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Hypothyroidism: The root cause of Hypothyroidism

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Hypothyroidism: Addressing the root cause 

Definitions

  1. Hypothyroidism: A medical condition that affects the thyroid gland that results in low thyroid hormone.
  2. Hyperthyroidism:  A disease that leads to overproduction of thyroid hormone. Could be caused by autoimmune disease or due to other factors like nutritional deficiencies, Iodine disorders, nodules in the thyroid gland.
  3. Hashimotos Thyroiditis: Autoimmune attack to the thyroid gland that will lead to the thyroid not producing enough hormones.
  4.  Graves Disease: Autoimmune attack to the thyroid gland that leads to overproduction of thyroid hormones.  Also known as toxic diffuse goiter. This condition can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland.

On this article I want to focus more on Autoimmune Thyroiditis, a form of Hypothyroidism, since its the most common form diagnosed in female patients and because one autoimmune condition can lead to another autoimmune condition, so its imperative to treat it correctly.

This is something that some physicians overlook and we have heard it many times in the office when a patient is diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder but the labs initially are still within a “normal range” and their physician telling them not to worry, come back in a 1 year to see what has happened with the condition and to see if their labs are NOT within the normal range at that time. Then and only then is when they actually start treatment when the disease could be prevented or improved in the first place. This is really frustrating to me personally because it makes me think that traditional medicine just dont get it. Patients have to be proactive and understand that their autoimmune condition is not coming out of nowhere.  An autoimmune condition, which by the way are on the rise in the United States, can affect anyone and you have to understand why your immune system is attacking cells in your body and how to prevent it from causing destruction of the tissue affected and from causing other autoimmune conditions in the future.

 Symptoms of Hypothyroidism: 

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Hypothyroidism supplements and pills

Symptoms of hypothyroidism are multiple and can vary from person to person. However, these mentioned below are the most common ones that people report over and over again. Some are very easy to associate with thyroid disease and hypothyroidism while others are not. These symptoms can progress over time and can become very problematic  for some patients.

  1. Chronic Fatigue
  2. Alopecia ( Hair loss)
  3. Constipation and even diarrhea in some cases
  4. Acid Reflux
  5. Recurrent Miscarriages
  6. Weight gain
  7. Hormonal imbalances
  8. Irritable bowel syndrome
  9. Anxiety and panic attacks
  10. Depression
  11. Symptoms of menopause
  12. Cold Intolerance
  13. Many others like insomnia, inability to loose weight even though you are exercising or dieting, memory loss and brain fog.

Root Causes of Hypothyroidism 

This is where your journey really begins. An autoimmune disease is when your immune system starts to recognize, in this case your thyroid gland, as a foreign invader,  to give you an example like if it was a bacterial or viral infection that your body has to attack to clear the infection. An autoimmune disease could affect your heart, joints ( Rheumatoid Arthritis ), vascular tissue ( Lupus), skin ( Psoriasis) and other glands within your body. In this cause your thyroid gland then start to malfunction and forming scar tissue where soft tissue should exist before developing full blown hypothyroidism.

One important factor to differentiate here is that some people might develop clinical hypothyroidism, meaning that they develop all the symptoms of thyroid disorder and hypothyroidism that are mentioned above and also positive laboratory testing showing that their thyroid is not working properly ( High TSH and low T4 and T3). Others however , have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis , where positive antibodies are seen attacking  the thyroid ( positive Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies and positive Thyroglobulin antibodies, however standard thyroid test are still within normal range ( normal TSH, T4 and T3 levels).  This is called Sub clinical Hypothyroidism. This subset of patients will at some point develop full thyroid disease with positive laboratory testing for low thyroid and even other autoimmune disorders since their immune system is already fired up. This is not a matter of if, but of when.

There are various causes that can cause your thyroid gland to not function properly and various causes of why your immune system is on full attack. This is very unique for every individual and one cause for one person might not be the same for the other.

Molecular Mimicry: This could be explained by when your immune system recognizes an infection ( bacterial, viral, parasitic or yeast), a foreign molecule, environmental toxins, etc as foreign and attacks it, but if the same genetic makeup of that organism or toxin looks similar to your thyroid gland it will also attack your thyroid gland , a bystander effect.  Another example of this is if your thyroid gland homes an infection or a toxin within its cells, the immune system will send an attack to where the problem resides, causing in this form an autoimmune disease.

Gluten sensitivity: A protein found in wheat and some grains can cause thyroid disease by causing molecular mimicry.

Dairy sensitivity: Proteins found in cows milk and hormones and antibiotics fed to cows

Heavy metal exposure: Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Aluminum found in foods, cigarettes, vaccines, water, air etc.

Nutritional deficiencies: This could cause an non immune hypothyroidism, like Iodine deficiency, Tyrsoine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium etc)

Single nucleotide gene mutation: SNPs, mutations in our DNA

Leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability ( This allows foreign proteins, bacteria, yeast, etc to “leak” through your gut causing molecular mimicry

Genetic Predisposition: Family history of thyroid disorder

Lab tests to diagnose Root Cause of Hypothyroidism

  1. Thyroid peroxidase antibodies & Thyroglobulin Antibodies: These two are extremely important in diagnosis Hashimotos disease ( Autoimmune Hypothyroidism) and this is where the controversy lies. Traditional medicine will tell you that if you have these antibodies in your blood it does not alter the management of your condition and here is where Functional Medicine ( the study of root causes of chronic disease) comes into play and starts looking for what is causing your immune system to act that way.
  2. TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3: These are labs routinely done to diagnose thyroid disease, however you must ask your doctor for a complete thyroid panel because sometimes traditional physicians will order only TSH levels.
  3. Thyroid Ultrasound
  4. Fine Needle Aspiration: This is more invasive and its only done if you still uncertain about the diagnosis
  5. Nutritional Deficiencies testing ( Micro nutrient testing)
  6. Leaky Gut Syndrome Testing: Tests if your intestines are allowing foreign proteins to leak through your intestines
  7. Food sensitivity testing : This is different from food Allergy testing
  8. Heavy metal exposure and environmental toxins: Fluoride found in tap water among others like bromides and Halides.
  9. Adrenal Saliva testing: Adrenal dysfunction testing
  10. Gut infections and Chronic Infections: HPV, Lyme disease, Epstein Barr, Herpes infection etc

Complementary Therapies for Hypothyroidism

These below are some complementary therapies used to treat hypothyroidism. They do not include prescribed medications as these will be described in another blog. The list includes some of the most common alternative therapies to treat Hypothyroidism but also are used to treat any other autoimmune disease since it tries to avoid common triggers that leads to autoimmunity.

  1. Fluoride free water and reverse osmosis system for your water supply (Fluoride can impact Iodine deficiency needed for the thyroid)
  2.  Bromide Free flame retardants in mattresses among other environmental toxin that we are exposed to.
  3. Nutritional supplementation with active forms of Vitamins and Minerals
  4. Avoiding Chlorine exposures
  5. Avoiding Common pesticides in foods
  6. Eating Organic foods
  7. Makeups and Lipsticks ( Filled with chemicals that will increase your toxic burden)
  8. Skin products: the skin is the largest organ in our body and the ones that can absorb many chemicals on a daily basis)
  9. Organic Skincare : Anything that you put in your skin should be clean and organic
  10. Gluten Free Diet and Dairy free ( I would suggest to get tested in order to have objective data that you are really sensitive to gluten, since being on a gluten free diet is difficult for some people and its a lifelong process).
  11. Balance your blood sugar levels ( Measuring Insulin levels and A1C levels to see where you stand on this)
  12. Increase nutrient intake through whole food, not processed junk food(Selenium,Iodine, Tyrosine are essential for Hypothyroidism)
  13. Try to breath clean air whenever possible, clean your air filter to avoid exposure to chemicals found in your house/work.
  14. Grain Free diet to avoid spiking your blood sugar

Root Cause of Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

On a separate blog I will discuss medications used to treat hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism

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