Hashimoto’s Disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Unfortunately, it is also the most mismanaged type of hypothyroidism. Most people who are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease receive only thyroid hormone replacement, yet continue to suffer with all of the same symptoms. Here are five things every Hashimoto’s patient should do to help decrease their symptoms.
- Stop taking all iodine containing supplements: Iodine is an important nutrient for thyroid function, and iodine deficiencies are common across the country, but in cases of Hashimoto’s disease iodine can actually trigger the immune system attack. Bottom line is that iodine is a very important supplement for many people, but it is contraindicated with this disease because it flares the immune system, and makes the problem worse.
- Have your vitamin D level tested: A common problem among those with autoimmune diseases is vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is critical for immune system support. A simple blood test by your doctor can determine whether or not your body’s stored vitamin D levels are high enough. It is recommended that your levels should be 33 ng/ml or higher. If you test low your doctor will recommend a high quality supplement with a retest in the future to make sure you are absorbing it properly.
- Get tested for gluten sensitivity: The literature shows that a high number of people who are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease also have gluten sensitivity. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Gluten sensitivity simply means that every time you eat gluten your immune system tries to attack and kill it, creating major inflammation. This immune trigger will cause your immune system to further attack and destroy your thyroid gland. The best and most sensitive test for gluten sensitivity is a stool SIgA test. Your doctor can order this test for you. If you have tested negatively with a saliva or blood test make sure you get the stool test, as continuing to eat gluten when you have a sensitivity is detrimental to your condition.
- Manage blood sugar closely: You are probably thinking, “I’m not diabetic, why would this apply to me?” There are a lot functional diabetics and functional hypoglycemics walking around that have no clue they have a problem. This is a complex issue your doctor will need to work with you on, but proper blood sugar regulation is essential to keep from continuously triggering the immune system.
- Do NOT take “immune supporting” supplements: This is the biggest mistake I see patients and many doctors make in an attempt to support the immune system. With an autoimmune disease the immune system has essentially become confused. One side of the immune system becomes dominant and the other side suppressed. It is this imbalance that creates the confusion and causes it to attack your own thyroid gland. It is likely the immune support supplement contains an herb or botanical that may be helpful but likely contains things that are worsening your immune dominance. It is essential to have some very special immune panels ran to determine your immune dominance and the specific pattern of immune dysfunction to really find out the true nature of the immune problem. Then a specific application of herbs, botanicals, and plant extracts that have been shown to have specific effects on various cells in the immune system can be used to modulate and re-balance it. Until you have a doctor that knows how to run these immune panels and apply that knowledge, don’t play with fire, just avoid broad support immune supplements all together.
If you are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease then do these 5 things to give yourself a better chance to feel good again. Since the immune system is the source of the problem, finding a doctor trained in looking at the specifics of the immune response, familiar with autoimmune triggers, and trained in the application of natural medicine in relation to the immune system, is your best choice to fully turn down the dimmer on your disease.