Seven Things You Can Do To Keep Hashimoto's (and Autoimmunity in General) In Check

Thyroid problems, especially Hashimoto’s, are not just a  problem with your thyroid. 

What this means is that the issue doesn’t just exist in your thyroid. Autoimmune thyroid problems are an issue of many systems within the body.  Most people diagnosed with hypothyroidism probably also have Hashimoto’s and many of those people could be undiagnosed. 

Have you gone to the doctor with this nagging feeling that something just isn’t right only to be told it is all in your head and that you are fine, or worse, been offered antidepressants? Or have you had a doctor tell you that you are just too sensitive? I remember crying in my doctors office about how I just didn't feel right and she without hesitation gave me a prescription for antidepressants. I took one and then got rid of the bottle knowing full well that depression was not my problem. 

Autoimmune disease affects your gut, your endocrine system, your hormone balance, your brain, your immune system, every system in your body. Your thyroid runs the show but if the body systems are off you will have a trickle down effect to the rest of the body. 

There is no magic pill or quick fix for any health issue but especially when it comes to Hashimoto’s and autoimmune disease in general. It has taken some time for your body to manifest symptoms of disease and it also takes some time for the body to heal. Plus, everyone is different so we have to figure out what your triggers are before you can see real change in your health. 

There is no one size fits all program to fix the masses.

Also, with autoimmune disease it is about managing your symptoms because fixing them is probably not an option. Once you have an autoimmune disease you will always have it. 

There is hope. 

You can manage your symptoms and feel great again. 

In order to solve your complicated puzzle of autoimmunity you cannot just throw supplements at the issue. You need to back way up and figure out where the issue started. 

  • Is your brain getting or sending the right signals?
    • Maybe the signal is lost between where it starts in the brain and getting to your thyroid so your thyroid is confused. 
  • Is there inflammation within the body?
    • Inflammation affects the brain. 
  • Do you have intestinal permeability (leaky gut)?
    • Having leaky gut will affect brain function. 

Where in the world do you start?

A good clean diet is a great place to start. There are things your thyroid needs for optimal function like iron, iodine, selenium, zinc and a few others. Getting these micronutrients from your diet is a great place to start. Eating fresh, whole foods from the cleanest available source is your first best bet. It is the best way to support not only your thyroid but your overall health in general. 

You also want to think about things like: 

  • stress
  • inflammation
  • radiation
  • too much fluoride in your diet
  • toxins from the environment, food and beauty products

All of these things play a role in contributing to leaky gut which leads to inflammation and is a major player in autoimmune diseases. 

When you have intestinal permeability or leaky gut, you have undigested proteins getting in to your blood stream leading to inflammation. Nutritionally you can support your gut with things like aloe from the whole leaf or inner filet (Lily of the Desert is a good brand), bone broth and probiotics. 

You can take probiotics or you can eat fermented foods or both might be right for you. It takes some time to figure out what is right for you both nutritionally and supplementally. Sometimes you need a specific strain and you need to make sure you are buying high quality probiotics. 

Consuming some kind of fermented food like kombucha, homemade yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi or other fermented veggies with each meal are a great source of probiotics. All of these things can easily be made at home but also can be store bought if making stuff like this is not your thing. Kombucha is best homemade though because you can avoid all the sugar that is in the store bought brands. 

We are overloaded with toxins on a daily basis through pollution, chemicals in our food and chemicals we put on our skin. Everything from the air we breath to the shampoo we use or the perfume you put on everyday and the pesticides on the foods you eat have to be detoxified by the liver. Taking measures to make sure our body is able to detoxify properly is a really good idea.  

You can help your bodies detoxification processes by consuming things like cilantro, lemon (juice and peel), green tea and turmeric are all ways to naturally boost your livers ability to detoxify. 

You also need to figure out which foods could be aggravating the inflammation in your body. 

The inflammation that foods cause can be so overwhelming to your immune system that things like your thyroid gland are being attacked and damaged. You could already be eating a gluten free diet but maybe dairy is causing problems and you don’t realize it is the dairy that is the problem. Or you could be consuming nuts that are not sitting well with your system and those could be causing inflammation.  

Doing an elimination diet for a month is a great start to figuring out what foods are causing a problem. It is also a really cheap alternative to lab tests and works just as well or sometimes better. 

What is an elimination diet?

Basically you are removing the seven biggest allergens in the diet for that 4 week period. The big seven are gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, eggs, peanuts and corn. If you see an improvement in your symptoms you can carefully add back foods one at a time to see which foods may be triggering your symptoms. You have to be a bit of a food detective here. Keep a food journal of foods you are eating and how you feel and read labels on your packaged foods. Add a food back to your diet every 2 days or so eating the food you are testing out at least twice in the same day if not more. This will give your body the opportunity to react within 12 hours of consuming it.  When you sign up for my newsletter you get a free four week gut healing meal plan with recipes that is free of all the above mentioned allergens. 

The big things to remember here are: 

  • There is no quick fix to autoimmune problems or health problems in general
  • You need to start by cleaning up your diet
  • Heal your gut through diet changes and the specific foods mentioned
  • Clear your body of toxins and clean up your toxic environment
  • Get probiotics in your system
  • Find those trigger foods that set off your immune system
  • Don’t give up hope!

Working with a practitioner that gets "it" is key. You need to find the cause, not just put a bandaid on the problem. I know Hashimoto's because I have Hashimoto's. I want you to feel well again!

In Health,

Stephanie