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. 

Do I Need a Calcium Supplement?

The short answer here is that you may not need one. Most of us get enough calcium in our diets but lack the needed cofactors to use and assimilate the calcium. 

Foods that are rich in calcium

  • Sardines

  • Sesame Seeds

  • Collard Greens

  • Spinach

  • Turnip Greens

  • Mustard Greens

  • Beet Greens

  • Natto (fermented soy)

  • Egg Yolks

  • Dark Meat Chicken.

You do not have to consume dairy products to get enough calcium but if you do, the best sources of dairy calcium are raw milk, yogurt and cheese (Jarlsberg in particular). 

Calcium makes up about 2% of your body weight contributing to bone structure as well as playing a role in controlling muscle and nerve function.  We definitely need calcium but you may not need to supplement with it as long as you are eating a well balanced diet. Too much calcium in the diet can deposit itself in places like blood vessels and as kidney stones in the kidneys. 

While calcium is essential for muscle contraction, magnesium serves as a calcium blocker. It is the calcium in too high amounts that creates a muscle cramp and magnesium that creates the relaxation. So it is important for these two to be in balance especially when it comes to your heart. 

It is not enough to try to replace these minerals that may be lacking in the diet. They need to be in balance and we need to be asking ourselves why there is an imbalance in the first place. 

Some things to look at to see whether or not your body is able to use the calcium in your diet are: 

How are your hormones functioning? Your parathyroid plays a very big role in maintaining blood calcium levels, thyroid hormone decreases blood calcium levels, adrenal hormones control sodium and potassium which have a relationship with calcium and sex hormones play a role in bone structure. Vitamin D works like a hormone in the body. We need it to increase the absorption through the digestive system. More on that later. 

Are you drinking enough water? Good hydration ensures that blood is fluid or thin and free flowing enough to efficiently transport calcium throughout the body. Having balanced electrolytes will help make sure calcium is transferred in and out of the cells. 

Are you getting enough other minerals in your diet? You should not only be looking at the amount of minerals you are getting in your diet (from food) but are they in balance with the amount of calcium you are getting. 

Are you digesting your fats or taking in quality fats?  Fatty acids are needed to transport calcium in to the cells and help increase calcium levels in the tissues. 

Is your digestion working properly? Calcium is only absorbed in an acidic environment and so it needs adequate stomach acid for the body to be able to use it. 

 There are two other factors that come in to play in regards to calcium and our ability to use it properly in the body. 

Vitamin K and Vitamin D. 

First let’s look at Vitamin K which has two forms. K1 and K2. This is a very simplified explanation of K1 and K2 as there are more forms of Vitamin K that play very specific roles in the body but for the purposes of this post I am keeping it simple for you all. If you want to learn about these vitamins in greater detail google Chris Masterjohn. He has made a career out of studying fat soluble vitamins. 

Vitamin K2 Health Benefits

It prevents calcium from going in to all the wrong places, as discussed above, like keeping it out of your kidneys where stones can form and the blood vessels where it can contribute or cause heart disease. It also helps get it in to your bones and teeth where your bones will get strong and your teeth will be able to fight off decay.

It helps you make insulin and helps to prevent insulin resistance. Remember this is when your cells turn the insulin carrying glucose away because they have had too much. In this way it helps to keep your blood sugar stable. It also helps you use energy properly making exercise a little easier and protects you from cancer.   

Vitamin K comes in different forms with K1 being the most well known for helping with blood clotting so you want to avoid supplementing with Vitamin K if you are on an anticoagulant. K1 is found mostly in plants and especially in leafy greens and K2 is found most often in animal products. This is a fat soluble vitamin so you might notice that the animal products it is found in are naturally higher in fat so you can use it. This is why I tell my clients and students to eat their veggies with a little bit of fat so they can actually use the vitamins in the plant. 

Vitamin D Health Benefits

This fat soluble vitamin plays a big role in your overall health by impacting around 3000 of your genes. It turns on or off the genes that prevent or make worse diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, MS, gum disease, IBS, colds and flu and many more. 

Much of the population is deficient in Vitamin D, especially those with darker skin and those living in the north. Most of us need about ten times what the Recommended Daily Allowance is (600 IU per day for RDA) and the very best way to get it is by getting sunlight daily or taking a high quality supplement. Be aware though that if you supplement you need to have your levels checked regularly by a doctor because you can take too much. 

Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium and vitamin K2 sends the calcium to your bones, again, keeping it from depositing in the wrong places.  A build up of plaque in the arteries results from a damaged blood vessel having calcium deposited there so that you can remain alive. This is how heart disease begins. A build up of this kind of plaque can result in an eventual heart attack. Remember that sugar and processed foods are what cause the damage to the blood vessels in the first place.  Vitamin K and D work together to protect your blood vessels from this plaque formation. 

If you are taking calcium and vitamin D supplements but are deficient in K, you could be doing more harm than good than if you didn’t take a calcium supplement at all because that calcium is just one part of your overall bone and heart health. 

Bottom line:

  • You may not need a calcium supplement, you are probably getting enough from your diet.

  • You need good digestion.

  • You need to be well hydrated.

  • You need to do some weight bearing exercise like walking or lifting weights.

  • You need those good quality fats in your diet and you need to digest them.

  • You need to optimize your vitamin D intake (and get some sun) and check your blood levels regularly.

  • Get K2 from leafy greens, fermented veggies, or raw milk cheeses

  • Eat a wide and varied diet of real whole foods.

 

Tell me in the comments. Do you take a calcium supplement or a vitamin D supplement? Do you spend time outside getting some sunshine?