Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease is a complex autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells of the thyroid gland.
It affects up to 10 percent of the US population with its prevalence increasing with age.
Hashimoto’s, which is the name of the Japanese physician – Hakaru Hashimoto, who discovered it eventually results in inadequate thyroid hormone production, known as hypothyroidism.
Hashimoto’s disease affects more women than men at a ratio of 10:1 and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in developed countries.
Hormonal disturbances, especially estrogen dominance, are correlated with the incidence of Hashimoto’s disease, since its peak effects are seen around puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
In Hashimoto’s, 3 types of self-reactive antibodies can be present in the circulation:
• Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Ab)
• Thyroglobulin antibodies (TG-Ab)
• TSH receptor-blocking antibodies (TSB-Ab)
All antibodies attack specific parts, or interfere with specific physiological functions of the thyroid, disrupting its normal function.
Antibody count is an indicator of autoimmune activity; more antibodies correlate with stronger autoimmunity, which correlates with more thyroid damage and thyroid inflammation.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the neck, in front of the pharynx and trachea.
It is a highly vascular gland that weighs about 25 g and is surrounded by a fibrous capsule.
It consists of two cone-shaped lobes that are joined by a thin band of tissue, called isthmus, lying in front of the trachea.
The thyroid lobes consist of multiple small narrow cavities named thyroid follicles that contain a protein called thyroglobulin or colloid .
Thyroglobulin contains the amino acid L-Tyrosine, which is a building block of thyroid hormones as well as catecholamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine .
Thyroglobulin acts as a reservoir for materials used in the production of thyroid hormones, including the storage of iodine.
The primary functions of the thyroid gland include the production and secretion of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3), and the metabolic regulation of calcium and iodine.
Thyroid hormone production is about 90% of the inactive thyroxine (T4) and 10% of the biologically active triiodothyronine (T3).
The secretion of T3 and T4 starts at the 3rd month of fetal life and substantially increases through childhood reaching peak levels at puberty.
In women, it also increases during the reproductive years, especially during pregnancy. Otherwise, it remains fairly constant throughout life.
Thyroid hormones are essential for normal growth and development, especially of the skeleton and nervous system.
All organs and systems are influenced by their action.
Thyroid hormones are potent regulators of human metabolism and thermogenesis (body heat production) .
Hypothyroid people struggle with their weight and body composition.
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, primarily through their action on the brain, white fat tissue, brown fat tissue, skeletal muscles, liver, and pancreas.
They enter the cell nucleus and regulate gene expression.
They also enhance the effects of other groups of hormones, such as adrenal stress hormones (something called thyroid-adrenergic interaction) .
Their release into the blood is stimulated by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secreted and produced by the anterior pituitary gland .
Inadequate supply of thyroid hormones, either endogenously or exogenously, leads to increased production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by the pituitary and elevated serum TSH .
The secretion of TSH is stimulated by the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) from the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain the connects the nervous system with the endocrine system.
The secretion of TRH is stimulated by exposure to cold, exercise, stress, malnutrition, low plasma glucose levels (hypoglycemia), and sleep .
TSH secretion mainly depends on plasma levels of T3 and T4, because it is these hormones that control the sensitivity of the anterior pituitary to TRH.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Symptoms
In the initial stages of the disease, Hashimoto’s patients may experience both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid symptoms. How?
As the thyroid cells get progressively destroyed, stored hormones are released into the circulation, causing abnormally high plasma levels of thyroid hormones, known as thyrotoxicosis or Hashitoxicosis.
Hypothyroid symptoms include:
- Cold intolerance
- Fluid retention
- Elevated liver enzymes
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Poor memory
- Slow heart rate
- Loss of the outer 3rd of eyebrows
- Decreased libido
- Weight gain
- Cold hands and feet
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Macroglossia (abnormal enlargement of the tongue)
- Slow movements and thoughts
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Muscle cramps
Hyperthyroid symptoms include:
- Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
- Mood swings
- Weight Loss
- Muscle wasting
- Facial flushing
- Menstrual changes (amenorrhea)
- Bulging eyes
- Sensitivity to heat
- Swollen thyroid (goiter)
- Increased blood pressure
- Irregular and fast heart rate (palpitations)
- Twitching or trembling.
Structural Changes in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
During Hashimoto’s, specific changes happening on the chemical level alter the structural make-up of the gland.
The destruction of thyroid cells stimulates a pooling of white blood cells, causing scarring of the thyroid tissue.
As a compensating response, the thyroid cells become slightly bigger, while thyroglobulin – the reservoir of thyroid hormones and raw materials needed for hormone production, gets considerably shrunken.
Hashimoto’s Disease Diagnosis
Blood tests and thyroid ultrasounds are the primary tests used to diagnose Hashimoto’s disease.
Laboratory tests check thyroid function (TSH, T3, T4, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3) and autoimmune thyroid markers (TPOAb, TGAb, TSBAb).
Ultrasound tests are used to assess the morphology of the thyroid gland and the lymph nodes of the neck.
The blood panel of a person with untreated Hashimoto’s disease would show elevated TSH, low levels of T3 and T4, and the presence of thyroid antibodies.
This is the result of a hormonal cascade:
1) The body detects low levels of circulating thyroid hormones.
2) The body increases thyroid stimulation via TSH coming from the pituitary gland.
3) The thyroid is unable to respond, leading to low levels of circulating T4 and T3.
In ultrasound tests, thyroid patients showcase distinct morphological alterations in their thyroid gland.
Conventional Treatment for Hashimoto’s Disease
The conventional treatment for Hashimoto’s disease includes thyroid hormone replacement.
Patients get typically prescribed synthetically-manufactured thyroid hormones, primarily T4 (thyroxine), in the recommended dose of 1.6 to 1.8 mcg / kg per day.
T4 has 10-15% the biological activity of T3, in which it is primarily metabolized on 5 sites of the body: 1) Liver 2) Kidneys 3) Muscles 4) Intestines 5) Brain.
The conversion of T4 to T3 is mainly facilitated by the deiodinase family of enzymes in the liver.
Deiodinase enzymes are peroxidase enzymes that partake in the activation or inactivation of thyroid hormones, by removing an iodine molecule.
People who, for whatever reason, have inadequate levels of these enzymes (i.e. malfunctioning liver), may continue to experience the same if not worse hypothyroid symptoms after T4 administration.
Attempting to address an autoimmune issue by taking exogenous hormones, without first addressing the autoimmunity part, is not effective or smart.
While at the beginning medication may make the patient feel better, it does not address the underlying cause, which is a dysregulated, erratic, aggressive immune system.
Whether an individual should start supplementing with exogenous thyroid hormones depends on his / her blood test results and symptoms.
In conventional medicine, thyroid hormone administration is lifelong, obligating the patient to continuous medical doctor visits, lab monitoring, and daily medication.
The dose may also increase over time as more of the thyroid tissue gets progressively destroyed.
When the patient starts receiving thyroid medication, a lab test is usually performed 4 to 8 weeks later, as well as after any dose adjustments.
Once the dosage is stabilized, the person should take a lab test every 6 to 8 months, or earlier, depending on the symptoms.
5 Steps to Put Hashimoto’s in Remission
Step 1. Minimize Inflammation
Inflammation is present in 99% of chronic diseases, including autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s disease.
Inflammation manifests itself very differently in each organ of the body, which is why it may not be so obvious that skin conditions like eczema and acne may have the same underlying cause as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection or injury.
Thus, inflammation should not be mistaken as an enemy, but rather as an indicator that something inside the body is causing trouble.
In order to effectively reduce inflammation, Hashimoto’s patients must focus on these key factors:
1) Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Processed foods almost always contain added sugar, oxidized / hydrogenated fats and oils, and synthetic chemicals.
These substances are put there to augment the taste of these foods and increase their shelf life.
Even though they are cheap and hyper-palatable, these foods wreak havoc on the body’s biochemistry, making it to work extra hard to counterbalance their deleterious effects every time you ingest them.
On top of that, there have been multiple legal cases where food companies have lied on what’s actually in their products.
This unpredictability on what’s actually inside a commercial product makes the consumption of processed foods a big risk for Hashimoto’s patients who follow an anti-inflammatory, autoimmune-friendly protocol.
Besides that, there is always the insidious danger of cross-contamination, as happens with gluten or casein found in products they were not supposed to.
Of course, the word ‘processed foods’ is not limited to what you find in the supermarket.
Devitalized, overcooked home meals, and foods that have been heated / destroyed by microwave devices should also be considered ‘processed’.
A person dealing with Hashimoto’s should eat as close to nature as possible and that means no packaged or canned foods, except for frozen whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
It’s worth noting here that inflammatory foods should also be considered all the ‘natural’ foods that contain substances that excite / stimulate the immune system in a negative way (i.e. antigenic proteins, anti-nutrients, etc).
Such foods are dairy (especially cow dairy), eggs, wheat, soy, corn, shellfish and nuts.
If you suspect that a particular food group irritates you, omit it completely from your diet for 4 – 20 days.
As a more extreme precaution, hop on an elimination diet for a few days.
Then reintroduce and carefully monitor your body’s reactions to each food.
In contrast to other diets that simply exclude common problematic foods, an elimination diet is undertaken to determine an individual’s specific food intolerances.
When we eat foods our bodies are sensitive to on a daily basis, it becomes difficult to connect the foods with the symptoms we are experiencing.
For example, people who have a dairy sensitivity but continue to eat dairy multiple times per day, may feel tired, have joint pain, and suffer congestion, bloating, and acid reflux daily, but are unable to pinpoint dairy as triggering their symptoms.
This is because every time we eat an antigenic food, our body’s ability to protect itself from it becomes ineffective, and the reactions become less specific and more chronic.
If the food continues to be eaten, our body starts to become sensitive to more and more things.
Once the irritating food is eliminated for a few days to a few weeks, the person will typically feel better and begin to experience less bloating and acid reflux, as well as normal bowel movements, better mood and increased energy.
When the person is re-exposed to that food, the body will produce a stronger, more specific reaction, allowing recognition of which food is problematic.
Gastrointestinal symptoms that may occur after exposure to an irritating food include diarrhea, bloating, acid reflux, burning, gas, and cramping.
Respiratory, muscular, and skin symptoms may be seen as well.
Common Food Sensitivity Symptoms
|Respiratory||Post-nasal dip, nasal congestion, cough, asthma symptoms|
|Gastrointestinal||Constipation, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, nausea, gas, acid reflux, burning, burping|
|Cardiovascular||Increased pulse, palpitations|
|Skin||Acne, eczema, itchiness|
|Muscular||Joint aches, pain, swelling, tingling, numbness|
|Mental||Headache, dizziness, brain fog, anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia|
Whether you decide to follow an elimination diet or not, your abstinence from any suspect food should last at least 4 days, in order for your bowel to be completely clean of that food, to accurately pinpoint if it affects you negatively or not.
Withdrawal symptoms typically occur within the first day, which is a big giveaway that this particular food doesn’t ‘agree’ with you.
Generally, the No 1. symptom of an irritating food is abrupt changes in your state of well-being.
That means that you are fine one minute, sick a few hours later, then well back again in a day or two.
On the contrary, beneficial, anti-inflammatory foods make you feel well and relaxed, reduce your autoimmune biomarkers, and support your hormonal and metabolic health.
2) Kill Chronic Infections
Chronic infecitons – whether bacterial, viral, or fungal, tear down your body’s resistance, minimizing its ability to complete other important tasks, such as healing and regeneration.
Fungi and bacteria are naturally found on all mucosal surfaces of the human body, but many times the balance between the beneficial and non-beneficial varieties goes off balance.
One of the most common types of chronic infection is dysbiosis, which refers to an imbalance of the microbial populations that reside in your gut (or other parts of your body).
In dysbiosis, pathogenic bacteria outnumber the friendly bacteria (which support our immune system) that reside in our gut, and ferment ingested macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbs), producing toxic metabolic by-products (such as lipopolysaccharides), that lead to nutrient deficiencies and toxin overburden.
Diets rich in sugar, coffee, chocolate, and artificial sweeteners promote the proliferation of these gram-negative pathogenic bacteria.
Additionally, in today’s world, due to the overconsumption of processed carbohydrates and wrong food combinations, fungus and yeast overgrowths have become a silent pandemic, residing in most people’s guts and creating health issues of all kinds, especially skin, digestive, and mental conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, IBS, malabsorption, depression, and anxiety.
Most people are aware of the infamous Candida albicans.
However, other types of fungus, such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, Saccharomyces, Cladosporium, Clavispora, Cyberlindnera, Debaryomyces, Galactomyces, Malassezia, Pichia, Rhodotorula also like to thrive in the dark and moist human intestine (mycobiota).
The primary site where fungi and yeasts proliferate in the human body is surprisingly the gut – not the lungs, which explains the deleterious effects of fungal and yeast overgrowths on the human microbiome.
Most people ignore the fact that molds and yeasts are found in many foods and drinks we consume on a daily basis (i.e. cheese, mushrooms, beer, wine, etc).
In small amounts, mold toxins can make a person feel sluggish, depressed, lethargic, and irritable.
In high amounts, mold toxins can lead to serious health problems, such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, chronic kidney disease (CKD), brain damage, and significantly increase your chances of developing cancer.
If you have molds inside your body, which you do, if you suffer from itching after carb-rich meals, ringworm, jock itch, oral or vaginal thrush, redness and swelling of the vulva, then you should avoid:
- All types of bread (including sourdough)
- All grains
- Most starchy vegetables (except sweet potatoes on occasion)
- Cakes and pastries
- Alcoholic drinks
- Sauces and dressings that contain sugar
- Most dried fruit
- All types of chocolate
- All dairy (even butter)
- All sweeteners (except from stevia and a teaspoon or two of raw, local honey).
You should also strive to consume as many organic foods as possible, since mold contamination of animal feeds can lead to further exposure.
Mold toxins (as well as veterinary drug residues, antibiotics and hormones) pass into dairy produce, meat, eggs, bacon and poultry.
The average person, and especially chronically-sick individuals, suffer from mild to severe chronic, latent infections, which is why frequent anti-parasitic cleanses are particularly beneficial for long-term health and longevity.
A proper anti-parasitic protocol should include both antifungal herbs (like oregano, olive’s leaf, Pau d’Arco, jojoba, etc), and antibacterial herbs, like black walnut, neem, wormwood, diatomaceous earth, etc.
Water fasting for at least 12 hours per day is also useful as it promotes autophagy, gives the GI system a break and improves the composition of the microflora.
Liberal consumption of coconut oil, which is a natural antimicrobial, can prove useful as well.
Coconut products have been shown to exert strong anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties, and many people consider them a good plant-based alternative to dairy .
A good anti-fungal formula that contains many different types of natural anti-fungals that work synergistically with each other is Mycozil.
3) Intermittent Fasting
In studies conducted in mice, it has been shown that fasting substantially increases the rate of stem cell regeneration.
Fasting also promotes myelination and myelin sheath regeneration in the brain, an organ that suffers greatly during Hashimoto’s disease .
Typically, when a person fasts, he / she tends to consume fewer calories during the day.
In animal studies, caloric restriction has been found to upregulate immune function and increase lifespan .
By not ingesting any food, the body is less busy with digestion (which is a very energetically-demanding process), and can focus its efforts on quenching inflammation.
Besides, taken into consideration today’s world levels of toxicity, every time we eat something, there is a big chance of exposure to one or many types of toxins (agrochemicals, antibiotic and hormone residues, molds and yeasts, etc).
This risk is minimized through periodic fasting for 10-23 hours every day.
A Hashimoto’s patient, as well any person battling with chronic disease, may benefit greatly by compressing its daily eating window to 5 – 6 hours / day.
Nonetheless, fasting and chronic disease is a controversial issue.
Some alternative healthcare professionals and medical doctors claim that people with Hashimoto’s should not fast, as fasting impacts thyroid function and metabolism.
During prolonged fasting, thyroid hormones can drop, causing a reduction in circulating T3 and an increase in the biologically inactive reverse T3 (rT3).
Fasting is nature’s strongest weapon against inflammation.
4) Minimize Stress
Stress is considered any physical, mental, or emotional factor that creates bodily or mental tension.
It can be external (environmental extremes, social pressure, bullying, etc.) or internal (infection, food poisoning, bowel toxicity, etc.).
Stress usually stimulates the sympathetic or “fight or flight” branch of the autonomic nervous system.
This activation is beneficial when we are in immediate danger, but detrimental when it remains “on” for prolonged periods.
History has shown that chronic stress destroys your health, even if your diet and sleep are great.
Chronic stress suppresses your immune and endocrine system, reduces your insulin sensitivity, destabilizes your blood sugar levels, wrecks your mental health, and “breaks” your brain, reducing the rate of neurogenesis (regeneration of nerve cells).
Chronic stress is correlated with most, if not all, chronic diseases.
Studies show clearly that people previously diagnosed with stress-related disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are at a higher risk of getting diagnosed with an autoimmune condition .
Cohort studies have also found that a high proportion (up to 80%) of autoimmune patients reported uncommon emotional stress before the onset of autoimmune disease.
Considering that what is “stressful” depends greatly on the individual, limiting stress can often be a challenging task from person to person.
There are, however, simple things that we can follow in our everyday life to help us manage stress, especially chronic stress, which contributes to chronic disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis:
1. Getting Adequate, Quality Sleep
It is the simplest, most vital thing for our body to reset our HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), our primary stress response system, helping us improve our health.
Sleep disturbances have been shown to be major contributors to HPA axis dysfunction .
Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is associated with a 24hour increase of ACTH and cortisol secretion (major stress hormones), consistent with a disorder of central nervous system (CNS) hyperarousal .
Put simply, sleep is significantly more important than diet when it comes to reversing any disease, chronic or acute.
The most effective tips to obtain deep, restful sleep are:
- Consistency. Monitor what time you wake up and what time you go to bed. Ideally, you want to follow the same pattern every day, which should be aligned with your circadian biology. Best time to go to sleep is before 10:00 p.m. and best time to wake up is between 8-9 a.m., as this is when your cortisol levels are naturally the highest during the day.
- Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, laptops, and smartphones, from the bedroom. Their EMF’s – not just you staring at their screen – interfere with the production of melatonin by the pineal gland, which has a sedative effect and prepares the body for rest and repair.
- Wear blue-light-blocking glasses 2 hours prior to bedtime and/or use a red filter for your mobile and laptop screen. Concerning glasses, clear lenses block a maximum of 40% of blue light; yellow lenses block a maximum of 75% of blue light; and red lenses block up to 100% of blue, green, and violet light.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, sugar (i.e., honey, fruit juice, candy), and alcohol at least 2,5 hours before bedtime. Ideally, caffeine should be avoided altogether, if you have Hashimoto’s.
- Get some exercise during the day. Even 30 minutes of slow- walking can help.
- Invest in a comfortable, high-quality mattress that molds to the natural curves of your body and supports your back, shoulder and hips. We recommend Puffy or Ghostbed as their mattresses are designed for all body types and sleeping positions, provide both durability, support and pressure relief, and are high-quality, lasting strong for many years down the road.
- Read an interesting book 20-30 minutes before bedtime.
- Avoid mentally stimulating talk before bed. You want your central nervous system (CNS) and brain to be as relaxed as possible.
- Avoid the ingestion of large amounts of water before bedtime, to avoid nocturia (night-time urination).
2. Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition will make you more resilient to any type of stress- physical, emotional, or mental.
Your ideal diet depends on your individual metabolic and genetic characteristics.
It’s not smart to suggest a dietary protocol full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to someone with similar genetics to an Eskimo (parasympathetic dominant or fast oxidizer who thrives on fat and protein), the same way as to suggest a diet full of red meat, fatty fish, and organic, raw dairy to someone with the genetics of an American Indian (sympathetic dominant or slow oxidizer who thrives on simple sugars and starches).
You need to determine your metabolic type and adjust your eating practices accordingly.
In either case, the foods you consume should be organic, nutrient-dense, cooked and prepared from scratch.
3. Adequate Hydration
The human body is about 60-65% water.
This percentage changes depending on the tissue/organ: the brain and heart are 73% water, the lungs are 83% water, the muscles and kidneys are 79% water, the bones are 31% water, and the skin is 64% water .
Water dilutes and removes toxins from the body, transports nutrients to cells, makes the blood thinner and less sticky/viscous, and provides moisture to all epithelial cavities (mouth, ear, throat, rectum, vagina, etc).
We lose water through breath, perspiration, urination, and bowel movements.
For our body to function properly, we need to replenish that water loss through drinking pure, filtered water, fresh juices (preferably cold-pressed), and water-rich foods (fruits are 74 – 95% water).
As a general rule, the amount of water you should drink depends on your sex, weight and levels of physical activity.
Official guidelines propose that males should consume about 3.7 liters of fluids per day, while women 2.7 liters of fluids per day.
There are countless benefits to exercise, such as:
- Cardiovascular improvements
- Weight control and lessened inflammation (excess adipose tissue secretes inflammatory molecules)
- Improved lipid metabolism and blood biomarkers (HDL, LDL, triglycerides)
- Immune system upregulation
- Mental health (exercise is a powerful anti-depressant)
- Better oxygen delivery to tissues (which equates to better mitochondrial health and more intracellular ATP)
- Increased energy and improved sense of well-being
- Deeper, more restorative sleep
- Lymphatic drainage (lymph requires mechanical stimulation to move through the lymph nodes and collect cellular debris and toxins. Lymph vessels do not contain valves like the venous system)
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, whether aerobic or anaerobic, three times per week.
If you are in such poor health that you can’t exercise, simply walking can also be helpful.
Just make sure to not sit for prolonged periods, as lack of physical activity doesn’t allow for proper blood and lymph circulation in between cells and tissues.
Lymph is a watery-clear fluid with the same composition as the interstitial fluid.
It circulates throughout the body and collects toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials from cells.
It is an integral part of the detoxification system of the body and supports your immune system in keeping you disease-free.
The human body is designed and needs daily movement to function properly and remain healthy.
Many people obsessed with the paleolithic/ancestral concept of nutrition forget that our ancestors were extremely healthy not only because they consumed pure, unadulterated foods, but also because they were extremely active.
5. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy can be used to treat any type of stress – physical, mental, emotional – in any circumstance.
It constitutes an effective and beneficial treatment to alleviate feelings of tension, overwhelm and worry by promoting relaxation, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering the heart rate and promoting the release of feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.
Massage therapy also reduces stress by relaxing muscles and soft tissues in the body, which increases body temperature and blood circulation.
The increase in temperature is stimulated by friction against the skin.
When body temperature is increased, muscles and other soft tissues relax and loosen.
Relaxed soft tissues allow tightness to decrease.
Additionally, increased circulation delivers more blood and oxygen to the muscles, removing waste products and decreasing inflammation.
Hashimoto’s patients often report cold hands and feet, which result from poor circulation, and daily massages can help to counteract that.
Massage also helps decrease stress by releasing endorphins, opioid-like chemicals that are produced by the body and calm the peripheral nervous system.
The peripheral nervous system comprises one-half of our body’s nervous system. Its main function includes the communication relay between the brain and the extremities.
Massage stimulates feel-good hormones and parasympathetic neurotransmitters into the peripheral nervous system allowing the message of calmness and relaxation to be relayed.
When endorphins are released, stress-related hormones are decreased, releasing tension and stress.
Other benefits of massage therapy include:
- Pain relief
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Increased feeling of content and well being
Enjoying a 15 – 20 minute chair massage session once or twice a day can substantially reduce anxiety and stress, relieve musculoskeletal pain, improve muscle recovery, stimulate the lymphatic system, decrease stiff-neck problems, increase joint mobility and flexibility, promote better sleep, simulate chiropractic maneuvers for sciatica and improve blood circulation.
6. Focus on your Priorities
Utilize your time properly, set aside activities and tasks that are not that important, and focus on the basic pillars of health: good food, quality sleep, proper hydration, relaxation, and adequate movement.
Each day has only 24 hours, which means that you can’t afford to not pay attention to your priorities and what is truly good for your health and long-term prosperity.
7. Seek Emotional Support
Identify the insidious sources of stress in your life and seek the help of a therapist to help you manage them.
A good website that offers online therapy is online-therapy.com.
Oftentimes, the importance we place on certain things is much higher than it should, leading to unnecessary mental distress and psychological torture.
8. Laugh More
Do things that you enjoy and make you happy.
Laughter has many psychological and physiological benefits.
It boosts endorphin levels- the body’s “bliss” neurochemicals and natural painkillers.
It improves depression, reduces anxiety and stress, boosts the immune system, and reduces stress hormone levels in the body (adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol).
Laughing can be a simple and effective way to improve your state of health and well-being .
Step 2. Increase Thyroid Hormone Production
After you have quenched the “fire” of inflammation, it’s time to nourish all your organs and glands partaking in thyroid homeostasis (pituitary gland, thyroid, liver, kidneys, muscles, GI system).
These organs, glands, and tissues will now be much more receptive to the influx of nutrients you are going to provide for them, through a properly designed nutrition protocol.
Increase HCL Levels
The thyroid needs raw materials to perform its basic functions and produce adequate levels of hormones.
Typically, Hashimoto’s patients have compromised digestion, which prevents them from extracting 100% of the nutrients found in the food they ingest.
A good way to increase nutrient absorption is by increasing the production of hydrochloric acid (HCL).
Adequate levels of hydrochloric acid are necessary for the digestive pre-enzymes, such as pepsinogen (who digests proteins) to be converted into their active, food-digesting form (pepsin).
Additionally, increased stomach acidity also ensures protection from various pathogens entered through the mouth.
Best foods and supplements to increase HCL include:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is rich in prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, B vitamins, polyphenols and organic acids (malic acid, citric acid, acetic acid, etc.).
ACV will supply the gut with substrates, like pectin, that beneficial bacteria love to eat and thrive on.
It will also decrease stomach pH (making it more acidic) and upregulate liver function, supporting the body’s digestive and detoxification processes, as well as digestion and absorption of nutrients.
ACV is a powerful digestive aid and one of the best weapons in your arsenal against dysbiosis and gut inflammation.
For people that can’t tolerate ACV’s potent flavor and acidity, ACV pills are also available.
Lemon’s acidity is your best friend when it comes to improving digestion.
In culinary arts, lemon is used as a meat and poultry tenderizer, as it can break down collagen fibers, “pre-digesting” the meat.
Also, many organic, bio-degradable, house cleaning products contain lemon juice in their ingredients, due to its unique anti-microbial and cleaning effects.
Lemon juice is rich in potassium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and polyphenols that jump-start detoxification inside the body- exactly what a toxic Hashimoto’s patient needs.
It also supports collagen production, hydrates the body and skin, and alkalizes the blood.
Ginger belongs in the same family as the powerful turmeric (curcumin), and has been used for millennia in China and India for its gastrointestinal benefits.
It is a powerful detoxifier that stimulates gastric secretions, improves blood circulation, detoxifies the liver, and supports the immune system.
It is also very soothing on the gastrointestinal mucosa, which in most autoimmune patients is usually inflamed and irritated.
Individuals who experience bloating, nausea, or indigestion after a meal, find great relief by eating a small piece of raw ginger.
Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride)
Have you ever wondered why hospitals give patients saline solutions?
Sodium is the most common extracellular cation of the body and absolutely essential for muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses.
The human body is basically a small, walking ocean, with salt concentrations identical to those found in seawater.
The mean body content of sodium in the adult male is 92 gr., half of which (46 gr.) is located in the extracellular fluid (ECF), 11 gr. is found in the intracellular fluid, and 35 gr. is found in the skeleton.
Sodium chloride (NaCl) combats dehydration, improves blood circulation, supports the kidneys and adrenals, and “feeds” the joints.
It also provides stomach cells with the vital chloride group, which is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid.
Salt restriction usually impairs digestion, absorption and elimination, leading to indigestion, bloating and constipation.
Also, most Hashimoto’s patients suffer from one form or another of adrenal exhaustion/insufficiency, which makes them to not be able to hold adequate amounts of sodium in their body.
This can cause hypotension, fatigue, and fainting episodes.
For that reason, liberal use of salt, preferably Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, is recommended for most hypothyroid individuals.
Betaine HCL & Pepsin
The combination of Betaine HCL with the proteolytic enzyme Pepsin can assist Hashimoto’spatients with protein digestion (which most often is compromised), improving their nutritional status, overall energy, and well-being.
Efficient protein digestion is extremely important, since the building blocks of protein – amino acids – are necessary for thyroid hormone production and synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Besides, partially digested/undigested proteins in the G.I tract provide nourishment to the Proteus species of gram-negative bacteria, which like to attach to the intestinal lining.
When these bacteria feast on undigested protein, they produce fermentation by-products that damage enterocytes (the cells that line the intestinal tract).
This causes inflammation and suppresses the immune system.
Fructose and undigested meat is the most common substrate for them.
Meat and protein fermentation/putrefaction produces highly toxic sulfate gases, which are very damaging to the intestinal wall, and have a distinct rotten-egg smell when released through the anus.
These noxious gases can be reabsorbed by the colon and re-enter the circulation, where they systemically exert their damaging effects throughout the body (autotoxemia).
The presence of lipopolysaccharides (LPS), a type of endotoxin, in the outer-membrane of Proteus bacteria underlies their inflammatory nature.
LPS are large, antigenic molecules comprised of a lipid and a polysaccharide.
They are stored within the bacterial cell wall and released when the bacteria die or replicate, causing an inflammatory, immune response.
Betaine HCL and Pepsin are taken after a high-protein meal, starting with one capsule and increasing the dose until symptoms of hyper-acidity become evident (burning sensation, burping, nausea, vomiting).
The optimal dose is one capsule before these symptoms of hyperchlorhydria (too much HCL) manifest.
Some people are sensitive to pepsin and develop negative reactions, such as stomach cramps, abdominal bloating, cough, gas, headache, and dizziness.
In this case, a plant-based HCL supplement without pepsin (as pepsin is usually derived from animals), is typically recommended.
HCL Breakthrough is 100% plant-based and contains no pepsin.
After you have taken care of your stomach’s acidity, it’s time to nourish the thyroid with all the building blocks necessary to produce thyroid hormones.
Nutrients For Thyroid Health
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that retard cellular oxidation caused by free radicals.
Antioxidants are also known as “free radical scavengers”.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that lack an electron in their outside orbit, and attack cellular components, such as cellular membranes and proteins, in order to obtain it, creating oxidative stress.
They are produced by the body in response to stress, or as part of normal oxygen metabolism (i.e., breathing).
The mechanism of action of antioxidants includes the donation of an electron to the unstable free-radical, neutralizing it.
Some of the most common dietary antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A), vitamin A (retinol), lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, selenium, and manganese.
There are literally hundreds, or even thousands, of substances that act as antioxidants.
The best types of antioxidants come from plants and differ from animal-sourced antioxidants, such as retinol (pre-formed vitamin A), because they act hormetically.
This means they don’t inhibit free-radicals directly, through donating electrons, but stimulate the immune system to do it, through its own endogenous antioxidant pathways .
Essentially, they are indirect antioxidants.
Polyphenols are plant-pigments, phytochemicals commonly found in food, such as apples, grapes, berries, citrus fruit, melons, plums, spinach, broccoli, tea, cocoa, coffee, and almost all plants with deep color.
Typically, the darker a plant is the higher its polyphenolic content.
The main classes of polyphenols include: phenolic acids, flavonoids, stiblins, phenolic alcohols, and lignans.
All types of polyphenols positively affect the health of your gut.
This type of improvement in intestinal microbial make-up can substantially lower inflammatory markers, and most probably thyroid autoantibodies.
Also, polyphenols impede inflammation through other chemical pathways; they reduce the number of inflammatory cytokines in the blood, and improve circulation to all areas of the body, including the thyroid.
Lowered systemic inflammation improves mitochondrial function, and is associated with more energy, better mood, and a slowing of the aging process.
Zinc is an essential trace element for cell growth and forms part of numerous enzymes in the body.
It’s the most abundant intracellular (inside the cells) trace element.
It’s also an integral part of the enzymes the convert the inactive T4 to the active T3 (deiodinases).
Along with selenium, zinc is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones.
The pool of available zinc in the human body is small and rapidly used, so it has to be replaced daily.
Zinc deficiency prevents the conversion of T4 into T3.
This slows down the metabolism, leading to weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, fatigue, depression, constipation and slowed heartbeat (typical hypothyroid symptoms).
Zinc deficiency has also been associated with increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), higher susceptibility to infections, and reduced ability to detoxify bacterial toxins, such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS).
The best food sources of zinc are seafood, red meat, beef liver, and pumpkin seeds.
Though it seems readily available in common foods, the average intake is rarely sufficient, because its absorption ranges from 40% to a mere 2%, depending on the food it is eaten with, as well the state of the patient’s digestive system.
Fiber, some protein ligands, phytates from grains and vegetables, and certain minerals bind with zinc and decrease its bioavailability .
Intestinal villi damage caused by Celiac disease, malabsorption syndrome, or IBD may also inhibit zinc absorption.
In such cases, zinc supplementation is necessary, with doses ranging from 30 to 50 mg of zinc, preferably in liquid drops, for maximum intestinal absorption.
Zinc antagonizes copper and to an extent iron, so blood values should be regularly monitored to avoid nutrient imbalances.
Iodide from food is converted through the action of hydrogen peroxide into usable iodine.
This oxidation process creates free-radicals that, thankfully, are neutralized by the antioxidant, trace mineral selenium.
Selenium is a necessary building block of thyroid hormone production and a catalyst to the conversion of T4 to T3.
Glutathione peroxidase enzymes are found in the liquid part inside the cells (cytosol), and catalyze the reduction of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to harmless water (H2O) and oxygen (O2).
Studies have shown that selenium supplementation may help Hashimoto’s patients to reduce antibody levels and decrease their dosage of thyroid medication.
It may also provide other beneficial effects on mood and well-being.
Selenium is particularly protective for the thyroid and its deficiency has been proposed to be a risk factor for Hashimoto’s.
That’s because when excess iodide comes through the diet, more hydrogen peroxide (which is a free radical) is produced during its conversion to iodine.
This requires more selenium to neutralize the oxidative stress.
An inadequate dietary selenium intake combined with a high iodide intake will create uncontrolled oxidation, damaging thyroid cells, and surrounding tissues.
The subsequent inflammation will provoke the infiltration of lymphocytes or white blood cells for cleaning purposes.
Along with them, antibodies produced by B lymphocytes will also enter the area, in order to mark the damaged cells that need to be eliminated for the “greater good”.
In case more cells and tissues get damaged / destroyed during the process by hydrogen peroxide, then a bigger antibody response will ensue, possibly creating autoimmunity.
As will be mentioned below, iodine intake during Hashimoto’s must be carefully regulated.
However, if there is one micronutrient every Hashimoto’s patient needs to focus on, that is selenium.
Most cases of selenium deficiency are due to inadequate dietary intake or intestinal damage, as happens in Celiac disease or IBD.
Good dietary sources of selenium include: Brazil nuts (the best of all), yellowfin tuna, halibut, sardines, shrimps, egg yolks, organ meats, grass-fed beef, and spinach.
Concerning supplementation, the most bioavailable form is selenomethionine (selenium attached to the amino acid methionine).
The recommended dose ranges from 200-400 mcg per day, and being mainly fat-soluble, selenium should be taken with a fat-containing meal.
It’s a precursor amino acid to thyroid hormones and catecholamines (adrenaline / epinephrine, noradrenaline / norepinephrine, dopamine).
It is also crucial for protein synthesis and the production of melanin, a natural skin pigment that determines hair, eye, and skin color.
Tyrosine is very beneficial if the Hashimoto’s patient also suffers from depression and adrenal exhaustion/insufficiency, since as a building block for the production of adrenal stress hormones, it stimulates sympathetic action.
People with an overactive sympathetic nervous system should not supplement with, or consume foods very rich in tyrosine, since it will push them even further into sympathetic dominance and autonomic imbalance.
Good sources of tyrosine include turkey, salmon, yogurt, winged beans, swiss cheese, almonds, avocados, bananas, sesame seeds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds.
The daily supplemented dose of tyrosine in the form of L-Tyrosine, should not exceed 1.500 mg / day.
L-Tyrosine should be taken on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning (since it improves mood and energy via sympathetic stimulation), 30-45 minutes before a meal.
B12 (Cobalamin family)
They are a group of cobalt-containing compounds that are found in almost all animal-based foods, and are very sensitive to heat.
Vitamin B12 is essential for DNA synthesis, the formation, and maintenance of myelin (a fatty substance that insulates and protects neurons, allowing for faster electrical transmission).
Deficiency in B12 can cause irreversible damage, such as peripheral neuropathy and /or subacute spinal cord degeneration.
It can also lead to anemia, underdevelopment of villi, impaired digestion, and general lack of energy.
B12 is absorbed in the terminal ileum (the last part of the small intestine), with the help of a glycoprotein, called intrinsic factor.
Intrinsic factor is secreted by the parietal cells of the lining of the stomach, joining B12 and moving it through the intestine.
Aside from a low dietary intake, mainly present in vegan diets, B12 deficiency can also be attributed to a lack of intrinsic factor, which is more pronounced in older individuals.
Hypochlorhydria or low HCL levels is also a contributing factor to B12 malabsorption, making Hashimoto’s patients even more susceptible to B12 deficiency.
Best sources of B12 include clams, liver (lamb, sheep, beef), kidney (pork, lamb, beef), red meat, tuna, octopus, mackerel, king crab, sardines herring, mussels, and eggs.
Vegans and people with low stomach acid should supplement with B12- at least initially, in the form of methylcobalamin and/or adenosylcobalamin.
Methylcobalamin and/or adenosylcobalamin are free forms that do not require stomach acid to be absorbed.
Sublingual drops (under the tongue) are the best and most convenient route of supplementation.
Dosage should range from 1-3 mg (1,000-3,000 mcg) every day for ten days, then once a week for 4 weeks, and then once a month for maintenance.
Unlike most other vitamins, B12 is stored in significant amounts by the body, mainly in the liver, until it is needed again.
If an individual stops consuming vitamin B12, the body’s already existing stores will usually take about 3 to 5 years to exhaust.
All cells in the body have an iodine receptor but 70-80% of iodine is found primarily in the thyroid gland.
Iodine is a disinfectant and the primary building block of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
The thyroid gland draws iodine from the circulation through a process known as iodine trapping.
Mild iodine deficiency causes hypothyroidism and severe iodine deficiency creates various ill conditions, such as goiter (abnormally enlarged thyroid) and mental retardation.
Small changes in iodine intake are sufficient to reset the thyroid system, causing fluctuations in TSH values.
Iodine quickens the thyroid gland and speeds up the metabolism, while bringing heat to the body, causing the blood to circulate deeper in tissues.
Poor blood microcirculation is why hypothyroid patients have cold hands and feet.
Endocrinologists strictly advise their patients to not “play” with iodine supplementation, and for a good reason.
A Hashimoto’s patient should be very careful in increasing his/her iodine intake, especially when antibodies are in a high range (aggressive autoimmunity).
Iodine should be the last nutrient to be addressed when correcting thyroid nutrient deficiencies.
Best food sources include seaweed (kelp, wakame, dulse), seafood, such as shrimp, cod, tuna, some dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), iodized salt, and pure cranberry juice.
The best, safest way to increase your iodine intake is by taking an iodine supplement, preferably an unbound, ionic form that is highly-bioavailable, such as nascent iodine.
Vitamin D regulates calcium, phosphorus, and bone homeostasis.
It increases the absorption of calcium in the small intestine and stimulates osteoclast differentiation and calcium reabsorption of bone.
Vitamin D additionally promotes mineralization of the collagen matrix in bones.
In recent years, it has become evident that vitamin D potentially carries many important roles, aside from its classic effects on calcium and bone homeostasis.
Vitamin D modulates the innate and adaptive immune response .
All immune cells in the human body (B cells, T cells and antigen-presenting cells) have Vitamin D receptors and can synthesize the active vitamin D metabolite- calcitriol.
Deficiency in vitamin D is linked with increased autoimmunity and increased susceptibility to infections and diseases.
It’s scientifically known that low levels of vitamin D coincide with suboptimal immune function and increased risk of infection.
One scientific report investigated almost 19,000 subjects between 1988 and 1994.
The conclusions were clear: Individuals with low vitamin D levels (<30 ng/ml) were more likely to suffer from upper respiratory tract infections than those with sufficient levels, even after taking into consideration variables such as season, age, gender, body mass, and race .
Vitamin D has been historically used (unknowingly) to treat infections, such as tuberculosis, before the advent of effective antibiotics.
Tuberculosis patients were sent to sanatoriums where treatment included exposure to sunlight, which was thought to directly kill tuberculosis.
Cod liver oil, a rich source of vitamin D, has also been employed as a treatment for tuberculosis, as well as for general protection from infections .
In humans, vitamin D is obtained through the diet and/or synthesized in the skin, during sun exposure .
Vitamin D is cutaneously produced after exposure to UV-B light, and its synthesis is influenced by latitude, season, use of sunblock, and skin pigmentation.
Melanin absorbs UV-B radiation, inhibiting the synthesis of vitamin D from 7-dihydrocholesterol.
This initial vitamin D compound is inactive and is next hydroxylated in the liver to form 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 (calcifediol).
25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 is also an inactive compound, but is the most reliable measurement of an individual’s vitamin D status.
It is converted in the kidney to the active compound 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D (1,25 D) by 1-α-hydroxylase, an enzyme which is stimulated by parathyroid hormone (PTH).
In addition to its endocrine action, vitamin D acts in a paracrine or autocrine manner.
Some of its recently recognized, non-classical actions include effects upon cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as immunologic effects resulting in an ability to maintain tolerance and promote protective immunity.
As antigen-presenting cells (macrophages and dendritic cells), T cells, and B cells have the necessary machinery to synthesize and respond to 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D, vitamin D may act in a paracrine or autocrine manner in an immune environment.
Immune cells of autoimmune patients are responsive to the ameliorative effects of vitamin D, which explains why vitamin D supplementation usually helps in reducing antibodies.
Due to absorption limits, 2.000 I.U. of Vitamin D in the form of cholecalciferol should be taken 1-3 times per day, preferably in liquid form to maximize absorption.
Step 3. Remove Substances that Block Thyroid Hormone Synthesis
There are several chemicals recognized to interfere with the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis .
Among them, are excess estrogen, halogens, heavy metals, and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) is a protein that binds thyroid hormones in the circulation, not allowing them to exert their effects on cells.
This is another reason why hypothyroidism is prevalent during pregnancy and adolescence, where estrogen and thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) are high.
Apart from this indirect interference with thyroid hormone homeostasis, estrogen has also been shown to influence thyroid cells directly .
All types of estrogen – estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), estrone (E1), are lipophilic hormones.
This means they are found primarily in the fatty tissue of animals.
Pigs, cows, chickens, and virtually all types of factory-farmed animals, contain abnormally high amounts of estrogen in their adipose tissue and glandular secretions (dairy, eggs).
When these estrogenic hormones enter the body, they inhibit thyroid function, causing hypothyroidism.
Effective ways to prevent estrogen dominance and ensure optimal thyroid function is abstinence from any type of conventionally raised/farmed meat and fish, and all soy products (soy milk, tofu, edamame, miso).
Conventional dairy of all types is also something Hashimoto’s patients should strive to avoid, as typically all ruminant animals today are injected with artificial hormones to maximize milk production.
Besides, abundant consumption of cruciferous vegetables, either in their whole form, or as a supplement, is highly recommended, since they carry powerful anti-estrogenic properties .
They consist of fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I), and astatine (At).
All of them antagonize iodine, which is the only halogen the human body needs.
Iodine is integral to the production of thyroid hormones.
Halogens are oxidizing agents (substances that steal electrons from other molecules) and can wreak havoc in the human endocrine system, even if present in small amounts.
They have very high affinity to iodine receptors (higher than iodine itself), blocking its absorption, and causing hypothyroidism.
In the past, fluoride was being used as a drug for the treatment of hyperthyroidism, due to its effectiveness in decreasing thyroid hormone production.
Its use was later replaced by the anti-thyroid drug Propylthiouracil (PTU), which has now been proven to be carcinogenic .
The most common routes of fluoride exposure include tap water, toothpaste, and prescription medications (antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering drugs, antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, antihistamines, antifungals).
Chlorine is a very toxic halogen.
As a gas, it is highly toxic and irritating to the lungs .
It is very water-soluble and can cause serious damage to the upper and lower respiratory tract.
It’s a very versatile chemical substance with many industrial uses, which is why it is so difficult to avoid.
It was also used as a chemical weapon in the first World War.
It is added to public water supplies as a disinfectant, because it effectively kills bacteria and various microorganisms.
It does the same to your intestinal beneficial microbiota, disrupting your immune system, and making you more susceptible to all kinds of diseases.
Since 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, chlorine predisposes people to mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.
The most common routes of chlorine exposure include tap water, pool water, and house cleaning products.
NOTE: Chloride (not chlorine) is necessary by the human body. Chloride is the negatively charged ionic form of chlorine, and partakes in the production of hydrochloric acid (HCL).
In liquid form, bromine is a corrosive compound that can burn the skin.
When inhaled, bromine clogs the bronchioles of the lungs, creates headaches, and irritates the mucosal layer of the mouth and nose.
Its fumes can also impair vision, induce anxiety and tremor, create heart rate abnormalities, and feelings of nausea.
The most common routes of bromine exposure include 1) Baking goods, where it is found as potassium bromate (improving agent for dough making) 2) Inhalation on spas and hot tubs, where it is being used as a sanitizer 3) Inhalation in the interior of new cars, as it is part of the chemicals that create the distinct “new car smell”.
Simple steps to protect your thyroid from halogens:
1. Drink only filtered, purified, or high-quality bottled water from a glass bottle (mountain water, spring water, mineral water).
2. Install a shower filter, since skin absorption and inhalation during baths equates x10 the amount you would otherwise receive by straight drinking tap water.
During inhalation, halogens enter blood circulation immediately, making the need for a good quality shower filter extremely vital.
3. If for whatever reason you can’t install a shower filter, take shorter and/or colder showers where less steam is generated, or if you have a window in your bathroom open it.
4. Change your toothpaste to one the doesn’t contain fluroride, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), carrageenan, and other artificial chemicals.
A good homemade toothpaste recipe includes mixing coconut oil with baking soda.
Just make sure to brush properly and not very vigorously.
If you don’t want to make your own fluoride-free toothpaste, there are some great options available.
We personally use an activated charcoal probiotic toothpaste that is fluoride-free and promotes good oral flora bio-diversity.
5. Strictly consume only organic foods, as halogens are a common ingredient in agrochemicals (pesticides, insecticides, artificial fertilizers) .
This especially applies to foods like soy milk (you’d better avoid it altogether), dried fruit, instant teas, and pasteurized grape juice.
6. Exercise or get into a sauna to sweat out any tissue-stored halogens.
The skin helps your body to expel an enormous amount of toxins.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, depending on the stage, can make sweating a very difficult task, due to a decrease in basic metabolic rate (BMR).
Finding a way to stimulate sweating can greatly help with halogen detoxification.
The best magnesium supplement is one that combines all magnesium forms, as every form plays a critical role in different functions in the body.
Magnesium Breakthrough is a mix of 7 different magnesium salts.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are compounds that mimic, block, or interfere with the human endocrine system- including the thyroid – and have been linked with a wide range of health conditions, including developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects .
EDCs can be both naturally occurring and man-made, but most endocrine disruptors we come in contact with today are of artificial origin, created chemically.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals act both extra- and intracellularly, binding to cellular hormone receptors on the plasma membrane and/or regulating genomic expression.
Scientific evidence conducted on humans shows a correlation between exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and disorders of the endocrine axis .
Specifically, EDCs can interfere with the physiology of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis.
However, every endocrine axis of the body suffers from them, and their action is not limited to a single set of organs or glands.
Since most of them are synthetically manufactured, they are slow to break-down in the environment, making them hazardous to both humans and wildlife over time.
How do EDCs Get Inside the Body?
These chemicals are found in many modern everyday products, including plastic bottles and containers, paper receipts, medical devices, liners of metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides.
EDCs enter the food chain and accumulate in animal tissues up to humans.
Like estrogen, most of them are highly lipophilic and tend to accumulate in adipose tissues, which explains their generally long half-life.
EDCs can accumulate for years in the adipose tissue of animals, making co-contamination very easy and extremely common .
Humans, big mammals, and other top predators at the top of the food chain can store large amounts of EDCs, due to the process of bio-accumulation and bio-concentration.
Accumulation of various EDCs in humans and other big animals may create a “cocktail” of effects with unknown consequences .
Lifelong exposure to multiple endocrine-disrupting compounds may produce cumulative, additive and/or synergic effects.
For most EDCs, dose-effect relationships can be very complex, causing diverging effects at different concentrations.
Types of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Depending on their origin, EDCs can be grouped as follows:
1) Industrial [i.e. dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and alkylphenols].
2) Agricultural (i.e. pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, phytoestrogens, fungicides).
3) Residential (phthalates, polybrominated biphenyls, bisphenol A).
4) Pharmaceutical (parabens).
What Happens When EDCs Enter the Body?
Once they get inside the body, their mechanism of action typically consists of 3 steps:
1) Mimicry: They bind to hormone receptors located in/on cells, dictating them into inappropriate actions, and disrupting the biochemical homeostasis of the body.
2) Signal Blocking: Without proper hormone-receptor binding, the signaling pathway is not turned on and the cell doesn’t respond to hormonal stimulation.
3) Epigenetic Changes: They downregulate and upregulate the wrong genes, negatively affecting gene expression and metabolic homeostasis.
How to Protect Yourself from Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
To protect yourself from EDCs you may follow these simple 7 steps:
1. Eat organic
2. Wash carefully all of your fresh produce in vinegar, salt, or use a high-quality vegetable wash.
5. Drink filtered water
7. Eat plants rich in compounds that accelerate detoxification processes (i.e., polyphenols)
8. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching cashier receipts
9. Minimise the use of personal care and cosmetic products containing synthetic chemicals
In today’s world, toxic chemicals and heavy metals are everywhere, and exposure to them has become a daily occurrence.
Once in the body, these substances get deposited into tissues, especially fatty tissue (i.e., brain), and multiply the production of harmful free radicals (pro-oxidants) that impair cell and organ function, leading to serious physical and mental health problems.
Heavy metals, such as aluminum, lead, mercury, and cadmium can also wreak havoc on the thyroid.
They act both as endocrine disruptors and potential carcinogens, creating histological and physiological changes in the thyroid and other tissues.
Here’s what you need to know about the 4 most commonly occurring heavy metals (Aluminum, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury):
Heavy metal poisoning of the immune system is the commonest cause of intractable infections, especially dysbiosis, Candida, and so forth.
Aluminum is an abundant mineral found in the earth’s crust.
It is used for the construction of beverage cans, pots and pans, airplanes, siding and roofing, and foil.
It is also often mixed with small amounts of other metals to form aluminum alloys, which are stronger and harder.
Aluminum is a toxic, oxidizing agent for the human body.
It creates oxidative damage to the thyroid, inhibits iodide uptake, impairs thyroid hormone production, and can trick the immune system to attack the thyroid, as seen in Hashimoto’s.
Sources of aluminum contamination include toiletries, like deodorants, over-the-counter medications, like acid blockers (heartburn drugs), food additives, cookware, and vaccines.
Cadmium is a rare but widely dispersed element that is found naturally in the environment.
It is dispersed through the air by its mining and smelting, as well as by other man-made routes- burning of fossil fuels, such as coal or oil, and incineration of municipal waste, such as plastics and nickel-cadmium batteries (which can be deposited as solid waste) .
It may also escape into the air from iron and steel production facilities.
Cadmium can induce thyroid enlargement and create multinodular goiters of the thyroid.
It also inhibits thyroglobulin secretion and may contribute to the onset of thyroid cancer.
Sources of cadmium contamination include batteries, pigments, plastics, sewage, and phosphate-based fertilizers.
Lead is another halogen with deleterious effects on human health.
It can be found naturally in many eco-systems and geographic terrains.
Our exposure to lead is primarily due to human activities.
It is a substance with a wide array of applications.
Lead exposure is linked to reduced thyroid function and increased levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
Sources of lead contamination include children’s toys, jewelry, paint (older homes, old toys, furniture, crafts), and unfiltered water.
Mercury is a heavy metal with powerful neurotoxic properties.
It combines with other chemical compounds, such as oxygen, sulfur, or chlorine, to form inorganic mercury salts.
It can also combine with carbon to make organic mercury compounds or organomercurials.
The most common one is methylmercury (MeHg).
Mercury can be very toxic to human health, even at a low dose of exposure .
Even low levels of mercury can create thyroid inflammation, body temperature impairment, hypothyroidism, and depression, by occupying iodine binding sites and inhibiting or altering hormone activity [78, 79].
Also, methylmercury toxicity is associated with nervous system damage in adults and impaired neurological development in infants and children.
Mercury is a bio-accumulator, and its concentration in bodily tissues increases over time.
Thus, often, a heavy metal detoxification/chelation protocol is necessary.
Mercury is found primarily in seafood, dental amalgams, and pollution produced by coal-burning power plants.
The main route of mercury contamination in humans includes the ingestion of contaminated fish, seafood, and wildlife, which have been exposed to mercury through the consumption of contaminated organisms lower in the food chain .
Heavy Metal Detoxification
Nature intends toxic heavy metals to be excreted into the gut, via the liver and bile secretions.
However, the intestinal inflammatory response, which is set up as a result, causes “leaky gut syndrome”, a condition in which inappropriate substances are absorbed from the intestines, and put back into the metabolic pathways.
This includes heavy metals.
They are re-absorbed and must go through the liver a second, third, and fourth time.
Over and over, as the body struggles to get rid of this inflammatory burden.
Each time this happens, our most crucial detox molecule, glutathione, gets used up and is not recovered.
Thus, to detox heavy metals safely we need very large amounts of glutathione, to replenish the molecules lost in the way.
It’s hard to supplement glutathione orally but, luckily, taking so-called precursor substances, such as selenium, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) help provoke your body’s manufacture of glutathione.
Step 4. Increase the Peripheral Conversion of T4 to T3
Most T4 is converted to T3 in the liver, kidneys, and G.I tract- not in the brain or thyroid.
An excess of T4 (thyroxine) in tissues that doesn’t convert rapidly into T3, has an antithyroid effect.
The HPT axis, responsible for the thyroid hormone production cascade, operates in a negative feedback manner.
Low circulating levels of T4 positively stimulate the hypothalamus to produce thyroid releasing hormone (TRH), which in turn stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
Supraphysiological amounts of T4 in the periphery send negative feedback to the hypothalamus, which stops producing TRH, exacerbating the already existing hypothyroid state.
This happens in many people, especially women, who are given thyroxine, but as their dose increases their symptoms get worse.
Thus, it is vital to ensure optimal peripheral conversion of T4 to T3.
Detoxify Your Liver
A big missing piece of the thyroid puzzle is the liver-thyroid connection.
Many people suffering from hypothyroidism are in reality suffer from a lack of conversion of T4 to the active T3.
Human cells can utilize only T3, which has x3-4 times higher affinity to thyroid hormone receptors than T4.
The majority of the conversion of T4 to T3 happens in other organs, apart from the thyroid gland itself.
In particular, it is estimated that about 60% of this conversion happens in the liver, by a group of enzymes known as deiodinases.
Deiodinase enzymes are selenium-containing enzymes that remove a molecule of iodine from T4 forming T3.
There are 3 types of deiodinase enzymes in the body: Deiodinase I (D1), Deiodinase II (D2), and Deiodinase III (D3).
Deiodinase I (D1) is found primarily in the liver and kidneys.
Deiodinase II (D2) in the heart, skeletal muscles, central nervous system (CNS), adipose tissue, thyroid, and pituitary gland.
Deiodinase III (D3) is mainly found in fetal tissue and the placenta.
It is also present throughout the brain, except from the pituitary gland .
D1 catalyzes T4 to the active T3, while D3 catalyzes T4 into reverse T3 (inactive metabolite).
Reverse T3 is the inactive form of T3 that is produced in the body during periods of extreme stress, illness, or inflammation.
Chemically, rT3 differs from T3 in that the deiodinated iodine is missing from the inner ring of the thyroxine molecule instead of the outer ring, as in normal T3.
rT3 antagonizes normal T3 and binds to thyroid hormone receptors throughout the body, but exerts no biological effects.
Essentially, what rT3 does is the equivalent of key entering a keyhole, without unlocking the door.
This is something that’s been known for years, however, the allopathic community keeps prescribing T4 (levothyroxine) to patients, ignoring this facet of thyroid physiology.
Actually, in a study conducted in 1986, it was found that acute liver disease was associated with a marked increase in thyroid volume (goiter) and a decrease in thyroid hormone output (hypothyroidism) .
The scientists of the study noticed that patients suffering from viral hepatitis were developing goiter, a sign of very advanced hypothyroidism.
As the patients were treated and liver inflammation diminished, the goiter went away.
This research study demonstrated the liver’s importance in optimal thyroid physiology.
Best Strategies for Liver Health
The best strategies to improve liver health and ensure sufficient conversion of T4 to T3 are:
1. Remove toxic foods from the diet, such as overcooked and processed foods.
2. Use natural beauty and cosmetic products- if you can’t eat it don’t put it on your skin and body (shampoos, perfumes, make-up, hair styling products, shaving cream, eye cream, etc).
3. Drink 1-2 liters of raw, cold-pressed fruit / vegetable juice every day.
For fruit juicing (oranges, lemons, tangerines, pineapple, pomegranate, apple, pears, grapes, all melons, tomatoes, berries), we recommend a vertical, single-auger juicer, like the Slowstar, as it costs less and offers a much higher yield on soft fruits than a horizontal juicer.
Slowstar Vertical Slow Juicer & Mincer
For solo vegetable juicing and mixed fruit / vegetable juicing, a juicer like the Greenstar works the best.
This is one of the juicers we personally use, and is ideally suitable for anyone interested in hopping on a prolonged juice fast or solid food vacation (SFV).
4. Consume as many potassium-rich foods as you can. Fruit is the highest in potassium food group on the planet.
5. Increase the consumption of herbs, like milk thistle, ashwagandha, and holy basil.
6. Eat liver or take dessicated liver capsules.
For high-quality, ethically-sourced organ meat supplements, including liver, pancreas, thyroid, adrenals, kidney, brain, thymus, etc, we recommend Ancestral Supplements.
7. Eat more bitter foods, like arugula and kale.
8. Exercise, exercise, exercise!
Daily cardio helps the liver immensely, especially when NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is also present.
9. Ensure that you have 1-3 complete bowel movements every day.
To achieve that:
– Drink lemon juice with raw honey and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) first thing in the morning
– Do salt water flushes
– Drizzle your dishes with ample amounts of organic extra virgin olive oil, in order to lubricate the GI tract. This will help things move smoothly through your system and get expelled.
– Take a few tablespoons of coconut oil, as it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, and has strong laxative benefits.
– Add a high-quality herbal laxative containing cascara sagrada, as this will effectively:
- Clear excess waste that may be stuck in the colon
- Stop you from feeling “backed up” and create a clean, clear digestive system
- Help you have more regular, healthier eliminations on a daily basis
- Make you experience a stronger digestive system and feel amazing, every single day
Support your Kidneys
The interplay between thyroid and kidney physiology has been known for many years .
Thyroid hormones affect kidney function and development, and vice versa.
The effects of hypothyroidism on the kidneys are usually the opposite of the effects of hyperthyroidism.
An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is associated with reduced glomerular filtration rates (GFR), while hyperthyroidism leads to increased GFR and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone activation.
Activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and specifically, coronary atherosclerosis .
Hyperthyroid patients are in greater danger of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), since hyperthyroidism causes high cardiac output and left ventricular hypertrophy in the early stage, and biventricular dilatation and congestive heart failure in the late stage .
Thyroid and kidney disorders many times co-exist with similar causative factors.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), which refers to a gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months to years, is characterized by low T3 production.
CKD patients showcase higher percentages of primary hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism.
Thyroid dysfunction is also associated with glomerulonephritis (inflammation in the parts of the kidney that filter blood, called glomeruli), with both of these conditions often having common underlying autoimmune etiology.
Also, treatment interventions for one disease may affect the other.
Thyroid hormones affect how the kidneys process and filter blood, including the reabsorption and excretion of water, through their effects on glomerular filtration rates (GFR) .
Most chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients suffer from primary hypothyroidism (non-autoimmune), which makes it clear that kidney dysfunction impairs thyroid hormone production.
As the rates of glomerular filtration decline, so does thyroid hormone synthesis .
The “low T3 syndrome” present in patients with CKD occurs for many reasons.
Fasting, chronic metabolic acidosis, and chronic protein malnutrition affect the deiodination of T4 to T3, as well as the protein binding capacity of T3.
This reduces the peripheral conversion of T4 to T3 and T3’s protein-binding ability, as T3 needs to be bound to specific protein transporters to circulate through the blood and reach target cells.
In addition, inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-1 inhibit the expression of Deiodinase I (D1) enzyme, which is responsible for the peripheral conversion of T4 to T3.
Some studies have also demonstrated low levels of T4 in many chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients.
However, typically, their free T4 levels vary from being low to normal.
This happens primarily due to an impaired protein binding capacity of T4 found in chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Besides, in some CKD patients, reverse T3 (rT3) levels may be mildly elevated due to impaired renal clearance.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels also tend to be elevated in chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The circadian rhythm of TSH, which refers to its fluctuating levels during the day, and its glycosylation, which refers to the interaction of the TSH molecule with carbohydrates (i.e., glycosyl donors), is altered in CKD, compromising its activity.
Stop Taking Antibiotics
Antibiotics, such as rifampin, have been shown to suppress thyroid function in euthyroid people (people with normal thyroid function) .
Antibiotics induce hypothyroidism through multiple pathways and should be avoided altogether by Hashimoto’s patients, except for medical emergencies.
One major way by which antibiotics inhibit thyroid hormone production is by killing beneficial bacteria in the gut.
These bacteria are necessary for the peripheral conversion of the inactive T4 into T3, which is the biologically active form human cells can utilize.
About 20% of this conversion happens in the GI tract, and requires the presence of specific bacterial species.
These bacteria produce an enzyme called sulfatase that facilitates the process (bacterial sulfatase).
When these little, friendly microorganisms are wiped out, T4 can not be transformed into T3 in the gut, possibly leading to hypothyroid symptoms, such as fatigue, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, cold hands and feet, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
This suboptimal conversion results in abnormally high levels of circulating T4, which further impedes thyroid hormone synthesis, by suppressing the HPT axis (Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Thyroid), as part of a negative feedback loop.
When this occurs, excess administration of synthetic T4 (levothyroxine) will not help with symptomatology, since the peripheral conversion of T4 to T3 is inherently compromised.
Hashimoto’s patients stuck in this situation may feel awful, even though their blood values appear normal.
The integrity and microbial make-up of the microflora are inherently connected with the host’s self-tolerance.
Research shows that an altered microbiota composition in the gut promotes the development of autoimmune disease, including Hashimoto’s, through several hypothesized mechanisms.
These mechanisms include the generation of self-antigens, as a result of insufficient digestion and compromised integrity of epithelial junctions (leaky gut syndrome).
Step 5. Consume Metabolism-Boosting Foods
Fructose from whole fruits gently stimulates the liver and supports metabolic health.
It is metabolized differently than glucose and does not acutely raise blood glucose.
This makes it a healthier option for people suffering from blood sugar dysregulation, such as diabetic patients.
In nature, fructose is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which act synergistically protecting our health from disease.
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates such as fruit can be very healthy and beneficial for most autoimmune conditions.
Carbohydrates contribute more positively to a high metabolic rate than fats.
The mainstream consensus may promote high-fat, low-carb diets very aggressively, but fails to consider the thermic effect of carbs on the body, which is way superior than fat.
Carb-induced thermogenesis, which refers to an increase in energy expenditure after the consumption of a carbohydrate-rich meal, equates to about 5-10% of the total calories consumed.
The thermic effect of fat consumption is much lower, about 0–3% .
People suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can thrive by including nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, and easy-to-digest forms of carbohydrates in their diet, and fruit is king in that department.
Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties that protect the thyroid and clean the GI tract from pathogens (i.e., candida).
Along with cocoa butter, it’s one of the few plant-based sources of saturated fat.
Saturated fat is the most stable and resistant to oxidative damage form of fat.
Unlike other vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), coconut oil does not interfere with thyroid hormone production- it actually improves it.
Most plant-based oils and fats are comprised of PUFAs, which are very unstable and get oxidized very easily.
This is the reason why even the “godly” olive oil should be consumed raw and not used for cooking, since it’s extremely heat-sensitive and has a low smoking point.
2/3 of coconut oil’s fatty acid content comes from the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), in the form of lauric, mystiric, capric, caprylic, and palmitic acid.
Lauric acid is the most abundant of all since it represents 50% of the total MCFA content.
Lauric acid is transformed in the body into monolaurin, a monoester that carries powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties.
The metabolism-stimulating effect of water is even more amplified if it is cold, since the body expends extra energy to heat it up to body temperature .
Adequate hydration also increases blood volume and blood pressure, dilutes toxins, and helps them get expelled through sweating, bowel movements and urination.
To reverse hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis naturally you need to:
• Calm the immune system by reducing inflammation and circulating inflammatory cytokines.
• Improve digestion and ensure proper nutrient absorption by increasing HCL levels.
• Nourish the thyroid with specific building blocks, micronutrients, and antioxidants.
• Protect yourself against halogens, heavy metals, excess estrogen, and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
• Support the organs responsible for the peripheral conversion of T4 to the active T3, such as the liver, the kidneys, and the friendly bacteria in your G.I tract (microbiome).
• Stimulate metabolism and increase body temperature through specific foods, proper hydration, exercise, high-quality sleep, and adequate carbohydrate intake.
PS. If you haven’t already, you may check out our Recommendations List for high-quality supplements, health products and services you can trust. There is probably nothing health-related you won’t find there + special discounts are waiting for you.
You May Also Like
- Reactive Hypoglycemia: How to Identify and Fix Post-Meal Blood Sugar Crashes
- Best Supplements for Hashimoto’s | Which Ones Can Help
- Kefir | Benefits, Uses, and How to Make
- How to Reverse Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Naturally | A Complete Guide
- The Importance of Hydration | Water Benefits on Health, Weight Loss, and Performance
- The Chronic Stress and Inflammation Connection
- Pancreas Function | The Role of Pancreatic Enzymes
- Why Humans Should not Drink Cow’s Milk
- Why No One Diet Works For Everyone | Metabolic Type Differences
About George Kelly
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Metabolic Body nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.