Hashimoto’s Disease

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Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, is an autoimmune form of hypothyroidism. For people suffering from Hashimoto’s Disease, their immune system produces antibodies that attack the body’s healthy tissue, namely the thyroid gland, thereby impairing its function and reducing the amount of thyroid hormone being produced. It is the most common type of hypothyroidism, with an estimated 90-95% of all cases of hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s disease. 

It is estimated that about 15 million Americans suffer from Hashimoto’s Disease, although that number is likely higher given how many cases of hypothyroidism are misdiagnosed or completely undiagnosed. Hashimoto’s is much more common in women, with an estimated 35 in 100 women being diagnosed with the disease.

Like other forms of hypothyroidism, many patients suffer for years before being properly diagnosed or treated. This is primarily due to insufficient testing, which often misses low thyroid function, as well as limited and less efficacious treatments offered by most conventional doctors. 

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common form of hypothyroidism, however it has impacts well beyond just impairing the health and function of the thyroid gland. Misdiagnosing this condition or not treating it properly can have significant implications for overall health and well-being.

Why is addressing Hashimoto’s so important?

1. Thyroid Function: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that leads to chronic inflammation and damage to the thyroid gland. Over time, this damage can impair thyroid function, resulting in hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, and cognitive impairment.

2. Inflammation: Chronic inflammation associated with Hashimoto’s can extend well beyond the thyroid gland, affecting other tissues and organs in the body. Systemic inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and autoimmune conditions. By reducing inflammation through the effective management of Hashimoto’s, individuals can lower their risk of developing these complications.

3. Cardiovascular Health: Hypothyroidism resulting from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can have adverse effects on cardiovascular health. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol metabolism. Untreated hypothyroidism may increase the risk of heart disease, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease. By optimizing thyroid function through treatment, individuals with Hashimoto’s can help protect their cardiovascular health.

4. Neurological Function: Thyroid hormones are essential for normal brain development and function. Hypothyroidism resulting from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to cognitive impairment, memory problems, depression, and other neurological symptoms. Proper management of Hashimoto’s can help alleviate these symptoms and support optimal neurological function.

5. Quality of Life: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism can significantly impact quality of life, causing symptoms that affect physical health, mental well-being, and daily functioning. Effective treatment can help alleviate symptoms, improve energy levels, enhance cognitive function, and restore overall vitality, leading to a better quality of life for individuals with Hashimoto’s.

Overall, treating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is essential for maintaining proper thyroid function, reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of cardiovascular, as well as neurological complications, and improving overall quality of life.

Common symptoms

There is no one definitive cause for Hashimoto’s Disease, however, there are some common root causes that are likely to trigger this condition.

This includes:

  • Having another autoimmune condition
  • A family history of Hashimoto’s Disease or other autoimmune condition
  • Food allergies or sensitivities, particularly gluten sensitivity
  • GI disorders or “leaky gut syndrome”
  • Emotional stress
  • Exposure to environmental toxins, heavy metals, or mold
  • Viral infections
  • Lyme Disease

What are the Most Common Symptoms?

Many of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease overlap with most other forms of thyroid dysfunction, namely:

  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Unexplained weight gain or the inability to lose weight.
  • Hair loss/breakage
  • Brain fog/memory loss
  • Constipation and other GI symptoms
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Poor immune function
  • Aches and pains, including joint pain
  • Swollen or puffy face
  • Just feeling “off” or like you have aged beyond your years.
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Low sex drive

Left untreated, Hashimoto’s Disease can lead to more serious health conditions such as diabetes, infertility, mental health disorders, cardiovascular disease, and more.

Treatment approach

Hashimoto Disease graph

Most conventional doctors treat Hashimoto’s disease just like any other form of hypothyroidism, by prescribing thyroid medications (i.e., Synthroid, Levothyroxine). For many people this is not enough, as it may not always resolve the symptoms, nor does it address and resolve the root cause of the dysfunction.

  • Better testing! Dr. Kellman uses the best thyroid test, the TRH Stimulation Test, which can accurately detect low thyroid function, often missed by conventional thyroid tests.
  • Reduce antibodies: the autoimmune response of the body is to actually produce antibodies against thyroid tissue. The common conventional medicine approach does not reduce antibodies and inflammation, which reduces the damage being done to the thyroid gland. Dr. Kellman uses a variety of key nutrients like selenium, botanical plant sterols, and other compounds to naturally reduce the level of antibodies.
  • Alternative thyroid medications: Most doctors prescribe thyroid medications that include synthetic forms of thyroid hormone, however for many people this does not always result in a full resolution of symptoms, despite blood levels being within normal range. These medications only contain the inactive form of thyroid hormone (T4), which may not be sufficient for people who have issues converting it to the active form (T3). Dr. Kellman often prescribes Armour thyroid or compounded thyroid hormone, which contains both T4 and T3, as they tend to be more effective and are bio-identical to our own natural hormones.
  • Peptide therapy: Dr. Kellman may use several different peptides depending on what other dysfunction and symptoms you may be dealing with, however, Thymosin-α1 is a potent immune-modulating compound.
  • Low dose Naltrexone (LDN): LDN is a drug which is commonly used to treat opioid addiction, however when used in very low doses it helps to modulate the immune system. LDN can provide powerful anti-inflammatory effects, especially beneficial for those with Hashimoto’s Disease. 
  • Balancing the gut microbiome: The root cause of many autoimmune conditions is often tied back to imbalances in the gut microbiome. Dr. Kellman uses a combination of specific strains of probiotics known to both reduce inflammation, as well as aid with weight loss. He also uses specific prebiotics and postbiotics to nourish the microbiome, as well as therapeutic herbs, botanicals, and other nutrients known to heal the gut. These supplements in combination with diet and lifestyle changes can have a dramatic curative effect, as well as a significant improvement – and in many cases –  resolving all symptoms. 
  • Stress reduction: Stress is known to be an underlying cause of many chronic conditions including autoimmune diseases and thyroid dysfunction. Supplements and the use of state-of-the-art technologies may be used to reduce stress levels and thereby augment the body’s healing process.