Hashimoto's Not Responding? Here's 10 Reasons Why.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses immune function.
For some, managing autoimmune Hashimoto’s is as easy as going gluten-free. For others, it requires trial and error to find the triggers. And for those with severe or multiple autoimmune disorders, symptom management requires a conscious, lifelong approach to diet and lifestyle.
If you are not getting the results you want, see if any of these factors are getting in the way:
1. Not caring about your thyroid care. If you leave your thyroid care to the standard health care model, you may never see optimal results. The conventional model is based on lowering TSH into lab ranges with T4 medication, but ignoring the autoimmunity. If you have Hashimoto’s you really need to invest in self-education for the best results. The guidance of an experienced practitioner may still be necessary, but in a functional medicine approach, your participation is integral to success.
2. Skipping meals. When blood sugar drops too low it triggers autoimmune flare-ups. Symptoms of low blood sugar include shakiness, blurred vision, irritability, being spaced out, fatigue, and loss of function. If you feel more energetic after eating it means your blood sugar was too low. Skipping meals promotes Hashimoto’s flare-ups.
3. Ignoring blood sugar stability. Eating sweets and starchy foods cause surges of blood sugar and insulin, which can also trigger autoimmune flare-ups. Symptoms include fatigue, energy crashes, sugar cravings after eating, insomnia, and waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. If you are not keeping your blood sugar stable it will be difficult to manage Hashimoto’s because you keep “poking” it.
4. Ignoring brain health. Hashimoto’s is hard on the brain, causing symptoms that overlap with Hashimoto’s, such as brain fog, depression, and memory loss, and accelerating brain degeneration. But not only does poorly controlled hashimoto’s affect brain function, the thyroid system starts in the brain. TSH, the hormone that turns thyroid hormone production on, comes from the brain, and is controlled, in part, by brain chemicals, like Serotonin and Dopamine. It’s vital to support your brain health as part of your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism plan.
5. Not truly gluten-free. Being gluten-free is like being pregnant. You either are…or you aren’t. Gluten is a significant trigger for most people with Hashimoto’s – there is a genetic link between the two. If you are cheating on your gluten-free diet, not being careful, or eating foods that cross-react with gluten, you may be sabotaging your recovery process.
6. Eating foods that cross react with gluten. If you eat foods that cross react with gluten, then you may not have success managing your Hashimoto’s. The proteins in gluten-cross-reactive foods are structurally similar to gluten and can trigger reactions because your immune system can’t tell them apart. The most common cross-reactive foods are milk (casein), followed by rice, corn, sesame, and gluten-free oats.
7. Too much stress. Stress is a potent inflammatory trigger, as many have learned through experience. Bad relationships, an unhealthy work environment, not enough down time, and even a persistent negative attitude are chronic stressors that rev up your immune system and can make your Hashimoto’s harder to control. It’s important to mitigate stressors as much as possible and schedule regular time off.
8. Searching for the perfect thyroid medication. Many patients are looking for the perfect thyroid medication. Although finding the right med can make a huge difference, meds alone don’t always go the distance. Hashimoto’s is a complex autoimmune disorder that requires nutritional therapy and lifestyle approaches. If you’re still eating foods that flare your immune system, not controlling stress or blood sugar, then your meds can’t do their job.
9. Taking supplements that stimulate your immune system. Some supplements can make your Hashimoto’s worse or better, depending on your immune system. Natural compounds like Echinacea, green tea, acai, Astragalus, licorice, and others can either help or aggravate autoimmunity, by shifting the balance of an already imbalance immune system. It’s very important to be understand your immune imbalance and take steps to control it – first by NOT using the wrong supplements.
10. You react to fillers in your thyroid meds. Many thyroid meds and supplements contain fillers that can cause inflammation in sensitive people. Some capsules can contain gluten, and some whole-food supplements commonly used to support the thyroid gland may contain gluten or be contaminated with gluten. You need to make sure your thyroid hormones are gluten-free and free of other potential immune stimulants, like corn starch. Investigate the filler ingredients in your medication or supplements in case they are causing a reaction and check out this website: Gluten Free Drugs.
If you make any of these changes and it helps you gain control of your Hashimoto’s, then great! But if the task of figuring out all the pieces of the puzzle and what to do about them seems overwhelming, then maybe it’s time we talk. That’s what we’re here for.
Call our office at 813-340-4588, or drop us a line at FrontDesk@DrNoseworthy.com to schedule a consultation. I’m sure we can help!