Hey Everyone! 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. 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 are 5 Things To Know If You Have Hashimoto’s Disease. (* please remember I am NOT nurse practitioner yet this is just what I have learned through studying and working with my doctor. I suggest seeing a naturopathic doctor they tend to see the whole picture when it comes to Hashimotos)
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. This is totally unfortunate but very common and here is why. Most conventional doctors don’t routinely 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 you as the patien 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]. Guys, reducing your stress level will help in the healing process, over the last year I have done everything in my power to reduce my stress levels. Some of those ways have been getting more sleep, just making an effort to get to bed by 9:00pm. A big one for me is to NOT watch the news. Seeing how crazy the world is really gives me anxiety, so I monitor what I watch. And probably the hardest has been 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 and here is 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. Probably why it took me so long to figure out that I even had it.
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?! So to support and heal the gut is key with Hashimotos. First I cut out gluten (gone bye bye) and second I’ve added in a few things to my daily/weekly routine to help heal and protect my gut. Digestives enzymes, probiotics, bone broth (swapping our chicken broth in cooking), fermented foods like kombucha a couple days a week, and I buy only organic meat and veggies. Guys, I encourage you to research leaky gut and try adding in some of these things to help heal your gut.
5. There are common nutrient depletions with Hashimotos, I also did a blood test to get an even bigger picture of my deficiencies. 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.]. I don’t actually take all of these, but working with my naturopathic doctor I’m taking the exact supplements that my body needs due to the Hashimotos. Find a practitioner that will work with you on this, it is crucial!! And in my opinion I was shocked how with the just the proper supplements I started to feel better… quickly.
Alright, so there are my 5 Things To Know If You Have Hashimoto’s Disease. It’s life changing finding a doctor/nurse practitioner who doesn’t do things the conventional way. Conventional medicine is great but what I’ve realized is sometimes you need a little more than that. You need to think outside the box and try to look at other factors impacting your health. I hope this helps you see the full picture of what you can do to help conquer Hashimotos.
If you have any questions find me on Instagram and DM me or write me a comment here!!
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