Hashimoto’s Disease | Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis | MediUpdates article | If you’re reading this, you’re either suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or have been diagnosed with it. You’re probably seeking solutions since you’re not sure why you’re feeling so awful. Hopefully, this blog provides you with some answers that give you hope that therapy is available, that your symptoms can be managed, that your thyroid blood test statistics (including autoimmune indicators!) may be improved, and that you can reclaim your life!
One of two factors motivates patients to seek therapy. To begin with, they are now taking thyroid medicine but are still experiencing worsening symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, brain fog, constipation, acid reflux, sweating, weight gain, tiredness, racing heart, and the list goes on. The patient is unsure why their thyroid symptoms are becoming worse, but their primary care provider says their tests are okay and their thyroid looks great. The majority of these individuals have had their thyroid medication dose changed several times yet still don’t feel well or have had only a minor improvement in symptoms. These patients’ low-functioning thyroids have been detected, but no evidence of a possibly persistent autoimmune illness termed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis has been found.
The second situation is when a patient has previously been identified with thyroid autoimmunity and poor thyroid function (also known as Hashimoto’s). As the autoimmune illness develops, their immune system and thyroid gland function continue to deteriorate. These individuals have been administered thyroid medication for low thyroid function and are being treated well, according to their doctors. In these situations, there isn’t a single mention of the immune system in patient education. Patients will suffer racing hearts, worry, and restless nights as their symptoms worsen. That’s because they’re just being treated for Hashimoto’s symptoms, with little thought given to what’s generating the immune system dysregulation in the first place.
So, whether you only have a low-functioning thyroid or have autoimmune in addition to your thyroid issue (aka Hashimoto’s), the therapy is the same! Does this strike you as odd? Without a better understanding of what is causing the thyroid and immunological problems in the first place, both of these disorders will worsen. For most patients, the lack of information and treatment alternatives is extremely aggravating. Despite the fact that many of these patients finally seek us out in the hopes of finding answers to why they are beaten down, unwell, and irritated, they are still beaten down, sick, and frustrated.
Here are some startling figures | Hashimoto’s Disease
Did you know that Hashimoto’s disease affects anywhere from 13.4% to 38% of the population? For the past three years, synthetic thyroid hormones have topped the pharmaceutical best-seller list. With such high figures, it’s reasonable to assume that something else is going on within our bodies, in our surroundings, or in our way of life to create these figures!
Given the prevalence of this issue, you’d think contemporary medicine would be more adept at identifying it. However, the terrible reality is that many people, particularly women, live with either an overactive or underactive thyroid function that goes undiagnosed. These same patients are frequently diagnosed but then treated incorrectly. In a December 2010 survey conducted in the United Kingdom, 1,037 hypothyroid patients agreed to have their hormone levels tested, and it was discovered that 37.2 percent of them were taking inappropriate hormone dosages, with 19.8 percent taking too much hormone and 17.4 percent taking too little. What is the significance of this? Mismanagement of this disease, or incorrect diagnosis, will make the patient feel worse rather than better. They may have insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, sweating, hearing voices, heart palpitations, and an increase in resting pulse rate if they are given too much thyroid medicine. If they take too little, they will continue to experience all of the initial symptoms, such as sluggishness, weight gain, constipation, temperature dysregulation, acid reflux, and so on. What if we told you that the root of the problem is an autoimmune disease, not just a malfunctioning thyroid?
When we detect TPO antibodies on lab testing, the most common question I get is, “What is Hashimoto’s?” Unfortunately, Hashimoto’s is a disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland as if it were an external virus that needed to be dealt with rather than just another bodily component. These continual immunological assaults gradually disable the thyroid gland, preventing it from performing its duties and, as a result, from producing the hormones that the body requires.
As a result, the first thing to ask is:
Where does the patient fall on the spectrum? Do they suffer from hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, or both?
Synthetic hormones are the most common medical therapy for hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism with Hashimoto’s disease. Within orthodox medicine, we’ve heard about a variety of fascinating Hashimoto’s therapies throughout the years. “Drink a lot of water,” was one of the most shocking therapies for Hashimoto’s management. We’ve never had a patient tell us they drank enough water to cure their chronic autoimmune illness in all the years we’ve been treating thyroid problems! It’s exasperating to witness how unwell individuals are, as well as the lack of answers they’ve received (even after a diagnosis), and how they still feel horrible despite hormone treatment.
All of this is said because it’s critical to identify anything that might be causing immune system dysregulation. It’s critical to inquire about previous virus illnesses, previous living circumstances, previous travel, previous chemical exposure, and so on during an initial consultation. In our experience, the patient has come into contact with something that has caused their immune system to malfunction. Dormant viral infections are more frequently than not found to be positive in lab testing. We will notice alterations in white blood cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and inflammation on their CBC (complete blood count). Some of the blood work is pathologically abnormal, meaning it is outside of the standard laboratory reference range and has been highlighted, while others are simply abnormal in the functional laboratory range and have not been flagged. Additional tests will almost certainly reveal a persistent infection that has been lying dormant in the immune system. This is always the case with Hashimoto’s patients, in my experience.
So, why is your thyroid being attacked by your immune system?
An ancient Epstein Barr infection is one of the most common chronic viruses we encounter in Hashimoto’s patients. Mononucleosis is another name for EBV. EBV is a kind of herpes virus. These infections are opportunistic, which means they can lay dormant for years until someone’s immune system is compromised by a life event. Suddenly, the old malware reappears, wreaking havoc on the machine. A typical occurrence occurs when a patient is involved in a vehicle accident, goes through menopause, divorces, or other stressful life events, and their health rapidly deteriorates. Another unpleasant issue we encounter in practice is that antiviral herbs can occasionally be used to treat certain infections. Most of the time, we discover that the herbs inhibit the virus but do not eradicate it. When cold and flu season hits, they either get the same upper respiratory illness they always have, or their recurrent sinus infection returns. This is most likely a vulnerable spot for them, where infections are already present.
Overgrowth of viruses, bacteria, and yeast can result in the formation of biofilms. Pathogens are shielded against antivirals, antibiotics, and antifungals by biofilms, which form a protective barrier around them. Even after a course of antifungal, antibiotic, or antiviral treatment, some infections remain active in the body. This applies to both conventional and alternative medical procedures. Unless the practitioner targets the biofilms first, then the pathogen within them, there’s a strong chance that biofilms will form surrounding the infection (whatever infection that might be). Your immune system is constantly being harmed by biofilms. Every single one of our chronic patients, from Hashimoto’s to Addison’s disease, has had Mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus) or another unidentified illness that was never diagnosed but left them feeling “quite unwell” at some point in their lives. Parasites, yeast overgrowth, SIBO, Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) infections, and/or a combination of all three are prevalent among these individuals. The majority of the patients have a persistent viral infection, such as EBV.
Are you starting to see how all of these problems may weaken the body over time, causing immune system confusion?
To make matters worse, we take into account all of the substances we are exposed to on a weekly basis (estimated over 80,000 each week). The effects of a significant number of these substances on the human body and its systems are yet to be investigated. Many of the substances investigated have been labeled as “endocrine disruptors.” An endocrine disruptor is a substance that can cause your hormones to malfunction. Some of these compounds are also known to have a significant risk of cancer. Did you know that most tap water contains chemicals that are known to cause cancer? Many of the things you use to clean your house, put on your skin, or eat may be researched. The Environmental Working Group’s website is an excellent resource for those looking to make more educated decisions regarding chemical exposure in their homes, food, and personal care products. From their site, you can see what kinds of items may be weakening the immune system (possibly carcinogenic), disrupting hormones (endocrine disruptors), or putting undue stress on your liver.
Dietary factors may have a role in Hashimoto’s disease:
The foods we consume have an essential role in regulating the degree of inflammation in our systems, which helps to keep autoimmunity at bay or prevent it from increasing.
We’ll have another blog post about food allergies coming up shortly. To detect food sensitivities, we will either have patients commit to an elimination diet or perform a Cyrex Labs food sensitivity panel, which may be obtained here. The majority of patients have undergone food allergy testing, which is different from food sensitivity testing. A food allergy, which is far more severe than food sensitivity, is a life-threatening histamine reaction. You must avoid that meal at all costs if you have a food allergy. A food sensitivity can be extremely uncomfortable and cause significant injury to the patient, although it is typically less severe than an allergy and is technically distinct.
Food sensitivities generate needless inflammation in your system, as well as inflammation in the body. Because food sensitivities trigger an immunological response, frequent exposure to the foodstuff may lead to an allergy. There are also meals that cross-react with one another, which adds to the complexity.
Consider the case when you have a wheat allergy or sensitivity. You avoid wheat since it makes you feel awful, causes mood swings, and so forth. You consume a lot of gluten-free goods and eat a lot of rice. Suddenly, your new diet is making you feel awful. Wheat cross-reacts with some foods, causing food sensitivities and allergies. In other words, your body develops a sensitivity to rice or tapioca. The immune system is now responding to other products or cross-reacting to different types of grains. If an exclusion diet doesn’t work, we utilize the Cyrex Array 4 to see what other items could be creating problems or speeding up the autoimmune illness. Knowing what food sensitivity is can help us create a diet for the patient that will reduce inflammation and immune system flare-ups in the body. We eat food that produces immunological reactions and leads us to be sensitive to it. A condition like Hashimoto’s or any other autoimmune illness will progress as a result of an immune response.