Tag Archives: hashimoto’s thyroiditis

10 Years!

It was ten years ago today I started my path to reversing my autoimmune disease. And not one day do I take for granted. Having gone through years of pain, frustration and uncertainty, I do not want to face that again. Knowing how to treat my digestive tract, I will always remain cautious about what I eat and how I’m handling my health. I was given a second chance at my health and I want to do well with it. I hope you may find some encouragement that it can be reversed. With the right doctors, the right medication, the right supplements, the right diet and the right attitude, you can beat this too!

The Thyroid and Adrenal Connection: Correcting Combined Hypothyroidism and Addison’s Disease

Originally posted on Suite101.com  by Elaine Moore

When, and only when, autoimmune hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency occur together, correcting one disorder can effectively correct the other.

In some cases, including autoimmune polyglandular syndromes, both autoimmune hypothyroidism and autoimmune adrenal insufficiency can occur. Often, in these cases correcting the adrenal problem can reverse the hypothyroidism. In diagnosing patients with both disorders, tests for both thyroid antibodies and adrenal antibodies are essential. It’s important to distinguish autoimmune adrenal insufficiency from the more common adrenal exhaustion.

Proper diagnosis is important. In one study, researchers found several young patients misdiagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism alone who had severe autoimmune adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease) with an associated mild hypothyroidism. In these cases, thyroid function normalized once the adrenal disorder was treated. In addition, in some cases of combined adrenal insufficiency and subclinical hypothyroidism, instituting thyroid replacement hormone before initiating corticosteroid therapy is effective in preventing adrenal crisis.

 

Occasionally, especially in subclinical hypothyroidism and associated adrenal exhaustion, these conditions can be reversed through dietary and lifestyle changes, including detoxification methods and nutritional supplements. Furthermore, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, when replacement hormone is required, contrary to popular myth, it may not be needed for life.

Symptoms in Thyroadrenal Disorders
Younger patients with thyroadrenal problems may show signs of decreased growth, delayed puberty, listlessness, weight loss, orthostatic dizziness, and fatigue. In young patients with additional symptoms of diabetes, seizures may also occur.

In older patients, symptoms of thyroadrenal problems include weight gain, depression, low blood pressure, constipation and fatigue.

The Effects of Corticosteroids
Several theories have been proposed to explain why corticosteroids can sometimes reverse hypothyroidism. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation as well as immune system activity. In patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and adrenal insufficiency, corticosteroids can lower levels of thyroid antibodies sufficiently to decrease the autoimmune thyroid activity. Also, the ability of the thyroid hormone T3 to react with the body’s cells is diminished in states of corticosteroid deficiency. In addition, the conversion of T4 to the more active hormone T3 is diminished when corticosteroid levels are low. Lastly, it’s suspected that lowered thyroid function is a natural mechanism designed to protect the body when adrenal function is low.

Precautions
In the absence of autoimmune adrenal insufficiency, corticosteroids may improve symptoms of hypothyroidism temporarily but may eventually have untoward effects, including the development of secondary adrenal insufficiency, a condition primarily related to the use of corticosteroids. Elevated corticosteroid levels also have significant side effects.

For instance, elevated cortisol levels reduce sensitivity to leptin, the hormone that tells your brain when you’re full. Over time, increased cortisol levels lead to weight gain. Other effects of excess corticosteroids include bone loss, increased abdominal fat, reduced libido, increased risk of metabolic syndrome, lowered HDL levels, increased triglyceride and insulin levels, and increased blood pressure. In addition, elevated corticosteroid levels can interfere with the normal circadian rhythm that guides hormone production. This, in turn, can interfere with growth hormone production and normal sleep.

A Natural Approach
Certain substances are known to interfere with proper functioning of the immune system as well as the adrenal and thyroid glands, including refined sugars, allergens, chemical toxins, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, alcohol, tobacco, gluten protein, and many different drugs. In addition, both physical and psychological stress have detrimental effects.

Foods that help restore thyroid and adrenal function include fish, especially sardines and salmon, dandelion and mustard greens, seaweed and sea vegetables, which are natural sources of iodine. It’s important to avoid refined iodized salt and processed foods, which are laden with iodized salt and chemical preservatives. It’s also important to avoid excess soy protein, which can interfere with thyroid function, especially in patients on thyroid medications.

Helpful Supplements
Herbs used to help reduce stress and improve immune system and adrenal function include ginseng, rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, ashwaganda, and licorice. It’s important to support the adrenal glands, which may be exhausted in long-standing hypothyroidism, when starting thyroid replacement hormone.

Supplements used to improve immune system, adrenal, and thyroid function include N-acetylcysteine (NAC), acetyl-L-carnitine, omega-3 oils, and the antioxidants alpha lipoic acid, selenium, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

Recommended lifestyle changes include daily exercise to reduce body fat and toxin stores, saunas to help with detoxification, eating whole natural foods, and avoiding water sources containing chlorine and fluoride. A thorough detoxification program with an emphasis on avoiding foods with chemical additives should be followed for at least 3 weeks.

When thyroid replacement hormone is needed, Dr. Mark Hyman recommends using a natural product containing dried porcine thyroid such as Armour thyroid.

Resources:

Hussein D. Abdullatif and Ambika P. Ashraf, Reversible Subclinical Hypothyroidism in the Presence of Adrenal Insufficiency, Medscape by WebMD Oct 2006.

 

Mark Hyman, Ultra-Metabolism, New York: Scribner Publishing, 2006.

Lupus – The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

“This can’t be happening.  Why did this happen to me?  How did I get sick?  Is there a cure?  Will I die from this?”

All too common, a diagnosis of Lupus or some other autoimmune disorder comes as a shock.  It doesn’t seem possible.  It strikes in the midst of youth disrupting every aspect of life.  Even with family history, you still somehow think it won’t happen to you.  I know… that was me not too long ago.

When first diagnosed, I felt alone.  Who could understand what I was going through?  These diseases are so rare, or so I thought.  Autoimmune disorders are more common than many people think.  Many times, people can APPEAR to be “normal” and yet be suffering in silence with a painfully destructive disease.  Odds are you have a friend, family member or co-worker with an autoimmune disease.  So why are they so common?

The problem is lack of education of the truth…  plain and simple.

We grow up eating sugary cereals, fried foods and sodas without any concern as to how that diet affects us.  We get sick and get pumped full of antibiotics thinking that will help us get better.  We are stressed out with school, work, relationships, and assume it’s only affecting us mentally and emotionally.  The problem is, living a traditional Western world lifestyle is what is making us sick.

We are educated as to what we THINK makes us healthy and happy:  balancing the food groups, taking medicine that our doctors tell us to take, and working hard.  The problem is, this is generally what is making us all sick.

Our planet provides natural foods and water for us to eat and drink.  Pastries, processed foods, foods cooked to the point of being nutritionally empty and many medications are not natural and our bodies aren’t designed to handle these without consequences.  Just like the plumbing in your home, we know to be mindful of what goes down the drain since absent plumbing care causes clogs to form or the pipes can be eroded.  The foods and medications we take can likewise clog or erode our “plumbing” as well as upsetting the balance of normal flora.

When we are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, we learn that means that our bodies are attacking themselves.  Why would our immune systems, designed to attack foreign material/invaders, suddenly start attacking our own tissues?  It’s because there’s something else going on.  Lupus, the wolf, or other autoimmune diseases are actually a smoke screen.  The true cause of the autoimmunity is hidden, and is simple.  The quiet sheep.  Infections.

“What?!  If I had an infection, my doctor would have found it.”  Actually, likely not.  Doctors are trained to look for horses, not zebras.  In other words, given certain symptoms, they look for the likely problem, and not the unlikely problem since those rarely occur.  Not only that, but medicine is changing all of the time.  We used to think bloodletting was normal and something called “germs” was a crazy notion.

In the past few decades newer medical research has been done which has led many doctors to realize that many autoimmune disorders may actually be caused by underlying infections.  These infections along with our diets and meds, exacerbated by stress are causing our autoimmunity.  Overuse of (and not finishing) antibiotics, poor eating and sleeping habits and stress allow bad bacteria and yeast to overgrow in our system, wiping out beneficial bacteria, and perforating holes in our intestinal tract causing leaky gut syndrome.

60-70% of our immune system is located in our intestinal tract.  Once this delicate balance has been upset, it isn’t hard to now understand how our immune systems can be so greatly affected by how we live our lives.

This information may be new to you.  For many doctors, they still may just treat the symptoms of autoimmunity and not try to even look for a cause.  But for others, they are realizing the cause, treating it, and subsequently releasing the grip autoimmunity has on many people’s lives.

Don’t be afraid of the big, bad wolf… it’s just a sheep after all.