Current statistics indicate that about one out of eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime. If you’re like me, you either know someone already taking thyroid medication, or you’re thinking that you might need to. Many people don’t realize how critical the thyroid is to their total health!
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. That means an alarming number of Americans, mostly women, will develop an autoimmune disease. As an autoimmune disease, thyroiditis is caused by antibodies attacking the thyroid and destroying the gland.
According to the American AutoImmune Association, autoimmune disorders are the fourth largest cause of disability and the tenth leading cause of death in women ages 65 and younger in America. Unfortunately, approximately 60% of the population is unaware that they even have thyroiditis!
What are Hashimotos Thyroiditis Symptoms?
According to the American Thyroid Association, “There are no unique symptoms to thyroiditis. Often an individual will experience both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid symptoms, vascillating back and forth. If the thyroiditis causes slow and chronic thyroid cell damage and destruction, leading to a fall in thyroid hormone levels in the blood, patients experience the symptoms of hypothyroiditis:”
- Dry skin
- Poor endurance
- Weight Gain
“If the thyroiditis causes rapid thyroid cell damage and destruction, the thyroid hormone that is stored in the gland leaks out, increasing thyroid hormone levels in the blood. These patients will experience the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, which are similar to hyperthyroidism:”
- Heart palpitaitons
- Weight loss
Infections from a bacteria or virus can cause thyroiditis, causing inflammation. Some people make thyroid antibodies which can also run in families. “Finally, drugs such as interferon and amiodarone, can also damage thyroid cells and cause thyroiditis.”
Hashimoto’s is a very complex autoimmune disease and I don’t pretend to know everything there is about it. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced it. However, those I have talked with living with the disease, say there are some natural treatments that have helped.
What Natural Treatments are there?
From what I have read, one person’s Hashimotos treatment could be entirely different from anothers’. Autoimmune diseases are pretty unique and complex for each person. However, there are some common strategies that are beneficial for any autoimmune disease:
- Remove typical food allergens and other triggers. Things like gluten and dairy sensitivities promote inflammation and aggravate immune imbalances. Dietary changes are perhaps the most difficult but, in my opinion, the most important. In addition to being pro-inflammatory, allergens contribute to leaky gut which promote the ideal environment for bacterial, viral and parasitic infections.
- Other triggers can be parasitic infections or viral infections such as Epstein-Barr virus. A good thorough, health screening is crucial to rule out any of these types of infections.
- Environmental toxins are often a culprit in Hashimoto’s. Chronic exposure to chemicals and heavy metals weaken the immune system too. Removing heavy metal and chemical exposure is also easier said than done. This is truly one case where every little bit helps though. Even changing your skin care products to eliminate chemical exposure helps. Having mercury fillings removed from teeth can be huge also. Do your due diligence though and have it done properly!
- Vitamin D supplementation – Vitamin D helps to regulate T-cells ; a hero in yet another disease! Do remember though that Vitamin D can be toxic in extremely high levels. The fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D, A & K complement each other and are best taken together.
- Probiotic supplementation. Our gut health impacts many diseases – autoimmune diseases included. Many people don’t realize that probiotics support immune health by helping with appropriate T-cell responses.
- Essential fatty acids are huge in balancing the inflammatory response. We’ve all heard most Americans don’t consume the proper balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3. It really should be standard protocol for everyone with an autoimmune disease to take EFA’s. Not only are they an anti-inflammatory, they also support the endocrine system and hormone production. Essential for those with autoimmune conditions!
Many would add iodine to this list. And it could be extremely helpful for many with Hashimoto’s. However my research leads me to believe it may not be for everyone so I didn’t include in the common, basic strategies. For some, it appears that iodine may actually make their condition worse.
Hashimoto’s is not a condition to fool around with. Definitely seek professional help in finding the treatments that work for you. Remember, that this is a unique condition and there is not one protocol to follow. Dietary and lifestyle changes will be necessary to successfully treat it!
I encourage anyone to leave comments here about what worked for them and what didn’t. You will help others to battle this autoimmune condition by doing so! I also encourage you to provide practitioner recommendations as they are often difficult to find.