• Inappropriate use of thyroid medications.
• Presence of other autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or multiple sclerosis.
• Chronic stress.
The major risk factors are chronic stress, gluten intolerance or celiac disease, insulin resistance, vitamin D deficiency, leaky gut and compromised detoxifica- tion. All of these risk factors create a vi- cious cycle of continually increasing stress on the body. Chronic and prolonged stress then increases damage to the adrenals, gut, liver and pituitary as well as com- promises blood sugar, nutrient absorption and immunity. The cycle continues until the immune system spirals out of control creating chronic inflammation and an overactive immune system, the perfect storm leading to Hashimoto’s.
A leaky gut is not just a source of inflammation, it is a cog in a dangerous cycle that spirals out of control. The cycle starts with a disruption in the gut lining from food intolerances, alcohol, stress, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, can- dida overgrowth, or fatty acid deficiency. This leads to malabsorption of nutrients and undigested food particles directly entering the bloodstream which creates an immune response. The immune response creates immune complexes that settle in the gut lining and create inflammation. This inflammation continues to damage the gut lining which leads to food allergies/intoler- ances, more disruption in the lining, more malabsorption, more inflammation and more leaky gut.
Gut health is very important for im-
mune and thyroid health. Over 70% of your immune system is in the gut, and 20% of circulating T4 is converted to T3 by an enzyme in your gastrointestinal tract. If the gut lining is compromised your immunity
weakens and your production of active thyroid hormone decreases.
An underlying gluten intolerance may be the most damaging risk factor. Thyroid tissue and the gluten molecule have a sim- ilar protein structure. If the body mounts an attack on gluten, it will also inadver- tently attack thyroid tissue. It is a trifecta of autoimmune risk, a compromised gut, an overactive immune system, and a diet high in gluten. Your body attacks gluten while also mistakenly attacking healthy thyroid tissue. This is the very definition of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. In fact, Hashimo- to’s is always associated with gluten sensi- tivity. If you suspect Hashimoto’s, already have an autoimmune condition, or suffer from a compromised immune system you should completely avoid gluten to protect your thyroid.
The Varied Symptoms Many things can increase your risk of
Hashimoto’s. It is also common to have many symptoms, including:
• Fatigue • Excessive sleep • Depression • Poor concentration and memory • Weight gain • Dry and brittle hair and nails • Thinning eyebrows • Muscle and joint pain • Morning headaches • Tendonitis • Puffy eyes and face • Cold hands and feet • Full sensation in neck • Raspy, hoarse voice • Heart palpitations • Insomnia
• Shortness of breath • Low sex drive • Infertility, heavy periods and PMS • High cholesterol • High blood pressure • Insulin resistance • Worsening allergies
• Chronic infections, including yeast and sinus infections
• Slow wound healing • Heartburn and difficulty swallowing • Indigestion, nausea, gas and bloating
• Constipation and other digestive issues
Diagnosing Hashimoto’s The most common diagnostic test for
thyroid dysfunction is testing levels of thy- roid stimulating hormone (TSH). However, to confirm Hashimoto’s it is important to test for thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO Ab) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TGB Ab). A full Thyroid Panel which includes Total T4, Free T4 Index, Free T4, Free T3, T3 Uptake, Reverse T3 and Thyroid Antibodies will be beneficial to determine the source of dysfunction and the degree of damage. If you are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, you have both conventional and alternative treatments to consider.
Treatment Options Conventional treatment for Hashi-
moto’s is to monitor thyroid hormone levels, adjust medications accordingly, and prescribe more medications to suppress any symptoms. This could include thyroid hormone as well as Prozac for depression, or medications to slow heart rate or adre- nal function. Treatment may even lead to partial or complete removal of the thyroid and a lifetime of hormone replacement therapy. The concern with conventional treatment, however, is that it does not ad- dress the underlying issue, an overactive
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