Thyroid: Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

The thyroid gland releases hormones that regulate the metabolism, or energy, of the body. Together with the adrenal glands they regulate the metabolism and use of hormones throughout the body.Hypothyroidism occurs when not enough thyroid hormone is made to meet the body’s needs.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common reason for low thyroid and is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosedand. It occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. This inflammation develops slowly over years and is usually diagnosed with a blood test checking for antibodies against the thyroid.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism are similar to Adrenal Fatigue and include:

  • fatigue
  • cold hands and feet
  • weight gain or inability to lose weight
  • depression/anxiety
  • poor memory and concentration
  • high cholesterol
  • headaches/migraines
  • heavy, scanty, or irregular periods
  • severe PMS and/or cramping
  • difficulty swallowing
  • hair loss
  • anemia -miscarriage or infertility
  • low libido -swollen ankles or fluid retention
  • constipation
  • decreased sweating
  • slow reflexes
  • pain and/or inflammation
  • family history of low thyroid

Symptoms or Hashimoto’s include those for hypothyroidism as well as:

  • tired and wired
  • severe fatigue
  • depression and anxiety
  • panic attacks. It is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

Causes of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include:

    • Genetics
    • Low-calorie dieting or a vegetarian diet
    • Hormonal events including first period, pregnancy, etc.
    • Physical injuries including whiplash or shock from a major illness
    • Prescription drugs including SSRI’s (Zoloft, Lexapro, etc.), birth control pills, Lithium, sulfa drugs, and anti-diabetic drugs
    • Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance (including the grains wheat, rye, barley, and oats)
    • Chemicals in water, fish, and teeth. This includes fluoride, chlorine, and mercury in seafood and silver dental fillings.
    • Environmental chemicals including BPA, PCB’s, dioxin, and red dye #3.
    • Nitrates in prepared or processed meats.
    • Too much or too little iodine.
    • Consuming soy
    • Too much estrogen or xenoestrogens in the body
    • EMF’s (electric and magnetic fields) from wireless, phones, and electronic devices
    • Stress
    • radiation exposure

The adrenal – thyroid connection

The adrenal glands are responsible for the fight or flight mechanism and if they get overstressed from chronic stress the thyroid may slow down. Likewise, if the thyroid fails the adrenals get overworked and run down. This can lead to feeling “tired but wired” and may cause reactions to thyroid medications that include jitteriness or palpitations. This is indicative of low adrenal function. It is crucial to treat both the adrenals and the thyroid to get a full recovery.

Medications
The first line of medication is often in the form of T4 (synthroid, L-thyroxine, Tirosint, etc.) However, if this does not alleviate symptoms adding a T3 (Cytomel) form may be helpful for recovery. Also, be aware that Armour contains corn and Synthroid contains milk and acacia which are common allergens. Compounded forms may work better for those with allergies to these food substances. Iodine may be added but should not be taken if palpations or insomnia occur or if Hashimoto’s is the underlying cause until further testing is done.

Vitamins and Minerals that assist the thyroid.

  • B-12 (may need shots if have pernicious anemia) preferably in the form of methylcobalamin NOT cyanacobalamin)
  • Folic acid in the activated form of L-5-MTHF for best absorption and utilization
  • Omega-3 (symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency are similar to low thyroid
  • Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3
  • Iodine (do not take if palpitations, insomnia, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are present)Diet and NutritionDo not go on a low-calorie or starvation diet as this will aggravate hypothyroid issues.
  • Eliminate gluten including wheat, rye, barley, and oats. These can contribute or cause poor gut function associated with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. This in turn decreases the absorption of vitamins crucial for thyroid function and production. Also, because the molecular structure of gluten is very similar to the thyroid, due to leaky gut syndrome the body attacks the thyroid and gluten thinking they are the same. This can prevent recovery from thyroid symptoms.
  • Eliminate soy. Soy causes the thyroid to slow down, inhibiting the production of T4. It is also aggravates or causes leaky-gut syndrome and causes other hormone disruptions including excess of the bad estrogens in the body which bind to the thyroid hormone and make it less available for use. Sources include soy sauce, edamame, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and tofu.
  • Eliminate other known food allergens. This may include dairy, sugar, corn, eggs, nuts, etc. Eating foods you are allergic to stresses the adrenals and thyroid glands, decreasing recovery.
  • Cook vegetables that contain goitrogens. Goitrogens suppress the thyroid by interfering with iodine uptake. By cooking them it inactivates these goitrogens. These include Kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, and rutabaga.
  • Protein: Aim for 20-30 grams of protein 2-3 times a day. It is best to have protein in the morning instead of a high carbohydrate meal containing cereal and fruit. This will allow the adrenal glands to heal more efficiently. Good sources include chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, beans, and nuts and seeds.
  • Carbohydrates: ½-1 cup 2-3 times a day of good quality carbohydrates including beans ( if tolerated), potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, beets, and squash should be the main source of carbohydrates as all forms of gluten should be avoided. In addition, 2-3 fruits a day are sufficient. A low carbohydrate diet is not recommended for those struggling with low thyroid or adrenal fatigue as it can have negative effects on the thyroid and adrenal glands. However, sugar and caffeine will only stress these glands further.
  • Fat: Eliminate canola, corn, safflower, and processed oils as these compete for omega-3 essential fatty acids in the body and brain. (Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency has similar symptoms as hypothyroidism). They also cause inflammation and stress the adrenals and thyroid glands. Fats that should be included are avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, nuts, wild fish, and true olive oil. Include 2-3 tablespoons a day in your diet.Lifestyle Measures
  • Remove mercury fillings safely to help the thyroid heal. ~This must be done by a qualified dentist. Any dentist can take them out, but most will not protect you from additional mercury exposure and in the process.
  • Turn off your wireless at night to allow the thyroid full recovery time during sleep.
  • Go to sleep by 10 or 10:30 to prevent the adrenals from going into overdrive and further stressing the thyroid.
  • Exercise low to moderate. High intensity exercise (cross fit, long distance running, high intensity training, etc.) will only stress the adrenals and thyroid more and prevent a full recovery.
  • Heal the adrenals in addition to the thyroid.
  • Resources
    “The Hormone Cure” Sara Gottfried, MD website: saragottfriedmd.com

“The Diet Cure” Julia Ross, M.A. Website: thedietcure.com

“Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause” Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP website: thyroidpharmacist.com
Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD website: thepaleomom.com
EMF articles
THE THYROID AND EMF POLLUTION
Dr. Michael Johnson
http://drmichaelljohnsonchiropractor.com/?p=148

is Your Cell Phone Zapping Your Thyroid?
Dr. Ann Louise Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition, CNS,
http://annlouise.com/2013/01/08/is-your-cell-phone-zapping-your-thyroid/

Alterations in TSH and Thyroid Hormones following Mobile Phone Use
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3243874/

Heavy Metal Toxicity Raises Your Risk of Electromagnetic Sensitivity
Dr. Mercola
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/25/heavy-metal-electromagnetic-fields.aspx

Hypothyroid Testing: What You Need to Know and Ask For
Dr. Aviva Romm
http://www.doctoroz.com/article/hypothyroid-testing-what-you-need-know-and-ask
Normal vs. Optimal Lab Ranges Related to Adrenals
Dr. Sara Gottfried
http://thehormonecurebook.com/downloads/bonus-lab-ranges.pdf
The Role of Vitamin D Deficiency in Thyroid Disorders
Chris Kresser
https://chriskresser.com/the-role-of-vitamin-d-deficiency-in-thyroid-disorders/

Thyroid Tests To Ask For
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) – This is the standard thyroid test that is run. TSH is made in the pituitary gland and tells the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone. Optimal range: 0.5-3.0, but some specialists prefer 0.3-2.5
Free T3 and Free T4 – These are the hormones produced by the thyroid gland, with T4 being produced in the largest amount and being converted to T3, which is the active form of the hormone.
“ A high TSH and low FT4 and FT3 indicate hypothyroidism. A normal TSH, normal FT4, and low FT3 can indicate T4 to T3 conversion problems, and a normal or high TSH, normal FT4 and high FT3 can indicate cellular resistance to FT3 which can still lead to hypothyroid symptoms because the active hormone can’t get to the cell to do its job.” Dr. Aviva Romm

Optimal range varies by lab, but it should be the top half of the normal range.
Free T3 for ZRT: 4.5-6.5
Free T4 for ZRT: 1.45-2.5
Thyroid Antibodies – If these tests are positive it is indicative of autoimmune thyroid dysfunction, or Hashimoto’s. The antibodies are TPOAb and TgAb.
Reverse T3 – when the body is trying to conserve energy, usually from stress, illness, or nutritional deficiency placed on the body, it diverts T3 into a “reserve” form. TSH and FT4 may be normal but FT3 may be low and rT3 may be high, which can be an indicator of hypothyroidism.
Serum ferritin – This test checks ferritin levels, which stores iron. Iron carries oxygen to all the cells. This test will help to determine if anemia is present. Optimal range: 70-90 ng/mL or mcg/L (especially if hair loss is present).
Vitamin D – This hormone helps with many functions including immunity and blood sugar balance. It is often low in those with thyroid disorders (due to leaky gut) and those under stress, or with high cortisol levels. Optimal range: 50-70 ng/ml or up to 70-100 for those with autoimmune or other conditions.
In addition to the above, a CBC and SMAC panel will help to assess if there is a form of anemia present due to low B12 or low folic acid.