Nutrition for Basedow disease patient


Basedow is a disease of the thyroid gland with typical symptoms of goiter, bulging eyes and cardiovascular disorders. People with Basedow’s disease need to pay attention to a proper diet and avoid foods that are harmful to the body.

What is Basedow’s disease?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Basedow is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland, causing hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. Basedow’s disease has many different names: Graves’ disease, Parry’s disease, diffuse toxic goiter, autoimmune hyperthyroidism.

Although the disease can occur in any gender, 80% of cases are in women. Among them, 20-50 years old is the age group with the highest incidence of the disease. The reason is because women at this age have many stages where they have to face major hormonal changes in the body such as pregnancy, premenopause, menopause… In particular, the age group of 20-30 accounts for 31,8% of the incidence in women.

Family history of Basedow’s disease is a factor that increases the risk of developing the disease. It is estimated that about 15% of people with Basedow’s disease have relatives who have had this disease.

Basedow’s disease is very dangerous for the cardiovascular system. If the condition persists without proper treatment, the disease can easily lead to complications of thyroid storm, causing the patient to die of heart failure. According to the US National Institutes of Health, in more than 70% of cases, Graves’ disease is the main cause of persistent hyperthyroidism in adults. According to scientific studies, about 3% of women and 0.5% of men develop Graves’ disease in their lifetime. .

Cause of Basedow’s disease

Basedow is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland that causes the thyroid enlargement and hyperthyroidism

The pathogenesis of Basedow’s disease is an autoimmune mechanism. This autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. The immune system normally produces antibodies against foreign substances (e.g. bacteria, viruses, toxins) in the body. Antibodies can directly kill microorganisms or coat them so they are easily destroyed by white blood cells.

In Basedow’s disease, the immune system makes an abnormal antibody called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin. This antibody mimics the function of normal thyroid-stimulating hormone. It sticks to the surface of healthy thyroid cells and causes the thyroid gland to become overactive, leading to overproduction of hormones. This overproduction can lead to symptoms of Basedow’s disease such as: Enlarged thyroid gland, bulging eyes, increased heart rate, feeling of nervousness and palpitations,…

Besides the main cause of autoimmune disorders, a number of other factors also contribute to the development and increased risk of Graves’ disease such as:

  • Pregnancy: From 0.4 – 1% of pregnant women have Graves’ hyperthyroidism during pregnancy. Usually first detected during pregnancy or pre-existing disease. This is an autoimmune disease of the mother. The cause of Basedow’s hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is due to the appearance of antibodies (TRAb) that stimulate the thyroid gland to become overactive, causing the production of many hormones: T3, T4, FT4, FT3.
  • Abuse Iodine: Excess Iodine can trigger potential Basedow’s disease.
  • Taking lithium alters the immune response.
  • Abruptly stopping corticosteroids may affect the immune system, increasing the risk of Graves’ disease.
  • Smoking and passive smoking: Smoking increases the risk of Graves’ disease and Graves’ eye disease.
  • Genetic connection: Basedow’s disease is related to a number of genes that can create anti-thyroid autoantibodies in the blood, so anyone who has a relative with this disease has a higher chance of getting the disease. According to statistics, about 15% of patients have a relative with Basedow’s disease.  

The main cause of Basedow’s disease is an autoimmune disorder of the body, so there are no measures to prevent the disease. There are also a number of factors that increase the risk of disease that can be prevented such as: Limiting intake of foods containing iodine, eating less iodized salt, stopping corticosteroid medication as prescribed by the doctor, treating the disease completely before pregnancy, avoid smoking and passive smoking. 

Common symptoms

According to the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), common symptoms of Basedow’s disease are: anxiety and irritability, fatigue, muscle weakness, tremors in the limbs, temperature intolerance, difficulty sleeping, shaking hands, rapid heart rate, frequent urination or diarrhea, weight loss, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland can cause the neck to swell), swollen, red and bulging eyes, etc. 

These symptoms are often the result of excessive production of T3 and T4 hormones. They can affect many body systems, especially the muscular and cardiovascular systems.

Diagnostic method

For accurate diagnosis of Basedow’s disease, doctors rely on clinical manifestations and a number of specific tests such as:

  • Blood test: Thyroid hormone test includes TSH and FT4, however, it should be considered to perform FT3, T3 tests should be considered in case of normal FT4 test results but the patient has clear signs of hyperthyroidism. Testing for anti-thyroid antibodies such as thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TRAbs) and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) will be elevated. These antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to a foreign body or threat in the body.
  • Thyroid scan with a radioactive isotope (I123 (best) or I131 or Technitium): This technique measures the thyroid’s iodine uptake (also known as the RAIU test). The test is performed using a radioactive tracer and a special probe to measure the amount of iodine the thyroid can absorb from the blood. This technique should be performed when Graves’ disease is suspected without goiter or eye symptoms. In Basedow: The thyroid gland is enlarged and absorbs radioactive substances. Classic with I131 there will be exit angle indication.
  • Thyroid ultrasound and color doppler ultrasound of the thyroid

Complications of Basedow’s disease

  • Eye complications: According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), about one-third of people with Graves’ disease experience eye-related problems such as bulging eyes, eye inflammation, etc. The cause is that Graves’s disease is an autoimmune disease related to disorders and weakened immune system. Being infected with Basedow, the body produces autoantibodies that attack the tissues and muscles around the eyes, causing bulging eyes, eye inflammation, eye swelling, sensitivity to light, and double vision. If eye problems are not treated, they may lead to vision loss. 
  • Skin diseases: Some people with Basedow’s disease experience skin problems such as: the skin on the shins and feet becomes red, thick and swollen. To improve this condition, the doctor will advise the sufferer to wear socks and apply corticosteroid cream to the swollen, red skin.
  • Thyroid storm: Thyroid storm is a rare but life-threatening condition. Thyroid storm often occurs when thyroid hormone levels suddenly increase. This condition often appears in people who have had hyperthyroidism for a long time or do not use antithyroid drugs regularly,…
  • Cardiovascular problems: Suffering from Basedow’s disease, patients often have symptoms of nervousness, palpitations, and rapid heartbeat. If the disease is not controlled, the patient will face complications such as blood clots, heart failure, and stroke,…
  • Osteoporosis: In people with hyperthyroidism due to Basedow’s disease, excess of thyroid hormone speed up bone aging. This can lead to decreased bone mineral density increasing the risk of fractures. Postmenopausal women with Basedow’s disease are at risk of osteoporosis. To improve this condition, in addition to taking medication to treat hyperthyroidism, patients should increase calcium and Vitamin D supplementation. In addition, patients need to exercise and play sports every day to increase their  bone flexibility.

Complications of Basedow’s disease

Nutrition for people with Basedow’s disease

Nutrition is one of the important factors to support the prevention and control of Basedow’s disease. Some foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that have great effects in helping to significantly reduce the symptoms of the disease. However, there are also other foods that contain ingredients that cause allergies or make the condition worse.

Foods to be supplemented 

Foods rich in Calcium  

It is more difficult for the body to absorb calcium when you have hyperthyroidism. This can negatively affect bone health, causing problems such as brittle bones and osteoporosis. Therefore, following a diet rich in Calcium helps control unpleasant symptoms caused by Basedow’s disease. Some foods provide Calcium, including: Almonds, broccoli, kale, okra, sardines.

Foods rich in Magnesium  

Magnesium deficiency also significantly affects the body’s calcium absorption process. When this happens, symptoms of Basedow’s disease may be more severe. To control them, consider supplementing with foods rich in this mineral, such as: Dark chocolate, avocados, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, beans. 

Magnesium deficiency may worsen symptoms of Basedow’s disease.

Foods rich in Selenium  

Selenium plays a role in creating thyroid hormones and regulating thyroid function. Although rare, thyroid eye disease (TED) – which causes progressive eye inflammation and can lead to blindness – can develop in people with Basedow’s disease. According to the American Thyroid Association, research has shown that Selenium deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of TED in people with Basedow’s disease; Adding selenium to your diet can support treatment. A study published in 2021 in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Transmission Microbiology found that Selenium may also have a positive impact on intestinal bacterial diversity, which may play a role in reducing the severity of the disease and eye involvement. 

Besides, the effect of Selenium on patients with Basedow’s disease has been confirmed by a randomized controlled clinical trial researched by Marcocci, C. In this study, subjects were arbitrarily assigned to one of the Sodium Selenite (100 micrograms twice daily), pentoxifylline (600 mg twice daily), or placebo treatment groups (twice daily) for a period of 6 months. Patients were then followed for 6 months after stopping treatment. At the end of treatment, the investigators found that more patients in the Selenium group had improved quality of life, while significantly fewer patients had disease progression

Foods rich in Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a major role in maintaining bone health. Its main source is skin synthesis stimulated by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, which accounts for 90% of total Vitamin D in the human body. Kelly Kennedy, nutrition expert at Everyday Health, recommends that patients with Basedow’s disease need to supplement a lot of Vitamin D because bone health is very important when suffering from hyperthyroidism. Patients consuming Vitamin D allows improvement of Calcium absorption. One food that is especially rich in Vitamin D is salmon: A 3-ounce serving contains about 570 IU (international units). In addition, it is abundant in some foods such as: Cod liver oil, anchovies, tuna, mushrooms.

People with Basedow’s disease are recommended to supplement Vitamin D

Foods to avoid

Foods containing Gluten 

One study found that Graves’ disease may also be linked to Celiac disease, another autoimmune disorder in which people cannot eat Gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. In people with Celiac disease, eating Gluten causes a reaction that damages the lining of the small intestine.

Besides, foods containing Gluten will make it more difficult to treat autoimmune thyroid diseases, including Basedow’s disease. Many foods or drinks today contain gluten, so read nutrition labels carefully before consuming. Gluten ingredients are often found in: Buckwheat, barley, wheat and wheat products, grains such as brown wheat, durum wheat, malt, yeast in wine, beer, Triticale.

Products from animal meat

Animal meat may increase the likelihood of developing complications for patients with Basedow’s disease.

Animal meat may contain high amounts of iodine, and consuming too much iodine can cause overactivity of the thyroid gland, causing unnecessary symptoms. In particular, some types of animal meat can be rich in fat and cholesterol, which can affect cardiovascular and overall body health, especially since patients with Basedow’s disease often have increased metabolic and feeling of anxiety. Additionally, consuming too much animal meat in the diet can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and many other health problems, which can increase the likelihood of developing complications for patients with Basedow’s disease.

Foods that contain large amount of iodine

In the United States and many countries, salt manufacturers regularly add iodine, a trace mineral, to table salt to prevent iodine deficiency. However, abundant iodine is not always a good thing for people with Basedow’s disease. Eating too much iodine-rich or iodine-fortified foods will lead to hyperthyroidism or make the disease worse. According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily dose of iodine for people with Graves’ disease is about 150 mcg (0.15 mg), even requiring less iodine intake.

However, during the treatment process, abstinence can cause the patient to lack nutrition, have poor digestion, loss of appetite, poor taste… Leanpro Thyro LID Medical Nutrition product is one of the solutions. Outstanding method to support people with Basedow’s disease in particular and hyperthyroidism in general to compensate for energy. With a formula that removes 88% of Iodine, Leanpro Thyro LID is a nutritional “savior” for people on an Iodine diet. At the same time, Leanpro Thyro LID product also has an optimal nutritional system, bringing many health benefits. Protein source from Almonds – Oats along with 23 Vitamins and many nutrients such as Lactium, Mg, B6, Omega 3, DHA, EPA + Nano Curcumin and Antioxidant system (Vitamins A, C, E & Selenium) in the product helps compensate nutrition for the body.

Basedow is a dangerous thyroid disease and will cause serious complications if not treated promptly. Therefore, nutrition is an indispensable part in supporting the treatment of Basedow. Understanding what foods to avoid with Basedow’s disease and what foods to supplement can contribute to reversing the disease. At the same time, patients should build a healthy lifestyle and a reasonable diet to help reduce the risk of disease recurrence.













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