Do you take thyroid hormone medication
but still suffer fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, constipation, depression,
cold hands and feet, or other thyroid symptoms?
Have you been told there is
nothing more that can be done for your thyroid symptoms because your lab tests
Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function,
affects millions of Americans. Many people continue to suffer from hypothyroid
symptoms and a worsening of their thyroid condition despite taking thyroid
hormones. This is because 90 percent of hypothyroid cases in the United States
are due to Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the
thyroid gland. Although thyroid medications may be necessary to maintain
thyroid function, they do not address the immune system’s relentless attack
against the thyroid gland.
To identify Hashimoto’s, it’s important
to screen for TPO and TGB antibodies on a blood test. If either of these is
positive it indicates the immune system is attacking and destroying the thyroid
gland, causing symptoms. In this case, the main strategy is not necessarily to
treat the thyroid gland (although thyroid hormone medication may be necessary),
but to balance the immune system in order to tame autoimmune attacks against
- Supporting your body's innate metabolism and repair mechanisms via consumption of an alkalinizing diet (80% alkalinizing, 20% acidifying foods by volume), with plenty of richly colored veggies, as well as optimal dosing of vitamin C and buffering minerals.
on a strict gluten-free diet. Numerous studies from several different countries
show a strong link between Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten,
a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and other wheat-like grains.
Interestingly, studies show those with a gluten intolerance are genetically
more prone to Hashimoto’s disease. Gluten also promotes inflammation and leaky
gut, which exacerbate autoimmune disease.
an autoimmune diet. For some people, going gluten-free is not enough to manage
Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and they need to follow an autoimmune diet that eliminates common
inflammatory foods, such as dairy, eggs, corn, soy or sometimes even other grains. A whole-foods diet
that emphasizes plenty of produce and eliminates processed foods is important
to manage an autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
a leaky gut. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, often plays a role in
autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Leaky gut is a
condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes inflamed, damaged,
and porous, allowing undigested foods, bacteria, fungus, and other foreign
invaders into the sterile environment of the bloodstream. Once in the
bloodstream these foreign invaders trigger inflammation and
- Stabilizing blood sugar. Stabilizing blood sugar is vital to managing Hashimoto’s
hypothyroidism. A diet high in sugars and refined carbohydrates (such as
breads, pastas, pastries, and desserts) creates inflammation and hormonal
imbalances that make it difficult to tame an autoimmune condition. Energy crashes,
fatigue after meals, excess belly fat, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, and
sleep issues are all signs you may have a blood sugar handling disorder, such
as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or insulin resistance (high blood sugar).
- Optimize your omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio in your diet. This can be complicated, but for most people this means eliminating added cooking oils from your diet and adding more cold water fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and green leafy veggies. I prefer to test my patients' actual ratios via advanced fatty acid analysis testing.
These are just a few of the basics of the methods I use in autoimmune disease management in my practice, and can be used as a good starting point in the treatment of any condition, like Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism, that falls into this category. In terms of hypothyroidism specifically, it’s vitally important to go beyond just taking thyroid hormone replacement, and to manage your autoimmune condition as well. This will help to lower your risk of developing
other autoimmune diseases, such as pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo,
or Type I diabetes.