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Basics of Immune Balancing for Hashimoto’s


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This article is part of a special report on Thyroid Disorders. To see the other articles in this series, click here.

In the first post in this series, we established that hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disease (called Hashimoto’s) in the vast majority of cases. Since then, we’ve explored the role of gluten intolerance, vitamin D deficiency, supplemental iodine, blood sugar imbalances, adrenal stress and a leaky gut in perpetuating the autoimmune attack and disrupting thyroid function. We’ve discussed why dietary changes are always the first step in treating Hashimoto’s, and why replacement thyroid hormone is often necessary for a successful outcome.

What we haven’t discussed yet, however, are specific strategies for bringing the immune system back into balance. That will be the focus of this article.

Originally, I planned to go into considerable detail on the specific mechanisms of immune dysfunction that occur with Hashimoto’s, including a review of immunology, immune system classification (i.e. Th1 or “cell-mediated” immunity vs. Th2 or “humoral immunity”) and immune cell organization. It quickly became clear that such an approach would require an entire series of its own.

So, as fascinating as all of that stuff is, I decided to cut to the chase and focus on the practical, clinical applications. But there’s a caveat. Although I’ll be offering some general guidelines here for how to balance the immune system, if you have Hashimoto’s (or any other autoimmune condition) it’s in your best interest to find someone who understands immunology and is current with the latest nutritional and botanical protocols for treating autoimmune disease.

Why? Because autoimmune disease is not only extremely complex, but also highly individualized. Hashimoto’s in one person is not the same as Hashimoto’s in the next person. In one person, Hashimoto’s could present as a Th1-dominant condition. In another, it may present as Th2 dominant. In still another, both the Th1 and Th2 systems might be overactive, or underactive. And each of these cases requires a different approach. For example, botanicals like echinacea and astragalus stimulate the Th1 system. If someone with Th1 dominant Hashimoto’s takes these herbs, they’ll quite possibly get worse. On the other hand, antioxidants like green tea and Gotu Kola stimulate the Th2 system, and would be inappropriate for those with Th2 dominant Hashimoto’s. (For more information on the specifics of Hashimoto’s autoimmune physiology, see this article on Dr. Kharrazian’s blog and pick up a copy of his book.)

The good news, though, is that there are general approaches to balancing the immune system that are suitable for all types of Hashimoto’s regardless of the specific pattern of immune dysregulation. These approaches can be broken into three categories: removing autoimmune triggers, enhancing regulatory T cell function and reducing inflammation.

Removing Autoimmune Triggers

We’ve already discussed the role of gluten, iodine, stress and a leaky gut in triggering an autoimmune response. Other potential triggers include estrogens, infectious agents, and environmental toxins.

Estrogen fluctuations can trigger the gene expression of Hashimoto’s in the presence of inflammation and genetic susceptibility. In addition to turning on the genes associated with Hashimoto’s, estrogen surges have been shown to exacerbate the autoimmune attack on the thyroid. This may explain why the expression of Hashimoto’s is so common during pregnancy and perimenopause – both times when estrogen may be fluctuating wildly.

Environmental toxins are associated with autoimmune disease, and Hashimoto’s is no exception. Certain antigens like mercury that bypass our barrier system cause a potent immune response that can become chronic and overactive. If you suspect environmental toxicity may be contributing to your condition, it’s probably a good idea to get a test for chemical haptens and heavy metal antibodies.

Autoimmune thyroid disease has also been associated with a variety of infectious agents, including Rubella, Rubeolla, Epstein-Barr Virus, Retrovirus, Influenza B virus, Coxsakie virus and Yersinia. The mechanism in all cases is theorized to be cross-reaction between thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) receptors and infectious agents. Once again, if you suspect an infectious agent is involved in your condition, a screening for these pathogens is a good idea.

Enhancing Regulatory T Cell Function

These strategies are all designed to enhance the function of regulatory T cells (also referred to as the Th3 system). Regulatory T cells are used to balance the activity between T-helper cells (Th1 & Th2) and T-suppressor cells (which “turn off” the immune attack).

Vitamin D has been shown to influence regulatory T cells, which in turn modulate T helper cell expression and balance the Th1 and Th2 response. For more on this see The Role of Vitamin D Deficiency in Thyroid Disorders.

The gut flora play a significant role in both cell-mediated (Th1) and humoral (Th2) immunity. Studies show that this protective role can be maintained and modulated by taking probiotics. Specific probiotic strains can influence the secretion of cytokines to help direct naïve helper T cells towards either a Th1 dominant, cell-mediated immune response or towards a Th2 dominant, humoral immune response.

Acupuncture has recently been shown to regulate the Th1 and Th2 immune response. In this study of patients with depression, both Prozac and acupuncture were shown to reduce inflammation. But only acupuncture restored the balance between the Th1 and Th2 systems. In another study, acupuncture reduced inflammation and lessened the symptoms of asthma by regulating the balance between Th1 and Th2 cytokines.

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Reducing Inflammation

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) play an important role in preventing and reducing inflammation. I’ve written an entire series of articles on this topic, which I’d recommend reading if you haven’t already.

The ideal ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 3:1. The average American ratio is closer to 25:1, and as high as 30:1, thanks to diets high in processed and refined foods. The result of this imbalance is – among other things – inflammation.

Two steps are required to bring this ratio back into balance. First, dramatically reducing consumption of omega-6 fats, and second, moderately increasing consumption of omega-3 fats. I explain how to do this in considerable detail in this article.

Another benefit of increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids is that they have also been shown to help balance the Th1 and Th2 systems.

Aside from ensuring a proper balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, following an anti-inflammatory diet/lifestyle and avoiding dietary triggers like gluten and iodine is essential.

Putting these general approaches to balancing the immune system into action should give you a good start towards getting the autoimmunity under control. But if you don’t see the results you’d like, I’d recommend working with someone who knows how to address your particular immune imbalance more specifically.

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Join the conversation

  1. Hi Chris:
    My question is about raw milk kefir and hashimoto’s. Dr. K says no dairy, however, kefir is an excellent probiotic. What do you think?
    Thank you very much.

  2. Dear Chris, your site is a blessing. I developed Hashimoto’s at 25 while pregnant. After a year of trying for the right dose, im on 125mgr of levothyroxine sodium. Three years down the line with good results from standard blood tests, i cant get rid of the symptoms. Pretty much everything you ve mentioned. Im working on removing gluten from my diet, but keep failing since im in a very bad financial way, i live in greece and eat what im given sometimes. I was badly asthmatic as a child and wrongfully had my tonsils and adenoids removed before i was 2, because they couldnt figure out what was wrong. My question is about how to take the meds while i work on my diet. My gynecologist finally told me to take it without eating or drinking anything for 45mins before and after, except maybe chamomile tea? Lately i ve noticed nothing can get me out of my fuzzy head stupor other than some sugar, which works instantly. Im not a real sugar fan though. I would appreciate any comment. Thank you, hope you are well.

  3. My wife has been very sick for almost 16+ years and no one seems to be able to help. She was diagnosed about 17 years ago as hyperthyroid and received medication which seemed to work and they were stopped as was now normal. Then came pneumonia which she recovered from. Next came years of constant bouts of flu like symptoms, sick for two weeks, good for one, laringistis and so on. Diagnosed as depressed, also rhinitis, polyps. We then decided to move from UK to Australia thinking the cold weather was a trigger. No major improvement, symptoms continued bouts of flu like, horse voice, joint pains, fatigue, dry skin, tongue ulcers, confusion, tinnitis, carpal tunnel sydrome symptoms but now stomach issues with bloating and pain had started and she had also been diagnosed with extremely high bad chloresterol and put on lipitor. She decided to try a gluten free diet and almost overnight felt heaps better so has continued on that for two years however over the last six months symptoms have returned to such a point she hardly has energy to make it through the day. After heaps of blood tests and loads of different doctors and getting a second thyroid test performed it was found that she has high perioxiase thyroid antibodies 360 instead of 60 and was started on 50 mcg of Thyroxine even though TSH, T3 & T4 were within limits.
    Now the doctor has decided to stop her Lipitor and Thyroxine as she says if she continues on Thyroxine she will then go hyperthyroid and different problems and has now ordered a batch of hormone blood tests as well as pelvic & thyroid scans and says she may be suffering from depression which is causing all this.
    We are at an ends loss to where or who we should be seeing anymore as everyone seems to have different ideas as to what is wrong. We do have an appointment to see a Celiac specialist here in Brisbane in two weeks but we are not holding out any luck.

      • Leslye,
        I have hyperthyroidism, and I have never had Lyme Disease. I have been tested. It is almost as routine as a CBC now.

    • Hi Mark, I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. Being chronically ill just stinks. I don’t know if you’ve already tried, but you might look into Lyme Disease as a possibility. That’s what my disease finally turned out to be. It comes with a whole host of random symptoms, including some of the ones mentioned in your post. The standard Lyme test’s (at least in the US) aren’t very accurate, so the one I had was done by Igenex, and of course, insurance didn’t pay for it so it was expensive, but it was definitely worth finally getting some answers. I’m not sure if Brisbane has an Igenex Lab, but maybe something comparable. The other thing you might look into is the possibility of Toxic Mold Poisoning, that comes with a bunch of random symptoms too. Hope you get some answers soon!

    • I think what is not talked about in this series is there are way more than gluten causing gut lining breakdown (cross reactors…other foods that look like gluten) as well as even apples carrots etc can cause the gut lining to inflame and leak out proteins that stimulate more attack on the thyroid, many times cerebellum, pancreas, joints and others your wife is suffering from.

    • Your wife is almost certainly B12 deficient! Ecen if all tests are normal, she still can be. If she can’t get shots, she can take sublingual methylcobalamin, not cyanocobalamin, at least 10,000 mcg daily. Chris has another page for B12. Look on YouTube for Living With The Fog. I have written a whole list of other supplements I take on the B12 site.

  4. So it would be wise to be off estrogen therapy if you’re struggling with Hashimoto’s, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Endometriosis? I developed severe asthma symptoms since I started it but my PCP scared me silly saying I would regret getting off it because of prolapse, vaginal atrophy and severe hot flashes! I should have listened to my instincts. I knew that stuff was making me feel worse.

    • I’m not sure what in the linked article supports the idea that estrogen surges aggravate Hashi’s. If anything, it says that low estrogen is a problem.

  5. Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much for all of this info on Hashimoto’s. My antibodies keep going up but they tell me that my symptoms aren’t related to Hash’s. I’m on my 3rd endocrinologist, 3rd internist and on my 2nd cardiologist. Finding this forum reassures me I’m not crazy. No one seems to know what to do do with me. Thyroid within normal range and antibodies increasing. I have palpitations accompanied by tremors, joint pain, fatigue, low body temp, dry brittle hair, dry skin, and hair loss, yet no one can help me.

    My next step is to see an immunologist and of course going gluten free. Do you think seeing an immunologist vs am endo is a good idea. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Maria: I’d suggest finding someone that will acknowledge autoimmunity is at the root of your problem, and knows how to treat it. You might try the directory at http://thyroidbook.com. Have you read “Why Do I Still Have Symptoms When My Thyroid Tests Are Normal?” by Datis Kharrazian?

  6. Hi Chris,

    Can you point me to a resource on your website that specifically speaks to HYPERthyroidism? I have found some great resources for hypo, but not hyper. Thank you so much!

    • I have had the same problem. You have to Google Overactive Thyroid instead of Hyperactive. Same thing to you and me, but not to Google. Also, try hormone.org and ThyroidAwareness.com.

  7. My doctor tells me I have hypothyroidism. She tells me the thyroid is a little low but gives no specifics. This has been going on for about 8 months now. From all of my searching on the internet, I don’t seem to have any of the symptoms…no fatigue, depression, sleepy, etc. To the contrary, I am energetic and feel great. The doctor wants to give me prescribed medicine, which I do not want to take if at all possible.
    Do you have any suggestions?

  8. wonderful information. i appreciate how you document studies in order to learn more as well as outside resources/books/blogs etc. please continue doing this.

    you challenge even the fringe re supplementation and differential therapy. which is great! there is much to learn and the info collected here is a great place to begin.

    thank u!

  9. Becky,

    I’ve mentioned thyroid antibodies elsewhere in this series.

    Insulin resistance may produce symptoms that mimic low thyroid function, such as fatigue and weight gain.  I’m not sure where your reference to fasting comes from.  I didn’t mention that in the article, and I’m not a fan of extended fasts for most people.


    Here’s a good short video on thyroid: 

    Not mentioned but I heard on a podcast (kharrazian), that you should get your thyroid antibodies (TH2) tested:   TPO (tyhroid peroxidase), and TGB (Thyroglobulin) . And as Chris writes Autoimmune disorders (TH1) can cause hypothyroidism, and can lead to issues of hair loss, fat metabolism and cholesterol.
    However, is it true that insulin surges in men (hypoglycemia?), can look like hypothryoidism symptoms (due to elevated estrogen)?
    Also, instead of fasting what about getting rid of gluten, and supplementing with chromium, vanadium, copper, alpha-lipoic acid, mixed tocopherols, biotin, zinc, inositol, licorice, b-vitamins, coq10 (ubiquinol), vitamin d3, magnesium, selenium, Gymnema sylvestre, and conditionally, iodine?


  11. Chris – I just found your blog last night and have found it to be extremely informative, and I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer people’s questions about these subjects.  I just finished reading Dr. Kharrazian’s book, after looking for years for suggestions to address the underlying cause of my Hashimoto’s.  I thought the book was a good start, but I really wish he had addressed more of the “how to” along with the “why to”.  The recurring theme seemed to be “find a professional who follows these courses of treatment”.  Well, thus far I haven’t been able to find anyone in the area with a clue, plus my insurance doesn’t cover preexisting conditions for the first year of coverage, so I am on my own for a bit.
    So, my questions to add to the mix:  Are you aware if preparations such as soaking or fermenting change the gluten in grains to any extent as to make them less inflammatory?  (Nourishing Traditions type prep.)  I’ve read that sourdough bread is better for diabetics than non-fermented breads, so I was wondering if there might be any similar advantage.
    Second, what about do-it-yourself probiotics as an aid to build proper gut bacteria to improve the T4 to T3 conversion process?  I culture and consume water kefir, milk kefir, kombucha and yogurt regularly.
    Do you feel that a GAPS type diet is required, or is Paleo style enough?  I think my guts are pretty healthy, and don’t seem to react to a lot of the foods on the GAPS list (as far as I know).  My thyroid hormone levels test within high normal range, but I did test positive for Hashi’s.  Overall symptoms are minor (some fatigue, dry skin, cool extremities, aches).  I lost around ten pounds by increasing my fat consumption, and have lost another five or so by reducing carbs, so am very curious about all of this.

    • Laurie: soaking or fermenting grains does improve their digestibility, but it doesn’t eliminate the gluten. I recommend that all people diagnosed with Hashi’s avoid gluten completely, regardless of whether they notice a reaction. We now know that gluten intolerance can manifest in many ways, and gut inflammation is only one of them.

      Fermented foods are an excellent way to get probiotics, but make sure you’re getting prebiotic foods as well. These would include resistant starches contained in sweet potatoes, taro, etc. as well as inulin in onions, chicory, jerusalem artichoke, etc. You can also take a prebiotic supplement to see if that helps.

      The reason Dr. K says “find a practitioner” is that autoimmune thyroid conditions are incredibly complex and therefore not easy to self-treat. I will be working with patients at a distance beginning in the next few weeks, so that’s an option if you find you need further help.

  12. Hi Chris, This is really becoming a helpful series. I forwarded your posts to some acquaintances of mine, who suffer from hypothyroidism. Won’t be long and Kharrazian can serve his apprenticeship with you :-). This week I wrote an easy to read post on how to reverse a leaky gut and stop autoimmune diseases. I hope your readers may benefit from it too: http://bit.ly/a9Gvjk . VBR Hans

  13. I’ve been following this series with interest since my N. Doc has me on iodine supplements and is using iodine loading test(s) to check on my progress. Your anti-iodine ideas gave me food for thought, but no real idea if I should stop taking it. What is the test I should ask for from the Naturapath to determine Hasimoto’s. (I know I haven’t had it)
    Also in this article you mention estrogen fluctuations  as a potential auto-immune trigger, but no ideas what to do. This is what my naturapath is helping me with- perimenopausal estrogen dominance and better clearing of estrogen through the liver by working on diet, stress, and helpful supplementation. (she uses estrogen metabolism tests to see how well my liver is doing) I do love your writing, but I can’t help but feel like few doctors, natural or otherwise, do more than just attribute problems like this to perimenopausal hormone imbalances without the corresponding suggestions of tests or treatments.
    I’m trying to prevent myself form developing autoimmune disease and it’s frustrating because when hormone fluctuations are a problem, it’s like I’m supposed to accept this as part of perimenopause and that nothing can be done.
    Please talk a bit about things women might do about hormone triggered autoimmune disease?

    • Claire: I wish I could give you an easy answer. But these are complex problems, and they’re not amenable to canned, one-size fits all approaches. I couldn’t hope to advise you or anyone else without doing a full work-up and exam to determine the exact mechanisms involved. Hopefully that’s what your naturopath is doing. In general, hormone problems are secondary to (caused by) blood sugar imbalances, adrenal stress (cortisol dysregulation), essential fatty acid deficiencies, hormone clearance issues and gut infections or inflammation. If all of those issues are addressed, the hormones generally balance themselves. In particular, the state of the adrenals is important in perimenopause and menopause because during that time ovarian production of hormones is declining, and the slack is picked up by the adrenals. A salivary test can give your practitioner important information about your adrenal health, and cues for where to go from there.

      • Maybe all of you should read up on adrenal fatigue and its association to the thyroid and sex hormones. The cause could likely be attributed to stress in our rediculously demanding lifestyles that we choose to lead. The stress weakens the adrenals, steals sex hormones to continue the catabolic spiral derived from stressful stimuli. Thyroid, being your master metabolic manager, will shut down overtime due to chronic breakdown and stress to avoid further breakdown and “age ing” of the tissues. This cascade effect can cause wild fluctuations of the blood sugar (cortisol connection)and can also cause gluten intolerance or allergies (celiac) and/or diabetes. This is how stress can cause hashimotos. You must heal the adrenals in order to restore/regenerate the thyroid. Adding to your list is a quality multivitamin without iodine, iron or boron, Himalayan sea salt in large amounts of purified water and most of all…….behavior modification and low heart rate exercise. Be nice to your mind and body; it takes training, but is imperative to energizing your parasympathetic nervous system. Network chiropractic is a great tool in maximizing your parasympathetic nervous system and quietening the sympathetic system that is chronically triggered in periods of stress (ie, unfulfilling job or relationship)

      • My endo said the salivary test is a joke. However, I have a Naturopath that had me complete one.
        My natruopath indicated that my cortisol levels were high all day and said that I must get them to come down. My norephinephrine was high and my epinephrine was low. Histamines were high too. Dopamine/DOPAC both low. I don’t entirely trust this naturopath, but starting to wondering if maybe I should be trusting her, more than my endo. My endo just keeps upping my levoxyl (now unithroid-with the non-availability of levoxyl) and I am barely seeing any changes in my free T4. Can’t lose ANY weight. Cut out gluten and sugar about 2 months ago with no results. So, do I have to cut out dairy too? Been researching Paleo. I was snacking on skinny pop-popcorn, but is that not allowed on Paleo?

        Anyone with any comments/suggestions, would be appreciated. Should I be taking any thryoid replacement? I really don’t know which way to go with this? Thanks!

        • Hi Susan, how are you now- a year later? Did you go full paleo yet? Yes dairy should be stopped as well as nightshades. If you find improvements then reintroduction should be slowly (one thing added back in and monitored), but maybe not a good outcome.

  14. “In the first post in this series, we established that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease (called Hashimoto’s) in the vast majority of cases. ”

    Just to be clear, the above quote from this article is wrong, hypothyrodism is not an autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder with hypothyroidism being the most common symptom of the disorder. Hypothyroidism can be caused by many things but Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroidism.

    • There was a word missing. It should read: hypothyroidism is *caused* by an autoimmune disease in the vast majority of cases.

  15. In this article they are taking everything so piecemeal, yet in reality it’s all connected.  I think it’s kind of nearsighted, as opposed to holistic.  If you add it all up, a diet following the principles of Weston A. Price is really what it all points to.  But they never really add it all up.  It’s sort of like if you describe all the letters in detail but you never say the word.  I don’t see anything simple here!  Also, for most of the practitioners I know who have worked with thyroid disease, they believe that iodine will help even autoimmune thyroid disease.  However, this article says to avoid iodine.  I found than in my case, even though I had an autoimmune thyroid condition and was allergic to iodine, a simple anti-allergy procedure (and a healthy diet) enabled me to take the iodine I needed and recover from thyroid problems without any drugs.

    • Could you please go into more detail of the anti-allergy procedure that allowed your body to process iodine better?

      Please provide details.

      Thanks RJ

  16. What I’ve said in the articles was 90% of hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s.  That’s not the same thing as saying Hashimoto’s is equivalent to hypothyroidism.

    Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that progressively destroys the thyroid gland.  During an autoimmune attack, as the gland is destroyed thyroid hormones are dumped into the bloodstream.  This causes a temporary hyperthyroid condition (Hashimoto’s toxicosis), and explains the fluctuations between hypo- and hyperthyroid a Hashimoto’s patient experiences early in their disease.

    As time goes on, more and more of the thyroid gland is destroyed and the condition evolves into frank hypothyroidism without any hyperthyroid surges.  Note that some Hashimoto’s patients never experience significant episodes of hyperthyroidism secondary to glandular destruction, while for others, such episodes can be quite severe (to the point of these folks sometimes being misdiagnosed with Graves’).

    Ultimately, without (and often even with) treatment all Hashimoto’s patients will end up being hypothyroid.  How much time this takes depends on the person and the treatment.

  17. Perhaps you weren’t clear, then, Chris. I had the same belief, but maybe that was because that was what you were discussing.

    • The article opens with the following statement:

      “In the first post in this series, we established that hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disease (called Hashimoto’s) in the vast majority of cases.” So, yes, you did say that Hypothyroidism is Hashi’s. Whole different animal. If you’ve ever had it, you would know.

      • Saying that hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s is very different than saying that Hashimoto’s IS hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is one of the dominant symptoms of Hashimoto’s, and it is how most people find out they have Hashimoto’s, but Hashi’s is much more than just hypothyroidism.

    • I have hoshi’s and I thought I had things “figured out,” after the last two years of pain and torture. I’ve been on a low dose of cytomel and eating, supplementing well. suddenly my balanced numbers went way up, T3/T4 through the roof and my antibiodies to 137 when normal is less than 40. I suspect its just the “way it goes.” I honestly haven’t been monitoring my blood b/c of insurance. I finally was able to check it when obama care came through. I’m really disappointed. I was gaining weight and so proud of myself b/c i thought it was due to eating well. turns out i’m just going hypo again. my thyroid is throbbing and I don’t know how to take the pain away. I was trying to look for a trigger and I discovered that 2 months ago I added a mineral supplement to my diet and it has iodine in it. Could that be the culprit? I ‘ve read idoine is good and I’ve read it’s bad. you read one thing and then read the complete opposite somewhere else. I also read recently that kale is bad for hoshi patients! I’ve been drinking kale smoothies for a whole year and I feel they have aided in my getting back to health. Any thoughts out there on the iodine thing? And besides adjusting my meds and taking advil any magic cures for stopping the pain in my neck? I’m getting my ultrasound this mouth.

      Thanks guys.

      • Tisa, I would definitely stop the iodine immediately. I’ve been warned about that again and again, by practitioners and online comments, although I don’t remember the explanation for why it’s dangerous.

        I agree with Tim, that Sarah Ballantyne’s new book could be very useful. Her website is http://www.thepaleomom.com. But hopefully you already have Dr. Kharrazian’s book or have gotten info at his website http://www.thyroidbook.com. Oh, here’s something that may help you: http://thyroidbook.com/blog/iodine-and-hashimotos/

      • The concern with iodine is that it can cause a thyroid autoimmune attack and reactive hypothyroid. The way to get the iodine you need is to first stop all immune triggers (per Sarah Ballantyne) for 2-3 months, then you can ramp up iodine slowly with safely. Also need to make sure you have enough selenium, as they work together. For selenium, make sure any supplement is organic (methylselenocysteine or selenomethionine); you can use either Ecological Formulas Selenium Cruciferate or Life Extension’s Se-Methyl L-Selenocysteine.

        • Hi Tim,

          Do you know of any research linking Ecological Formulas Selenium Cruciferate or Life Extension’s Se-Methyl L-Selenocysteine to lowered anti-TPOs? everything I see references selenium methionine..

      • I’m not sure what doctors you have tried but for the last 5 yrs or more my life has been living hell. I go to every dr and get different meds to treat different issues/ symptoms but no one seems to want to put the whole of my problems together. All they do is complain I’m on too many meds and waayy to young to be this sick! Lol Like that has done me any good. I have 3 autoimmune diseases plus many more probs I won’t bother to share. I kept having this feeling the they all should tie together. My opinions in most drs unfortunately has become very sketchy over the last few yrs. I finally discovered INTEGRATIVE doctors. They are trained doctors who also believe in the natural side of health by using food, supplements, etc to help heal your body. I’m not sure about naturopath or holistic drs. The one holistic I went to was awful and did more harm than good. Fundamental might be the same. I haven’t looked that up. We just moved and I am trying a new one here. But my last one in VA was awesome!

      • All forms of Cytomel, brand & generic, contain gluten (wheat starch) except the generic from Paddock Labs. So if gluten intolerant, Cytomel may be the culprit. :/

      • This electric TENS unit for neck pain has been a life-saver for me! I wonder if the advil could be counter productive physiologically!


        I go everywhere with this device, bike riding etc.
        Best to you!

  18. It’s my understanding, as explained to me by a variety of doctors, that Hashimoto’s is NOT hypothyroidism but a fluctuation of hypo and hyper that may or may not eventually result in full-blown hypo. I think explaining it as only hypothyroidism is an over-simplification. I have been able to treat my symptoms with T3 therapy and have very little hypo symptoms anymore and rarely feel the hyper but they had been there. Just my two cents, as a Hashi’s patient.

    • In Hashimoto’s “hypothyroidism”, thyroid tissue is being destroyed by the immune system. Over time, if the autoimmune response is not checked…more and more tissue will be destroyed leaving less of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone = Hypothyroidism. The “hyperthyroid” sx that accompany this condition are caused by the release of an uncontrolled ( ie random ) amount of thyroid hormone into the bloodstream = excess hormone = “hyperthyroid” symptoms. Just another reason NOT to simplify a health condition based on symptoms. Just my 2 cents as a practitioner

    • As another Hashimoto’s patient here who has been to at least 5 Endos and told I have Hashi’s and am very very sick am told that Hashi’s doesn’t cause symptoms. Doctors do not take this disease seriously at all. I has ruined my life. I used to hike Mountainsin Arizona, had a great life, full of energy. Now I can barely function…Oh, but the TSH is in range while the T3 & 4 fluctuate and I have to beg to get those tested, not to mention the antibodies that Endos aren’t even aware of or care to test for. One doc, when I told him about my eyes killing me and the horrid headaches said it had nothing to with my thyroid. Well, 2 weeks later I went to the eye doc and found out I had Thyroid Eye Disease. Why oh why don’t doctors listen. After being put on antidepressants and antianxiety meds and told it was depression, I suffered for years without a dx while this disease wrecked my body. I too go Hyper/Hypo. Before they dx’d me with Hashi’s they told me I must have rapid cycling BiPolar. I think it’s criminal and they should have their licenses revoked….! Endos know nothing about thyroid disease. It should fall under the realm of AutoImmune and Rheumatology if they’re not willing to learn about what this disease really does.

      • I too have had to diagnose myself with everything from gluten intolerance to hashimoto’s disease. I spent incredible amounts of money, time and energy going from doctor to doctor looking for someone to help me with all of the symptoms I have had for many years. The worst part was that I was labeled “crazy” and hospitalized and put on many different psychiatric medications that almost killed me as I underwent phases of hyperthyroidism. I still have not found all of the pieces I need to get well and am very grateful for this information that Chris shares. I believe that doctors are supposed to take an oath of “do no harm” of which I can honestly say has not been taken seriously by those who have taken it. My life is forever “altered” because of this illness and the inability of doctors to diagnose and treat it.

        • Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner – often they are also Chiropractors. Find one that has credentials such as chiropractic neurology. You want to work with one who specializes in Thyroid, HASHIMOTOS, Immune disorders. Some may help you via Skype or phone. Go to youtube listen to what some of the doctors have to say. Learn what you can to help you sort thru doctors to find some that can help you.

      • Could not agree with you more on the endos and their complete arrogance about what they know little about. We need a specialized Dr. Whom has been educated properly in our AI disease!

      • I can relate to all of you, and although I have only been on this for a few days, digestacure is looking promising……I’ve been almost home bound for a year…..10’s of thousands of $$ later, I’m worse……someone else who suffered worse than I do has had HUGE success after 35 days……if I get better, I am going to spend every dollar I can to share my solution!

      • Hello Lila
        Sorry to hear you have not found the answers for your condition. If you still have a within normal TSH & fluctuation of T3/4 then you must also consider the possibility of estrogen influence on Thyroid gland, which usually will present with a normal TSH however higher T4. The new guidelines states that Thyroid diseases should not only be diagnosed on the basis of TSH but also primarily based on Clinical Symptoms.
        I am certain you understand the mechanism of the condition as in my experience most patients are well read & have great insight to their body & symptoms. TRH from hypothalamus (brain) activates TSH in the anterior pituitary, which then activates thyroglobulin (TG) in the thyroid gland to join the Iodine with the help of enzyme TPO to form T4/thyroxine. T4 is found in our blood as total T4 which is a combination of free (active) & combine w/ TBG carrier (inactive) state. The free T4 will deionize to become free T3 which is actually the most active & the smallest amount found in the blood.
        Therefore, it is important to rule out pathologies related to various mechanisms throughout the pathway i.e. TRH—>TSH—->T4—->T3

        The best part of the pathway is its negative feedback system, i.e. inactivation of TSH receptors on the pituitary by the free T3 hormones. Coming back to your presentation of high T4/3 with normal TSH, perhaps eludes to the fact that there may be stimulation of T4 to convert to T3 without any +\- feedback mechanism; which can be due to fluctuations in estrogen, as estrogen synthesizes/makes TBG for it self & any access will combine with T4 to then give a higher T4 blood level.
        You may also request an Iodine (I-131) uptake test, which can further help diagnose any “warm,hot,cold” areas in the thyroid glad to then help rule out/in other pathologies on the above pathway.
        Please do NOT STOP advocating for your body & self until you find that one physician that will validate your symptoms & provide the care that works best for you. You know your body better than any health care personal, if you innately are not satisfied with your diagnosis then keep advocating. Good luck & hope you find your “life” back to enjoy the activities you so did 🙂

      • Hi Lila-

        I read your story and I not only understood what you were saying, but I can completely understand how you are feeling. Hashimoto’s at times has ruined my life. I’ve always been very happy go lucky, full of life and love to be on the go golfing, traveling, spending time with my son and friends. Now, I don’t know from day to day how I’m going to feel when I wake up in the morning. I have spent the past several years taking my health into my own hands because no Dr.’s have been able to help me. One thing I have come to realize is that I have several food intolerances that will cause Hashimoto’s symptoms and one by one I am figuring them out and it has really made a difference how I feel. I can no longer have gluten, yeast (anything with yeast makes me feel very sick almost like the flu when I eat it), soy, any kind of artificial sweetener just to name a few. I wanted to share what I learned with you because I was amazed at how sick certain food made me feel and I’m still developing intolerances and I just eliminate them as I go. I don’t feel 100% and I’m not sure I ever will but with lots of research and dedication to my health I have found things that have helped me a great deal that no Dr. would have helped me with.

        • I’m reading through this forum for the first time and came across this reference to “digestacure,” which has caught my interest! I’m going to look into this. I’ll start out reading about it! Good luck with your journey!

        • I am just starting a gluten free diet for the hypothyroidism. But I already have 3 jars of the protein powder. Do you know if it is gluten free?

      • I agree. It’s criminal. Plain and simple.

        I have oftened wondered why more people have tolerated this for so long. They have made a joke of people. Especially easy to manipulate women with this, sending them on years of misdiagnosis, and drugs, making them feel as if they are somehow crazy?

        People with this problem SHOULD be revolted at the care we receive, especially when you consider how many ways this can effect you. An autoimmune disease isnt exactly like catching a cold!

        My endo dismissed the immune system part. He said “cmon you dont want gluten?” He also wouldn’t check anything outside of TSH. I tried to to tell him about research, leaky gut, etc and he dismissed it.

        It was as if he was more concerned with protecting his ego, and his “title” along with being the “authority” in the room vs listening little ole me patient.