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Overactive Thyroid

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism (also known as an overactive thyroid) is an issue where the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone, speeding up the body’s metabolism. This causes issues such as unexplained weight loss, insomnia, irregular heart rate, shakiness and sweating. Hyperthyroidism is often caused by Graves Disease, which is an auto-immune thyroid disorder.

Being in a HYPERTHYROID state can be a life-threatening event, so if you feel extreme symptoms call emergency services on 000.

This page explores both conventional and alternative approaches to treating this, must-have testing, and general education that may help you or a loved one dealing with this condition. However, please do not stop any recommended treatment without first speaking with your doctor.

The good news is that Hyperthyroidism responds well to treatment, and many people can reverse it with natural medicine if caught early enough. If you require medication, combining the advice of your GP or endocrinologist, with that of a hormone-specialising naturopath will ensure you get the best health outcomes.

What factors contribute to Hyperthyroidism?

What are the symptoms of an overactive thyroid?

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Tremor or shakiness — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially looser, and more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) may be visible at the base of your neck
  • Fine, brittle hair
  • Insomnia, or disturbed sleep patterns
  • Skin thinner, easier to damage

Hyperthyroid Testing and Investigation

The standard way to assess thyroid hormone levels is with a blood test. Your general practitioner or endocrinologist will test TSH and thyroxine (T4) first.  High levels of thyroxine and low or nonexistent amounts of TSH indicate an overactive thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism has better diagnostic success than hypothyroidism, however, if your results come back in the normal range and you still have symptoms, it is wise to get a second opinion or get private testing done through us as we use different reference ranges in our client review.

This can occur if your thyroid hormones had swung to a low or normal range at the time of the test. Hyperthyroidism does have the ability to fluctuate, which can make a blood test not 100% accurate.

Some people can have test results close to the edge of the normal range and not have any symptoms, but many people will be living with rather strong symptoms affecting their life quality, such as persistent fatigue, high stress, weight changes, low mood, hair loss, brain fog, and declining libido.

Levels of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) should be assessed, and one or both must be low for a diagnosis to be made. It is also advantageous to assess TSH levels, as the purpose of this hormone is to stimulate the production of thyroid hormones. If the pituitary gland senses the slightest excess of thyroid hormones in the blood, it will stop the production of TSH. Therefore, TSH levels will be low in individuals with hyperthyroidism. 

Recommended Testing

Each laboratory sets its own range, so there is no government standard and this is why different labs will have different ranges. Also, many factors may cause TSH suppression, which is a naturally fluctuating hormone. When unsure, it is warranted to run functional pathology across other hormone markers, as similar symptoms may also be due to menopause, stress and adrenal issues, nervous system disorders, and poor glucose regulation. To learn about these tests Click Here.

75% of people with hyperthyroidism will be diagnosed with Grave’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. This is screened with a blood sample testing Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO). If the result is higher than the normal reference range, it indicates Hashimoto’s.

From a Functional Health perspective, we are not trying to diagnose a disease but to understand how and why a thyroid may be malfunctioning. Therefore, further testing is used to under the complete picture behind the symptoms. We aim to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.

Thyroid Profile


This panel tests 8 markers which is essential to understanding the function of your thyroid, your metabolism and any inflammation that is present in the body. This test is critical for sufferers of Hyperthyroidism.

Halide Profile


Bromide blocks iodine absorption in the body creating a state of ill health. Hyperthyroid patients may need to avoid iodine, but at a corrective level, iodine may be used when autoimmune antibodies are in normal range under practitioner guidance.

Stress & Sleep Profile


When the thyroid is overproducing hormones, sleep and stress are large contributing factors to blood pressure changes, weight changes, poor digestion, blood sugar instability, and insomnia. Base line testing is recommended. 

Sugar & Fat Storage


Hyperthyroidism is usually associated with poor blood glucose control and a need for additional insulin production by the pancreas. This increases the risk of developing diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and further energy production complications. Our testing covers current and long-term markers.

Cardiovascular Profile


Cardiac effects of hyperthyroidism include a faster heart rate, stronger heart contractions, increased blood pressure, and irregular electrical activity of the heart. This profile is an essential part of thorough screening.

Metabolic Markers


Autoimmune thyroid diseases may be a potential risk factor for metabolic abnormalities even in those with low normal thyroid function. Metabolic Markers assess energy, metabolism, and detoxification and should be a part of a thorough workup.

Detox Profile


Deranged liver enzymes affecting detoxification of the body due to hyperthyroidism are not uncommon. The reported prevalence of liver biochemical abnormalities in patients with untreated thyrotoxicosis ranges from 15% to 76%.

Sex Hormone Profile


Hyperthyroidism affects sex hormones in both men and women. This can impact menses, mood, libido, skin, and appetite. Researchers in China discovered that increased expression of estrogen receptors is strongly associated with the development of Graves’ disease.

Food Intolerance Profile


People with autoimmune hyperthyroidism are also more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food allergies, and food intolerances. Removing specific foods from the diet for a period of time according to a blood test reduces inflammation, and aid remission when used as a part of a healing program.

Treatment Options for Overactive Thyroid

Medical Treatments

Several treatments for hyperthyroidism exist which varies on several factors, such as age, health status, severity, and other current conditions and medications.

Carbimazole is the most commonly prescribed medication for hyperthyroidism.

Other names/brands for Carbimazole in Australia include:

  • Neo-Mercazole
  • Carbimazol Aristo

Propylthiouracil COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Propacil.

Taken by mouth, radioactive iodine is absorbed by your thyroid gland, where it causes the gland to shrink. Symptoms usually subside within several months. Excess radioactive iodine disappears from the body in weeks to months.

This treatment may cause thyroid activity to slow enough to be considered underactive (hypothyroidism), and you may eventually need to take medication every day to replace thyroxine.

In a thyroidectomy, a surgeon removes a part or all of your thyroid gland. Risks of this surgery include damage to your vocal cords and parathyroid glands, and is usually a last resort when other interventions have not worked.

Integrative Treatments

Whether you are on medication or not, integrative treatment can greatly enhance your health, and therefor, your quality of life.

A gluten and dairy-free diet can help reduce inflammation and aid in reducing autoimmune antibodies. It is also useful to avoid any foods that specifically cause inflammation in your body (which can be detected by doing a food intolerance test).

Correct guidance is required if weight loss has become a problem, as you need to compensate for a faster metabolism.

Gut Health

As a part of a holistic approach, the health of the gut and gut bacteria must be addressed. Treatments may include parasite cleansing, gut healing, and microbiome remodeling with targeted probiotic therapy.

Stress Management

Hyperthyroidism puts the system into overdrive, leaving the person feeling stressed and wrung out. Incorporating stress management will help calm the nervous system, and facilitate better healing outcomes. We offer many forms of support for our patients, from MP3 meditations to daily group meetings for support, to individualised stress management suggestions in your treatment plan.

A gluten and dairy-free diet can help reduce inflammation and aid in reducing autoimmune antibodies. It is also useful to avoid any foods that specifically cause inflammation in your body (which can be detected by doing a food intolerance test).

Botanical medicines assist in supporting the organs and systems in the body. Often many systems are out of balance with hypothyroidism due to the fact that everything slows down – digestion (constipation), circulation (hair loss, feeling cold), blood sugars (sugar cravings, “hangry”), mood (depression, low motivation).

Adrenal support is essential to treat with every hypothyroid case, as these two hormone systems rely heavily on each other each day. When one is out of balance, the other will be as well. We run 3-point saliva testing to assess adrenal hormone function, and sleep/insomnia. 

Struggling with fatigue, insomnia and heart palpitations?

Book a free 15-minute consult with one of our practitioners and find out how we can help you get your Hyperthyroid symptoms under control and get you back to living your life to the fullest.