Help For Hashimoto's Episode 2

In this second episode, we talk about how our immune system is affected by gluten and why it is important to avoid it to ensure our thyroid can stay healthy. We discuss how to go gluten free, how I went gluten free and where to find hidden sources of gluten. 

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I have Hashimotos and I’m hypo. 

I’m tired of feeling bad everyday. I wake up and go to bed feeling bad. I have no energy throughout the day and I have 3 children to take care of. I’m unable to work due to my anxiety and depression. I have no support at home. 

I haven’t my house in 3 days. I feed my children whatever is quick and something I don’t have to stand over the stove and cook. I’m tired of being this way. I’m tired of being tired. It feels like I don’t belong here. I need help—-

LITTLE BY LITTLE, A LITTLE BECOMES A LOT.  I have been there. When I was first diagnosed I had a 2 year old and a baby. I remember my tongue feeling heavy and it felt really hard to talk. I remember writing a check and feeling like it was so much effort to move the pen across the paper. 

My first best guess is that you are either not on the right dose of medication or you are not able to convert the T4 in your medication to the form your cells need which is free t3. 

If you can, search for a doctor willing to test more than TSH which is a test looking at what your brain is telling your thyroid to do. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is coming from the pituitary gland. When the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood is low, it is stimulated to send a message to the thyroid to make more hormone. When there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood it is stimulated to tell the thyroid to make less. So when you have a high TSH (mine was 150 when I was first diagnosed and then the doctor was happy with it around 5 despite the fact that I still felt terrible) it means you are in a hypothyroid state or your thyroid has been told to slow down. When your TSH is really low that means you are in a hyperthyroid state and your thyroid has been told to speed up. The reason why your number is what it is, is dependent upon your bioindividuality. TSH can vary from day to day as well so when you go in, you are getting a picture of how things are working at that moment. This is true of many blood tests.  The other problem here is the way the lab ranges were made. The “normal” range was set based on a group of healthy and sick patients. Some with thyroid conditions, and some without so the range is not necessarily based on healthy people. Most healthy folks have a range at or around 2.5. Personally, I am feeling much better at just below one. I am on compounded medication though and so that makes the TSH test result lower than normal. The problem is your doctor may have a lab range that shows 8 as normal which for most people will make you feel sluggish, tired when you wake up or need to sleep 10-12 hours or more, gain weight, lose hair, feel cold and generally not feel well. This is why it is so important to find a practitioner who will treat you based on your symptoms and not just on your labs. Take note that a normal or low TSH number doesn’t mean you don’t have low thyroid function. 

Free T3 and Free T4 measure the levels of the active hormone in your body. Free T3 is a more accurate indication that your thyroid is working properly. The free in these means they are available for your body to use. 

Depression is really common in people who are on T4 only medications. If that is the case for you, switching to a Natural Desiccated Thyroid Hormone Medication could help you out a lot. Before you even do that though, you really should take a look at your diet. If you body is not nourished it can’t do what it needs to do because certain biochemical processes in the body need certain nutrients to do their job. For example, the enzyme that makes T3 free for the cells to take up is very sensitive to things like malnutrition, inflammation and toxicity in the body and will not work as well. 

The major nutrients needed to make our thyroid work well are: iron, B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium, selenium, zinc and iodine. 

TPO Antibodies (Thyroid peroxidase)- this is an enzyme that is needed to produce thyroid hormone. 

TG Antibodies (antithyroglobulin)- this is a protein carrier for your thyroid hormone. 

These two mean your immune system has produced antibodies to attack because they perceive a problem. When these are present, it can make using the other labs useless because an unmanaged autoimmune condition can cause you to swing between hyper and hypo. 

What are your symptoms?

What I am seeing here for your symptoms are no energy, basically tired all the time, and anxiety and depression. You also state you have no support at home. I’m sorry. That makes it especially hard and I get how you feel. I didn’t have a lot of support in the beginning either. I suffered for years and my family suffered because I suffered. My kids, between toddler and early teenage years had a mom who had zero energy. who was angry all the time, who didn’t sleep at night and therefore was totally crabby. Everyone felt like they had to walk on eggshells around me and I have a lot of guilt over that. It took changing my diet without support for me to really see a change in my mood and my energy. Figuring out which foods were sucking the life out of me helped a lot. 

So, diet first. You can manage the autoimmune portion of the thyroid (the hashimoto’s) with nutrition. Start with gluten free, then dairy free and then you would want to consider an autoimmune protocol diet/elimination diet. You probably will find that the changes in diet will be life changing for you. 

You may need to take some supplements as well. Get your vitamin D checked to see if it is low and if you supplement with it, monitor your levels to make sure you don’t over do it. 

A lot of us will have iron deficiency as well. Get a full iron panel, especially ferritin. You need a ferritin level of around 75 for T4 to convert to T3. If you have a ton of inflammation you might have high levels of ferritin so as you change your diet, and reduce inflammation in the body, you should have this checked as well. 

Almost all of us are magnesium deficient. It does a lot of stuff in the body. 

We need selenium for enzyme systems in the body that help the thyroid work well. Chelated selenium is recommended at a dose of 100-200mcg a day. 

Zinc- important for us to make enough HCl to digest our food but also important in T4 to T3 conversion as well. 

It is also very important to manage your blood sugar. This can be done with diet and I often find people need support to do this but if you can do it on your own, great. 

You may need fish oil and a B complex as well but I recommend working with someone to figure out just what your body needs. 

Best of luck to you on your journey. 

 

NEXT Q

Hi. My insomnia, fatigue, and short term memory problems have been really bad lately. I don't know what to do. My newest endo wants me to chase down a whole bunch of other possible reasons for my symptoms. I suppose there's always a possibility that I've developed another autoimmune disease that causes the same symptoms. But, I'm exhausted. I feel like I'm being sent down a rabbit trail that I'll never get off of. I need something that works. Tell me honestly, how much better did those symptoms in particular improve with diet and exercise? I hate always feeling this way.

Does anyone ever have issues controlling the temperature of your body? Like being too hot or too cold? Is this part of Hashi’s?

I was diagnosed with hashimotos after my daughter was born a little less than 3 years ago. My whole life I was a size 5 and now I’m a size 14 and can’t seem to lose weight. My levels seem to like to jump around a bit but currently are level.

What I want to know is what do you do about the lack of energy? I have no energy. I don’t even know where to start with diets or what to do. What are diets that have helped? Anything!!! My energy is so low that I can barely get up some days.  Also all I have currently is a family doctor. Should I be trying to get connected with another kind?

  1. Diet- yes diet helps. AIP, Paleo, gf/df, sugar free, managing blood sugar. Find a practitioner to help you. 
  2. Diet will help with weight and energy
  3. Temperature issues can be related to the kind of medication you are on. Natural Desiccated Thyroid hormone can help with this. Either way you are probably not on the right dose of medication and/or it can be that your have low iron. Eating meat and liver especially is a great way to get liver from diet.  Low iron is a big deal for us. I said earlier that ferritin is super important here but a full iron panel is very helpful. TIBC or total iron binding capacity is measuring the ability of transferrin to bring iron to parts of your body. This will be high when your total iron stores are too low.  Serum iron measures what is circulating in blood on transferrin. Next you want to look at the percent of saturation. If this is low, supplementation may be needed. If you need to take a supplement of iron you should be monitored by your doctor as you can get too much. 
    1. Another option here is that you could have an issue with your hypothalamus/pituitary axis. Working on your thyroid and adrenal health will help this a lot.  Our adrenals are directly related to the HPA axis, play a big role in managing our blood sugar and also help us respond to stress. If you have any amount of chronic stress at all and consume the standard american diet then you likely will have an issue with this. Diet, again is so important here. 

I see so many people struggle with making diet changes and I just want to say that you can do it. YOu have to want to be well more than you want to be sick. You have to want to let go of what is a crutch for some of us- we are not our disease, it doesn’t have us. We can manage it. 

Pork Patties with sweet potatoes recipe

Chicken Hashbrown recipe from The Healing Kitchen

Hidden Sources of Gluten in The Paleo Approach

Day 3 on The Elemental Diet

This is published 2 months after the three days I spent on the elemental diet. I had the post written down but life got in the way and it is just getting out now.

I slept well again. Felt pretty good and energy was good. I was really not looking forward to drinking this stuff one more day. The actual smell of it, even though it smells like vanilla frosting, was becoming repulsive. I can do almost anything for three days though so I powered through.  

I didn’t have my first scoops of Elemental Formula until about 9am. I ended up hurrying to get some things done in the morning and had my second 2 scoops at about 11:00. I took my daughter and her friend to our county fair for the afternoon and ended up with low blood sugar after a couple hours of walking around. I pre made some formula and brought it with but I found myself feeling exhausted. I sat down and drank 4 scoops in about 30 minutes. By the end of the day I was starving so I drank the rest of the last of it by 6pm and thought I would be fine. 

I was not. I was starving by about 8pm. I was shaky and had some serious brain fog. I also wanted to eat everything in sight. I didn’t, but I wanted to. 

We were at a restaurant and sitting outside. It was a nice night. Everything smelled so good which didn’t help the hunger pangs. I didn’t want to ruin all the good work I did for my body so left and went to our campsite and had some bone broth. I had two mugs of it before going to bed and I felt pretty good. 

While the elemental diet wasn’t miserable, I do not wish to do it again any time soon. I think the low blood sugar issues were a problem on days I was more active so I would consider discussing with your practitioner what your activity level is and adjust your caloric needs based on that. 

I did enjoy how I felt for the most part on the diet. I also enjoyed the freedom from having to decide what to eat and what to cook. It was a nice break. I didn’t crave anything until I was super hungry and that was quite freeing. 

My next three days were spent doing a three day cleanse which you can learn about here. If you want to learn more about the functional medicine clinic I work at you can do that here.  

You can read about Day One on the diet here and Day Two on the diet here