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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Is an Autoimmune Disorder

Aug 29, 2014 08:50AM

The presence of hypothyroidism is a strong indicator of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder in which the tissue of the thyroid gland is mistakenly attacked by the body’s immune system because it is perceived as a foreign body. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism and affects nearly 10 million individuals in the U.S.

Characterized as an underactive thyroid that is not producing enough of certain important thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of the body’s chemical reactions and can cause a number of health problems, including obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. Hashimoto’s often produces symptoms of hypothyroidism with bouts of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, anxiety and depression, while hyperthyroid symptoms manifest as rapid heart beat, fast pulse even at rest, inward trembling and others.

Many individuals with Hashimoto’s do not know it, because testing for the disorder is not a part of the routine thyroid protocol. Hashimoto’s can be diagnosed with a simple blood test for antibodies against thyroid peroxidase (an enzyme that attaches iodine to a protein structure called thyroglobulin).

Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function, and together with thyroglobulin, produces thyroid hormones. Three molecules of iodine on the thyroglobulin protein structure are identified as T3 and four molecules of iodine with thyroglobulin comprise T4. Approximately half the people with Hashimoto’s disease benefit from iodine supplementation, while the other half react poorly to iodine.

Although there is no cure for Hashimoto’s disease, some studies, such as Dutch research published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2007, suggest a strong correlation between Hashimoto’s and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. As part of a natural approach to controlling the progression of the disease, a Paleo diet, comprising lean meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, may greatly reduce or eliminate hypothyroid symptoms. Any grain, dairy product, nightshade vegetable (eggplant, pepper, potato and tomato) or legume (bean) can possibly be a problem. A cross-reactivity food test by Cyrex Labs will identify problem foods that should be eliminated.

With any autoimmune condition, best practices include eliminating things that cause the immune system to overreact, clearing out any infections, balancing both sides of the immune system and modulating the immune system by increasing vitamin D levels.

Resource: Dr. Robert Gilliland, DC, Southwest Florida Natural Health Center, 27499 Riverview Center Blvd., Bonita Springs. For more information, call 239-444-3106 or visit

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