Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by an infiltration and progressive destruction of the thyroid gland by the immune system.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in North America.
It’s a progressive disease that if left untreated can cause chronic thyroid damage, which in turn results in a decrease in thyroid hormones and hypothyroidism.
But what causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and what natural treatments are available for it?
Keep reading to find out.
Symptoms Of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis appear gradually over time; you may not notice them at first, but they can cause chronic thyroid damage.
People with HT often experience different symptoms, of varying severity.
One study found that approximately 90% of the thyroid must be destroyed in order for the disease to display symptoms of hypothyroidism.
At first you may experience a swelling at the front of your throat. If this lasts long enough, it can become a goiter.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Elevated cholesterol
- Pale, dry skin
- Pale, puffy face
- Sensitivity to cold
- Decreased concentration
- Memory impairment
- Myxedema fluid accumulation of tissues
- Possible short-term hyperthyroidism symptoms
These symptoms often worsen over time, as the gland is progressively destroyed.
If you experience some of the above symptoms, it may be time to speak with a naturopathic doctor.
Causes & Risk Factors of Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis affects an estimated 14 million Americans, but doctors do not know exactly what triggers the immune system to attack the thyroid.
Research shows that the development of autoimmune disorders is multifactorial.
Risk factors for Hashimoto’s include genetic predisposition, environmental influences, stress, stealth infections, nutritional deficiencies, immunologic factors are all part of the puzzle.
However, there are certain risk factors for the disease, including:
- Sex – women are more likely to get Hashimoto’s than men.
- Stress, which can be a trigger for autoimmune disease.
- A history of autoimmune disorders.
- Chronic, stealth infections.
- Hereditary factors.
- Pregnancy or being post-partum.
Hashimoto’s disease and leaky gut
A vast amount of research has proven the link between different autoimmune diseases and the intestinal tract.
An overall well-balanced gut microbiome is important when considering autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s.
The intestinal lining provides a barrier that prevents pathogenic bacteria and undigested food particles from entering the blood.
If this mucosal barrier is disrupted, the absorption mechanisms are impaired, resulting intestinal hyper-permeability (“leaky gut”) and over-activation of the immune system.
Studies also have shown the correlation between celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Naturopathic Medical Treatments For Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
You may be relieved to know there are naturopathic treatment options available for Hashimoto’s. Here are some of them.
1. Dietary Changes
Considering that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis has been linked to malabsorption and celiac disease, avoiding gluten is an important factor in combating this disorder.
Multiple studies have shown a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten; one showed up to 71 percent of subjects experienced reduced hypothyroidism symptoms after following a gluten-free diet.
Following an anti-inflammatory food regimen, would be helpful to decrease inflammation as well.
These foods include gluten as previously mentioned, as well as dairy, soy, sugar and all processed foods.
2. Eat A Diet Rich In Whole Foods
If you have Hashimoto’s – or you want to improve your overall health – focus on a nutrient-rich diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.
Fresh fruits and veggies are high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, helping prevent inflammation while aiding in digestive health and heart health.
Fish, especially salmon, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in hormone balance and thyroid function.
Also try to incorporate bone broth, sprouted seeds, beans and legumes, and foods rich in probiotics into your diet.
3. Increase Your Intake Of Selenium
Selenium has been shown to aid in thyroid function by regulating T3 and T4 hormones, which are the primary hormones produced by the thyroid.
It can also help lower the risk of Hashimoto’s during pregnancy and post-partum.
Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, tuna, turkey, sardines, ham, cottage cheese, beans, and oatmeal, among other foods.
4. Increase Your Intake Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps regulate your immune system and hormone levels, and sufficient levels can help with your Hashimoto’s symptoms while also having other positive effects on overall health.
It also may be used as a treatment for familial hypophosphatemia, psoriasis, rickets, and renal osteodystrophy.
Vitamin D is absorbed through the sun; cholesterol in our skin converts this to usable vitamin D3.
15 to 20 minutes in the sun daily will do the trick.
Supplements are also available for vitamin D.
5. Increase Your Intake Of B-Vitamins
B-vitamins are important for many metabolic and cellular functions as well as energy maintenance.
Vitamin B12 is especially effective against fatigue, and can be an effective treatment for symptoms of fatigue due to Hashimoto’s.
Vitamin B12 can be supplemented orally, or you can talk to me about vitamin B12 injections.
Contact Dr. Simona
If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or are experiencing any of the associated symptoms, there are natural treatment options available for you which may help.
Contact me, Dr. Simona, and I can consult with you to review the best treatment options available for your individual condition.