Hashimoto’s Autoimmume Thyroiditis

What is Hashimoto’s?

It is an auto-immune thyroid disease, where the body is producing antibodies that are attacking the thyroid.

How would I know if I have Hashimoto’s?

If you have been diagnosed as hypothyroid, you may have Hashimoto’s.  If you have several of the symptoms listed below you may also have Hashimoto’s.

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s?

Tiredness, brain fog, body aches, weight gain, hair loss, depression, constipation, infertility or recurrent miscarriage, irregular periods, slow metabolism, and feeling cold all the time.  Often thyroid disease that runs in families is due to Hashimoto’s.

Is there a blood test for Hashimoto’s?

Yes, there is a blood test to diagnose it, but it’s not often done.  Why?  Because your medical doctor is going to treat your underactive thyroid the same way whether you thyroid is low from Hashimoto’s or not, so there’s no point in running a test that won’t affect his/her treatment.

Is there a medication for Hashimoto’s?

Yes, it’s the same medication given to anyone who is hypothyroid, most often thyroid hormone replacement therapy with thyroxine, called Synthroid or Eltroxin.

Does this relieve all of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s?

Sometimes, but not always.  Remember that Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune problem, replacing the thyroid hormone doesn’t change the fact that there is an autoimmune disease going on. Autoimmune conditions are tiring because your own immune system is fighting your body. Imagine how you feel when you’re first coming down with a cold or flu, pretty tired, huh?  Well imagine your immune system in overdrive like that all the time and how tiring that could be day in and day out.

What causes Hashimoto’s?

Good question and one for which there isn’t yet a clear cut answer.  With any autoimmune disorder there are a number of factors that may have set the immune system off on this destructive path:

  1. A latent viral or bacterial infection
  2. Dysbiosis in the gut
  3. Food allergies or sensitivities
  4. Stress
  5. Compromised adrenal glands

How can we fix these?

  1. Anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbs can fend off low lying infections
  2. Removing unhealthy organisms from the gut with anti-microbials like berberine, garlic, oregano oil etc and restoring healthy gut bacteria with probiotics
  3. Test for (by blood test) and remove food sensitivities caused by IgG antibodies
  4. Reduce stress through exercise, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, tai chi, reading a book etc.
  5. Support normal healthy function of the adrenal glands with vitamin B5, B6, C, zinc, magnesium and adaptogenic herbs like ashwaganda, rhodiola, schisandra and ginseng.

Hypothyroid and Autoimmunity

If you’ve been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, you may also have been tested to determine if your thyroid is underactive because you have a condition called Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune thyroid problem where your body is attacking your thyroid and destroying the tissue so that it can’t function normally. Firstly, it’s important to know if this is the type of hypothyroidism that you have. The blood tests for Hashimoto’s include: TSH, free T3, free T4, anti-TPO antibodies, anti-thyroglobulin antibodies and anti-microsomal antibodies.

If these tests are positive for Hashimoto’s, then there are six factors that need to be considered in order to reduce the antibodies and help you feel better, maybe even recovering normal thyroid function.

1. Stress
2. Adrenal gland function
3. Viruses or latent viral infections (such as herpes viruses)
4. Diet
5. Dysbiosis and Leaky gut
6. Toxin accumulation (including heavy metals)

If you have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, particularly if there is a family history of hypothyroidism and if you are not feeling significantly better on thyroid medication, you should pursue Hashimoto’s testing and if positive, address the above factors with the assistance of a licensed naturopathic doctor.