Alcohol consumption has sometimes been shown to suppress thyroid function, which may lead to issues such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism. But there’s not enough evidence to know for sure.

Alcohol affects every organ in your body, including your thyroid. Though the link between alcohol consumption and your thyroid isn’t fully understood, some research suggests that drinking alcohol regularly can interfere with thyroid function.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) happens when your thyroid makes excess thyroid hormones, which play a key role in regulating your metabolism.

Managing this condition typically requires a combination of medication and dietary and lifestyle changes. If you have hyperthyroidism, here’s what to know about how alcohol may fit into your routine.

So far, there’s not enough evidence to conclude that drinking alcohol makes hyperthyroidism worse. But drinking alcohol is among the leading risk factors for disease and disability in the world, so it often has negative effects on organs.

A 2013 research review suggests that alcohol sometimes directly suppresses thyroid function by damaging cells. Alcohol may also sometimes reduce the thyrotropin-releasing hormone response, which is responsible for your thyroid’s growth and function.

The suppression of these hormones may be more likely to cause hypothyroidism, or underproduction of thyroid hormones. But it’s still possible that this dysregulation could lead to hyperthyroidism.

A decrease in thyroid hormones has also been observed in chronic alcohol use or withdrawal.

Additionally, researchers point out that the pituitary gland (which controls the thyroid) is strongly linked to alcohol dependence.

Your pituitary gland is regulated by hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, which play a key role in addiction development. Therefore, it’s possible that your relationship with alcohol could affect the regulation of your thyroid.

But in animal studies, alcohol use has been shown to cause either a decrease in thyroid hormones or no notable changes in their levels. This has left researchers unable to draw conclusions.

Interestingly, several studies have actually found a decrease in thyroid cancer risk with regular drinking.

In a large 2009 study of more than 1,280,000 women, 421 of whom experienced thyroid cancer, researchers found that greater alcohol consumption was associated with a clear reduction in thyroid cancer risk.

A large 2018 study also found an association between moderate drinking and a reduced thyroid cancer risk.

That’s not to say you should down more glasses to prevent disease. But since hyperthyroidism is strongly linked to a higher risk of thyroid cancer, drinking alcohol may not be very harmful to your thyroid overall.

Hyperthyroidism is typically treated with thionamides, which prevent your thyroid from producing excess hormones. The two most common medications are:

  • carbimazole
  • propylthiouracil

You can drink alcohol while taking either of these, as it doesn’t affect how the medications work. But be aware that these medications may cause dizziness. If you find that consuming alcohol causes or worsens dizziness, you may want to avoid it. When in doubt, talk with a healthcare professional.

What other drinks should you avoid with hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism often causes anxiety ― and so does caffeine. Consuming too much coffee, tea, or soda when you have hyperthyroidism may seem to make your symptoms worse.

However, consuming caffeine should not actually cause or worsen hypothyroidism. A 2023 study concluded that coffee consumption is not associated with an increased risk of hyper- or hypothyroidism.

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There’s some older research to suggest that hyperthyroidism drastically increases the rate at which your body can metabolize alcohol. This means that if you have hyperthyroidism, your body may actually break down and eliminate alcohol more quickly.

But there’s not enough recent research on this subject to say for sure.

Drinking alcohol may cause cell damage in your thyroid, which could affect its function and lead to issues such as hyperthyroidism. But there’s not yet enough research to say for sure.

Alcohol tends to have a negative impact on most organs in your body. But surprisingly, there’s a strong link between moderate alcohol consumption and a reduced risk of thyroid cancer (which is linked to hyperthyroidism).

That doesn’t mean drinking alcohol will prevent you from getting thyroid cancer, but it may not be as harmful to thyroid function as some might think.

Still, keep in mind that increased alcohol intake is associated with a higher risk of most types of cancer. If you want to cut back on drinking, Healthline has compiled a list of helpful tips.