What Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease, damages your thyroid function. With Hashimoto’s, because it is a type of hypothyroidism, your thyroid is underactive and not producing thyroid hormones required by your body. Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in North America.
What Causes Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder. This means that your body’s white blood cells and antibodies attack the cells of your thyroid, mistakenly thinking they’re a threat. It is unknown exactly what causes this type of autoimmune disorder. Right now, scientists believe genetic factors may be involved.
Symptoms Of Hashimoto’s ThyroiditisThe symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are the same symptoms that accompany an underactive thyroid. These include:
- Dry or pale skin
- Hoarse voice
- High cholesterol
- Chronic fatigue
- Cold intolerance
- Irregular or heavy periods
Who’s At Risk Of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?While the direct cause of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is not known, there are several risk factors that have been identified for the disease. If you have a family history of autoimmune diseases, you are more likely to develop the disease. For example, if anyone in your family has:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Graves’ disease
- Addisons disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjögren’s syndrome
Naturopathic Treatments For Hashimoto’s ThyroiditisMany nutritional factors play a role in optimizing thyroid function. This is especially true for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Research shows that one common, chronic factor in autoimmune response is a microbiome imbalance and resulting inflammation of the gut. This is where a naturopathic doctor comes in. We can help you address your microbiome dysfunction with nutritional therapies. Let’s dive into some common nutritional recommendations below.
1. Supplement With SeleniumSelenium supports efficient thyroid synthesis and metabolism. It has also been found in studies to reduce thyroid antibody levels in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
2. Improve The Gut MicrobiomeStudies have found a possible link that indicates the gut microbiome is an important environmental trigger for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In order to minimize this risk, your naturopathic doctor can work with you to recommend nutritional therapies like probiotics, and cultured foods, as well as diets lower in sugar, starch, and carbohydrates. This can help to decrease inflammation and balance immunity. Food allergy panels or an elimination diet can help to identify and eliminate food triggers to reduce inflammation. It’s also worth testing for celiac disease to determine if you should eliminate gluten.
3. Take AshwagandhaAshwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that studies have shown is beneficial for thyroid function in subclinical hypothyroid patients. An adaptogen is a herb that works on several body functions at once to help balance out dysfunction and regulate the metabolic processes.
4. Supplement With Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 is important for thyroid production, helps to improve cellular response to thyroid hormones, and boosts energy production in cells to help combat fatigue and other symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Studies have shown that there is a prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in hypothyroid patients and that taking a supplement leads to an improvement in their symptoms. B12 injection therapy is also another option for treating B12 deficiency in patients.
5. Supplement With ZincZinc is beneficial for improving thyroid function and hormone levels because it works in tandem with your thyroid hormones. Specifically, thyroid hormones are required for the successful absorption of zinc. This is why if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you’re likely zinc deficient since you’ll also lack the required amounts of thyroid hormones, which then accelerates the progression of symptoms. Zinc has been shown in studies to have a positive effect on thyroid function, especially if you are experiencing specific symptoms associated with hypothyroidism like hair loss. It has also been shown to drastically improve symptoms after consistent supplementation.
Book An Appointment With Annex NaturopathicNaturopathic doctors can be a big help if you’re looking to support your thyroid naturally. We can create a customized nutritional plan to support your thyroid, which is incredibly important for the longevity of your overall health.