Your immune system and Hashimoto's; Adaptive vs. Innate immunity in Hashimoto’s Episode 38

Welcome to episode 38.

I am 3/4’s the way through a year of podcasting. Thanks for sticking with me and hanging out. I really appreciate it. My end goal is to help as many people as possible have a great quality of life with autoimmune disease.

You can help me with that by sharing this podcast with people you know dealing with thyroid issues and by leaving a rating or a review. I have enjoyed reading the reviews and honestly avoided them for awhile because I didn’t want to see if there were any bad ones. Thankfully there weren’t any. Anyway, I am grateful to those of you leaving reviews. 

Someone in Denver who rides the train to work listens and I want to thank you! I do this for you! So you can begin to feel your best. 

I’ve had a busy week and didn’t do so well with eating enough last week. I had not prepped any food which always makes for days where I just skip a meal which is so bad for my adrenals and my blood sugar. My blood sugar is so sensitive which I think is keeping me from losing the 5-10 pounds I have gained over the last year or two. I have not done anything different with my diet but menopause and insulin resistance have made of mess of my body. I have regularly done the autoimmune strong workouts over the last month- I’m getting them in at least three days a week. I hate working out but I want to be strong as I get older so I just do it anyway. 

I ate out a lot this past weekend but we are so fortunate to have some really cool restaurants that serve at least Paleo type foods. I had a green curry with pastured chicken and organic veggies twice in the last week from a great restaurant called French Meadow in Minneapolis. They have a lot of gluten free options which is so nice and the food is good. It tastes like it is made from scratch.  

I had a yucca crust pepperoni pizza with a cheese made from pumpkin seeds and a chicken curry dish to bring home from another place called Sassy Spoon. They are 100% gluten free which is nice. They are another from scratch type restaurant. 

This weekend I was at a party for a family member and there were gluten free cookies for dessert and I had at least one whole cookie if not a little more. I could feel the effects of that right away on my neck and my face began to itch like crazy. So, despite wanting to devour a ton of them, I didn’t. I didn’t want to suffer the physical consequences. That party had a taco bar with corn tortillas but I skipped the tortilla and just had the meat, lettuce and guacamole with a little salsa- so basically a taco salad. Pretty easy to modify that one if you can tolerate tomatoes. 

On Saturday morning I made my breakfast soup and chicken and veggie stir fry with lots of garlic to eat for the week. As long as I have food to eat during the week, every thing seems to go better for me. My moods are better, sleep is better, energy is better. It is just a matter of taking the time to make the food. 

Monday I ate at a place called Foxy Falafel which even has Autoimmune Protocol menu items. I tolerate chickpeas so I had their falafel which is such a treat. We even got their egg free, gluten free, dairy free brownie and chocolate chip cookie. I over indulged but I have not been to that restaurant in 2 ½ years so it was okay with me. They also sold Hu chocolate which is pretty darn good. 

After all that indulgence over the last week, I filled up on my green juice made in my vitamix which consists of a lemon, 2 stalks of celery, ¼ of an english cucumber, a handful of parsley, water and ice. I always feel really good after drinking that and it kickstarts my digestion for the day. 

Sauerkraut has been in regular rotation too. That helps my digestion work better as well. We have our old refrigerator full of it and everyone complains about the smell. It is sort of infiltrating the whole refrigerator. I love it! 

I’ve been doing hamburger patties on a bed of lettuce too. Quick and easy. 

Okay- let’s get started on todays subject. It is an important one to understand because it plays a big role in your autoimmune disease. 

Today we are talking about your immune system and Hashimoto’s. This episode has some scientific terms in it but I think I have broken it down to make it easier to understand. It is important for you to know how your body works and the immune system is a pretty big deal.

It is our biggest line of defense with many kinds of cells, antibodies, proteins and chemicals all working together like a country’s military defense system works to protect a nation. 

The immune system is divided in to the innate immune system aka the non-specific immune system. This side of the immune system is highly involved in inflammation- like when you hurt yourself and you get a bruise or a bump. When you cut yourself and the area gets all red and becomes scabbed. The job of the immune cells in innate is to keep pathogens out. It acts quickly and does not specify or target any one thing. For the most part, it cannot tell the difference between an invader, damaged cells or healthy cells so healthy tissue sometimes gets damaged. So if you have chronic stress causing inflammation or some kind of infection that won’t go away, this side of the immune system produces chronic inflammation. 

The other side of our immune system is the adaptive immune system which is very specific about the attacks it launches. We will talk a little more about this side in a minute. 

Your immune system needs to be regulated in order for your Hashimoto’s disease to be managed. 

Our immune system is on guard for antigens. Antigens are toxins or other foreign substance which causes an immune response in the body and can create antibodies against it. 

Things like a specific food, mold, bacteria, a chronic virus such as EBV or a parasite. These things irritate the immune system leading to an attack.  Now in Hashimoto’s, gluten is a big antigen which induces an attack on the thyroid gland every time you eat it. Remember that gluten is a protein found in all grains to some degree but the biggies that can be more of a problem for most people are wheat, barley and spelt. 

You can also have an immune response to environmental chemicals or heavy metals but not everyone will develop an immune response to these things.  You might be someone who doesn’t have a huge heavy metal burden or you just don’t react to foods. The exception would be gluten and possibly dairy because the proteins are similar to those of your thyroid so I always recommend people remove those two things from your diet. 

Your immune system might be reactive to bacteria. Many people with Hashimoto’s have antibodies to the bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica. 

Whatever your issue is you need to remove the antigen either by removing the offending food, detox the heavy metal or get rid of the bacteria to calm the immune system and manage Hashimoto’s. 

When dealing with autoimmune disease and specifically Hashimoto’s we want to look at TH-1 and TH-2 cytokines which can be high while T-suppressor cells will be low. 

A cytokine is a category of tiny proteins that work to signal cells of the immune system and are produced by cells in the immune system and a number of other places. They have many jobs in the body one of which is to work with the immune system to protect us. 

T-suppressor cells are also known as regulatory T cells which work to modulate or regulate the immune system and help us maintain tolerance to antigens against our self which helps prevent autoimmune disease. The T regulatory cells are immunosuppressive- they suppress the immune system. 

So, if we have high cytokines and low T-suppressor or T-regulatory cells then you have an immune system that is all out of balance and giving you symptoms of Hashimoto’s and maybe even causing destruction to your thyroid gland. 

Now let’s look at TH-1 and TH-2 cytokines specifically because most of us fall in to either TH-1 dominance or TH-2 dominance. 

TH-1 are T helper cells involved in an innate, or immediate immune system response. This is the adaptive immune system which is a part of the immune system that creates memory after dealing with an antigen. This means it will always remember that particular antigen whether it is a food, mold, heavy metal or parasite or bug. Every time that substance enters your body your innate/adaptive/acquired immune system will attack. It is very specific about what it reacts to. This is the part of our immune system that, once we have measles, will protect us from ever getting it again.  It is the line of defense against the pathogens.  

Sometimes it doesn’t distinguish the difference between an invader from non invader when it enters the body. It gets confused which can result in things like hay fever, asthma or an attack on the thyroid. 

When you have TH-1 dominance your immune system is overactive in the TH-1 pathway.  The majority of people with Hashimoto’s have TH-1 dominance but there are some Hashimoto’s patients with TH-2 dominance. 

You might also switch back and forth between the two depending on what your body is needing or getting too much of. Maybe you are deficient in some minerals or or getting too much of a mineral. These can trigger either TH-1 or TH-2 dominance. 

The best way to manage this is to focus on the whole body. Reduce inflammation throughout the body. Remove the triggers for your immune system. 

Once you have an autoimmune disease, you can put it in remission but you will have it forever and will have to work to manage your diet and lifestyle so your immune system can relax a bit. You must restore balance to the body. 

High TH-1 or TH-2 immune cells block thyroid receptors on your cells so your thyroid hormone cannot get in and do its job giving you symptoms of hypothyroid. 

Type 1 Diabetes, Hashimoto’s, MS and chronic viral infections are associated with TH-1 dominance. 

Lupus, dermatitis, asthma, and chemical sensitivities are mostly associated with TH-2 dominance. 

This is not always the case- remember that. As with everything there are exceptions. 

TH-2 are T helper cells involved in a delayed immune system response. Helper cells work to direct immune system activity as do the regulator cells and suppressor cells stop an immune reaction when needed. 
There are some different ways these immune cells could be affecting you. 

    • You might not make enough of the T-suppressor cells that regulate your immune system and tolerate antigens. Not enough T-suppressor cells keeps the immune system on high alert and attacking self. Your thyroid gland can be a victim of this problem. 

    • Maybe you make too much of the chemical messenger Interleukin-2 (IL-2) that tells other immune cells to attack and kill an invader. Too much of this one puts tissue not involved in the attack at risk of being an innocent bystander that gets attacked. 

    • You might make too many Interleukin-4 (IL-4). This releases B cells that look for intruders and mark them for death. Again, here your thyroid tissue can be damaged. 

    • Not managing your blood sugar or not being able to handle increases in insulin due to consuming sugar and refined carbs can send those B cells in to over production. 

    • Having food sensitivities and eating those foods anyway or dealing with a parasite will increase Interleukin-4 and increase production of the B cells. 

    • A chronic virus such as EBV will increase the Interleukin 2 creating more natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells. 

Let’s get to know what these terms mean. 

Interleukin- these are a type of cytokine. Cytokines are chemical messengers within the immune system cells. Some cytokines kill pathogens on their own. 

B cells- a white blood cell that is circulating in the body and is on the lookout for for antigens that they have antibodies to. When these cells activate, they are quick to divide and grow. Some of these have memory and will forever recognize an antigen when it enters the body. 

Natural Killer cells- white blood cells that go to an infection site to destroy cells infected by a virus. They play a role in the adaptive immune system having a memory to viruses. They do not need to be activated to kill cells in the body. 

Cytotoxic cells- T cells that attack cells infected with a virus and certain bacteria. They release chemicals called cytotoxins which cause infected cells to die. 

Our ultimate goal here is to bring the immune system back in to balance. 

You need to support your immune system and you can start with Vitamin D in the form of cholecalciferol. This specifically supports the T regulatory cells so they can do their job right. Remember these are the ones that help regulate the immune system. 

Make sure you are taking an emulsified version which means it is mixed with some kind of oil so that your body can use it. Poor quality vitamin D supplements with be mixed with soybean oil or with canola oil. Look for one with MCT oil (a form of coconut oil) or I have seen them with olive oil too. Biotics makes a nice one called Bio-D Mulsion Forte. 

Fish oil will also support the T regulatory cells but taking any fish oil in large amounts isn’t a good idea. 

There are some studies to show that people with Hashimoto’s are not able to process vitamin D naturally so they may need higher amounts than the average person. If you have a Vitamin D test that shows normal levels yet your immune system is still struggling and you are doing everything else right to reduce inflammation and immune responses you may think about raising the amount you take. Having high normal levels is best for thyroid patients. 

You may need a therapeutic dose and should have your levels checked by your doctor once a year or more to make sure you don’t over do it. 

Excess vitamin D can cause calcification of the heart, kidneys or lungs and you can have too much calcium circulating in your blood. 

Glutathione (a big antioxidant in the body) in a cream form and superoxide dismutase (an enzyme that acts as an antioxidant to protect your cells). These will both help regulate the immune system. 

Don’t waste your money just trying these to see if they help. Work with someone who can first help you get your diet and lifestyle dialed in, get your digestion working well and making sure you are able to digest fats and absorb vitamins and minerals. 

Back to TH-1 and TH-2 Dominance. It is helpful to know which way you go here so you can know which things will continue to stimulate your TH-1 or TH-2 cells. 

Things that stimulate TH-1: Echinacea, Maitake mushrooms, glycyrrhiza from licorice (so if you take licorice for adrenal health and you feel worse because of it then it could indicate TH-1 dominance), lemon balm. 

Things that stimulate TH-2: caffeine, green tea extract, grape seed extract, pine bark extract, white willow bark, lycopene (found in tomatoes) , resveratrol. Taking any of these will stimulate the immune system further and cause you to feel worse. 

Again, work with someone who can help you with monitoring these things. 

Things that regulate TH-1 and TH-2:  probiotics, vitamin A, vitamin E and colostrum. 

Things that quiet interleukin one that would activate TH-1 or TH-2: Boswellia (frankincense is a species of the Boswellia species), pancreatic enzymes (often sold as digestive enzymes), Turmeric or its compound curcumin. 

It is probably best if you have some sort of immunologic testing done to find out if you are TH-1 or TH-2 dominant before messing around with the things mentioned, aside from Vitamin D. 

You also will want to work on diet, keeping your blood sugar stable, get your adrenal health dialed in and make sure your digestion is working top notch. 

After all of this is completed and you know where your body stands, where your immune system stands then you can work to find those specific antigens, the things triggering the immune response. A gluten free diet is very important because gluten is one of those foods that is inflammatory as I stated in the beginning. 

Healing leaky gut or intestinal permeability will be important too but we can discuss that in another podcast if I haven’t covered it. I don’t remember what I did yesterday hardly and being 38 episodes in, I cannot remember from week to week what I have covered. 

Thanks so much for listening. Again, if you could leave me a review on iTunes, I would really appreciate it. 

I am on a social media break and not sure when to return. I am checking the Help For Hashimoto’s facebook group once a day, otherwise I’m avoiding all social media.  

If you have a question, you can email helpforhashimotos@gmail.com or you can go to my website and fill out the contact form. 

Have a comment or question about this episode? Leave it on the blog post on my website helpforhashimotos.com under episode 38. I’d love to hear from you. You can also get my free ebook 5 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Hypothyroidism while you are there. You’ll get a weekly recipe and some nutritional nugget of information each week. 

I’m taking new clients right now so if you are in need of help navigating your autoimmune disease and especially Hashimoto’s, I am here to help. You can reach out to me on my website. You can make an appointment for a 15 minute free call to see if we are a good fit for working together. 

Until next week my friends. 

Help for Hashimoto's Episode 35- cold hands and feet

Welcome to Episode 35. I’m coming to you from the frozen Tundra of MN where schools are closed and the high temps for the day will be around -15 and the low -31 with windchills reaching -50. When I got up the outdoor temp was -26.

 It is cold here and when you have thyroid problems and you are already cold, this can be an issue for you. Cold hands and feet can’t get warm and sometimes you might even be cold to the bone. 

A few years ago there were nights where I could not get warm enough to fall asleep without a heating blanket, wool socks, a sweatshirt and flannel pajama bottoms with at least 3 blankets on top of me, one of which was down. 

The struggle is real my friends. If you feel like this, you are not alone- cold weather or not.  

I got a question in my inbox about this very issue. Here it is: 

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto in 99, but given no info beyond that.  Had many problems with medication so ended up not using RX but went to Thyrophin PMG but always being ill.  Have been gluten and corn free, low dairy for years.

The past few weeks my feet have felt like they are in ice water, and my temperature has often been 95 degrees, with a hot home and heating pads and baths I can sometimes get up to 97.2 degrees.

I had been forgetting the Thyrophin frequently.

I did get a chill New Years Day.

Do you think the Hashimoto could be why I am so cold?

Unfortunately my MD moved away and there will not be a replacement for some time and I am in a remote area without much for functional medicine.

I will listen to more podcasts tomorrow.

I am taking undenatured whey to reduce hydrogen peroxide,  but can’t get catalase where I am, have upped the Thyrophin and drinking lots of ginger tea,  and bone broth and wondering what else I can do.

Thanks for any advice you can give me,

Sandy 


Thanks for your question Sandy. No doubt you will be helping many people by having wrote in and asked me this. It is a common problem. 

I would like to know what kind of problems you had on your medication. Perhaps you just didn’t feel great? Maybe you had heart palpitations? Maybe it made you feel worse?

The possible scenario here is that your adrenal health or HPA axis is not functioning properly which is leading to adrenal issues and if you have adrenal issues you may not feel well on medication. I discuss this in Episode 34 but the idea is that your adrenal health affects your thyroid health and vice versa so if you are not dealing with stress well, not sleeping well, having blood sugar issues, then your adrenals are working overtime and you are either in a state of hypoadrenia (things are working slower) or hyperadrenia (things are in overdrive) and your thyroid along with TSH and Free T3 and Free T4 output are also being affected. 

Thyrotrophin PMG is a supplement from Standard Process that is similar to the GTA from Biotics except it has magnesium citrate and bovine thyroid extract that has been processed to remove thyroxine or what we call T4. GTA  Forte II which is what I take has zinc, selenium, copper, rubidium, porcine glandular concentrate and some enzymes. 

Natural Desiccated Thyroid Hormone prescription pills are made from porcine or pig glandulars and the Thyrotrophin is made from bovine or cow thyroid glands so maybe this is partly why you are not feeling well. 

I am assuming you needed medication because you were on it but didn’t feel well on it so it might be time to have your labs done again at a doctors office or order them yourself through someone like Direct Labs, depending on where you live. Some states don’t allow consumers to order lab work. 

You probably need T3. Denis Wilson, MD has coined the term Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome which means that you can have a low body temperature and other symptoms that will respond to T3 therapy. 

I found this to be the case for me. I still have a lower body temperature but once I started on GTA, I no longer have frigid hands and feet. My hands are still a little cool but I am no longer freezing before bed and my overall comfort is much better. This, I believe is attributed to the T3 in GTA. 

It is almost like your body is able to reset itself and you may find that even after stopping a T3 treatment that you will remain more temperature stable. 

Symptoms of Wilson Temperature Syndrome (WTS) include typical hypothyroid symptoms and things like asthma, hives and migraines along with a lower body temperature. You may also have fatigue that lasts and stays, anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, muscle aches, brain fog, carpal tunnel syndrome, overall lack of well being. 

Low body temperature is the main symptom and is easily measured because as a whole, our body temp needs to be within a certain range to properly function. If you don’t have low iron or iron deficiency anemia, kidney disease or liver disease, and you have all these other symptoms, you might want to check in to Wilson Temperature Syndrome. 

Don’t expect to go to your regular doctor and expect them to even know what this is. You can learn more by googling Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. 

I would make a plan to remember to take your Thyrotrophin. Find a time of day to take it where you can make it a habit. Also, don’t buy it off Amazon. Find a practitioner to buy it from. 

It is definitely you thyroid issues as to why you are so cold. 

You say you are taking undenatured whey to reduce hydrogen peroxide. 

Undenatured whey is whey that has not been heated enough to denature it or basically kill all the enzymes and good stuff that might be in it. Heat will destroy the immunoglobulins and break the peptide bond (broken down protein). It has glutyl-cysteine which is a peptide. Your cells use it to make glutathione which is our big antioxidant. From what I understand undenatured whey is supposed to raise glutathione levels and fix anemia. 

If your thyroid issues are due to a mercury toxicity from environment, amalgam fillings or anything else, you may not want to be taking this type of whey. Too much cysteine can suppress your thyroids ability to function so there may be a possibility of consuming too much undenatured whey that could be making you feel worse. 

The other issue I have with whey in any form is that the proteins in dairy products are similar to protein structure in your thyroid which can be an issue for your immune system. It can get confused and attack your thyroid tissue which can create more problems like hyper thyroid symptoms and tissue or cell death. 

Hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the body when we convert iodine in the thyroid. When TSH rises, more TPO or thyroid peroxidase enzyme is released which then releases hydrogen peroxide. This will cause damage to the cells in the thyroid if there is not enough selenium and glutathione. If you have Hashimoto’s you may have had a TPO antibody test done. The more peroxide in the body the more TPO antibodies may be created. The immune system may see the rise in TPO enzyme as the problem and so creates antibodies against it. 

The more iodine in your diet, the more it will need to be converted, the more hydrogen peroxide there will be which can decrease how much selenium and glutathione you have to deal with it. 

You might likely be deficient if you are eating more processed foods rather than real whole foods as well. 

You also said that you can’t get catalase where you are. I want to explain what that is for you guys. 

Catalase is an enzyme that will break down the hydrogen peroxide keeping it from damaging our cells much like glutathione does. You make catalase in your liver but maybe you are not making enough. 

Selenium also helps to form glutathione which will remove excess hydrogen peroxide. You can supplement with anywhere from 50mg to 200mg per day of selenium but no more. 

Before you do that though, look closely at your diet. Remove dairy completely for a couple of months to see if it is causing an immune response for you. Stay gluten free and find out what foods you are sensitive to. Sugar, alcohol, soy, caffeine, eggs and even other gluten free grains can be a problem for many of us. You may also want to consider if nightshades are a problem by eliminating them. They are quite anti-inflammatory for many people. 

Ginger is good for heating up the body so keep up with the ginger tea. Bone broth is excellent. Make sure you are eating enough. 

Eat foods that love the liver. Much of our T4 is converted to T3 in the liver. 

Foods with vitamin C like acerola cherries, greens, parsley, cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, brussel sprouts. Remember these are only a problem as a goitrogenic food if you are eating them raw in large quantities on a daily basis. 

Foods with vitamin E which will be protective to the liver and have antioxidant properties. Asparagus, Avocado, leafy greens. 

Zinc is an antioxidant and is in abundance in oysters, ginger root, many nuts and peas. 

Selenium works with vitamin E as an antioxidant. Molasses, brazil nuts, brown rice, turnips, garlic, red swiss chard, oranges and shellfish.

Most of us are deficient in magnesium and this is important for so many things in the body from helping cells to create energy to helping our liver detoxification pathways work properly.  It is found in a lot of grains and nuts but also coconut and brown rice. 

If you are following an elimination diet, this may not work for you and you might have to supplement with magnesium. My favorite is magnesium glycinate. 

There are many more things that are great for your liver- B vitamins, turmeric, milk thistle and amino acids. Remember that amino acids are coming from protein being broken down in our digestive tract. 

So eating and digesting protein is helpful as well. 

I would recommend you find a way to have your thyroid tested again and be diligent with taking the supplement for your thyroid. 

I hope this helps you Sandy. Thanks so much for writing in. 

I have had some people try to contact me about working with me one on one through DM’s on Instagram. It took me about a month to even notice they were there. I try to just pop on and off of my social media accounts so the best way to reach me is through my website www.helpforhashimotos.com by filling out the contact page there. 

Someone also asked me to talk about lunch ideas and I am going to put that in my newsletter along with a recipe for a pizza hotdish (as we call it here in MN)/casserole. So head on over to helpforhashimotos.com to sign up for that. 

You can find me on social media at out of the woods nutrition-help for hashimoto’s on facebook and @stephanieewalsntp on instagram. I have been less active there so again, the newsletter is the place to get the good information from me. There is also the help for hashimoto’s facebook support group so you can go ask to join that. 

thanks so much for tuning in. Until next week! 

Episode 34 Adrenals and your medication

Welcome to Episode 34. I’m so glad you are here. Today we are talking about adrenal health and why it is soooo important to have healthy adrenal function when you have hashimoto’s or other thyroid conditions. 

The adrenal glands are little walnut sized glands that sit right on top of our kidneys. We would die without them, they are that important. These little glands help us deal with stress in our every day lives and with chronic stress which is a part of most people’s every day lives. 

Your ability to be resilient, have energy and endurance all depend on our adrenal glands ability to do their job. They secrete cortisol, adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and impact how your body uses carbohydrates and fats, how well you convert your food into energy and if your body will store fat, how your blood sugar is managed, and helps your cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal system work as they should. 

The adrenal glands also make your sex hormones after menopause and andropause. They have anti-inflammatory properties and help to minimize the effects of alcohol, drugs, foods and toxins. 

All this said, they are pretty important and they manage a lot of stuff in our body which means they can “wear out” or become fatigued. This is what many now call HPA axis dysfunction or dysregulation. 

Basically this means that when our body perceives a stressful event our brain signals our adrenal glands to release cortisol, adrenaline or noradrenaline to deal with the stress. 

As this happens more often in our body due to chronic stress, food sensitivities/allergies, inflammation, mismanaged blood sugar etc., our adrenal glands become less able to recover and respond again and they become depleted. The adrenals are not able to respond and this affects all parts of our body in a physiological way. 

This disrupts how much cortisol is released and when it is released which will affect our sleep patterns as well as the production of some hormones and neurotransmitters but not necessarily the levels of cortisol put out by the adrenals. 

It is the brain that signals the adrenals to release their hormones, the adrenal glands don’t do it on their own, so it is believed that the problem is in the brain and the signaling in the nervous system. 

The package insert for your thyroid medication will specifically state that you should not use your medication. Here is what the package insert says for Synthroid (Armour says something similar)

  • Do not use SYNTHROID if you have uncorrected adrenal problems.

  • Taking too much levothyroxine has been associated with increased bone loss, especially in women after menopause.

  • Once your doctor has found your specific SYNTHROID dose, it is important to have lab tests done, as ordered by your doctor, at least once a year.

  • Foods like soybean flour, cottonseed meal, walnuts, and dietary fiber may cause your body to absorb less SYNTHROID from the gastrointestinal tract. Grapefruit juice may cause your body to absorb less levothyroxine and may reduce its effect. Let your doctor know if you eat these foods, as your dose of SYNTHROID may need to be adjusted.

  • Use SYNTHROID only as ordered by your doctor. Take SYNTHROID as a single dose, preferably on an empty stomach, one-half to one hour before breakfast.

What does this mean for you?

Here is a list of symptoms that will tell you if you are having an issue with your adrenal health:

  • You tend to be a night person

  • You have a hard time falling asleep

  • You are a slow starter in the morning

  • You might feel keyed up and have trouble calming down

  • Your blood pressure is higher than 120/80

  • You get a headache after exercising

  • You feel wired after drinking coffee

  • You clench or grind your teeth

  • You have chronic low back pain that gets worse when you are fatigued

  • You get dizzy if you stand up too fast from sitting/lying 

  • You crave salt

  • You have afternoon yawning, afternoon headaches

  • You have a tendency towards shin splints 

  • You tend to need sunglasses outside even if it isn’t sunny


You may also see lab work that shows high T3 yet you are feeling like you are still hypo or if you are on a natural desiccated thyroid medication and just not feeling well or you’re having symptoms that make you feel hyper like heart palpitations, racing heart or even anxiety. 

This can be because the cells are not getting the T3 and it is just sitting in your blood stream which can cause the feeling of anxiety or a racing heart among other things. 

Your thyroid function often is affected by how well functioning your adrenal glands are. 

Chronic adrenal stress will affect how your brain is able to tell the adrenals to work so they will have extra output of adrenal hormones at certain times and at others you will have very little leading to the symptoms listed earlier. 

When your adrenals are not functioning well, aside from keeping T3 from getting in to the cells, you will also have trouble converting T4 into T3, your cells can become less sensitive to your thyroid hormones which is probably what is happening when your T3 is high yet you feel hypo. 

Hashimoto’s can be triggered by chronic adrenal stress because adrenal stress will wreak havoc on the immune system which can result in the antibodies against your thyroid being made. 

What causes adrenal stress? 

So much. 

Your diet- consuming too much processed food, too much sugar and having food intolerances or food allergies. Your adrenal glands, cortisol especially, play a major role in blood sugar management. Food intolerances cause inflammation and an immune system response so continually eating foods you “shouldn’t” will cause an issue for your adrenals and can raise reverse T3 which means your body is converting your needed free T3 into Reverse T3 leaving you feeling hypo. 

Your body makes less Progesterone which is needed to even out the effects of estrogen in our body when we are dealing with chronic stress. 

Too much estrogen in your body binds up your thyroid hormones in your blood. High cortisol contributes to estrogen dominance in your body. 

Your adrenal function is affected by your ability to deal with stress of all kinds. We turn on that stress response when we: 

Don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes we can’t control getting enough sleep if we work a night shift or we have young children or whatever. Being deprived of sleep is not good for your adrenal health which isn’t good for your thyroid health. 

Make sleep a priority. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning. This will help to reset your internal clock and will help you sleep better and deeper in the long run. Also, keep electronics out of your room, wear the blue blocking glasses after the sun sets- this will help increase your melatonin production allowing you to feel tired but also fall asleep. 

Do something to help deal with mental and emotional stress. Therapy, meditation, journaling. Find what makes you feel better and do it. Lose the things in your life that are contributing to your stress. Sometimes we have to see less of those toxic people in our lives. Take care of you first. You are no good to anyone else if you are not well cared for first. 

Manage your blood sugar! So important. This is second in importance to sleep. If you want to see improvements in your hashimoto’s or adrenal issues then you have to manage your blood sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugary processed or high refined carbohydrate foods will affect your adrenal health for the worse. Even consuming too much fruit at one time can be hard on your blood sugar. If you get hangry then you have an issue with blood sugar. If you wake up between 1 and 3 am then you have an issue with blood sugar. 

Inflammation in any form will stress your adrenal glands but most especially the chronic inflammation that most of us with hashimoto’s are dealing with. Chronic inflammation is increased by all the things I have just talked about along with things like parasites or infections you might not be aware you have. 

Exercise, gently. Autoimmune Strong is a good place to start. They have the most gentle exercise program I know of for chronic illness and it won’t tax your adrenals. 

Your thyroid health and your adrenal health go hand in hand. If one is not working well, the other one won’t be either. 

You can have your cortisol levels tested by a salvia test that measures your levels throughout the day. It will give you a good picture of what time of day you are lacking or having too much cortisol and then you can make a plan with your practitioner to fix it. I don’t recommend doing this on your own.  You might not find a conventional doctor who would test this or even know what to do with it so it might be a good idea to find a functional medicine practitioner who can help you. 

Some things you can do on your own to help your adrenal function are: 

Eat protein and fat at every meal, including the first meal of the day and do so within an hour of waking. This will make your blood sugar stable and your adrenals won’t have to get busy raising your blood sugar right away in the morning. Eating protein and fat in the morning will also help keep your blood sugar stable all day. 

Until your body starts to get back on track, you may need to eat some protein every few hours to help stabilize your blood sugar. If you are dealing with insulin resistance or blood sugar issues, this will help your body adjust and remain in a stable state. If you tolerate a small amount of nuts, seeds or eggs or even a can of tuna or sardines. These would be great options for you. A protein shake made of just a single ingredient protein powder (I like Designs For Health Pure Paleo Protein Powder) or even high quality beef jerky. 

You will need to figure out how well your body tolerates the starchy or more sugary carbohydrates. As I have said before, I don’t tolerate starches well, especially at lunch time so I tend to have a small amount at dinner which helps me to sleep better. If you feel sleepy after eating you know you have eaten too many carbs. Avoid grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, parsnips, beans and sugary things.

Avoid fruit juices and instead consume the whole fruit so the fiber keeps your blood sugar stable by slowing down how quickly your body absorbs the sugar. 

Avoid coffee or caffeinated teas, no decaf coffee either- it usually has some caffeine in it. These stimulate the adrenals- if you are dependent on caffeine to get you going in the morning, you likely have some adrenal issues. 

Eat lots and lots of vegetables, high quality protein and high quality fats. Stick to a palm sized portion of protein, a thumb sized portion of fat and fill the rest of your plate with veggies- greens, fibrous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, radish, onion, garlic and so on. 

Find out if you have sensitivities to foods and eliminate them. An elimination diet is particularly helpful and a cheap way to figure out which foods cause inflammation in your body. 

Don’t fast if you are dealing with any blood sugar dysregulation and/or adrenal stress. This will only make things worse. You may want to stick to a 12 hour window of opportunity for eating and make sure you are eating enough. You need more than 1200 calories to sustain yourself and to ensure your body can heal. Eat until you are full and satisfied- this will ensure you don’t have blood sugar issues as long as you are eating as suggested. 

You may want to supplement with magnesium. It is needed for so many biochemical reactions in the body and the adrenal glands are no exception. Magnesium can act like a spark plug in the body and stress depletes it. Magnesium citrate can be found in a product called Natural Calm which is readily available. It can loosen your stools though so be aware of that and back down how much you take if you need to. 

B vitamins are essential for your body and play a role in energy production. A high quality B complex is recommended. Know your source when you buy it. I don’t recommend Amazon as a place to buy supplements. 

Vitamin C is good for your adrenal glands but it also stimulates the immune system so if you are dealing with high or elevated antibodies for thyroid, you might want to be cautious. 

Licorice root is great for sluggish adrenals. It is stimulatory so don’t take it after 1 or 2 pm. It can increase energy and endurance and helps to manage low blood sugar issues. 

Ashwaganda is an herb that is known as an adaptogen which means it will help your body get or stay in a more balanced state and it can help stabilize your cortisol if it is either too high or too low. It is also a nightshade and can be inflammatory to some or stimulate your already overactive immune system. 

Ginger root also helps to keep your cortisol levels even and balanced. You can make a tea by grating 1 teaspoon of ginger and let it steep in hot water for about 10 minutes. You can strain it or just drink it. 

I think this is a good place to stop. Thanks for joining me. Have a question about your thyroid or how to manage it? Go to my website- helpforhashimotos.com and fill out the contact form. 

Please leave a rating and review on iTunes so other people can find the podcast and be helped. There are 14 million people just in the US that are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. That is a lot of people. The more you share about the podcast, the more people that can be helped. I’d really appreciate your help on that. 

You can find me on social media at stephanieewalsntp on instagram and at Out of the Woods Nutrition-Help For Hashimoto’s on facebook. I also created a facebook group for the podcast called Help For Hashimoto’s which is a positive support group but all the action is happening in my newsletter where I send out recipes and tips for living well with Hashimoto’s. You can sign up on my website. I was thinking of making a grocery shopping list or a guide to understanding your thyroid labs to give you when you sign up for my newsletter. Will you let me know which one you prefer?

Talk to you soon! Have a great week! 

Help For Hashimoto's Episode 32 Thyroid talk with Ginny and Danna from Thyroid Refresh

Help For Hashimoto's Episode 32 Thyroid talk with Ginny and Danna from Thyroid Refresh

In todays episode I am talking with Danna Bowman (Thyroid Nation) and Ginny Mahar (Hypothyroid Chef) who have teamed up to create a really cool interactive program on their Thyroid Refresh® website called Thyroid 30®. We talk about how they found each other to team up and create a positive space for thyroid patience to be supported, what some of the biggest mistakes thyroid patients make, how lifestyle choices make a difference in your recovery and more. Use code TryThy30 for $5 off their program starting January 13, 2019.

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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 14

I was on this facebook group today for people with Hashimoto’s and autoimmune disease. Someone newly diagnosed was wondering about fatigue and being completely drained after workouts and wanting to nap even after 9 hours of sleep. I responded with take the exercise down a notch by trying to just walk for now and google the Autoimmune Protocol. Someone else responded with how they can eat what they want and exercise and that they get down sometimes and maybe a little tired but doesn’t everyone. She said she chooses to live her life, not her diagnosis.   

Article on green med info talking about using selenium and Myo-Inositol being used to put hashimotos in to remission and euthroidism which means your thyroid is working on its own. 

Selenium:

Before 1970 it was considered toxic but has since been classified as an essential nutrient needed in small amounts. It functions as an antioxidant. 

It is hard to get from foods because soil levels are varying so you never really know what you are getting especially if you are not eating local produce that is harvested in soil that is being managed properly. In the US the western part of the country may have higher levels than the eastern part with South Dakota having the highest levels and Ohio the lowest (According to Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas.

We have less than 1mg of this mineral in our body and most of it is stored in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. Men need it more than women due to it being in their testes so it may have a function in sperm production. 

We lose selenium through eliminations and we should be able to absorb it through our intestinal tract at a rate of about 60%. This, of course will be dependent on your ability to digest your food well and also whether or not your gut is healed. We absorb it better when it is combined with amino acids- this means you have to be eating protein and breaking it down. 

Most selenium in foods is lost when they are processed like in white rice or flour. Food sources are liver, butter, fish and lamb, whole grains (out for most of us dealing with autoimmune disease), nuts- especially brazil nuts, shellfish, salmon, garlic, onions, mushroom, broccoli, tomatoes, radishes and Swiss chard can have good amounts of selenium if the soil is good where they are grown.  Many experts believe that Brazil nuts have such a varied content of selenium that we can’t necessarily rely on them. If you supplement, selenomethionine is your best bet at around 100-200 micrograms a day. Some suggest 200 mg for about a month and then a maintenance dose of 100 mg. Learn to listen to your body and if you are interested in knowing your levels, getting the plasma selenium test is ideal. Serum and whole blood will work too so if your doctor is able to test it, have them do it. 

Toxicity and deficiency symptoms are similar. Liver damage, hair loss, brittle nails with white spots and streaks. They can even fall out. These would be due to high soil levels.  If the supplement you are taking is formulated wrong, you can have muscle cramps, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, fatigue, loss of the hair and nails, pain, numbness or tingling of the hands and feet.  Deficiency will make you more vulnerable to infections, toxins, and other nutrient imbalances- again- this is where good digestion is key.  If you are taking anything to reduce stomach acid you will be deficient in selenium as well as many other vitamins and minerals. Most birth control pills will also deplete you of it as well. 

When you are NOT deficient you may tolerate cigarette smoke better as well as alcohol and poor quality fats. 

How does this relate to the thyroid? We need selenium to convert T4 to T3 which is the usable form of thyroid hormone that our cells need. Also, when TSH is produced and released, your body gets a message to make more hydrogen peroxide. This is needed to help make thyroid hormone in a round about way. It is needed to make some things happen in your body so the hormone gets made. We need antioxidants to neutralize the hydrogen peroxide after it does its job. Selenium is part of the process of helping glutathione neutralize the peroxide. 

In Isabella Wentz’s first book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, she explains that if you are taking in too much iodine, more hydrogen peroxide needs to be produced which will mean you need more selenium to neutralize it. When you are already deficient in Selenium, you can end up with too much hydrogen peroxide which can cause inflammation around your thyroid tissue which creates an immune response, antibodies are produced and you have autoimmune disease. 

She recommends taking a selenium supplement on an empty stomach with vitamin E which helps our body absorb selenium better. 

Inositol 

Myo-insoitol is the same thing as inositol and is found in lots of fresh fruits and veggies so supplementing with it may not be necessary. High amounts are found in oranges, grapefruit and limes with blackberries, kiwi, cherries, peaches, apples being up there too. You can get it from brussels sprouts, beans, artichokes, cabbage, asparagus, dark greens, zucchini, bell peppers. As long as your digestion is working well you should have no problem getting enough from your diet as long as you are eating real whole foods. 

It was once considered B8 but since our body can make it, that distinction was taken away. Some still consider it to be part of the family of B vitamins though. It actually can help your body break down fats for digestion. It helps keep our cells firm so nutrients can get in and wastes can get out. It also helps brain cells work better. 

Caffeine can produce deficiency which can look like constipation, hair loss, high cholesterol and even eczema. Again, you can get enough from your diet so you don’t need to supplement. 

Link to Green Med Info article

Learn more about the nutrients our body needs here.

Help for Hashimoto's Episode 13

Q.  How do you push through the fatigue? I just want to get my life back on track.

 

Q.  I’ve got hypothyroidism/Hashimotos. Around noon I start getting tired and it can get to the point of dozing off. I've had every thyroid level possible checked and it's within normal range. We've actually checked it numerous times. I've had my b12 and folic acid checked along with my hormone levels, vitamin levels, and had a CBC done. Everything is good. I'm wondering if maybe we are missing something. Could I have something that we haven't checked for yet. I've also got bipolar2, depression/anxiety and ptsd which I take Topamax for. I also take Levothyroxine for my hypothyroidism.

First let’s talk about Topamax. I want you to know what you are on.  Your doctor should be testing your kidney and liver function and your blood should be tested to be sure you are able to process the drug well. They can become toxic very quickly.  

You should not drink alcohol while on this medication as it interferes with the effectiveness and it can make you sleepy as well as slow your heart rate. 

Antacids will keep you from being able to absorb this medication as well as any nutrients from your food. 

Fiber supplements can reduce the effectiveness of this medication. 

This drug will cause you to be low in folate or deficient in it. 

It has not been approved to treat PTSD but is endorsed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to treat bipolar disorder and other mood disorders. 

Common side effects: 

Diarrhea, Dizziness, Double vision, Fever, Hair loss, Loss of appetite, Mood changes, Nausea, Reduced perspiration, Sinusitis, Stomach upset, Taste changes, Tingling or prickly skin sensations, Tremors, Uncontrollable eye movements, Urinary tract infection, Weakness, Weight loss.

 

With that being said, let’s move on and talk about fatigue. 

 

This is a super common issue for those of us dealing with thyroid issues and there are a number of reasons why fatigue could be your issue. 

Anemia.

You can have anemia from a deficiency of B12, Iron or folic acid. Your doctor may check your iron levels but do they check B12, folic acid and ferritin? Any one of these can contribute to fatigue.  And just because your lab says you are in the normal range doesn’t mean you are in the optimal range. j

Normal ferritin levels are between 12 -150 ng/mL. Mine is currently at 17 and I struggle with energy often. Some thyroid experts would say that optimal ferritin levels should be at 90-110 ng/ml for good thyroid function.  If you are still losing your hair- it could be an iron deficiency. 

And B12 values from your doctors lab may include values from people who were deficient in B12 so you can’t always rely on the lab values. “normal” is between 200-900 pg/mL but under 350 can give you neurological symptoms.  

Food sensitivities, not food allergies which is when your immune system reacts to protect you like when someone’s throat closes off in a nut allergy.  This alerts the IgE part of your immune system and happens as soon as a food is ingested. The IgA and IgG sections of the immune system will react to foods in what I would call a sensitivity or intolerance. These can cause us to be fatigued. 

IgA reactions happen in the intestinal tract which can cause inflammation there each time we consume a particular food. This will damage the intestines and can cause us to be unable to absorb nutrients from our diet. You may have symptoms like diarrhea or looser stools, constipation, reflux or you may not have any symptoms at all. You can end up with conditions like IBS, gas, rashes on your skin, acne, asthma, headaches, irritability and fatigue.  Celiac disease is in this category. 

If your T3 is low and you have high Reverse T3, this will affect your energy. T3 helps our cells make more energy. Reverse T3 makes T3 ineffective so that we are slowed down a bit. If Reverse T3 is high, we will not have any energy and one of the biggest reasons this might be high is due to stress. Another problem could be that you are not converting T4 into T3. This can be due to stress, or even nutrient deficiencies either due to low stomach acid or a compromised gut. You might find you need to be on a medication that has T3 in it. 

If your TSH is high, you will not have energy. Not all lab values are created equal here. You need to make sure that you are in a good range. Lab values for TSH are made up from a population of all kinds of people- those who are seemingly healthy and those who have undiagnosed thyroid problems and even the elderly who often have lower functioning thyroids.  The best reference range for most people is to have a TSH around .5-2 uIU/L. Personally,  mine is lower than .5 and I feel pretty good on that.  If you are taking NDT you can have a TSH that might look hyper and if your T3 is in normal range you probably feel pretty good. This can cause alarm with your doctor but try to have a conversation with them about it. 

How is your blood sugar?

This is a really really big one because it affects our adrenal glands which also have a role in energy. The good old blood sugar roller coaster will cause your adrenals to become weaker or cause the signaling between your brain and your adrenals to not work well leading to what is called adrenal fatigue or HPA axis dysfunction. For people like us with Hashimoto’s we may not tolerate those refined carbohydrates very well at all. Sometimes we get a big release of insulin when we consume sugary or refined “white” foods that others might not. So our blood sugar goes up really fast and we may have too much insulin in our blood which causes us to crash with fatigue and even anxiety or nervousness. This stresses our adrenals and leads to more fatigue.

Adrenal health is important for energy. If you are suffering from Adrenal fatigue you likely don’t have much energy to speak of even if this is the only thing you are dealing with. This is such a big deal and it takes some time to bring your adrenal health back in good standing. You need to avoid caffeine, keep your blood sugar balanced, make sure you are sleeping well and resting when you can, managing stress and probably supplementing. You can listen to Episode 7 of this podcast for more on adrenals. 

Having good digestion is key to energy. 

Many of us will be nutrient deficient and usually deficient in those nutrients that help our thyroids to function well. Just having hypothyroidism makes it harder for us to get our nutrients out of the food we are eating. This means the digestive system has to work a little harder to break down our foods and this can cause a lot of fatigue. We often have lower levels of stomach acid and most of us don’t eat when we are relaxed and we certainly don’t take the time to chew our food well. Right there is three strikes against us in the energy department. 

When we are not relaxed when we eat, we are not in “rest and digest” mode or what is called parasympathetic mode. This means we are in fight or flight mode which is not a good environment for good digestion. We already are not making enough stomach acid because we have symptoms of hypothyroidism, then we are not relaxed so we make even less. Then we are not chewing our food well- like 20 chews per bite to break it down. So, we have all this food in our stomach, not enough stomach acid and it is not being broken down. Our digestive system is working extra hard to try to break this stuff down- using all kinds of extra energy and that makes us tired. Then you have undigested food going through your intestines. You have leaky gut or intestinal permeability and these undigested food particles are then getting in to your blood stream causing your immune system to go on alert and inflammation occurs in the body. Fatigue is going to be a factor here. 

If you have low vitamin D, you can have fatigue. Get some sun. Lay in the sun for 10-15 minutes or go for a walk on a sunny day and expose as much skin as possible. Take a supplement of D3 if needed and make sure to have your levels checked by your doctor. Low D is a factor in autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s. 

A good diet will go a long way to helping you with your energy problems. High quality proteins and veggies along with a small amount of fruit. The big foods to eliminate for us are going to be gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts and I would try to eliminate nightshades to see if you feel better. This is basically called an elimination diet and is important for you to start to feel better, have more energy and bring your body back in to balance. 

You can find Hydrozyme at www.getbiotics.com use code DFILC163 to access. 

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 9

Help for Hashimoto's Episode 9

So today I had my 3rd consultant appointment to tell me I have hashimotos disease. (I got told this by the doctor 3 months ago) all he said was, its fine, Nothing to worry about and its very common in women, thyroid is fine, no need for anything else other than ill see you in 9 months time......now i feel like an idiot for having bad days of constant tiredness and pain.

After receiving the results from my full thyroid panel that was ran by my gynecologist, she referred me back to my regular doctor. She spent 10 minutes confirming that I do have Hashimoto thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. She said that I need synthroid and I should follow-up in 3 months. Nothing was explained to me. No recommendations for supplements. No recommendations for diet. I had to request an endocrinologist referral, which will take weeks. So my question here is should I begin the synthroid, figure out what supplements I need, diet, etc or wait to start synthroid until I meet with endo? I’m lost. Also, the closest functional medicine doc is 2 hours from me and doesn’t take insurance.

It seems this is quite common for a lot of us. We go to the doctor and they tell us to take the medicine and come back in three months or so to be tested to see if we are at the right dosage.  I personally got nothing at all from an endocrinologist. I had to pay out of pocket to see him and he was worthless to me. Just because your thyroid is a part of the endocrine system does not mean you will get the proper care from an endocrinologist. I am sure there are great ones out there but I have found they are particularly difficult to work with you on treating symptoms and not just your labs. Plus they have a standard for their labs and they will go by that and nothing else. If you are lucky to find an endocrinologist who will work with, great. If not, fire them and keep looking. You are the customer in this situation. You have a right to find someone who will listen. Unfortunately I realize that some of you have horrible health insurance and don’t have the ability to look around much so I have a plan for you! 

First of all, you have to

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Help For Hashimoto's Episode 8

Help For Hashimoto's Episode 8

Terrible heart burn !!What helps? Has anybody had any issues with Omeprazole or any acid reducer.


OMEPRAZOLE: aka Losec, Prilosec, Prilosec OTC and Zegerid


classified therapeutically as antiulcer agent and pharmacologically as a proton-pump inhibitor


Used for maintenance of healing in erosive esophagitis, duodenal ulcers with or without H.Pylori. Short term treatment of active benign gastric ulcer. The OTC or over the counter is for heart burn occurring more than or equal to 2x a week. 

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