Do you have Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
I receive a lot of phone calls from people suffering from hypothyroidism. They complain of weight gain, fatigue, and depression among other problems. The first question I ask is do you have antibodies against your thyroid? About half of the time people say yes and the other half has no idea. Traditionally synthetic thyroid is used whether there is an autoimmune process or not so distinguishing the two is not often done without some prompting by the patient. Addressing hypothyroidism naturally is more complicated than tracking the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and adjusting a patient’s dosage of hormone accordingly.
Hypothyroidism without antibodies
If a person has hypothyroidism without antibodies usually they respond well to just taking thyroid hormone. Unfortunately these people make up less than 10% of the people suffering from hypothyroidism. I personally like to give them the necessary building blocks to see if their lack of production was simply due to lack of nutrients like tyrosine, iodine, selenium, and etc. If they are deficient in any of these constituents then supplementing can help increase thyroid levels without taking the synthetic hormone. This is important because if their thyroid is deficient to the point that it shows abnormal labs then I believe they may be deficient in other parts of their body as well so it makes sense to address that deficiency.
Autoimmune Hypothyroidism is an Inflammatory Disease
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is your immune system creating antibodies that attack your thyroid gland. The issue is not the gland itself but instead is due to the immune system malfunctioning. There may be some symptomatic relief from taking thyroid hormone but supplementing with hormone does not address the inflammatory process at the root of the problem. Circulating antibodies and immune activation is not a benign process. Therefore I like to address the inflammatory process, improve the immune intelligence so it doesn’t attack itself, and decrease thyroid cross reactors in the diet. While doing all of these things the patient can continue to take thyroid hormone and hopefully they experience significant improvement.