Healing Hashimotos' Disease Naturally
Your thyroid is your body’s engine, and it powers so many physiologic processes such as keeping you energized, managing your heart rate, keeping your digestive system moving, regulating your mood, maintaining your body temperature, regulating your metabolism, and so much more. But when your thyroid is out of balance such as in hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease all the above mentioned are thrown out of balance. Two autoimmune disorders predominate in the thyroid gland: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or chronic autoimmune thyroiditis and involves the production of antibodies against thyroid peroxidase and/or thyroglobulin. Thyroid peroxidase is the enzyme that oxidizes iodide ions to form iodine atoms for incorporation into T3 and T4 hormones in the colloid. Thyroglobulin is the bigger protein that stores T3 and T4 in the colloid.
In Hashimoto’s your immune system has become overstressed and is mistakenly attacking your own thyroid tissue, causing your thyroid to become inflamed and manipulate hormones. This slows down all of your metabolic processes, and can lead to weight gain, digestive issues, hair loss, fatigue, mood imbalances, and countless other symptoms.
It is so unfortunate that a prescription alone is typically the conventional care model’s solution for most chronic diseases. Prior to seeing me, most of my patients have been told that there is nothing that can be done to stop the disease from progressing. They are typically given a prescription for supplemental thyroid hormone and told to manage their symptoms. They have never been told they can regain optimal thyroid function and restore their health. Needless to say, I’m always thrilled to give them the news that restoring their health and vitality IS possible.
Addressing the Root Cause with Naturopathic Solutions
While your thyroid function will likely benefit from some type of thyroid hormone replacement medication, that medication won’t address the “root causes” of your autoimmune disease, nor the reason why your immune system is attacking your thyroid. Below I would like to share my top four approaches to healing the thyroid naturally.
It is also important to note that if the body is in a state of chronic stress or poor nutrition, the immune system as a whole is not functioning optimally, meaning it will be much more difficult to manage a chronic infection such as reactivated EBV. In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, we often see that thyroid antibody levels can dramatically reduce when the Epstein Barr virus is treated. If this is found early in the diagnosis, especially when your thyroid hormone levels are normal or ‘subclinical’, we may even reverse the course of hypothyroidism completely.
Repairing Gut Issues
If you have Hashimoto’s, or any autoimmune condition, repairing your gut is vital to reversing your symptoms. After all, nearly 70% of your entire immune system is located in your digestive tract. The wall of your intestines is supposed to be just a little permeable so the nutrients from your food can get through and into your bloodstream. When that wall becomes leakier than it should be, it’s no longer just the nutrients getting through.
Once your gut becomes leaky, larger molecules – food particles, bacteria, viruses, and toxins – enter your bloodstream where your immune system detects them as foreign invaders, attacking them and leading to chronic inflammation. Many of these “foreign invaders” floating in your bloodstream look very similar to your own body’s cells. Your immune system can get confused and accidentally attack your tissues. This process of mistaken identity is called molecular mimicry, and is one of the theories as to how autoimmunity happens. In the case of Hashimoto’s specifically, gluten’s chemical structure is very similar to that of your thyroid tissue. So once gluten has led to leaky gut and is now floating freely throughout your bloodstream, it can trigger mistaken attacks on your thyroid.
Nourishing the Thyroid
- B-Vitamins – these vitamins help to supply us with the necessary energy we need to function which is often low in Hashimoto’s. They also help with our metabolism and converting carbohydrates into energy.
- Vitamin D– is necessary for the proper functioning of hormones. It’s also significant in boosting the immune system.
- Selenium – is used by the body to convert to the active form of thyroid hormone. Most people with Hashimoto’s are at risk for this deficiency, which can manifest as increased anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
- Zinc – is involved as a catalyst in many different pathways in the body. It’s also very important for gut health, immune function, tissue healing, the conversion of T4 to T3, and the production of TSH.
- Magnesium – is necessary for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body: it supports the immune system, maintains normal nerve and muscle function, strengthens bones, and keeps blood glucose levels steady, to name a few.
Cleansing the Liver
Detoxing the liver on a regular basis are beneficial for your thyroid gland to help lower inflammation. What exactly does it mean to detox? This includes reducing your exposure to hormone disruptors in the environment, chemicals in your home and heavy metals. Toxins can accumulate in your body and impact your health in many ways, including how your thyroid is functioning.
Efficient detoxification of hormones and xenoestrogens requires nutritional support of liver function. This is when I use specific B-vitamins, as well as tailored IV therapies with high dose vitamin C and minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium and zinc; to upregulate the elimination of chemicals from the liver. The addition of glutathione further enhances the process to offer a thorough “cleaning”.
Enhancing your Immune System
Unfortunately, lingering bacterial or viral infections may also trigger Hashimoto’s. Just as leaky gut can lead to masking symptoms (where your immune attacks your thyroid in a case of mistaken identity) so can bacteria and viruses. Your immune system begins infiltrating your thyroid tissue as infections are emulating thyroid function.
In this case, it’s important not to directly stimulate the immune system too quickly or strongly. Most of my Hashimoto’s patients will begin on a weekly IV administration to slow but effectively wake up the body’s innate immunity. By stimulating the natural defenses, this allows for the body to regain control once again without allowing the viral or bacterial load to continue its course of action.