Help For Hashimoto's Episode 17

ITunes Review: 

Stephanie, Thank you so much for a wonderful podcast. I love that you keep it real while answering difficult questions for us. You have a very calming and peaceful voice and I am always so encouraged listening to your podcasts. Keep them coming. We are listening and learning. 


What do you do if you forget to take your medication? 

Half life- a half life in the world of medications means the amount of time it takes for the concentration of the medication in your blood plasma to reduce by half.  Said another way- it is how long a drug stays in your system or the amount of time it takes for the effectiveness of a drug to reduce by half. 

If you are taking levothyroxine, the half life is 6-7 days and up to 9 or 10 days if you are dealing with hypothyroid conditions. If you have hyperthyroid conditions then it can be as little as three days. Nothing seems to be easy with this disease. 

Levothyroixine is a common treatment and most likely what your doctor will prescribe unless you have a doctor open or more knowledgeable in thyroid health. 

For practical purposes we will go with a 7 day half life for levothyroxine. When you take this medication, around 80% of it goes through your system over a longer period of time, like several hours. 

According to the Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, missing a day shouldn’t have a big effect on you. They also say that T4 is absorbed very well by the body so waiting an hour to take your medication before eating might not necessarily be required. Taking it on an empty stomach will give you a more stable TSH reading though. But since we all know that TSH should not be the gold standard, that maybe shouldn’t matter. 

The reason you usually have to wait 6 weeks to have your labs tested is because of this long half life. It takes about 6 weeks before your body has adjusted to a dose. 

However, if your digestion is not working well and we are going to talk about that in a minute, then you may have issues with absorption and of creation of T3 from your T4 only medication. 

There can be an issue in concentration of medication between manufacturers which can mess with your body. So, be proactive and let your pharmacy know that you do not want them to switch your medication without your knowledge. Remember that getting this dose right is like goldilocks- it needs to be just right. 

This same textbook also says that NDT is not a good choice for treatment and that TSH is the gold standard so- take it for what it is worth. 

A NDT like Armour has a half life of 2-7 days with the T3 having a half life of 4-6 hours. So if you take your medication with T3 in it at 8am then sometime between 12pm and 2pm you have about half of the original dose of medication in your system. Your cells will have used the rest of it. But it should last you about a day. This means half is gone in 4-6 hours, another half of the half (a quarter more ) will be used in another 4-6 hours and so on. 

T3 is used up faster because your body doesn’t have to convert it like it does T4. This is why it is a good idea to take a partial dose in the morning and a partial dose in the afternoon. 

Now let’s talk about what happens when our digestion isn’t working well because this is very important for our thyroid to work well. 

Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme. It makes thyroid hormones by cleaving off an iodine molecule and adding it to the amino acid tyrosine on thyroglobulin which then makes T4 and T3. In order for this to happen, we need to have available to us: selenium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, vitamin A. 

You should not just go and willy nilly supplement with these vitamins and minerals. There are many factors involved here and supplementing with some of these may make things worse in the long run. So it is a good idea to either do a lot of your own research or work with someone who knows how to work with your condition. 

Our gut or gastro intestinal tract is an important factor in our thyroid health but even before that, what we eat and how we break it down in our stomach is a key factor. 

Before we even talk about what you are eating, let’s talk about how you are eating it. Are you running through the drive through before or after your kids activities? Are you eating in the car or eating while you are doing something else?  Are you relaxed or stressed while you are eating?

Any of those scenarios will mean you are going to struggle with breaking down your meal before it even gets to your small intestine where most of the nutrients are absorbed. 

Digestion actually starts in the brain. We smell our food cooking and our brain signals the production of saliva so we can break down some of that food in our mouth while chewing. Are you chewing your food well? Like 20-30 chews per bite? Really breaking it down so the enzymes in your saliva can begin digesting the carbohydrates in your meal?

Once you have chewed well, you swallow and that ball of food goes in to your stomach and stomach acid and pepsin get to work digesting or breaking down proteins. 

Do you have acid reflux after eating? (there is more about this in the audio)

Once it is broken down in the stomach and reaches the right pH then the valve between your stomach and your small intestine opens and fats are broken down by the release of bile and nutrients are extracted in the small intestine and absorbed in to the blood stream. 

Here is where your gut health comes in to play since leaky gut or Intestinal Permeability are what contributes to autoimmunity. 

We need a balance of gut bacteria in our intestines to help us convert T4 to T3 there. If we are not eating right or digesting well then we will have an imbalance of bacteria and intestinal permeability. 

We can end up with parasites, overgrowth of candida and constipation- all with their own contributions to our failing health. 

When we have hypothyroid- we have a sluggish gallbladder which means we might struggle to digest our dietary fats and then we are making thick and viscous bile which further messes up the gallbladder function. When this is not working well, we are not detoxifying as well either. so we can’t break down hormones or toxins from our environment. 

How are you pooping? No one wants to talk about it but you must be moving stool through your body and going every 16-24 hours. Your BM should be the size of your forearm from your wrist to your elbow, it should come out with ease and you should feel relieved when you are done and not like you still have to go. 

Being constipated further contributes to the “bad guys” overgrowing in your Small Intestine and causing bacterial infections, you may experience chronic pain, inflammation, digestive issues, food intolerances and Hashimoto’s. 

With all of this happening, we can also have issues dumping estrogen and so it can accumulate. This can cause hypothyroidism that you won’t see on a blood test according to Datis Kharrazian in Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms. This excess estrogen will keep the thyroid hormones from getting to the cells- causing hypothyroid symptoms. 

So you see, taking supplements without first healing the gut is pointless. It is a band aid at best. The only supplement you may need at this point is some stomach acid- Betaine HCl so you can start to break down your food and get those nutrients to your cells, kill off some of the bad guys and bring things back in balance. 

You will see improvement in chronic inflammation from changing what you eat and the way you eat it. Start with your plate. With breakfast. Make some bone broth. That is the next recipe to go out in my newsletter so sign up for that. 

So reduce inflammation by cutting out gluten, dairy products, eggs, most other grains, soy products and yeast. Yeast can feed an already out of control candida overgrowth. These are some of the big allergens, in other grains it is best to avoid corn for sure. 

This gives your body a chance to calm down so it can properly react to foods. 

You need to be on an elimination diet for 3 weeks to 3 months depending on how sick you are, how inflamed, or how long you went untreated for Hashimoto’s. In addition to this, you can do something called a FIT test

What can you eat?  There are no notes for this. It’s only on the audio. 


Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?

Against All Grain

Meals Made Simple


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.