Help For Hashimoto's Episode 10

Welcome to episode 10. I hope this day finds you well and that everyday in every way you are getting better and better. 

Let’s get started. I got a question from Jordan. 

Hello Stephanie,     

    I'm very intrigued by your podcasts and enjoyed the free EBook! I was diagnosed with hashimotos auto-immune 2 years ago I've been on levothyroxine and my t3 remains high my T4 remains low but my tsh is always within normal ranges! My hair is terribly dry, brittle and gray and at the ripe age of 30 I'm heading to being bald! My bowels are Terrible to the point I was believing I had Celiac's or a gluten or wheat allergy until I listen to the podcast! I'm extremely overweight and I'm working hard on that as I'm 60lbs down! I have several of the symptoms of the adrenal fatigue except once I fall asleep I stay asleep and want to sleep hours upon hours! I'm writing to you to see if you could recommend to me some vitamins or suggestions so I can feel better. I'm a single mother on a extremely tight budget!  Thank you for your time! 

        Jordan

In the early stages of hashimoto’s people can have symptoms of both hypothyroidsim and hyperthyroidism. You can have palpitations, tremors, be really thin and have anxiety. You can have the dry brittle hair that is falling out and you can feel like you are going crazy. 

In hashimoto’s, your immune system is attacking the thyroid gland causing bits of thyroid hormone to be released in to the blood stream making you feel like you are experiencing hyperthyroidism. 

So what is happening? What will the issues be that you may have?

  • food sensitivities
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • adrenal fatigue
  • possibly an infection in your gut
  • poor detoxification- you are not able to clear out toxins

Any or all of these will keep your immune system on high alert and continue the attack on your thyroid. 

The high T3 is probably what is causing your hair to fall out. This can be indicative of high antibodies and since you have a diagnosis of hashimoto’s this could be what is going on here. You can ask to have your thyroglobulin antibodies along with the thyroid peroxidase antibodies tested. This should confirm why T3 is high. 

Low t4 can indicate disease in the thyroid or a problem with the pituitary gland or the signal that tells your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. Your TSH is in the normal range, you said- I assume that is conventional range. If it is above three, functional medicine would consider that high. So, The pituitary gland would release TSH if t4 is low and a high TSH level would probably mean the thyroid itself isn’t working well and you would have hypothyroidism.  If t4 is low and TSH is not high then the pituitary gland is not signaling correctly. This is something you would want to discuss with your doctor. 

You also need to take a look at all of these things to bring down the inflammation and hopefully put your hashimoto’s in to remission. 

You may have deficiencies in the micro minerals like selenium, zinc, vitamin D, iron, B12 and B vitamins in general. First and foremost though you need to see if you have low stomach acid.     

Let’s start with Selenium: 

Many of us with hashimoto’s are deficient in this micro mineral which can be one of the things that causes us to get hashimoto’s. It helps to break down and make neutral the free radicals made during thyroid hormone production. If we are low on selenium, damage to the thyroid can occur and our ability to convert T4 to the T3 (which is what our cells take in) is affected. Take around 200 micrograms of this one. It has been shown to help reduce thyroid antibodies. 

Vitamin D:  

This helps to regulate our immune system and remember that hashimoto’s is an immune system problem first and foremost.  Your levels should be around 60-80 when you have it tested for optimal immune system regulation. 

D3 is the more absorbable form and you should make sure that it is in a capsule or liquid form with some kind of high quality fat like olive oil or MCT oil (a broken down portion of coconut oil). It is a fat soluble vitamin so you need to take it with fat for your body to use it. 

Good food sources for vitamin D are cod liver oil, fish, eggs and sunlight

B12-

If you have major fatigue, you should have your levels of B12 tested. It plays a role in digestion too so you want to make sure you are, again, making enough stomach acid. Most of us with hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism have low stomach acid. 

When you have low stomach acid, you don’t digest your food well which means your body has to work harder to break it down which requires energy. 

One of the possible causes for the low stomach acid is a B12 deficiency. And a B12 deficiency can cause low stomach acid. Vicious cycle. If you don’t have enough stomach acid you can’t get the nutrients including B12 and iron out of your food. You won’t be breaking down your meals as well and this can lead to food sensitivities. 

Betaine HCl with Pepsin. This is stomach acid in capsule or pill form. I recommend starting out with around 150mg pill to see where you are at. It will help you digest and break down your food better so you can use the nutrients in your food. 

Next, Probiotics. 

Intestinal permeability plays a pretty big role in autoimmune disease. One of the things linked to it is having your gut bacteria out of balance. Having more “bad guys” than “good guys” can cause gut issues and anxiety. You have about 100 trillion bacteria in your gut. 

Start with a 10 billion CFU per capsule and increase every couple of days until you see or feel die off symptoms. The die off is the bad guys dying out and the good guys taking over. The bad bacteria will release toxins that might make you feel bad for a couple of days. This can also exacerbate the inflammation and immune response so make sure  you have good eliminations and are drinking plenty of water. 

One of the best ways to get a lot of good bacteria in to your digestive tract is by consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut- not canned sauerkraut but the raw fermented kind found in the refrigerator sections of stores or find it at farmers markets. Or make it yourself. It is so easy to do and really inexpensive. 

Here is a good explanation of what leaky gut or intestinal permeability is and how it affects the immune system from Sean Croxton: 

“think of a window screen. And I say, “It’s a hot day. You open up the windows. And the good air comes through to cool the place off. And it feels nice and good and what not. But it keeps all the bugs, the flies, the gnats and the mosquitos out of the house. And that’s how the gut works. It’s very selective about what it allows through into the bloodstream or wherever.

“But if some kid came over to your house and started poking big holes in your window screen, then what happens is you open up the window. And gnats might come in. Flies might come in. What do you do? You start grabbing a magazine and like whacking away and stuff. And that’s what your immune system does, right? It says, “Wait. This isn’t supposed to be here. So let’s start whacking away.” And now we’ve got a problem. We’ve got an overactive immune system.”

Glutamine- 

This will help heal your small intestine where intestinal permeability happens. It helps to repair the lining of your small intestine where new cells are made every 3 or so days. 

Zinc can also be helpful in repairing leaky gut and in helping you make enough stomach acid. 

If you are dealing with any kind of adrenal fatigue: 

This would mean your brain is not communicating with the pituitary gland to help your adrenals manage stress. This is called the HPA axis and it also helps to regulate the immune system. When we are stressed, this system doesn’t work well. 

If you are dealing with adrenal fatigue you may feel: 

  • overwhelmed
  • tired even with 8 hours of sleep
  • like staying in bed in the morning
  • a craving for salty foods
  • daily things are too much to handle
  • brain fog
  • little to no sex drive 
  • like you can’t make a decision

Adaptogenic herbs like American Ginseng, ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, Cordyceps and Chaga mushrooms, and/or holy basil and licorice root may be helpful. 

You should work with a practitioner to find out if you are in need of supplementation here. 

Some things that can help you manage your hashimoto’s is your diet. 

  • Being gluten free, dairy free or try an elimination diet to help you figure out which foods you are sensitive to. This will also naturally help you balance your blood sugar which will also help give your adrenal glands a break. 
  • Make sure you are eating protein of some kind at every meal, including breakfast and eat breakfast within an hour of getting up. Don’t skip any meals and don’t do any fasting. 
  • Eat 4-5 meals per day for a week or so to give your blood sugar regulation system a break. 
  • Have a snack of protein and fat or a starch before bed. Make sure any carbs you are eating are eaten with protein. 
  • Avoid caffeine

A word of caution on supplements. Please don’t go buy them at your local big box store or the corner pharmacy store. Don’t buy them on Amazon either. I suggest at the very least to buy from Vitamin Shoppe or from your local food coop or even Whole Foods. You should work with a practitioner that can help you find just what you need though

The reason for this is there is no regulation on supplements. They don’t have rules in manufacturing or labeling. Some supplements won’ t even have the ingredients stated on their label or the dose can be way off. Some might have gluten or dairy in them and you might have a sensitivity to it. This is one case where quality really matters. 

A practitioner should be able to find what is most bioavailable for you since there are multiple chemical formulations of certain nutrients and some work better than others. Some are more expensive than others to manufacture. 

You also need to make sure you start with low doses so as not to over do it.  You just don’t know how your body will react to a new supplement. Starting slowly with lower doses will help you catch a reaction to it before it gets too bad. 

There is no magic supplement that will fix the hashimoto’s or anything for that matter. Some of these will definitely help you on your journey to healing or remission or whatever you want to call it. 

My top picks would be Hydrozyme from Biotics which is a lower dose stomach acid supplement and diet changes first and foremost. You can get that by going to www.getbiotics.com and using my practitioner code DFILC163. 

When starting a dose of stomach acid, remember to take a few bites of your protein based meal, take a pill, take a bite of food, take a pill and you do this until you feel a little burning sensation. Then you know to take one less than what gave you the burning sensation. 

Thanks so much for listening. Please tell anyone you know who has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s to listen in and if you would be so kind as to leave a review on iTunes so more people can find this podcast that would be great too. My goal is to help as many people as possible to feel better and beat this disease. 

Got a question about your thyroid or hashimoto’s? Please send your questions to helpforhashimotos@gmail.com or head on over to my website and fill out the contact form there. 

You can find me at www.outofthewoodsnutrition.com or www.helpforhashimotos.com  I’m on Instagram at @Stephanieewalsntp which is where I post the most and on facebook at Out of The Woods Nutrition

See you next time. 

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. 

.

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. 

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