Have you noticed that many people you know have been diagnosed as having a low functioning thyroid, or hypothyroidism? And have you also noticed that they all have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease?
The conventional approach is to prescribe thyroid hormone medication, and this has become so common, that no one really thinks twice about it. However, taking the medication does nothing to address the Hashimoto’s and what might be causing that. This is very familiar to me, because 14 years ago when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I made it my mission to go beyond taking medication, to find the cause and thencure the disease. And as many of you know, within 1 year, my Hashimoto’s was gone.
In the last decade, I have become additionally concerned because this problem seems to be affecting our children now, too. More and more of my patients are bringing their kids in to see me because they have recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I believe we are experiencing a startling increase in the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s in all age groups, so I am dedicating this month’s newsletter to this topic. I am also sharing this with you because my patients and staff asked me to write about it this month!
What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
This is a disease where the thyroid gland tissue becomes inflamed and damaged (thus thyroiditis) because the immune system is creating damaging antibodies that are attacking the gland. Think of it like you are having an allergy to yourself, thus the word autoimmune. For a long time, the thyroid gland itself might function just fine, making its hormones despite the inflammation. But eventually, the gland becomes damaged, and the thyroid starts to fail-then comes the diagnosis of hypothyroidism and a prescription for hormone replacement. From a Functional Medicine perspective, you can prevent the need for medication if you fix the autoimmune issue before the thyroid gland becomes irreversibly damaged.
There is another autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid called Grave’s disease, where the antibodies actually stimulate the gland, causing hyperthyroidism. Again, in Functional Medicine, we approach the treatment for Grave’s the same as with Hashimoto’s.
In order to cure this disease, we first need to look at what causes the problem at the root. Here are the 3 most common causes of Hashimoto’s:
- The thyroid gland gets damaged from toxins such as mercury from fish and silver fillings, and from pesticides in food and on your lawn. The thyroid is very sensitive to these toxins and absorbs them very easily, causing an immune attack on the gland. To treat this, you must detoxify your body and your environment. See our free online program Do It With Us: Supporting Your Liver to learn how. Or pick up a copy of my book, The Immune System Recovery Plan.
- Gluten triggers an immune reaction that produces antibodies that cross react and target your thyroid gland. There are many studies looking at the association between gluten and Hashimoto’s. Gluten also damages the gut lining and can cause malabsorption of essential nutrients, like selenium, needed to protect the thyroid gland from damage. To treat this easily, remove gluten from your diet. For help, see our free online program program Do It With Us: Using Food as Medicine.
- Due to poor digestive health, the immune system becomes dysfunctional. 70% of the immune system is in the intestinal lining and an overgrowth of harmful microbes like yeast, bad bacteria and parasites can cause the immune system to ‘misfire’. It then makes a mistake and damages tissues at distant locations in the body, such as the thyroid. There is also an important relationship between stress and microbial overgrowth. Fixing the immune system by healing the gut is an important part of the program. To learn more, see our free online program Do It With Us: Healing Your Gut.
In my practice and in my book, The Immune System Recovery Plan, we work through these steps to cure the Hashimoto’s and all autoimmune diseases. I know it can be done because I did it for myself. Today I feel better than ever and am committed to sharing this treatment program with as many people as possible. Hashimoto’s and Grave’s Disease are both indeed, curable.