Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder where the thyroid basically works overtime (hyperthyroid), leading to insomnia, weight loss, palpitations, increased appetite, diarrhea, skin warmth, and tremors. When it comes to thyroid disorders, you have to be very careful about what supplements you take.
Thyroid replacement drugs come in millionths of a gram (micrograms), so a slight increase or decrease in dose can have profound positive or negative effects. And if a supplement interacts with this very precise dosing, it could cause serious problems.
Home Remedies For Graves’ Disease
At the time of publishing this article, investigators in the GRAves’ Disease Selenium Supplementation (GRASS) trial were testing selenium at 200 micrograms per day to see if it can help with treatment. The thyroid has the highest concentration of selenium per gram of tissue of any organ, and the mineral helps contribute to normal thyroid function in many ways. Selenium has shown some promise in helping people with Graves’ disease achieve normal thyroid levels more quickly.
A recent European clinical trial, called EUGOGO (the European Group on Graves’ Orbitopathy), found a potential benefit with using 200 micrograms of selenium (as sodium selenite) for people with Graves’ disease who have mild orbitopathy (bulging of the eyes); it appeared to improve quality of life and eye lesions and slow the progression of eye bulging compared to a placebo over 1 year of treatment. The problem? There is no data from this trial indicating whether the subjects were deficient in selenium at the beginning of the trial. Regardless, this is worth discussing with your doctor and blood levels have to be monitored.
What Supplement is Useless For Graves’ Disease?
These supplements contain iodine and are popular for the treatment of thyroid abnormalities. However, some of these kelp pills provide from 500 to 1,000 micrograms or more of iodine per day (the Recommended Dietary Allowance is only 150 micrograms per day). And these excessive amounts of iodine can throw off thyroid function (too little or too much iodine will disrupt thyroid function). The risk here is clearly greater than the benefit, so I never recommend them.