I was overwhelmed with the number of people who reached out to me when I started talking about Hashimoto’s disease and my journey. I noticed THREE reoccurring themes from most of you who contacted me. First, it was you were diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, given medication and told to come back to recheck my levels in a few months. Basically here take this pill to fix it…. end of story. I also heard, well my doctor tested my thyroid except not my antibody levels, so I don’t know if I have Hashimotos. And finally I heard many people were struggling with weight gain due Hashimotos. So like I said on Instagram, over the last year I’ve put my nursing skills to use and have been studying Hashimoto’s here is what I have found from my research.
1. Do you have the right labs being drawn? Your practitioner will be looking at your TSH, Free T3, and Free T4, Reverse T3, Antibodies. It is important to know that Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system is attacking your own thyroid, which causes it to underproduce thyroid hormones [iii.] Like I said in the intro many people told me they know they struggle with hypothyroidism, but don’t know if their condition is autoimmune-related or not. Many people people get a misdiagnosis that keeps them in a cycle of feeling sick for years. You might find some doctors don’t check for thyroid antibodies when testing thyroid blood levels. Which is mind blowing to me because you are not getting the “FULL” picture of your health. It’s just so unfair to the patient not to know this piece of information. So please make sure to ask your doctor to include checking your antibody levels (be your own advocate people)
2. Stress plays a huge role in how your thyroid functions [i]. I was going to try to break down the medical side of things but it is hard to quote on quote “break it down” because this whole thing is so complex. But what we know is stress has a major impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Cortisol is regulated via the HPA axis, cortisol is the primary hormone responsible for stress response [v.]. Cortisol’s weakening effects on the immune response have also been well documented. When you are stressed this axis is impacted, therefore your thyroid gland and immune system suffer too[ii].
How I Reduce My Stress
- Balancing adrenals — this is a big one. Our adrenals are little glands that help our bodies handle stress. When we don’t handle stress properly it can contribute to having a autoimmune disease.
2. Getting more sleep, just making an effort to get to bed by 9:00pm.
3. A big one for me is to NOT watch the news. It stresses me.
4. Reducing my coffee (caffeine) intake, I only have one cup in the morning and often it is decaf.
BYE BYE GLUTEN
3. Eliminating Gluten is key, let me tell you why. Studies from several different countries show Hashimoto’s is linked to gluten sensitivity. The protein structure in the gluten protein shares an amino acid sequence that resembles that of the thyroid. Therefore, when a gluten sensitive person reacts to gluten, the immune system may begin erroneously reacting to thyroid tissue too [iii.]. By cutting out gluten you are reducing an immune reaction that leads to thyroid tissue destruction.
This whole process is known as molecular mimicry, which I learned all about from Dr. Amy Meyers. Dairy’s molecular makeup is also similar to gluten which is why a lot of people eliminate this as well (me included) [iii.]. Over the last 10 years I’ve cut out gluten, dairy, soy which I believe helped keep my Hashimoto’s symptoms almost unnoticeable. If you are looking for a place to start so many experts and myself included say to start with your diet.
4. Gut support, sounds weird right but it’s SO important when dealing with Hashimotos. This thing called leaky gut and gluten go hand in hand people. If you consume gluten and have a sensitivity to it what happens is the gluten will make its way to the small intestine. Inflammation then happens in your small intestine and creates abnormally large spaces between the cells of the gut wall which allow the entry of toxic “crap” to enter your bloodstream[iii.]. Lovely right?! Support and heal the gut that is key with Hashimotos.
How I Protect The Gut
Add in digestives enzymes, probiotics, bone broth (swapping our chicken broth in cooking),
Fermented foods like kombucha a couple days a week
Buy only organic meat and veggies.
5. There are common nutrient depletions with Hashimotos disease. The most common nutrient depletions that I’ve found in my studies are selenium, vitamin D, B12, ferritin (the iron storage protein), thiamine and magnesium [iv.]. Find a practitioner that will work with you on this, it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle. I was shocked how with the just the proper supplements how quickly I started to feel better.
What are your thoughts about Hashimoto’s? Do you or someone you know suffer from some form of thyroid disease? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
xo – Whitney
[i] Stress and Your Thyroid. Thyroid Advisor. https://thyroidadvisor.com/stress-and-your-thyroid/#_ednref1
[ii] Smith SM, Vale WW. The role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in neuroendocrine responses to stress. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2006;8(4):383-395. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181830/
[iii.] Is Gluten to Blame for Your Hashimoto’s, AmyMyersmd.com https://www.amymyersmd.com/2017/12/gluten-blame-hashimotos/
[iv.] The 6 Most Important Nutrient Deficiencies in Hashimoto’s, Thyroidpharmacist.com., https://thyroidpharmacist.com/articles/6-important-nutrient-deficiencies-hashimotos/
[v.] Michael Randall ’12, The Physiology of Stress: Cortisol and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/2011/02/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis/#.WrUPktPwa8o
Disclaimer I am not your doctor. This is my personal experience and thoughts with research of course. Always consult a doctor.