gate for infections, while toxins and food substances, such as gluten, may cause systematic inflammation, leading to autoimmunity.
Given that the structural elements of gluten have similar molecular structure with structural elements of the thyroid gland, the immune system gets confused and often attacks the thyroid gland (Autoimmune thyroiditis). This process is called molecular mimicry. Apart from gluten, infections, drugs and stress may also cause intestinal damage, allowing the inflow of toxins, microbes and undigested food particles directly in the blood.
Other causes of Hyperthyroidism:
Mercury, which is a heavy metal, can alter or destroy cellular structure in tissues and organs. Destroyed cells are identified by the immune system as foreign elements, i.e. like intruders, and starts attacking them. According to many statistical studies, people that are more exposed to mercury have a greater risk of developing autoimmune thyroid disease. A drug that is often used but acts in a toxic way and causes immunological reaction against thyroid cells is the antiarrhythmic amiodarone.
Infections from Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) family and the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) have been implicated as a possible cause of autoimmune thyroid disease, through inflammation and molecular mimicry.
The case of iodine is slightly controversial. It seems that if very little iodine is present (iodopenia), goiter and Hypothyroidism may be caused, while greater doses of Iodine cause Hyperthyroidism. When the body detects increased iodine availability, the thyroid gland may be stimulated to produce more thyroid hormone. If someone with usual low iodine intake suddenly consumes a very rich in iodine diet, then too much thyroid hormone is produced, resulting in an overactive thyroid.
All the above causes lead to hormonal aberration and overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in dysfunction of the whole body. Hyperthyroidism is now here.
Types of Thyrotoxicosis:
Diffuse Toxic Goiter (Graves Disease), a clearly autoimmune disorder, which is present in the 70% of patients with hyperthyroidism, Multinodular Toxic Goiter, in which one or more nodules (lumps) grow on the thyroid gland and overproduce hormones, Toxic Adenoma, Hyperthyroid phase of the autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Subacute thyroiditis in the acute phase (De Quervain’s thyroiditis), exogenous overdose of thyroid hormones and Thyroid Cancer
Hyperthyroidism – Treatment
Up until now, hyperthyroidism is managed with various treatments that include antithyroid drugs, such as methimazole, carbimazole, or propylthiouracil, which inhibit thyroid functioning. They cause side effects, including rash, hair loss, vertigo, aplastic anemia, lupus-like syndrome and hepatitis. Furthermore, treatments that involve taking radioactive iodine isotopes (131I) affect the patient due to the radiation, while the patient should then receive for life replacement therapy. Finally, total or partial surgical excision of the thyroid gland is also suggested in many cases.
These therapeutic methods that are being used for many decades against Hyperthyroidism, are mainly used in order to eliminate the symptoms, but not the causes that led to thyroid gland deregulation.
Patients remain patients and they are in constant suffering, due to their health’s imbalance. The result of the non-causal and non-permanent treatment of their problem is the psychological and financial burden for life. Everyday life changes significantly. Symptoms usually reappear. Their focus is constantly on their diet and on ways to maintain their fragile health in good status.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated
Thyroid gland’s biochemical and functional restoration, so that hormonal production returns to normal levels, is a permanent treatment. Its duration is from six to eighteen months.
Mean duration changes according to the causes that led to biochemical aberration (the disease), as well as patient’s overall status and habits.
The combination of Micro-Μacro Nutrients therapeutic protocols with Molecular nutrition and a heavy metals removal program is often required.
Treatments aim at cellular restoration, and biochemical balance of cells, through the gradual correction of chronic deficiencies with micronutrients.
Furthermore, neurotransmitters are fixed and hormonal balance is restored using Biomimetic hormones only. Additional guidance is provided for exercise and nutrition during this period.
Molecular nutrition includes anti-inflammatory foods, rich in nutrients, with low contents in carbohydrates and gluten.
At the same time, treatment of the Permeable Bowel Syndrome is achieved, all infections are managed, and the immune system is strengthened.
Finally, the treatment applied to remove heavy metals or other chemical compounds, which have been identified through the exams as the causes of Hyperthyroidism, lasts three weeks and its results are amazing.
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).