Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Functional Medicine
Functional medicine is one of the most talked about fields of medicine, today. What is the difference between functional medicine and traditional medicine and how can functional medicine help to better manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and high thyroid stimulating hormones? Functional medicine addresses the root cause of your thyroid problems rather than just treating the symptoms using surgery or medication.
When the root causes of Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis are dealt with, your energy levels, sleep patterns,
libido and vitality improve. This is why anyone suffering from a thyroid condition should see a functional physician. Seeing a functional doctor will improve your health. Your digestive system will begin working better, your hormones will become balanced and your brain function will improve.
Hashimoto’s in an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is named after a Japanese surgeon who discovered the disease. Many doctors may say that there is no treatment for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. However, there are many natural approaches that can provide relief for those who are suffering from it.
You must begin by understanding what the thyroid does and why it is so important to your overall health and well-being.
The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands in the body. It is responsible for regulating numerous hormones in the body that are responsible for metabolism and energy. It also helps to control a number of bodily functions, including growth and development, reproductive health, metabolism, libido mood and brain functions. Thyroid hormone receptors are found throughout the body and tell the body how to use energy.
Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is the most common cause for under active thyroid issues. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is an illness where the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy cells. With Hashimoto’s the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland and prevent it from functioning properly. As the thyroid is gradually destroyed, thyroid functions diminish and thyroid hormone production is decreased. This can cause processes within the body to slow down.
Why Does the Immune System Become Confused?
Experts are unsure what causes the immune system to begin attacking the body; however, they believe it is a case of mistaken identity. One theory states that it begins when the immune system is attacking detrimental microbes in the body.
However, these microbes can look similar to healthy tissues. The immune system can then begin attacking healthy tissues, which can leave a person sick and exhausted. Root Causes- Why Addressing the Root Causes is More Effective than Addressing the Symptoms
The best analogy of why you should look at the root causes rather than just treating the symptoms can be seen in a car. If your check engine light comes on, do you ignore the light or find a way to turn it off, or do you take it to a mechanic so he can take a look at the motor and see why the light is coming on?
The same principle works for high thyroid stimulating hormones and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. At Elite Integrated Medical our functional medicine doctor will look under the hood to find what is causing your symptoms rather than just applying a band-aid to the check engine light.
Functional medicine practitioners investigate the reason that you are having a certain symptom and address how to fix the problem rather than giving you a medicine to mask your symptoms.
If ten patients visit the doctor with the same complaint such as fatigue, skin rashes, digestive disorders or depression, the doctor understands that are a number of reasons that the patient is experiencing these symptoms. For some, the symptom may be caused by a gluten intolerance; for another, a small overgrowth of bacteria may be causing the symptoms.
By finding out the underlying causes that cause a person to develop an autoimmune disorder, the functional doctor can better treat the patient and help them heal their thyroid naturally.
A gluten intolerance has been linked to an increased risk of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Removing gluten products and dairy products from your diet can help Hashimoto’s patients feel better and lower the level of antibodies that are attacking the thyroid gland. Many researchers believe that the gluten proteins look similar to the proteins found in the thyroid gland.
When a patient has a gluten intolerance, the body can become confused and cause the immune system to attack thyroid tissues. A food intolerance can weaken the intestinal lining that acts as a protective barrier and prevents food particles and waste from the intestinal tract from entering the bloodstream, which can cause an autoimmune inflammatory response. This phenomenon is known as leaky gut.
There are also a number of things that can create an autoimmune response that leads to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. There are several food proteins that can trick the body into attacking itself. Talk with a functional doctor to help determine if you have any food sensitivities or a leaky gut.
Finally, nutritional deficiencies, stress and infections can increase the risk of developing autoimmune thyroiditis. A functional doctor will dig and expose the root of your thyroid issues and provide helpful advice to help improve the health of your thyroid gland.
Functional Medicine- Determining the Root Cause of Hashimoto’s and Treating it Using Scientifically Based Therapies
What are the Five Most Common Root Causes of Autoimmune Disorders?
Many people can experience the same symptoms for a variety of reasons. Functional medicine seeks to find the root cause and address them. Check out the top five root causes:
- Autoimmune disorders
This occurs when the immune system attacks healthy tissues within the body. Hypothyroidism is often caused by an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland, which causes high levels of TSH.
- Food intolerances
The two most common food sensitivities that people with thyroid issues have are gluten and dairy.
- Low Glucose Levels
- High Glucose Levels caused by pre-diabetes or insulin resistance
- An Overgrowth of Intestinal Bacteria, including Yeast that Leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome
By discovering if the sufferer has any of these factors and addressing them, you can lower your TSH levels and relieve the many symptoms associated autoimmune thyroid disorders.
Understanding the Underlying Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Gluten is one of the biggest health issues facing the human race. The grains we have now have been modified and hybridized, which can wreak havoc on your body. The immune system is activated and begins attacking healthy tissues within the body. It can cause leaky gut syndrome that allows waste and food particles to enter the bloodstream. This can cause chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders. When the body mistakenly attacks tissues in the body because they appear similar to detrimental molecules, it is referred to as molecular mimicry.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
The intestinal walls contain minute holes that allow the body to absorb nutrients. Things such as gluten, infections, stress, toxins and medications can damage the lining and create larger holes that allow food particles, toxins and waste product to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to chronic, systemic inflammation which can lead to a number of autoimmune disorders. In order to protect your health, you must heal your gut so your body can heal itself.
Mercury is a heavy metal that can damage or alter the cells in your body. When these cells become damaged, the immune system can view them as foreign invaders, allowing the immune system to attack your own organs. Those with higher mercury exposure are at an increased risk of developing an autoimmune disorder, such as autoimmune thyroid disease.
Infections, including the Epstein-Barr virus and viruses in the herpes family can cause autoimmune disorder and lead to inflammation and molecular mimicry.
Iodine is important to thyroid functions. Too little iodine in the diet can cause hypothyroidism; however, too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism. When more iodine is available in the body, the thyroid gland can begin producing massive amounts of thyroid hormone. Those who consume a low sodium diet and suddenly consume iodine-rich foods can experience an overactive thyroid.
What Tests Are Used for Diagnosing Hashimoto’s?
A Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism diagnosis occurs based on lab results and symptoms. A blood test that shows high TSH levels can help determine if a patient is suffering from hypothyroidism. TSH is the substance used by the body to tell the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones. High levels of thyroid antibodies can point towards a Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism diagnosis. The presence of these antibodies alerts the doctor to the fact that the immune system is attacking the thyroid glands. To understand how your thyroid functions, check out a Complete Thyroid Profile.
The immune system produces antibodies that work against thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (Tg) in patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. TPO is used by the body to place iodine inside the thyroid hormone molecule. Tg is a protein used to create thyroid hormones. Antibodies of the proteins show that the immune system is damaging the thyroid gland. Finding these antibodies in lab work can help to diagnose an autoimmune thyroid disorder.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy thyroid gland tissues and destroys them. High TSH and blood antibodies can alert your doctor that the thyroid gland is not functioning properly. The symptoms of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism include fatigue, constipation, dry and thinning hair, weight gain and a puffy face.
Our integrative doctors develop a comprehensive medical approach to help calm your overactive immune system, lower the number of antibodies and relieve many of the symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Functional and integrative medicine has been used successfully to treat Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism using gut repair techniques, nutritional supplementation, stress reduction techniques and dietary modifications. If you have been told by a conventional doctor that there is nothing that can be done to help with your Hashimoto’s symptoms, check out functional medicine. There are many natural treatments that can help reset the immune system and stop it from attacking the thyroid gland.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the thyroid gland tissues. Before starting any treatment, evaluate whether it will help to improve immunity and prevent it from attacking the thyroid gland. Things such as liver dysfunction, leaky gut, toxin exposure, digestive disorders, infections, chronic stress, inflammation and poor diet can be the cause of your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Don’t resort to taking medicines that only mask the symptoms. Visit a functional medicine doctor to help find the root of the problem and address it with scientifically proven methods.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Functional Medicine Helps Heal the Body
Proper Nutrition Helps Rest the Immune System
Eating a healthy diet filled with nutritious foods can help decrease systemic inflammation, nutritional imbalances and digestive dysfunction. Opting for an anti-inflammatory diet reduces inflammation in the body. Eating inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and cross-reactive foods suppress the thyroid gland and stop it from functioning properly.
An anti-inflammatory diet normalizes thyroid hormones, lowers glucose levels and increases energy, which helps to improve your metabolic processes, increase clarity and improve mood. An anti-inflammatory diet should include:
- Non-starchy fruits and vegetables, including green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruits and berries.
- Lean proteins like legumes, nuts, organic meats and fish.
- Healthy fats such as flax seed oil, coconut oil, cold pressed olive oil, fatty fish (salmon, herring and trout), avocados and seeds.
Toxins caused by environmental exposure can suppress your thyroid. Toxins that can harm the thyroid gland include pesticides, medications (anti-inflammatory drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs, diabetic medications and antibiotics), heavy metals and plastic compounds (PCBs and dioxins). By limiting the environmental toxins in the home and workplace can help significantly improve your thyroid functions.
Three Ways to Improve Your Hashimoto’s
- Dietary Modifications
- Nutritional Supplements
- Stress Relieving Techniques
If you have a thyroid deficiency, your doctor may suggest thyroid hormone supplementation to decrease your symptoms and help improve your thyroid functions. The doctor may use these thyroid hormones as he/she determines and addresses the underlying causes of your Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
If you have any nutritional deficiencies, you may need to take nutritional supplements to ensure the body is receiving the nutrients it needs to function properly, including vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, C, D and E, omega-3 fatty acids, L-tyrosine and iron, copper, selenium and zinc. Fatty acids are used as precursors to hormones, so it is vital that you include healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, fatty acids and olive oil in your diet.
How Does Functional Medicine Help Thyroid Problems?
In addition to nutritional supplementation, you should address the stress triggers in your life. Emotional stress, family issues, financial woes and marital problems can all affect the thyroid gland. Learning stress relieving techniques will allow the body to heal. The adrenal glands work in conjunction with the thyroid gland. When stress levels are high, the adrenal glands work hard to help the body deal with stress. When they become overworked, they cannot produce the hormones that protect the thyroid gland, resulting in lower thyroid levels. There is a number of stress relieving technique that can be used to reduce stress, including chiropractic care, Reiki, yoga, guided imagery, massage, deep breathing exercises, journaling and meditation.
How Does Functional Medicine Help Thyroid Problems?
Gluten Free Diet
Gluten is an inflammatory food that can cause a host of medical problems. Those suffering from autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease can benefit from removing all types of grains and legumes from their diets. These foods contain lectins, which are proteins that act as a natural pesticide and can damage the lining of the intestinal walls. The first step to healing the body is changing your diet. The Myers Way Comprehensive Elimination Diet eCourse teaches the the foundations to recovering from an illness through a dietary elimination program.
Healing the Gut
The gut is essential to healing. It is where the majority of the immune system is held. The Myers Way Guide to the Gut eCourse teaches you how to heal your gut using the 4R approach that has helped thousands heal their gut and restore their health. This method removes offending foods that damage the gut, replaces nutritional deficiencies, repairs the damage to the gut and reinoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria.
Dealing with Infections
There are several infections, including the Epstein-Barr virus and herpes simplex virus that can decrease thyroid functions. Coconut oil and the amino acid L-Lysine can help treat these infections naturally.
Heavy Metal Testing
There are a number of ways you can be exposed to heavy metals, including fish consumption, amalgams and the environment. Doing a DMPS chelation challenge test and an MTHFR genetic test can determine the amount of heavy metals in the body.
Supplementation for Immune Support
A number of supplements can help strengthen and support the immune system including vitamin D, glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin D is an immune boosting vitamin that naturally increases immunity. Omega-3 fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory to help reduce inflammation in the body. Finally, glutathione is a power antioxidant that helps detoxify the body and reduce systemic inflammation.