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---Hashimoto's Thyroiditis---

Posted by on Nov. 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM
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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Introduction to Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is named after the first doctor who described this condition, Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, in 1912.

What causes Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a condition caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body inappropriately attacks the thyroid gland--as if it was foreign tissue. The underlying cause of the autoimmune process still is unknown. Hashimoto's thyroiditis tends to occur in families, and is associated with a clustering of other autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is 5-10 times more common in women than in men and most often starts in adulthood. Blood drawn from patients with Hashimoto's throiditis reveals an increased number of antibodies to the enzyme, thyroid peroxidase an enzyme (protein) found within the thyroid gland. As result of the antibodies' interaction with the enzyme, inflammation develops in the thyroid gland, the thyroid gland is destroyed, and the patient ultimately is rendered hypothyroid (too little thyroid hormone).

Illustration of the Thyroid Gland


by on Nov. 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM
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by Group Owner on Nov. 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM


What are the symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

The symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis are similar to those of hypothyroidism in general, which are often subtle. They are not specific (which means they can mimic the symptoms of many other conditions) and are often attributed to aging. Patients with mild hypothyroidism may have no signs or symptoms. The symptoms generally become more obvious as the condition worsens and the majority of these complaints are related to a metabolic slowing of the body. Common symptoms are listed below:

As hypothyroidism becomes more severe, there may be puffiness around the eyes, a slowing of the heart rate, a drop in body temperature, and heart failure. In its most profound form, severe hypothyroidism may lead to a life-threatening coma (myxedema coma). In a severely hypothyroid individual, a myxedema coma tends to be triggered by severe illness, surgery, stress, or traumatic injury. This condition requires hospitalization and immediate treatment with thyroid hormones given by injection.

Properly diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be easily and completely treated with thyroid hormone replacement. On the other hand, untreated hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy), worsening heart failure, and an accumulation of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion).

There are a few patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis who may undergo a hyperthyroid phase (too much thyroid hormone), called hashitoxicosis, before eventually becoming hypothyroid. Other symptoms and signs include:

  • Swelling of the thyroid gland (due to the inflammation), leading to a feeling of tightness or fullness in the throat

  • A lump in the front of the neck, (the enlarged thyroid gland) called a goiter

  • Difficultly swallowing solids and/or liquids due to the enlargement of the thyroid gland with compression of the esophagus


by Group Owner on Mar. 19, 2014 at 8:23 AM

by Group Owner on Mar. 19, 2014 at 8:28 AM

13 Ways to Treat Hypothyroidism Naturally
Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck below your Adam’s apple, is your chief gland of energy and metabolism and is like a master lever that fires up the genes that keep cells doing their jobs. You can think of the thyroid as a fundamental mechanism in a complex machine, as every cell in your body has thyroid hormone receptors.  

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is a silent epidemic, according to many functional medicine doctors. People can suffer for years with symptoms that our conventional medical system frequently doesn’t know how to treat because complaints seem scattered or vague and often there is no pill for the ill(s).  

What’s worse, in most cases, hypothyroidism isn’t rooted in a thyroid problem in the first place. It’s rooted in an immune system gone awry, but most doctors don’t test for the antibodies that show the presence of autoimmunity.  

According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, 90% of people with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune hypothyroid condition, whereby the immune system attacks thyroid tissue. Therefore, to cure thyroid disease, or any autoimmune condition, you have to get to the source of the imbalance; focusing on suppression of symptoms with medication is simply barking up the wrong tree. 

Your Dietary Defense

Making dietary changes is your first line of defense in treating hypothyroidism. Many people with hypothyroidism experience crippling fatigue and brain fog, which prompts reaching for non-nutritional forms of energy like sugar and caffeine. I’ve dubbed these rascals the terrible twosome, as they can burn out your thyroid (and destabilize blood sugar).  

1. Just say no to the dietary bungee cord. Greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine and sugar, including refined carbohydrates like flour, which the body treats like sugar. Make grain-based carbohydrates lesser of a focus, eating non-starchy vegetables to your heart’s content.

2. Up the protein. Protein transports thyroid hormone to all your tissues and enjoying it at each meal can help normalize thyroid function. Proteins include nuts and nut butters; quinoa; hormone- and antibiotic-free animal products (organic, grass-fed meats, eggs, and sustainably-farmed fish); and legumes. 

Note: I’m not a fan of soy and soy products: tofu, soy milk, fake meats, energy bars, etc. Even when organic and non-GMO, soy can impede cell receptors and disrupt the feedback loop throughout your entire endocrine (hormonal) system.

3. Get fat. Fat is your friend and cholesterol is the precursor to hormonal pathways; if you’re getting insufficient fat and cholesterol, you could be exacerbating hormonal imbalance, which includes thyroid hormones. Natural, healthful fats include olive oil; ghee; avocados; flax seeds; fish; nuts and nut butters; hormone- and antibiotic-free full fat cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese (yes, full fat, not skim); and coconut milk products. 

4. Nutrient-up. While nutritional deficiencies may not be the cause of hypothyroidism, not having enough of these micronutrients and minerals can aggravate symptoms: vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, copper, vitamin A, the B vitamins, and iodine.

A few highlights:
  • It’s commonly believed that hypothyroidism is due to insufficient iodine, but this isn’t true. Dr. Kharrazian states that if you have Hashimoto’s, taking supplemental iodine is like throwing gasoline on a fire, so eschew iodine supplements and iodized salt. Primary sources of iodine: sea vegetables and seafood. Secondary sources: eggs, asparagus, lima beans, mushrooms, spinach, sesame seeds, summer squash, Swiss chard, and garlic.
  • Optimal vitamin D levels are between 50-80 ng/mL; anything below 32 contributes to hormone pathway disruption.
  • Omega-3s, found in fish, grassfed animal products, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function and cell growth, are critical to thyroid function, and improve the ability to respond to thyroid hormones.
5. Go 100% gluten-free. The molecular composition of thyroid tissue is almost identical to that ofgluten. So for those with Hashimoto’s, it’s a case of mistaken identity. Eating gluten can increase the autoimmune attack on your thyroid.

6. Be mindful of goitrogens, which are foods that can interfere with thyroid function. Goitrogens include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, and soybeans. Does it mean that you can never eat these foods? No, because cooking inactivates goitrogenic compounds and eating radishes and watercress in moderation isn’t going to be a deal-breaker.
7. Go for the glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and is one of the pillars of fighting Hashimoto’s. It can boost your body’s ability to modulate and regulate the immune system, dampen autoimmune flare-ups, and protect and heal thyroid tissue.  
While few foods contain glutathione, there are foods that help the body produce glutathione: asparagus, broccoli, peaches, avocado, spinach, garlic, squash, grapefruit, and raw eggs. A plant substance found in broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, (those goitrogens), helps replenish glutathione stores.
8. Address underlying food sensitivities. Just like the body’s attack on the thyroid in the presence of Hashimoto’s, the body will also see offending or inflammatory foods as an invader and will up the ante on the autoimmune response.
9. Do a gut check. A whopping 20 percent of thyroid function depends on a sufficient supply of healthy gut bacteria, so it’s best to supplement with probiotics (friendly intestinal bacteria).
10. Address silent inflammation with whole foods nutrition. Systemic inflammation and autoimmunity often go hand-in-hand.

11. Address adrenal fatigue. There is an intimate connection between your thyroid and adrenal glands and it’s uncommon to have hypothyroidism without some level of adrenal fatigue. The thyroid and adrenals are like Frick and Frack – so tightly in cahoots that it’s not effective to address one without the other.
12. Look at your stressors and practice relaxation. The thyroid is a very sensitive gland and is exceptionally reactive to the stress response.
13. Ask for the thyroid collar. The thyroid is sensitive to radiation, so next time you're getting an x-ray at the dentist, ask for the thyroid collar. Do not let your thyroid get zapped!

by Group Owner on Mar. 19, 2014 at 8:36 AM

In order to treat hypothyroidism, the medical establishment prescribes synthetic hormone pills to patients, and they must continue taking them for the rest of their lives. This is because the drugs ca... 

by Group Owner on Mar. 19, 2014 at 8:46 AM

3 Ways People With Thyroid And Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions Can Detoxify Their Body

We live in a toxic world, and unfortunately it’s only getting worse.  Thousands of new chemicals have been manufactured over the last decade, and thousands of more will be produced during the next decade.  As a result, the air we breathe has toxins, the food we eat has toxins, the water supply has toxins, the furniture we buy is toxic.  And as I’ve discussed in other articles and posts, there is evidence that certain toxins can cause the development of a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition.  There is nothing we can do to completely avoid these toxins, but there are a couple of things we can do.

First of all, you can do what is necessary to minimize your exposure to toxins.  You can do this by eating organic food, drinking purified water, using an air purification system, etc.  You can also use natural household products and cosmetics, try not to use pesticides and herbicides, don’t jog or ride your bike where there is heavy traffic due to exposure to the fumes.  I realize that many people reading this information have already made some of these changes, and that’s fantastic.

You can also do things to help eliminate toxins from your body.  In this post I’m going to discuss three specific things people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions can do help eliminate toxins from their body:

1. Detoxify Your Liver.  The liver is one of the most important organs of the body, and it plays a huge role in detoxification.  It is also the most overworked organ in the body due to all of the different toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis. As a result, I’ve been recommending methods of detoxifying the liver to my patients for many years.  And I personally go through a liver detox program twice per year.  There are numerous programs out there, but the one I recommend is 21 days in length.  Such a program basically consists of eating well, and taking some supplements to help with the detoxification process.

There are also specific foods and herbs which can help detoxify the liver:

Cruciferous Vegetables: Yes, I know they’re goitrogenic, but they are very healthy foods, and they help to support healthy liver function and phase 2 detoxification (1) (2).  And as I’ve mentioned in other more recent articles and posts, as long as someone is iodine sufficient, then eating normal amounts of the cruciferous vegetables (i.e. one or two servings per day) shouldn’t inhibit thyroid function.

Garlic: Garlic consists of a compound called allicin, which helps to detoxify the liver.  Besides helping with detoxification of the liver, garlic is hepatoprotective (3), and there is some evidence that it can be used as a chemoprotective agent for the prevention of liver cancer (4). Recently a patient of mine emailed me some information on how garlic might also be effective in removing lead from the body (5). Try to have a clove of fresh garlic each day, or consider taking a garlic supplement.

Green Tea.  Green tea has catechins, which can help to improve liver function.  There is evidence that green tea can prevent early alcohol-induced liver injury (6), and might be hepatoprotective against conditions such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (7).

Cilantro.  Cilantro can potentially help to remove heavy metals, and thus is commonly included in certain detoxification products.  If you’re like me and have a daily smoothie you can also add some cilantro to it.  I must admit that I don’t like the taste of cilantro, and so I don’t include it in my smoothies, but I do frequently include broccoli and kale.

Chlorella. Chlorella has numerous benefits, as it can potentially help with heavy metals, such as cadmium (8) and mercury (9).  Chlorella might also be useful in preventing the accumulation of dioxins within the body (10), and might even provide a benefit to liver cancer patients (11).

Milk Thistle: This is one of the most well known herbs to help to protect and improve the health of the liver.  It can help with liver damage, hepatitis, exposure to chemical toxins, and can possible prevent the formation of gallstones.  Silymarin is the active component of milk thistle that protects the liver and kidney cells from the toxic effects of drugs, including chemotherapy (12).  Although milk thistle alone doesn’t seem to help much with chronic liver disease, it has reduced liver enzyme levels and demonstrated anti-inflammatory and T cell-modulating effects (12).  Silymarin acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radical production and lipid peroxidation, and may act as a toxin blockade agent by inhibiting binding of toxins to the hepatocyte cell membrane receptors (13).

Globe Artichoke: This herb is also useful for liver toxicity or damage, and can also help to improve bile production.

Dandelion: This is yet another herb which can help to improve the function of the liver, and can also help with gallstones.

Schisandra: This is a great herb, as it can help to improve the detoxifying capacity of the liver, and also help with acute and chronic liver diseases.

Fringe Tree: this herb can help to improve bile production by the liver, and can also help with gallstones.

Greater Celandine: Helps to clear toxins from the liver and bowel.  Can also help with bile production and with gallstones.

2. Clean Your Colon. There are numerous ways to clean the colon.  If you walk into your local health food store, or perform a search online, there will be no shortage of kits to clean your colon.  Some natural healthcare professionals recommend coffee enemas.  I honestly don’t have much experience with coffee enemas, but they can clean the colon, help with liver detoxification by increasing glutathione production, might help to eliminate parasites, and there are other potential benefits.  I’ve had a few patients use coffee enemas prior to consulting with me, and most report positive results.  If anyone else reading this has received positive benefits from coffee enemas then please feel free to share your experience by posting a comment.

There is evidence that coffee enemas can lead to proctocolitis, which is inflammation of the colon and rectum (14).  So coffee enemas might not be completely risk free, although to be fair this showed that only three people experienced this side effect.  The truth is that just about every treatment procedure has the potential to cause side effects, and for the most part it seems that coffee enemas are safe, and perhaps it’s something I’ll eventually incorporate into my practice.

Colon hydrotherapy and colonic irrigation are also methods to clean out the colon.  When receiving colon hydrotherapy/colonic irrigation it is best to see a certified colon hydrotherapist.  The advantage that coffee enemas have is that you can do this from the convenience of your home, and of course it costs less than seeing a colon hydrotherapist.  The advantage of colon hydrotherapy is that they do a better job of cleansing when compared to coffee enemas.    However, for some people, colon hydrotherapy can be too aggressive.  For example, if someone has an increase in intestinal permeability (a leaky gut), then it’s probably best to refrain from receiving colon hydrotherapy.

Some question the effectiveness of colon hydrotherapy, stating that there is no physiological basis for it, and that it might cause the dissemination and absorption of toxins and bacteria into the body (15).  However, numerous healthcare professionals have had a lot of success using colon hydrotherapy in the practice.  This includes Dr. Walter Crinnion, who is a naturopathic doctor with 30 years of experience, and he focuses on biotransformation and detoxification.  I took a 10-week biotransformation and detoxification course through Dr. Crinnion, and he said that if he could only choose one method of detoxification it would be colon hydrotherapy.

3. Sauna Therapy. Infrared sauna therapy can also help with the removal of toxins, as well as improve circulation and reduce blood pressure.  Numerous healthcare experts recommend using sauna therapy, including Dr. Mark Hyman (16), Dr. Walter Crinnion(17), and Dr. Joseph Mercola (18).  Heck, even Dr. Oz understands the benefits of infrared sauna (19).

I mentioned how Dr. Walter Crinnion is an advocate of colon hydrotherapy, and here is what he has to say about sauna therapy (20):

“Saunas can be used very effectively for certain cardiovascular problems and as a means to enhance the mobilization of fat-soluble xenobiotics. When saunas are used to reduce blood pressure and enhance blood flow and cardiac functioning, only short sauna sessions (15 minutes) are necessary. When one wants to enhance the mobilization of heavy metals and chemical xenobiotics, longer sessions are needed and those should be medically monitored. But, for either use, saunas are safe and effective and should be used more frequently to benefit the health of our patients and ourselves.”

Although many different healthcare professionals realize the benefits of infrared sauna therapy, there is a difference in opinion when it comes to near vs. far sauna therapy.  Some healthcare professionals are proponents of near infrared sauna therapy, others seem to favor far infrared sauna therapy.  I think both near and infrared sauna therapy can be beneficial, although most of the units being sold are far infrared saunas.

So hopefully you have a better understanding of what you can do to detoxify your body.  In my opinion, everyone should be doing things to help detoxify their liver, including eating some of the foods I listed, perhaps taking some of the herbs, and it’s also wise to consider following a liver detoxification program once or twice per year.  Infrared sauna therapy and colon cleansing should also be considered by those who are overloaded with toxins, but can also be used as a preventative measure, and to help minimize the negative impact that toxins can have on one’s health.

by Group Owner on Mar. 21, 2014 at 5:55 PM
by Group Owner on Mar. 21, 2014 at 10:20 PM
by Group Owner on Dec. 13, 2016 at 1:29 PM

Confused about how to begin …. anything?! that has to do with this autoimmune thing??

It can be SO confusing. When I started researching Hashimoto’s 8+ months ago I was overwhelmed with the amount of information that is out there. Where to start? What to do first?? In hopes of enlightening at least one other person suffering from this stupid disorder (or maybe two!), here’s the order in which I tackled these myriad issues myself:

1) Diet. Even if you eat pretty well, take a long hard look at what you put on your plate. We have an auto-immune disorder. Auto-immune disorders start in the gut. If you don’t understand how certain “healthy” (to people without auto-immune disorders) foods can possibly affect you, you’re going to just keep going in circles and not heal. Supplements won’t get absorbed properly, you’ll continue to be symptomatic, etc etc etc. Research “leaky gut” and get a grip on this, it is very important to your healing! You can either jump right in to AIP (search for AIP on this page or visit our 101 file on AIP for more info) or you can take baby steps. But really, if you’re feeling ridiculously crappy, just cut to the chase and go AIP. You will be glad you did. (NOTE: Food sensitivity testing can be helpful to some, and give false results to others. At first I really really wanted to to these test, but personally I’m glad I saved my money as I learned much more from going AIP on my own. Used that money for other lab work that I couldn’t possibly do myself. Everyone will be different, be honest with yourself: if you think you have some serious sensitivities/allergies to foods, by all means test to confirm. But don't use testing as an excuse to not do an elimination diet!)

Baby steps for cleaning up your diet:

- Go gluten free. This should be permanent for us. The antibodies created by ingesting gluten can stay in your system for 6 months, so the sooner you quit the gluten the better. Trust me, it won’t be the end of the world. Even if you “don’t feel any different”, you are still doing a great thing for yourself by being proactive and stopping further damage to your gut. NOTE: Our bodies, when sick, may also make antibodies to other foods. This is why we eliminate so many foods on the AIP diet. However, when we add those other foods back in after we have fully healed the gut, there’s a chance that those antibodies have disappeared and we will be fine eating those foods again (this will be different and highly personalized for everyone). Gluten is the ONLY substance known at this time that will CONTINUE to make antibodies if we go back to eating it, no matter how healed we are. So. Just stop eating gluten.

- Cut back and then eliminate processed foods and refined sugar. So many gluten free products are loaded with processed crap, so don’t bother with them. Read labels. Same goes for many coconut products (you’ll see the AIP diet recommending coconut often as it can be an excellent healthy source of good fat). They can be loaded with gums, “natural flavors” (which are also über-processed by the time they make it into a product), artificial flavors and colors. And sugar is highly inflammatory. Not good. Read labels.

- Cut back and then eliminate dairy and soy.

- Go full AIP (eliminating nightshades, legumes, nuts/seeds, caffeine/alcohol, all other non-compliant foods). Understand, this is a TEMPORARY diet. Minimum of 2-3 months for most people before starting reintroductions. I was on it for 2.5 months before noticing changes. Some are on it for much longer. There is no time frame. You can’t rush healing. You must be patient, and listen to your body. Check out our sister site, the Elimination/Provocation Diet page for support, recipes, and lots of ideas for when you’re feeling stuck. Personally, after 8 months, I’m still on AIP, with a few treats allowed now and then with foods that I successfully reintroduced. I will never go back to my old way of eating, though, because I feel so much better eating clean.

2) Get lab work done. At the very least: Thyroid and iron panels. There are many more tests to be done, see the files for great websites for help on what labs are recommended (and places to order them yourself if your doctor won’t). Talk to your doctor and supplement if needed with good quality supplements. NOTE: Do not supplement if you haven’t done the work of healing your gut first - you will be flushing so much money down the toilet! Been there done that! People tend to look for supplements and “miracle pills” and the like - I know I did - but there is no such thing, and everyone is so very different. What works for one may have disastrous effects on another. You must do your own work to find out what YOU need. No one else can do this for you - not even your doctor. Do the research, ask for opinions, read reviews, and again, read labels. Get the best quality you can afford. There is a lot of crap in drugstore brand supplements (much like the processed foods, above). Search on this page and see what others are buying, ask questions, and go from there. Do the work.

In addition to blood work, consider getting your adrenals checked. This is a $119 saliva test that you can do yourself (via and supplement accordingly with herbs to help correct wonky cortisol levels, which many of us have due to this disorder.

3) Talk to your doctor about optimizing your thyroid meds. Make sure you have a FULL thyroid panel done. See files for recommended lab work.

4) Don't be afraid to dig in to these other possible issues at the same time. But be patient! Give yourself time to adjust to each change you make, take notes along the way. Be patient. It takes a long time to get sick, it takes just as long to heal.

Other things to look at after you've addressed your diet:

- candida overgrowth/SIBO/other gut bacteria/issues

- histamine intolerance

- low stomach acid

- low FODMAP or other diet modifications

- genetic mutations

- sex hormones

- TH1/TH2 dominance issues

- heavy metal poisoning

- … too many others to mention…!

In addition to all this “scientific” hoo-ha, and hopefully this goes without saying, but you must be mindful of your lifestyle. Get enough rest, have a schedule if possible, go to bed at the same time, don’t overdo the exercise, be kind to yourself.

That’s how I got started. A work in progress, for me, with much more work to be done. Hope this helps someone get started themselves. :)

<3 Sandy

by Group Owner on Mar. 25, 2017 at 12:37 PM

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