Have you been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and you aren’t sure where to start? There’s a ton of information out there and it can be a little overwhelming.
This is how I’m beginning my own fight against Hashimoto’s.
After my sixth miscarriage earlier this month, I requested a full thyroid panel, including antibodies.
I’ve suspected low thyroid for years, but it wasn’t until the admin of a natural fertility group I’m in told me I should have thyroid antibodies checked that I realized it might be more important than I thought.
The low progesterone I’ve battled since before we started trying to start a family?
Probably thyroid related.
My digestive issues? Yep, thyroid.
The exhaustion and occasional insomia? Also thyroid.
Low blood sugar episodes? You guessed it. Thyroid.
So thyroid has become my top health priority.
Ever since I got my results back, I’ve been putting my obsessive researcher tendencies to use…
What did my test results show? My immune system has decided that my thyroid is a threat and has produced antibodies to attack it.
Thankfully, the levels of antibodies are fairly low–depending on who you ask, I either have Hashimoto’s or I’m on my way to having it.
In either case, I need to address it.
My body is also not effectively converting T4 to T3 and is producing excess reverse T3 instead. My understanding is that reverse T3 is inactive and unusable by the body.
So we have a little work to do.
Here’s what I’ve learned and started implementing over the past several days.
1. A propensity for Hashimoto’s is at least partially genetic.
My mom has Hashimoto’s, so the propensity is there for me.
2. Autoimmune disorders in most (or all) cases probably start in the gut.
Certain foods can irritate the intestines and penetrate the intestinal walls, causing what’s called a “leaky gut.”
When molecules from these inflammatory foods then enter the bloodstream, the immune system sees them as a threat.
I’ve read a couple of different explanations for the problem that results, but it’s either
- the chemical structure of these molecules is similar enough to the thyroid that the immune system starts attacking the thyroid too or
- the same system that produces the immune response to the problem foods (the IgG antibodies) also produces anti-thyroid antibodies. So an increase in one attack puts the system on high alert and increases the overall antibodies it produces.
The most common food that causes this response is gluten, and there are studies to support the idea that Hashimoto’s sufferers should completely eliminate gluten.
The second most inflammatory food is dairy.
After that it sounds like it depends on the individual, but some common sensitivities among people with autoimmune disorders include
- non-gluten grains
A lack of the right kind of digestive enzymes and insufficient amounts of stomach acid can both be big factors in your body’s ability to digest these foods.
3. When you’re talking about anything hormonal, it’s important to consider the whole system.
I’ve said it for a long time, but my recent research has underscored it.
One hormone that has a huge effect on all the others is insulin.
So blood sugar balance is HUGE when you’re considering supporting the thyroid.
4. Certain supplements can positively affect the thyroid and the digestive system to help everything work smoothly.
I’ll talk a bit about which ones I’m taking later in this post, but it’s important to make sure your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs.
There are also other natural supplements that can help your body function optimally.
5. Stress and caffeine can both increase cortisol, which disrupts the adrenals.
And adrenal function is another big part of the thyroid equation.
I may not be able to change my genetics, but I can control how I react to what God has given me.
I’m not opposed to using medication if it ends up being necessary. But since my test results are so close to normal, I’d like to try to manage it naturally first.
So here’s what I’ve been doing:
1. Dietary changes.
I did a ton of research on the best diet for the thyroid. I looked at keto, vegetarian, and others. There are a lot of conflicting opinions, but I came away with two things:
- I need to focus on balanced blood sugar and
- healthy carbohydrates are necessary for a healthy thyroid.
There’s an elimination diet called the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol that I’ve started implementing a subset of. (Yes, right before Thanksgiving. I just might be crazy.)
It requires you to cut out inflammatory foods for 30 days and then gradually reintroduce them to see which specific foods are your major culprits.
The list of foods to exclude includes
- All grains (both gluten and non-gluten)
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Nightshade vegetables and spices
- Nuts and seeds (and seed-based spices)
I decided not to exclude nuts, seeds, and eggs at this time (I figure I can test them later if I’m still having issues), but everything else (all grains, soy, nightshades, and legumes) is off limits for the time being.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to reintroduce gluten. It was a problem food for me a while back that I eventually stopped avoiding–and I think now I’m paying for it.
Nightshades are also doubtful–I was having stomachaches after I ate eggplant, and tomatoes have also been a problem for me at times.
This category is one of the more frustrating since it includes some staple foods. Nightshades include eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.
After researching diet options, I believe that putting any dietary changes into a Trim Healthy Mama framework is the best way forward for me.
It focuses on balancing blood sugar, and many of the recipes include ingredients that are amazing for gut health, healthy adrenals, and thyroid function.
The Singing Canary includes turmeric for adrenal health and collagen for a healthy gut.
I’ve been drinking one or the other of these daily.
2. Ramping up supplementation.
I’m still supporting my reproductive hormones.
- A concentrated dose of vitex works like nothing else has for lengthening my luteal phase.
- I use Progessence Plus, Lady Sclareol/Sclaressence, and Dragon Time essential oil blends during the different phases of my cycle.
- I use maca for the adrenals as well as healthy estrogen balance.
I’m supporting my digestive system.
- Daily DiGize helps keep my digestive system working smoothly and keeps the “good guys” in my gut going strong.
- I take a daily probiotic to keep replenishing the good bacteria.
- I’m planning to add in digestive enzymes with my next Young Living order.
I’m taking my vitamins.
- I haven’t taken a multivitamin in a while, but I started again once I realized that healthy levels of vitamin D3, vitamin K, iron, iodine, and selenium in particular were all important for healthy thyroid function.
- I also take a B complex for energy and hormone support.
- My midwife recommended vitamin D3, so I’ve continued to take an extra vitamin D3 supplement. I like that this one is inexpensive and contains coconut oil for better absorption.
- I drink NingXia Red daily for antioxidants and to keep the inflammation down.
I’m supporting the thyroid directly.
- I have started taking a couple supplements specifically designed for thyroid support, including MultiGreens and Thyromin.
- I roll a blend of endocrine-supporting essential oils on my thyroid and adrenals twice daily. The blend contains EndoFlex, Northern Lights Black Spruce, and frankincense.
3. Trying not to stress about everything.
Since stress can make things worse by ramping up cortisol, I’m trying to take an unbiased researcher viewpoint and trust it all to God’s hands.
I’m intentionally focusing on praying and calming my thoughts when I feel myself getting stressed.
I’m also continuing not to drink coffee (although I have had it a couple times this week).
So that’s how I’m tackling Hashimoto’s head on.
I’ve only been doing these things for a few days now, but I’m already noticing improvements.
I don’t feel quite so smashed when I wake up in the morning, and (TMI warning) my bowel movements have been infinitely better. The stomachaches and gas are also almost completely gone.
So I think we’re on the right track.
I know there’s still a lot of work to do. My basal body temperature, which was one of my first indicators of poor thyroid function back when I first started using natural family planning, is still pretty low, but I’m hopeful.
Will all my work pay off? Will I have another miscarriage? I have no idea–only God knows that.
But I believe that I’m doing the best I can with the information I have.
Going forward I’m praying that I will make wise choices as I sort through the available information.
I’m also praying that we would make smart decisions about the financial resources we dedicate to this.
I’m thankful that my work with Young Living is bringing in some money to offset the cost of supplements (see the income disclosure here), but it can be expensive to make some of the changes I need to for my health.
So we want to be wise with what God has given us at this time in our lives.
Do you have Hashimoto’s? What have you found to be most helpful in your journey?