Dr. Weyrich's Naturopathic Functional Medicine Notebook is a collection of information on topics of interest to Dr. Weyrich that may be of interest to the world wide audience. Due to limitations of time, not all information that Dr. Weyrich knows or would like to further research is published here. Dr. Weyrich welcomes financial contributions to support specific research topics, as well as copies of non-free access journal articles for him to review on a topic. Constructive criticism is also welcome.


Overview of Hyperthyroid (Graves' Disease)

Hyperthyroid disease can have many causes, including autoimmune disease, disorders of the pituitary or hypothalamus, or tumors. The end result of any of these causes is over-release of the thyroid hormone T4 into the blood stream, which in turn over-stimulates the body's metabolism, causing symptoms such as fevers, rapid heart rate, and weight loss. Treatment depends on proper diagnosis of the underlying cause.

Complimentary and alternative treatments for Graves' disease that are considered below include:

  • Immune System Balancing
  • Low Dose Naltrexone
  • Neurotransmitter Balancing

Etiology of Hyperthyroid (Graves' Disease)

  • Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body produces an antibody against the thyroid receptors called TSI (Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin). When this auto-antibody binds to the thyroid receptors, the thyroid gland is stimulated to release more T4 hormone than is needed.
  • Pituitary disorders can cause excess Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) hormone to be released, which over-stimulates the thyroid gland to release excess T4.
  • Disorders in the hypothalamus can cause excess Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) to be released, which over-stimulates the pituitary gland to release excess TSH.
  • Thyroid tumors can also lead to release of excess T4.

Diagnosis of Hyperthyroid (Graves' Disease)

Signs/Symptoms:

  • Elevated basal body temperature. Normal axillary temperature is 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Normal rectal temperature is 98.6 to 99.2 degrees Fahrenheit [Starr2005, pg 17]. See hypothyroid for directions for measuring.
  • Elevated basal metabolic rate.
  • Heat intolerance.
  • Constant sweating [Starr2005, pg 78].
  • Tremor.
  • Anxiety, nervousness.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Palpitations [Starr2005, pg 78].
  • Underweight or unexplained weight loss.
  • Frequent stools or diarrhea [Starr2005, pg 78].

Differential Diagnosis of Hyperthyroid (Graves' Disease)

  • Graves' disease
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis (early phase)
  • Toxic multinodular goiter [Domino2017]
  • Toxic adenoma [Domino2017]
  • Subacute viral thyroiditis [Domino2017]
  • Lymphocytic thyroiditis [Domino2017]
  • Iatrogenic (iodine supplements, iodine contrast, medications such as amiodarone) [Domino2017]
  • Iatrogenic (overdose of thyroid replacement products)
  • Pituitary adenoma (producing TSH) [Domino2017]
  • hCG-producing tumor (stimulates TSH receptors) [Domino2017]
  • Ectopic center producing T4 (metastasis) [Domino2017]
  • Pheochromocytoma (catecholamine-producing tumor)
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
  • Recreational drug abuse, e.g. phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or cocaine
  • Serotonin syndrome

Treatment of Hyperthyroid (Graves' Disease)

Please see conventional, complimentary and alternative medical treatments for important background information regarding the different types of medical treatments discussed below.

Conventional Treatment

Treatment depends on proper diagnosis of the underlying cause. If the underlying cause cannot be resolved, then it is often necessary to destroy all or part of the thyroid gland in order to prevent life-threatening complications.

Naturopathic, Complimentary and Alternative Treatments

Immune System Balancing

[McCulley2018, pp 28, 35, 61, 89] reports that Graves' disease is a TH1-dominant, localized, autoimmune disorder, and proposes an approach to treating this disease, which should be supervised by a properly trained medical professional. Dr. Weyrich has considerable interest in this topic, but has not treated any cases of Graves' disease with Immune System Balancing.

Please see What is Immune System Balancing? for more information.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

[LdnResearchTrust_conditions] reports that Graves' disease is a condition that LDN could help. Dr. Weyrich has been trained in the use of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). However, Dr. Weyrich has not treated any cases of Graves' disease with LDN.

Please see What is Low Dose Naltrexone? for more information.

Neurotransmitter Balancing

Neuro Research [Hinz2015] reports that chronic diseases such as Graves' Disease can be benefited by balancing neurotransmitter levels in the body.

Dr. Weyrich has been trained in neurotransmitter balancing protocols, but has not treated Graves' Disease using this technique.

Please see What is Neurotransmitter Balancing? for more information.


References for Hyperthyroid (Graves' Disease)