What is Graves’ Disease?
Graves' disease is an autoimmune condition that is associated with the overproduction of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). Autoimmune conditions develop when your immune system causes disease by attacking healthy tissues. Graves’ disease is a common cause of hyperactive thyroid. According to Daniel J. Toft MD, PhD“Graves’ disease is named for the doctor who first described it in Ireland—Robert J. Graves. He noticed it in a patient in 1835. The disease is also referred to as Basedow’s disease—named after a German, Karl Adolph van Basedow, who described the disease in 1840. He didn’t know that Graves had described the same disease just a few years earlier. The term Basedow’s disease is more commonly used in continental Europe; in the United States, it’s called Graves’ disease.” Graves Disease may affect anyone. However, like many autoimmune diseases, Graves’ is also likely to affect women than men.
What are the Symptoms of Graves’ Disease?
Symptoms of Graves’ Disease include:
- Shakiness in the hands
- Heat sensitivity and an increase sweating
- Weight loss
- Enlargement of your thyroid gland (goiter)
- Changes in menstrual cycles
- Reduced libido
- Bulging eyes /vision problems
- Heart Palpitations
Autoimmune conditions like Grave’s cause inflammation, which in turn makes cells less receptive to thyroid hormone. The causes of these autoimmune disorders are still not fully understood. Genetics plays a role, but there are many other factors as well like stress, and lifestyle. Some infections seem to increase the risk of autoimmune thyroid. Diet also plays a very big role with this disease.
Grave’s Disease Diet
Western medical treatment focuses on controlling symptoms., However, the underlying cause of Graves Disease is autoimmune and inflammatory in nature. Following an autoimmune paleo diet template would be best for reducing symptoms.
One of the biggest contributors to thyroid problems is gluten. Gluten contributes to leaky gut. Since so many thyroid problems are either caused or exacerbated by autoimmune disease, following an anti-inflammatory autoimmune diet is ideal. Many people find relief from their symptoms by switching over to a paleo diet. However, an autoimmune protocol involves removing all difficult to digest grains and dairy from the diet, as well as nightshade vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers (certain vegetables/spices that many people with autoimmune condition react to). The focus should be on increasing nutrient dense, quality foods such as fatty meats that have been pasture raised, bone broths that have been simmered for a minimum of 24 hours, and vegetables, including fermented foods. The diet would need to be low in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids, such as those that come from vegetable oil, soy oil, and highly processed oils. The diet should be high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fatty acids, and include some saturated fats as well.