Heart palpitations, weight loss, tremors, anxiety, slow, sluggish, weight gain, cold hands and feet.
Feel like you are going crazy?
In the early stages of Hashimoto’s you can have any of those symptoms. Your immune system is on attack. It is attacking your thyroid gland and little bits of thyroid hormone are released in to the blood stream.
This causes surges that feel like hyperthyroidsim. Once the hormone is excreted from the body you go back to having symptoms more like hypothyroidism.
The thyroid roller coaster is a good way to explain it. I remember it. I don’t want to go back to it. I remember right after my stillborn son was born I was really thin. My arms were like sticks. I was in what I call a flare. Certainly was having a surge of thyroid hormone through that pregnancy and for awhile after. The only good thing about that was that I didn’t look like I had just given birth. The day after I had him I was back in to my own jeans again. I was grateful I didn’t have to explain why I looked like I had just had a baby but there was no baby to show. Sigh.
It is my mission to help you figure out how to find your health again so you don’t have to suffer as I have.
Let’s get clear!
What are some of the biggest issues for suffers of Hashimoto’s?
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Food Sensitivities
- Poor Adrenal Health
- Infections in the Gut or Leaky Gut
- Poor Detoxification
- All of those issues put you in a vicious cycle of an autoimmune attack.
How do you fix this?
You need to fix all of those issues to eliminate symptoms and find yourself again.
What are the biggest nutrient deficiencies?
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins including B12
- Stomach acid
What do you need Selenium for?
Selenium helps neutralize free radicals occuring as a result of your thyroid hormones being produced. Being deficient can allow the free radicals to possibly damage the thyroid gland. it also helps T4 be converted in to active T3. T3 is what goes in to your cells to be used by the body.
Can’t I get Vitamin D from sun exposure?
Getting your D from the sun can be more difficult. You would need to spend quite a bit of time in the sun to get enough and if you live in a Northern climate like I do then you may need to supplement. When you have low levels of vitamin D, your immune systems cells don’t develop like they should. Taking vitamin D3 is best. It is the more active form and the best one to use.
Why is B12 important?
Being deficient in B12 can mean you are really low on energy and have digestive dysfunction. Having poor digestion can be a major cause of thyroid problems. If you have Hashimoto’s you probably are low in stomach acid which means you are not digesting your food as you should. You can have low stomach acid if you have low B12 or other B vitamin deficiencies. The B’s and stomach acid work in concert together. Your iron can be low because of stomach acid or B12 deficiency.
Do you suffer from Adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue can be thrown around and used by people who truly don’t have it. Fatigue and adrenal fatigue are two different things.
I had not slept for a couple of days but maybe 4 hours a night. I was taking mid terms for my nutrition class and I was a big ball of stress. I had a 4 day intense workshop to get through plus my exam. I lost my car keys, I couldn’t think straight. By day 4 I was a complete and total disaster. I should not have been driving at all. I could barely function. I came home from class, made dinner and slept only about 6 hours. I woke up tired, exhausted really. Ate breakfast, took a classmate to the airport and came home and laid on the couch for four days. I was lucky enough to be able to do that. My kids were out of school and all able to care for themselves. I remember falling in and out of sleep for two of those four days. I knew that was the best thing for me to do. I made sure to eat well so my body had the nutrients needed to recover and I let my body heal.
I have to watch it even today. I cannot over do it or I end up on the couch for a day or two in recovery mode. My adrenals need tender loving care, probably for the rest of my life. All because of unmanaged stress.
Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys. They produce your stress hormones and once you hit menopause (or andropause for men) they produce your sex hormones as well.
Being under huge amounts of stress will cause your thyroid to actually slow down. It can also increase your intolerance to some foods causing food sensitivities. Yay!
Stress can be a trigger to thyroid problems. You can test your adrenal health with a saliva test measuring your cortisol and DHEA levels. Blood tests don’t pick up adrenal problems until they are too far gone.
Infections that have the immune system on high alert are also things that can cause problems with the adrenal glands.
Other things like emotional stress, lack of sleep, pain and then inflammation from food sensitivities or infections all play a role in causing adrenal fatigue.
You can have an infection and it may not show up in a stool sample when you have a stool test done. Those bacteria and parasites are sometimes hard to track down.
What is the cause of your Hashimoto’s?
Hard to say because the triggers are different for everyone but what we do know is that all of us have this in common
- The right genes
- The triggers of infection, stress, etc- you only need one trigger.
- Leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
Leaky gut is when particles of food or bacteria are allowed to pass between the cells in your small intestines causing an immune response to the foods flowing through your blood stream. Food particles and bacteria are not supposed to be in your blood stream. Your small intestines are supposed to absorb the nutrients from your food and keep the bad guys flowing through the digestive tract until they are excreted in your stool.
Once you heal your gut, the journey to health becomes all that much shorter.
Gluten sensitivity is common in autoimmune diseases, especially Hashimoto’s and if you have any autoimmune disease the first thing you should do is remove gluten from your diet. Big Sigh.
For some this may be the only thing they have to do. For others it may be more complicated. There may be more food sensitivities. You may need to have some IgG testing done to see what foods are causing harm. Some of the most common ones besides gluten are dairy, soy, grains in general, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), nuts or seeds.
If you don’t have IgG testing done you can do an elimination diet. This is where you eat a clean diet for three or four weeks and then reintroduce one food every three or four days. You then watch for a reaction. A reaction can be itchy skin or other skin reactions, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, or even fatigue.
You may have had an infection that triggered Hashimoto’s such as Epstein-Barr or any of the herpes viruses. Bacterial infections, parasites or yeast can all affect the immune system to the point of irritation.
You can get tested with a practitioner for viruses or parasites. It may take a little detective work.
What supplements are important for improving thyroid health?
- Probiotics. You need a balance of good bacteria and “bad” bacteria. You can get them from supplements or from fermented foods. They can help improve symptoms of anxiety besides helping to heal the gut.
- Selenium. Many of us with Hashimoto’s are deficient in this mineral. Do you have white spots on your fingernails? That is a sure sign of a mineral deficiency which is most probably a selenium deficiency. It is important for reduction of damage to tissues and also helps to reduce anxiety.
- Betaine HCl. If you have low stomach acid you are deficient in Betaine HCl with pepsin. You need adequate stomach acid to digest the protein you consume. Not doing so can lead to food sensitivities which will mean more inflammation and issues with your immune system. Proteins are also the building blocks of the body so you need to break down your protein in to amino acids for use throughout the body. Not digesting your food can also cause fatigue because your body is using more energy to try to get it digested.
- Systemic or Proteolytic Enzymes. You take them in between meals. They can help reduce the antibodies against the thyroid. To put it very simply, they kind of help clean out all the junk in the body that is causing inflammation.
Before you decide you need all of these or other supplements, you really want to take a look at the symptoms you are experiencing. You may not need selenium or systemic enzymes. Make sure you find a practitioner to work with whether that is me or someone else. I work with people in 2 and 4 month packages which I have found brings on the best results. Need help? Let's Talk. Fill out the contact form on my website for a free strategy session.