So many people struggle with thyroid conditions. I very often get asked the question in my office “Do you think it’s my thyroid?”. They are tired, gaining weight, cold a lot more than normal, constipated, depressed, stiff and achy, losing hair and have heavy menstrual periods.
The most common condition that affects the thyroid is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It’s actually a situation where your body starts to attack your thyroid and so it isn’t functioning the way it should. That means it’s considered an auto immune condition. The thyroid can become irritated and develop what is called a goiter that can be felt as a lump on the front of your throat in the area that you would think of as the “Adam’s Apple”. This is the inflammatory component of the problem. So, we have an auto immune and inflammatory component to look at.
Hashimoto’s most commonly affects women who would be considered “middle aged” (30’s, 40’s), although men and children can also be affected.
So, let’s dive in and look at this… The medical solution is to match a symptom with a medication. So, if the thyroid isn’t doing its job, the answer is to give some thyroid hormones. That sometimes helps, but it doesn’t really do anything to help address the underlying issues causing the problem.
The first thing that triggers this condition is an immune system assault of some kind. Most people have heard that there is strong connection between the gut and the immune system. This is especially true when you deal with auto-immune conditions like Hashimoto’s. If the lining of the gut becomes “leaky” this is termed “intestinal permeability” and now instead of having a nice barrier to keep out things that might be toxic to our bodies, this leaking lining now allows these things to enter the bloodstream. When that happens, the immune system becomes activated. Sometimes, the things that enter the bloodstream closely resemble cells in the body. In this case, the thyroid. Now, your body starts to break down your own thyroid because it looks like the foreign invaders the gut lining should have kept out. Here’s a picture of this concept…
So, what causes the lining of the intestines to become “leaky”?
· Food sensitivities
· Poor Diet
· Chronic infections (Epstein Barr Virus is a big player here)
Let’s talk a bit more about diet and food sensitivities. The Standard American Diet (SAD for short!) is very high in processed, high-carbohydrate, low nutrient foods. Two of the biggest irritants to people with auto immune conditions like Hashimoto’s are wheat and dairy. So much so, in fact, that a study of over 1700 people demonstrated an 88% improvement in Hashimoto’s symptoms with the implementation of a gluten free diet!
For comparison purposes, the use of thyroid hormones like Armour and Synthroid only improved symptoms somewhere around 50% of the time. Take a look at this article for a sample of an anti-inflammatory diet that is great for people with auto immune conditions.
Food sensitivities are also a player in the equation. In another study, 43% of people saw a decrease in their thyroid antibody levels when food sensitivities were addressed. An elimination diet or food sensitivity test are two ways to figure out what you are sensitive to. Those things are beyond the scope of this article, but if you visit www.drjeni.com you can schedule a free consultation to see if working with Dr. Jeni individually to have this lab test done or use an elimination diet might be a good thing for you do.
Here is what a sample food sensitivity test will show you:
Poor diet can lead to inflammation, which is another player in Hashimoto’s. So, the anti-inflammatory diet helps address that component also. Eating a diet high in refined, processed foods also leaves a lot of gaps in nutrition. Nutrient deficiencies like selenium, B vitamins, zinc and Vitamin D are also very common and need to be addressed. There are some awesome functional tests that look at your nutrient status specifically. Here’s a link to one I really like if you feel like that would be of benefit to you. You can combine the nutrient testing with the food sensitivity testing which gives you a more complete picture of what’s going on.
Toxic exposure can factor into the picture as well, so many people benefit from performing a detox program. This is the one I recommend.
Infection is often a trigger in auto immune conditions. With Hashimoto’s, things like the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) can be the beginning of the struggle. I use a protocol called “stealth pathogens” to help increase your body’s ability to fight off these chronic, low-grade infections. Here is a link to that information.
So, that’s a lot of information! Where does a person start if they are struggling with Hashimoto’s?
· Identify and address major stressors in your life. Stress is probably the biggest cause of all chronic disease and identifying and effectively dealing with stress is very important in the healing process.
· The anti-inflammatory diet (This addresses the Wheat and Dairy issues)
· Some basic supplementation that helps with inflammation, immune-modulation and thyroid health. These include:
o Rehmannia – I like this herb for the immune-modulating effect is has on the body. This also has anti-inflammatory properties.
o Thythrophin PMG – All all-around thyroid support that doesn’t have huge doses of iodine (which may not be a great idea with Hashimoto’s).
o Black Cumin Seed – This is a great all-around product. It has anti-bacterial properties especially for H.pylori which is another trigger for Hashimoto’s.
o Ashwaganda – This is an adaptogenic herb that helps our bodies cultivate a healthy stress response. It also has anti-inflammatory issues.
o Aloe Vera – soothing to an irritated gut lining, good source of selenium, zinc and magnesium which are depleted in most people. Also contains the amino acid Tyrosine which is a pre-cursor to thyroxine which is your main thyroid hormone. I like this one from amazon.
** Please check out the www.facebook.com/doctorjeni page to get more information on how to set up your account to order the Standard Process and Medi Herb products. I have a post pinned to the top of my page with the instructions. These are only available through a health care provider and I want to make sure you get what you need!
If you start there and don’t see the results you would like, think of toxicity and/or chronic infections as a potential issue. The liver detox mentioned above and the “stealth pathogens” protocol are great things to try. If you know that you have had exposure to toxins like cleaning products, paints, toxic beauty products, highly processed food or have a history of Mononucleosis (Epstein Barr Virus), then you might want to start with the detox or “stealth pathogens” protocol.
If you don’t know where to start and have a question, visit drjeni.com and schedule a free consultation and we’ll connect and I’ll help you decide what you might need!