Hypothyroidism: The Most Important Thing You May Not Know About
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The Most Important Thing You May Not Know about Hypothyroidism


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Reviewed by Christina Graham, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP-BC


This article is part of a special report on Thyroid Disorders. To see a comprehensive eBook on thyroid health, click here.

An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of these people are unaware of their condition. One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. The number of people suffering from thyroid disorders continues to rise each year. (1)

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders. It’s estimated that nearly 5 percent of Americans age 12 and up have hypothyroidism. (2) It is characterized by mental slowing, depression, dementia, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, hoarse voice, irregular menstruation, infertility, muscle stiffness and pain, and a wide range of other not-so-fun symptoms.

Every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormone. These hormones are responsible for the most basic aspects of body function, impacting all major systems of the body.

Thyroid hormone directly acts on the brain, the G.I. tract, the cardiovascular system, bone metabolism, red blood cell metabolism, gall bladder and liver function, steroid hormone production, glucose metabolism, lipid and cholesterol metabolism, protein metabolism and body temperature regulation. For starters.

You can think of the thyroid as the central gear in a sophisticated engine. If that gear breaks, the entire engine goes down with it.

That’s why people with hypothyroidism experience everything from weight gain and depression to infertility, bone fractures and hair loss.

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One of the biggest challenges facing those with hypothyroidism is that the standard of care for thyroid disorders in both conventional and alternative medicine is hopelessly inadequate.

The dream of patients with thyroid disorders and the practitioners who treat them is to find that single substance that will magically reverse the course of the disease. For doctors, this is either synthetic or bio-identical thyroid hormone. For the alternative types, this is iodine.

Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases neither approach is effective. Patients may get relief for a short period of time, but inevitably symptoms return or the disease progresses.

So what’s the problem? Why have replacement hormones and supplemental iodine been such dismal failures?

Because Hypothyroidism Is Caused by an Autoimmune Disease

Studies show that 90 percent of people with hypothyroidism are producing antibodies to thyroid tissue. (3) This causes the immune system to attack and destroy the thyroid, which over time causes a decline in thyroid hormone levels.

This autoimmune form of hypothyroidism is called Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is the most common autoimmune disorder in the United States. (4) While not all people with Hashimoto’s have hypothyroid symptoms, thyroid antibodies have been found to be a marker for future thyroid disease.

Most doctors know hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease. But most patients don’t. The reason doctors don’t tell their patients is simple: it doesn’t affect their treatment plan.

Conventional medicine doesn’t have effective treatments for autoimmunity. They use steroids and other medications to suppress the immune system in certain conditions with more potentially damaging effects, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

But in the case of Hashimoto’s, the consequences—i.e. side effects and complications—of using immunosuppressive drugs are believed to outweigh the potential benefits. (Thanks to conventional medicine for a relative moment of sanity here.)

So the standard of care for a Hashimoto’s patient is to simply wait until the immune system has destroyed enough thyroid tissue to classify them as hypothyroid, and then give them thyroid hormone replacement. If they start to exhibit other symptoms commonly associated with their condition, like depression or insulin resistance, they’ll get additional drugs for those problems.

The obvious shortcoming of this approach is that it doesn’t address the underlying cause of the problem, which is the immune system attacking the thyroid gland. And if the underlying cause isn’t addressed, the treatment isn’t going to work very well—or for very long.

If you’re in a leaky rowboat, bailing water will only get you so far. If you want to stop the boat from sinking, you’ve got to plug the leaks.

Extending this metaphor to Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid hormones are like bailing water. They may be a necessary part of the treatment. But unless the immune dysregulation is addressed (plugging the leaks), whoever is in that boat will be fighting a losing battle to keep it from sinking.

What the vast majority of hypothyroidism patients need to understand is that they don’t have a problem with their thyroid, they have a problem with their immune system attacking the thyroid. This is crucial to understand, because when the immune system is out of control, it’s not only the thyroid that will be affected.

Hashimoto’s often manifests as a “polyendocrine autoimmune pattern.” This means that in addition to having antibodies to thyroid tissue, it’s not uncommon for Hashimoto’s patients to have antibodies to other tissues or enzymes as well. The most common are transglutaminase (Celiac disease), the cerebellum (neurological disorders), intrinsic factor (pernicious anemia), glutamic acid decarboxylase (anxiety/panic attacks and late onset type 1 diabetes).

For more on how to balance the immune system and treat Hashimoto’s, check out this article.

Research Spotlight: Health Coaching and Thyroid Health

With the Support of Health Coaches, Diet and Other Lifestyle Changes Reduce Hashimoto’s Symptoms

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, and sufferers score lower on quality of life measures compared to healthy controls. Additional symptoms can include chronic fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and irritability, making work and social life difficult. A study published in Cureus, a medical journal known for raising funds via crowdsourcing, indicates that through collaborative healthcare, including health coach support, patients with Hashimoto’s can successfully change lifestyle behaviors to result in improved quality of life and lower symptom burden.

Study Summary

The main objectives and findings of the article were the following:

  • In this pilot study, researchers sought to determine whether the support of health coaches and other professionals could help women with Hashimoto’s successfully change diet and other lifestyle behaviors, leading to improved thyroid function, metabolic profile, and quality of life.
  • Seventeen normal and overweight women, aged 20 to 45, with Hashimoto’s participated in a 10-week online health coaching program that focused on implementing the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet along with other lifestyle modifications, including sleep hygiene, stress management, and increased movement. Participants were also part of an online support community with each other and met with nutritional nurse practitioners and physicians periodically.
  • During the duration of the 10-week program, patients were strictly adherent to the AIP diet about 95 to 100 percent of the time. Although no significant changes in thyroid function were measured after the program, six of the 13 women who were initially on thyroid medication were able to lower their doses. Symptom burden, BMI, weight, and inflammation all significantly decreased. Furthermore, patients reported improvement in all eight subscales of the quality of life survey, including physical, mental, social, and emotional health.

Key Findings and Significance

These findings stress the role of health coaches as change agents. The AIP, Paleo diet, and other similar diets are often discounted for being too “restrictive” and impossible to practically follow. However, participants in this study were 95 percent compliant with the dietary template and lost weight without tracking calories or macronutrients. And the diet resulted in significant health improvements! There is no doubt that the health coaches and online support group played key roles in the participants’ success. The program used in this study is called the “SAD to AIP in SIX”: Standard American Diet to Autoimmune Protocol in SIX weeks.

Although no measures of thyroid function significantly improved after the 10-week program, patients reported significant improvements in symptoms and quality of life, and many were able to lower their medication doses. When patients have support outside the 15-minute doctor’s appointment every six months, they are more able to change behaviors and lifestyles to benefit their health.

Reference: Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet as Part of a Multi-disciplinary, Supported Lifestyle Intervention for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Health coaches support people who are trying to make big changes—like adopting a new diet or incorporating yoga into their exercise routine. How do they do it? By developing and honing skills like facilitating change and learning to listen. Find out more about becoming a health coach with the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program.


Join the conversation

  1. I suffer from fatigue where I just want to stare at the walls and get nothing accomplished. My feet are cold and tingly, suffer weight gain, dry skin, hair loss and all the rest of the hypothyroid symptoms. I experience low blood sugar and all my blood work for diabetes comes back normal. My A1C is at 56. I check my glucose at home and my blood sugar has been low as 35 or 37. All other blood work came back normal last week. I was tested for Hashimoto in 2009 and it to came back normal. I feel achy all the time. I feel as if all I want to do is sleep and do nothing. I have been getting headaches also.

    • Hi Becky – I am familiar with the symptoms. I am trying lugols iodine as suggested by Bonnie (see comments in this post) also I have been trying different natural herbal supplements including Gaia herbs adrenal health. Read about VeganSafe B-12 one of the best B12 supplements which can work wonders for energy. Also read about celery juice and how this can heal. Hope this somewhat helps.

      • Elizabeth, Thank you for responding.

        Could this be my adrenal gland? I never had any tests done for my adrenal glands at all. should I get them tested?

        As I said in my previous comment, I was tested for Hashimoto in 2009 and it came back normal. I started taking Levothyroxin 25mcg since 2010. Now I am at 50 mcg. Does Hashimoto develop later?

        • Hi Becky, the thyroid has a number of functions, the most important of which, is that it is responsible for regulating metabolism and energy levels in the body. Low thyroid function is known as hypothyroidism. Many thyroid deficiency symptoms are also typical candida overgrowth symptoms, so there is also a connection between candida and thyroid problems. It can be a little overwhelming and no doubt leaves you thinking so where do I start. If you are happy to have your adrenals tested I would do it with a certified functional medicine practitioner. Hypothyroid is known to be difficult to test for, so it’s very unlikely it will be picked up on through a regular test with your GP (hence it’s best to get it done with someone who runs these tests all the time and are familiar with the results). For the meantime I suggested the Gaia herbs, B-12 and celery juice as these are all natural supplements which should help you on your way to feeling better. It also helps to do a lot of research. I follow a few other naturopathic doctors and do a lot of research myself so hopefully these things may be of some help. Best wishes

    • You may want to be retested for Hashimoto again. I only say this because last year my cycle became really out of wack and my OB performed a thyroid test on me. They told me that my results were normal and that sometimes these things happen. Well come December I go to my primary care clinic with symptoms of numbness/tingling, foggy headiness, extreme tiredness, achey joints, and dry itchy skin. At first I see the nurse practicener ask if I’ve had a thyroid test and I tell her my OB did it last year. After a month and half run around that included a cancer scare she finally diagnoses me with a B12 deficiency because my B12 was 230. So they give me a shot of B12. Within the hour my symptoms get worse. It takes me two weeks to get back in to see the real doctor. He looks at my chart and states that he doesn’t see that a Thyroid test has been performed. I decided to keep my mouth shut this time and let him test it. Thus this week I was diagnosed with Hashimoto with a B12 deficiency and put on the proper medication.

    • An auto-immune response can progress for a couple of years before any data shows up on a test. You know your body, if things feel out of whack, you’d know better than anyone. If you have a low basal body temp 97.8 or lower (check for 3-5 days in a row), feel “wired” inside even when you’re relatively calm, you feel tired even after getting 7-8 hours of sleep and have difficulty doing the normal everyday things you used to do, like simply washing the dishes, then there is something wrong, no matter what the tests are showing.

      All organs work together, so it isn’t isolated to your thyroid; your adrenals, gut, pituitary, kidney’s, liver, etc need to be healed. You start with the gut – get your digestive system in order, which will lead to balancing your hormones, which will balance your immune system…..

      Emerita progesterone cream, vitamins D3, k2, vit c, b12 (Methylcobalamin form & sublingual only) hcl, trace minerals. If you’re taking antacids including prescription antacids, ditch ’em, the problem isn’t too much stomach acid – it’s almost ALWAYS too little stomach acid. Too little stomach acid will reek havoc, like a domino effect, with your health.

      Get rid of the packaged foods, no fast food, no soda-none, (not even diet(it’s actually worse), only whole, un-processed, non-GMO foods. Do not eat any factory farmed meats, dairy, or eggs -which are full of growth hormones, toxins, GMO-feed, and antibiotics. Eat only pastured raised, grass-fed. Period. It will take some time, but you will start to heal.


  2. Hi!
    I would love some feedback from you guys as I am not sure what to do.

    Over the past 3 months I’ve experienced alot of anxiety, sleeping issues, fatigue and bloating. My lab results found that I have low progesterone, making me estrogen dominant which could explain many of my symptoms. But I have also tested my thyroid for anti bodies 3 times. First time it was 50 IU/ml, second time 72 IU/ml, and third time 101 IU/ml. So I have an antibody present. My TGAb was always 0. All the doctors I’ve seen all say my thyroid is fine. But if there is an antibody present doesn’t that indicate an autoimmune disease?
    I don’t eat gluten, dairy, soy, sugar or nuts so my diet can not be the cause of any inflammation.

    I’m not sure what to do now. Should I just accept what the doctors are saying that my thuroid is fine or does this seem strange to anyone else as well?

    Many Thanks!

    • Hi Linda, it can be immensely frustrating I know. If you are convinced you have a thyroid issue presumably you have seen a certified practioner or someone very experienced in that field. If you want to try an alternative method look into celery juice (simply juicing celery), apparently it has amazing healing effects (I am yet to try) also if you haven’t yet read the comments on here, try iodine. Wish you well.

    • A leaky gut is most likely your issue. This means you have a pourus gut. A condition in which bacteria, food particles etc., fall into the bloodstream. Your immune system responds by becoming hyper vigilant and attacking the foreign invador. This increases/ worsens allergies and causes major inflammation.

  3. Hi There,

    I just got these labs from my endocrinologist and I wanted a different perspective on them.

    Can you tell me your thoughts?

    I am a 47 year old Lebanese female who is “5” ‘4 3/4″ and weighs 169 lbs. I have lost 46 lbs since last December 19, 2015.

    I have PCOS and genetically inherited high cholesterol and high blood sugar. Besides genetics I am a sugar addict and have binge eating disorder.

    I have been pre diabetic off and on for at least 5 years. I have never been diagnosed with diabetes as I have never reached diabetic numbers through a self induced OGTT, A1c tests, fructosamine and fasting blood sugars.

    I am working on my diet and exercise to reduce certain blood markers.

    My blood sugar has come down and I am still working on my cholesterol. The cholesterol was measured by my primary care doctor and cardiologist.

    The blood work below was from last week at my Endocrinologists office.

    My last total cholesterol was 360 but my hdl and triglycerides were in normal range. Taken about a couple months ago.

    Last spring my total cholesterol was 259 coming down from 312. Prior to 312 it was 344.

    When it was 259 my hdl and trigs had also improved.

    I think it went high again because I started eating sugar again. I was still losing weight and monitoring my caloric intake but I went Paleo almost sugar free from December 2015 to April 2016 and that’s when my cholesterol came down from 312 to 259.

    I am back to minimizing sugar intake.

    I also suffer from depression, anxiety and ocd.

    I started gaining weight when I hit puberty and developed PCOS. I have lost and gained weight many times since then.

    I carry most of my weight in my belly.

    I am having a hyperoscopy done on Dec 15. Some hyperplasia was found in my uterus.

    I have never had kids. My period has been regular since my early thirties.

    Please let me know if you need any more information.

    I appreciate your insight!!

    Thank you very much.




    T3, Free: 2.6

    TSH: 2.33



    Fructosamine: 243

    A1C: 5.4



    Insulin: 3.8


    C-PEPTIDE: 1.31

    Vitamin D: 25

    SODIUM 137


    CHLORIDE 103


    GLUCOSE 92



    Bun/Creatinine ratio is not reported when the BUN
    and creatinine values are within normal limits.

    CALCIUM 9.9


    ALBUMIN 4.2


    A/G RATIO 1.4


    AST 12

    ALT 13


    Fasting reference interval


    • Your lab looks pretty good. You mentioned total cholesterol. But LDL and HDL value is more important so we can assess the potential risks. PCOS is making it difficult for you to keep your ideal weight. But it’s very important to keep physically active. Regarding your diet, low carb, high protein is good. Don’t stress yourself too much, try to be more relaxed in general, try yoga or other forms of meditation.

  4. My doc wants me to go off of naturethyroid (which seems to be working) except for my TSH is very low (0.05). My doc wants me to switch to Synthroid as she says it will work better. I’d rather not but my TSH is very low… Any thoughts or advice?

      • I’d ask her reasoning why taking synthroid with only one, omitting 3 other thyroid hormones in Nature-thyroid would be better for you. Some drs. have the misconception that natural is inconsistent. Also research comparisons and consider getting a second opinion from a doctor who routinely prescribes natural thyroid and can manage your condition. After years unregulated by a traditional Dr., I changed drs. and merely needed precise adjustment of the dose.

          • NatureThroid and other natural medicines contain T1, T2, T3, T4 and Calcitonin.
            Conventional, synthetic, thyroid medications, like Synthroid and Levoxyl and Levothyroxine contain T4… and that’s it! T4 is your storage hormone and your body has to be able to convert the T4 from the meds to T3, which is the active hormone. If you are not able to convert the T4 to the active T3 you will remain “sick” and hypo on the T4 meds.

      • Low TSH isn’t really a good thing, it’s hypothyroidism.. I’m pretty sure that 0.5 is the lowest “normal” TSH level that most endocrinologists are comfortable with. Even with that, your body is constantly trying to produce & convert thyroid stimulating hormone, T3 & T4. That’s part of why so many of us are sooo exhausted when our doses aren’t right.
        BTW, I have Hashimoto’s, am on Levothyroxine (same as synthroid), was diagnosed in my mid20’s (after what everyone thought was a seizure while I was bartending), & my levels, which were done as a last resort effort before they released me by the supervisory Dr, since they couldn’t figure out what was wrong, were so unbelievable that they called me at home to come back. They re-did them, confirmed that it was a HUGE, VERRYYY LONG TIME thyroid problem & sent me on to endocrinology.. And there was “no way” it could be my thyroid bc I was “just too young.” Always get a second opinion if the first one feels wrong.. Good Luck!

  5. I am intolerant to gluten including corn dairy and other foods.I have tried to heal leaky gut but had very severe reaction to l glutamine and am now super sensitive to even very small amounts of intolerant foods i.e. Found in vitamins.
    I have been diagnosed with Graves’ disease and coeliac disease is in the family.My son is a type 1 diabetic.
    I want to take priobotics was thinking of taking bio kult.
    I live in England so cannot get hold of a lot of things sold in America. Please could you give me some advice Many Thanks

  6. I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism post delivery. But I don’t have auto immune thyroid disorder. My anti microsomal antibodies are negative. But still Doctor put me on thyroid medication. I’m almost taking the medication for 5 years.if not auto immune what might be the reason for hypothyroidism.i want to quit medication slowly.
    I have corrected all other related deficiencies like vitamin D B 12 etc
    Please help

    • You can have low thyroid function/deficiency without auto immune disorder. I would advise against discontinuing.

  7. My girlfriend has been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism for several years and has been taking 25mb of
    Eutirox (Levothyroxine). She has also been told it is an Auto Immune Disease. She also has some gut sensitivities and with no proper diagnosis I believe she may have leaky gut. Typical story that she ‘grew up’ on antibiotics.

    Basically I have been reading Chris’s articles and listening to podcasts for a few weeks so am only a BEGINNER in all of this. Focus of my reading has been on auto immune disease, leaky gut and thyroid issues. Forgive me if I have this all wrong.

    My girlfriend also has other issues such as breast and ovarian cysts, Hair Loss, Tiredness in afternoon, puffy eyes (if she is off Levothyroxine).

    So my first comment is that Hypothyroidism is not listed as an Auto Immune Disease. I found the list here:


    So my assumption is that Hypothyroidism is a symptom of something else. Of course Hypothyroidism is a symptom of Hashimotos, listed as an auto immune disease, as well as a symptom of Iodine deficiency. All covered by Chris in his articles.

    Chris mentions that some cases of Hypothyroidism have shown improvements with supplementing on Iodine and he references Dr. David Brownstein as an expert on Iodine.

    Listening to Dr. Brownstein speaking about Iodine supplementation (referenced below) he gives higher dosages in his recommendations for daily Iodine supplementation.

    All recommend supplementing Iodine along with Selenium.

    Chris also states the following:

    “Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide. Once
    researchers realized this, health authorities around the world began adding iodine to
    table salt.

    This strategy was effective in correcting iodine deficiency. But it had an unanticipated—and undesired—effect. In countries where iodine has been added to table salt, the rates of autoimmune thyroid disease have risen.

    Why does this happen? Because increased iodine intake, especially in supplement form, can increase the autoimmune attack on the thyroid. Iodine reduces the activity of an
    enzyme called thyroid peroxidase (TPO). TPO is required for proper thyroid hormone production.
    On the other hand, restricting intake of iodine can reverse hypothyroidism. In one study, 78% of patients with Hashimoto’s regained normal thyroid function with iodine restriction alone.”

    So some conflicting information about Iodine but is Chris actually referring to Hypothyroidism when it is caused by Hashimotos? Rather than Hypothyroidism caused by Iodine deficiency?

    According to Dr Group (referenced below) Iodized Salt is not a good source of dietary iodine but note Dr Group does sell an Iodine supplement.

    Dr Brownstein


    Video of Dr. Brownstein interviewed by Dr Joseph Mercola has some interesting info on Iodine. Dr Mercola has been interviewed by Chris himself on one of his podcasts.


    Generic Information on Iodine:

    RDA for Iodine is 150 mcg which is said to be insufficient by Dr Group and Dr Brownstein. Also Chris recommends a higher dose as does Dave Asprey on http://www.bulletproofexec.com/top10 (supplements) Dr. Group explains the RDA of 150 mcg was set by FDA to be enough to combat Goiters.

    FAO.ORG above lists the upper limit of Iodine intake per day is 30 mcg per kg of body weight.

    Another reference I found about Iodine deficiency is

    Dr Edward Group
    15 Must Know Facts About Iodine

    On this page is a 1 hr video where Dr. Group discusses Iodine and Iodine deficiency. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3636&v=oDRd40VK5PY

    Dr. Group lists all the other symptoms that my girlfriend has as being caused by Iodine deficiency.

    Note: Global Healing Centre sell various products one of which Detoxadine is a high dose Iodine supplement.

    Both Dr Brownstein and Dr Edward recommend a much higher dose of Iodine and also mention that 19 out of 20 people in USA are deficient in Iodine.

    Summary: So in summary I believe that my girlfriends doctors have confused us with their diagnosis of Hypothyroidism as an Auto Immune Disease and have not included her other symptoms namely breast and ovarian cysts, Hair Loss, tiredness in afternoon, puffy eyes, which they knew about, as possibly caused by Iodine deficiency alone. Or they have not found the true cause of the Hypothyroidism which could be Hashimotos.

    We will need to find a Dr or FMP to help here further investigate her hypothyroidism cause and subsequent healing plan.

    I hope this information is accurate and if it is that it helps someone in their own investigation

    • Please say where you live, so that the community can help. I know of great Drs. in St. Paul, MN and San Diego. It took me years to find them. Thanks for the info on Iodine. I have Hashimotos, and am on Nature-Throid. Good luck to your girlfriend and I hope she appreciates such a thoughtful boyfriend.

      • I need help..please…I have hypothyroidism, I hurt all over, just walking to the bathroom from my living room is so painful that I have to hold on to things…I am starting to have stomach problems, like an achey feeling…I feel like my body is falling apart one limb at a time.

      • Hi, Carey. I was just diagnosed with non-autoimmune hypothyroidism. My doctor, a functional medicine doc, prescribed natural thyroid. I’ll pick it up tomorrow. I’m not a fan of medication and would love to hear of someone else’s experience on this medication. My TSH is 4.5 and my vit D is 17. I started Vit D/K2 this week. My concern with the medication is that it will inhibit my body’s ability to produce it’s own hormones. I’m also not excited at the prospect of being on a medication for life, although my doctor says I don’t have to be on it for life. I’m reading conflicting info on that. Any info would help. Thanks!

      • St. Paul, you say? I am certain I have hypothyroidism after yet another blood test indicated a change in my thyroid level, but I know I’ve never been tested for an autoimmune disease as the potential cause. My first endocrinologist wrecked absolute havoc on my hormones, and I lost a job and a marriage thanks to the spiralling depression, fatigue, and nearly all of the other known positive symptoms. I’ll take any good local suggestion versus any unknown clinic.

  8. hi everyone i am a bit more unlucky than u as i have swelling in my legs and forearms due to my thyroids problems very uncomfortable ???mixedema ?will i ever get rid of these edemas?anyone there suffering from the swelling related to hypothyroid ?thanks and all the best

    • Darling this was one of the first signs I had of this disease. You need high levels of Levothyroxin. You also need to be monitored by testing of your T4 and T5 levels. I am taking 250 mg of Levothyroxin and am just now feeling some relief and have lost 20lbs in a year. This is significant for me as I have weighed over 200lbs for some time now. I now can see my bones in my ankles. No more Kankles. lol

  9. Hello,
    I recently went to the Endocrinologist and he ordered blood work and I received a phone call 2 days ago from the nurse telling me that it I have Central hypothyroid but it is not caused by an autoimmune disease. If it is not an autoimmune disease then what could it possibly be? I can not find anything on the internet regarding Central Hypothyroidism without cause of an autoimmune disease. Hope someone can shed some light onto what maybe going on.
    Thank you in advance

    • You might have pituitary adenoma. But you probably know what’s the cause of your central hypothyroidism by now.

    • I have hypothyroidism…on synthroid 75 MG. I go back and forth trying to figure out a better schedule in taking meds. I usually take them at night…but I am in pain all the time…muscle and joint/bone pain. I am not one for taking meds…not even Advil…but its getting ridiculous. I am also taking D vitamins/Calcium… what gived…any suggestions… I’m thinking rheumatoid arthritis but test came bag neg..and TSH levels etc. What do u guys think? Cleared for lupus, cleared for MS… this sucks.

      • Do you smoke? My test results always said I was fine too, I stopped smoking and had my thyroid checked a month after quitting and I had TSH levels all out of whack! I had been telling the Dr over and over that I think I have something wrong with my thyroid and they would do the test and always came back within range. I do believe smoking causes a false reading.

        • Hi Charlie, your situation sounds so much like mine did yrs ago. I had been getting joint pain for yrs and thought I was just pushing myself too much. When I turned 35 I found out I had hypothyroidism and only a year and a half ago which was 6 yrs later I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My synthroid dosage is 125 mcg.

      • When you take D-3, you also need to supplement with Magnesium. Unless you supplement with magnesium, the D-3 will consume all of the magnesium in your body and make your joints ache. Also take probiotics to heal your gut.

      • Do you drink things with aspartame in them? Diet sodas? That was major for my joint pain. Kicked all artificial sweeteners to the curb and relief from joint pain. Never knew it to be related to my hypothyroidism.

      • I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about about 5 months ago at the ER. I’m 30, felt 70, and it got to a point that I couldn’t cut my own meat my hands hurt so bad. It felt like my hips were going out of place. My lower back felt like it was punched and beaten, I would hunch over for relief. All my joints seemed audible. I had to bend and crack my toes every morning so I could walk without pain.

        I did a little research and tried out potassium gluconate suppliments I came across at Walmart. It’s absolutely like night and day. I can stand tall, use my body again, especially my hands without that grinding piercing ache.

        I’m also now taking B12 suppliments, magnesium citrate, and flaxseed oil due to hypo research. It feels like two years ago when nothing felt wrong. You may want to have a vitamin deficiency panel done by your doc to make sure you take the right amount of vitamins. Good luck!

      • You may need a higher dose of levo. I have hypothyroidism diagnosed by symptoms rather than thyroid blood tests. The test results were always normal. Fortunately my sinus doctor suggested to my primary physician that I be started on medication because of years of sinus 6-7 infections a year. And it worked!!!!!
        Gradually over the years the dosage has been increased. I am now on Synthroid 250mcg a day. My thyroid levels except for the TSH remain in normal range. My TSH is way low which freaks my doctors out. But I continue on because I have no symptoms of hyperthyroidism. My temperature which is my guideline remains below 98F. Although it is creeping up. Thank Good for my sinus doctor who encouraged my primary care physician to step out of the box.
        An excellent resource for on hypothyroidism is “Thyroid Power” by Dr Richard L. Shames and KarileeH. Shames. Good Luck!

  10. Hi! Does anyone know if hypothyroidism would effect wbc? I doing great other than that my EBV is low, at 2.9. Vit D is a little low as is iron, but everything else is good and I feel better than I have in a long time. I’m on 2grains armour thyroid, and although my bloodwork indicates hyperthyroidism, I’m not experiencing any hyperthyroid symptoms at all. I’m most concerned with my wbc and am praying its thyroid related. Help! Thanks!

    • What is your white blood cell count? If your neutrophils are low, it could be a B12, folate or copper deficiency. B12 and folate are the most common deficiencies and especially common for folks with thyroid issues. Copper deficiency can happen to anyone taking high iron supplements or taking too much zinc. Zinc is common in thyroid supplements. More than 50mg a day for even a week or two can lead to a copper deficiency, which can be very dangerous. It can cause permanent nerve damage by the time it’s diagnosed.

      The EBV is for the Epstein-Barr virus, right? Isn’t it generally looked at as a positive or negative test? If it’s not zero, it means you had Mononucleosis at some point in the past. I don’t know what it has to do with the white blood count.

      • There is such a huge misunderstanding about EBV. Many times EBV resides in places or lies dormant and does not show up on tests. EBV and heavy metals is the root cause of most all auto immune diseases and can be eliminated! Check out the book Medical Medium a must read if you want to cure the root cause.

  11. Hi! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at age 11. The only symptom was very irregular periods. I was prescribed 25mcg of levothyroxine. At 15, the doctor changed the dose to 50, at 19 to 88 and at 21 to 100. I’m now 26. Have been sluggish and overweight for at least 3 years… Nothing really seems to help much. My numbers- from what I could tell have been normal. Now, my TSH is a little low .31 and my antibidies are high (ATA- 8 and TPO 198). I don’t know if the antibodies were checked before. I have been experiencing sweeling of my hands and feet and very dry skin and hair. My question is, should I be more worried about the antibidies- does that mean I have Hashimoto’s and should I seek a second opinion because my doctor does not seem worried about it at all?

    • The symptoms you describe suggest hypothyroid. There could also be some other issues. Antibodies are produced by the immune system. I recommend that you do some reading yourself and find an Integrative Dr. who understands the entire endocrine and immune systems. Synthroid doesn’t work for everyone, take me with Hashimotos. You may want to consider natural thyroid.

      • I take armour thyroid. Synthroid didn’t work for me. I feel better if taking a good multi vitamin a nd magnesium and d3.

    • Hi P, I don’t think majority of general doctors care much at all about these cases or at least don’t have the knowledge about it to help. The best bet is to see an integrative doctor. They have a much better understanding and are much more able to help in this area. Also do some good research on the web, there are also a lot of herbal supplements which may be of help to you.

    • There are a few things that can lower thyroid function without raising TSH. Zinc deficiency and too much fluoride are two examples. Zinc deficiency affects the pituitary’s ability to make TSH, as well as other things. Fluoride lowers the function of several glands, including the pituitary and the thyroid. Fluoride is found in very high amounts in tea (both organic and conventional), and in conventionally grown grapes and wine made in the US.

      Tea is actually how I ended up with a thyroid issue. It’s probably the biggest health misconception out there right now. Especially green tea – supposed to be so healthy – it’s NOT. I used to drink Chai every morning. I liked it strong and that was part of the issue – more fluoride. Over about two years, it made me seriously hypothyroid, but with a normal TSH. I was so cold I wore socks to bed in the summer. Once I stopped the tea, my TSH rocketed in a matter of weeks, and I started feeling better.

    • Your TSH at 0.31 is so low that it’s basically turned off. Normally the thyroid would make a little bit of T3 and a lot of T4. Levothyroxine is only T4, which is fine for some people, but maybe not for you.

      Selenium is important for making deiodinases which convert T4 to T3. Vitamin A is also important for converting T4 to T3, although the mechanism is not well understood. Supplementing with retinal palmitate or acetate has been shown to increase conversion of T4 to T3. It’s also not uncommon to be deficient in Vit A when hypothyroid, unless you eat a lot of egg yolks or organ meat like beef liver. A one time dose of 25,000 IU retinal palmitate should answer the question for you. If you feel a big boost of energy from it, you may want to follow the study, and take it every day for four months. And make sure you’re getting about 100mcg of selenium.

    • First of all, you may well need T3. Levothyroxin and other synthetic big pharma drugs only have T4. About half of patients with low thyroid need T3 as well, their bodies don’t make it. So get your T3 nd T4 tested.
      You have symptoms of low thyroid with swelling feet, hands and dry skin. Most docs know just about zero about the thyroid and never prescribe natural dessicated thyroid, which WORKS FAR BETTER FOR MOST HYPOTHYROID SUFFERERS. I struggled for 15 yrs with low thyroid and then was put on synthroid, which did almost nothing for me. Only when I went on NDT did I get better. I use Naturethroid but there are other brands and it is prescription.
      LOTS more info here:
      A great website with LOTS of info. You may also have adrenal fatigue, so read about that on the site. Good luck!

  12. My 17 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, but because it has not affected her thyroid, they tell me that there is no treatment at this time. They suggested that we have her thyroid checked in a year. So, what do we do in the meantime? She is tired all of the time, which for an active junior in high school it is just not convenient. She is taking vitamin supplements (including one for Adrenal Function, thinking she may also be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue), and we are hoping these will help soon. Am I supposed to just take this one doctors results and just “wait and see”? Or is there something I’m missing? It just isn’t in my heart to tell my daughter that there is no treatment for her and she is just going to have to learn to live with it. This tiredness is causing depression, and she is feeling like she will never get better. Any advice?

    • Hi Toni, it’s hard enough for an adult let alone someone so young. As much as I see little value in doctors it always helps to get a second opinion. More often than not it depends on the person you speak to. If it is adrenal fatigue (the two are closely linked) it’s best to put that right first. The web is full of info and Google is your friend so do some good reading. Majority if not all problems stem from the gut. Without a properly functioning immune system we become vulnerable to disease. Strengthening the immune system is the best thing. Probiotics are key for that (good ones from experience tend to be primal defense ultra, prescript assist and VSL3) again can all be found online. I am currently taking Ashwagandha and there are other natural herbs that can be beneficial. Hope this somewhat helps.

    • Toni, p.s. try to get your daughter to cut out gluten (and ideally sugar) for 2 weeks. See if there are any changes.

      • I know you are trying to be helpful and that is admirable, but from someone who has celiac disease and leads a support group, please know that advising someone to eliminate gluten from their diet before being tested is not a good idea (unless one does not have insurance or the means to pay for testing). One must be consuming gluten in order to get accurate test results for celiac disease. If gluten is the problem and you eliminate it from your diet, the only way you can get an official diagnosis is go back on a “gluten challenge” (eat gluten for at least a month). Unfortunately, once you eliminate gluten and reintroduce it, you will become even more ill than you were before. Some people ask why it’s so important to have an official diagnosis. It is important to know because it is hereditary and other family members may also be at risk. Research shows that individuals who are diagnosed are much more likely to strictly adhere to a GF diet, which is important in preventing other serious associated autoimmune diseases/complications. Early diagnosis is crucial to avoiding additional serious health complications.

        • ALB – Obviously it’s always down to the individual themselves what they wish to do. Generally I believe it’s good for anyone to reduce gluten (there is too much in the western diet, possibly contributing to health problems in this generation) however cutting it out entirely is a personal option of course. Agree, you do need to be consuming gluten before doing a test otherwise it won’t be accurate. It’s whether one wishes to do the test or not. I personally feel you can tell a lot more about your body from making slight changes but that doesn’t mean I am against testing I just think there are many out there that are expensive and not necessarily accurate. In regards to research showing someone is much more likely to strictly adhere to a GF diet once diagnosed, I guess that all depends how good you feel after cutting gluten out (tested or not).

    • Has your daughter’s Cortisol and DHEA levels been checked, along with an ACTH test? That would tell you if there’s “Adrenal Insufficiency”, which could be treated with those hormones.

    • im 27 years old i had graves and i was in a coma for 4 mouths get her checked its some thing to worry about it really is i had my removed when i was 21 and know i am still fighting for the medd to work for me im on 150 m and im allways my doctor dont take me serious i am 100 pounds know i use to 150 i have lost so much waight it crazy please take care i never post on these thing but my mom worries about loosing me every day she only 17 please take care of it its no joke have a blessed day

      • Chrystal I can totally relate to you , I feel weak all the time & I’m losing weight . I just don’t feel well at all & feel my dr does not take me serious I’m very worried something bad is going to happen . How did you fall into a coma & how are you feeling now ?

    • I started looking into adrenal supplements after going off flonase, a glucorticosteroid which I’d been taking for ten years, and from what I saw, adrenal supplements are all over the map in terms of their content. I read the most important things for the adrenals are B2, B5 and vitamin C. But B1 is probably also very important because you need B1, or thiamine, for glucose metabolism and energy production.

      Another reason to take B1,…. there is a study out there about taking high dose B1 for the fatigue associated with Hashimoto’s. I found an extended release version of B1 and it has really helped.

      I’m guessing your daughter has already been tested for anemia? It can go hand-in-hand with hypothyroidism, and isn’t always only due to iron levels, but also vitamin A, B2, B12, folate, and B6. You said your daughter is already taking vitamins. Not all of them are created equal. I found much better results taking B-vitamins separately from a multi, and in the coenzymated form.

      Regarding iron, some research has shown the range for ferritin (storage iron) levels are not appropriate for everyone. Some people can have symptoms of fatigue with a ferritin that is considered normal, but in the low end of the range. Athletes in particular feel better when their ferritin levels are in the middle of the range. The thyroid needs iron too, in order to make TPO for thyroid hormone synthesis. So iron is really key when the symptom is fatigue. Vitamin A and copper are important for iron metabolism and many multivitamins do not have enough, especially of vitamin A in retinyl form.

    • Hi Tony I have had hypothyroidism since I was in my teens and I am 60 now. I was so tired and depressed that my mom took me to the ER because she thought I was going to hurt myself. I was admitted and they put me on drugs for anti depression these helped a little but did not fix the problem. My mom asked a friend of hers who was a nurse about my condition and she asked if I had ever had my thyroid checked and suggested I see an Endocrinologist, they specialize in diseases such as thyroid. I went and they put me on thyroid meds and took me off the depression drugs. I turned into a different person within a month I felt fantastic the depression was gone and my energy level was back. I know its not exactly what your daughter has but it sure would not hurt. You can ask her doctor to refer you to one or depending on your insurance check out some reviews on doctors in your area. I am still taking the meds today and doing well. I would highly suggest you check this out and I wish your daughter the best.

    • Go to a naturopathic doctor. Most likely she does have adrenal fatigue. She may also have a leaky gut and loosing vital nutrients like iron which will make you very tired.

      • Hi, what are her T3, T4 and Tsh levels? Not likely normal. If not, she should be taking thyroid hormone, preferably natural, I.e. Armour, WestThroid or Nature-Thyroid brands vs common synthetics like Levothyroxine/Synthroid; which did nothing with my Hashimotos. Find a good Integrative Medicine MD or endocrinologist. And get her checked for adrenal insufficiency: Cortisone, DHEA and pregnenolone levels. I need those also. Good luck 2u.

    • Go to another doctor, talk about the symptoms your daughter has and ask if they would put her on low dose thyroxine (usually 25). That would make her feel better. If that doesnt, maybe she needs a but higher dosage. She is subclinical based on her lab, but obviously has increased antibodies, since she has been diagnosed with Hashimoto. Healthy lifestyle and self-awareness of any new/unusual symptoms with regular thyroid lab tests.

    • Hey, Toni! Please google, Hypothyroidism Revolution by Tom Brimeyer. I am on this program and it has really been helping me. It explains and guides how you can reverse hypo/ hyper thyroidism, and Hashimoto’s, mainly by changing your diet. I am so sorry to hear this about your daughter.

  13. I was diagnosed with Graves in March 2009, radioactive iodine treated the Graves, however now hypothyroid taken levothyroxin ever since with dosage unchanged at 125mcg (overweight for height at 76kg, 171cm). Recently I keep getting colds, and feel fatigued more often than not and also cannot lose weight, even though I’ve been carefully counting the calories. Awaiting blood test results but would,like to know if constantly getting colds is something others suffer with – and what have you managed to find out about this to help you. Thanks

    • Hi Julie, I would say yes, on the basis that there is a huge connection between hypothyroid and the immune system. Generally speaking any health concern originates/stems from the gut. If your gut is out of balance you will eventually notice other areas of the body will start to slow down / have problems. Usually with hypothyroid the immune system is weak and out of whack. A week immune system is obviously susceptible to colds / getting sick. Particularly if you are intolerant to feeling cold which tends to be a trigger with hypothyroid. What can you do? Try to rebuild your immune system, make it stronger, help it fight for your body and help it to help your body. Prebiotic and probiotics are majorly important for that. A diet high in veg, garlic, ginger, turmeric and multivitamins. Try avoid / cut out gluten. Fresh lemon in warm water or apple cider vinegar every morning will help alkaline the body. Have a search online for anything else that may help, Google is your friend! Your best bet is to strengthen your gut / immune system. Hope you get some answers from the test.

  14. I have a 12 year old son who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s about 6 months ago, though I think he has had it for at least 3-4 years. I really don’t what set it off yet. We are seeing a ND who has been very helpful with bloodwork, and general diet guidelines (gluten free) but follow the Type O blood diet. Unfortunately, trying to convince a 12 year old to go gluten free is not an easy thing to do, especially when he doesn’t really understand how or why he is sick. (He has a goiter and he has been extremely tired and grumpy or bouncy and goofy for years – both extremes). Has anybody else had this kind of situation? I’ve been trying to get the whole family gluten free – I think it’s the only way it will work, but I can’t monitor every little thing that goes into his mouth! Does anybody know of any good resources for teaching a 12 year old what is wrong with him??

    • I agree with the correlation between healthy gut and immune system. However Gluten Free isn’t always the solution.

      • Gluten is known to cause issues for the thyroid, see “gluten-thyroid connection”. Gluten is one of the main culprits for attacking the thyroid. If you have hypothyroidism it is advised to cut it out or least reduce it as much as possible. Gluten intolerance is not just a celiac problem.

        • Either you’re 100% gf or you shouldn’t be at all. If you say “at least cut the gluten down”, you don’t really understand what is the theory about gliadin (and other proteins) and Hashimoto, or other autoimmune diseases, besides Celiac sprue.

          • Natasa – Gluten is very difficult for one to just cut out cold turkey, hence reduce as much as possible (at least for the first couple of weeks) it’s called easing off, letting the body adapt.

    • If he hasn’t tested positive Celiac disease, corn or wheat allergy, Gluten Free is unnecessary.

    • Maybe ask your ND about a digestive enzyme your son can take. There are some designed to specifically help with gluten.

      I’m probably a broken record about now on this page, but try an extended release version of B1, it will really help with the mood swings. It has been studied with relationship to Hashi’s.

      Also, vitamin A deficiency is associated with goiter when iodine is sufficient. The World Health Organization has a lot of information about the interaction between iodine and vitamin A in thyroid disorder.

      A deficiency can develop unless the diet includes a lot of egg yolks or beef liver. Plant sources contain only beta-carotene which is not converted to vitamin A during hypothyroidism. I tried beef liver myself, and felt like the energizer bunny for the next three days – it has about 40,000 IU of vitamin A. My kids wouldn’t touch beef liver, and so supplementing may be required for your son. There was a recent study on hypothyroid women and 25,000IU a day reduced their TSH over four months. You may want to discuss with your ND.

  15. I’m 51 and was just diagnosed with hyprthroidism. I don’t know my levels or what strength meds I’m taking. Only been at this for a month. I’m so tired all of the time. I’ve gained so much weight over the last year. Foggy doesn’t even begin to describe how my brain feels. I’ve been reading everything I can find on this illness and I’ve managed to scare myself half to death. Will this lead to cancer? Other illnesses? Sounds like it.

    • Don’t be afraid. There is a lot of material out there to educate yourself. You must be your own advocate and not depend on doctors though. We fight for the quality of life by understanding our condition. I have a pinterest board with articles collected to help others. Hypothyroidism is complicated. You need to replace the thyroid hormones. It is best to go with a T3/T4 combination. I take Synthroid and Cytomel. It took two years to find the right place for my body to function at it’s best. Be patient. With hypothyroidism we are deficient in Vitamin D, D3, B, and B12. You want your level for D to be around 50-75, Iron to be 100 to work best with your thyroid meds and for foggy brain cut the gluten and sugar. Drink a ton of water. Great Facebook pages are Thyroid Sexy and Hypothyroid Mom. Here is more info: https://www.pinterest.com/heidikalpak/hypothyroid-mom/

    • Dont be afraid just listen to your gut and keep check ups very regular.i was “watched” for years, by many doctors, with nodules on both sides that continued to get larger. I was told by all endo’s “don’t worry, its common. I finally went with my gut and demanded a biopsy. It was cancer, and I had to have a total thyroidectomy. If ever it does turn cancerous it is the best cancer to have, if caught early no chemo like normal cancers. The only thing I wish I had done was listen more to my gut and my body. Also I wish I had done a lot more in the way of nutrition. I am learning so much maybe a little too late as the loss of a throud changes so much in your body. Good luck and listen to your body!

      • I am facing thyroid surgery next week. I am 62 and female. 30 yrs ago I had left lobe removed and it was benign. So getting the right one removed it will put me hypothyroidism the rest of my life as I will not have a thyroid and will have to depend on meds to regulate all the many functions ur thyroid controls. How did u do with ur weight and other issues not having a thyroid can change to ur body? So frightened of what changes I’m going to have to endure. Please share how u made out after living without ur thyroid. Vicki 3-24-16

    • Meichell P, Please check out Hypothyroidism Revolution by Tom Brimeyer. This is a great program that reverses hypo/hyperthyroidism,and Hashimoto’s, and has really been helping me with my hypothyroidism.

  16. Hi, I’m 16 and I have Hashimoto’s disease. I was diagnosed at the age of 2 & I’ve had it for basically my whole life (14 years), but I was wondering if since I was diagnosed at such a young age if it could raise the risk of me having problems in the future.
    Right now i have the symptoms of unexpected weight gain all the time, dry skin, tiredness, etc.
    I would also like to ask if theres different ways that I could try to lose weight because everytime I try it seems like i just gain more weight. Then I’ll exercise with friends for awhile and they’ll be making progress and nothing will happen to me.
    So does anybody know a different path i could take at attacking my weight problem?

    • Hi Rhiannon, you seem very mature for your age so I am sure you’re being smart about it. The weight gain can be a symptom and the best thing to do is try to get to the root of the cause/the problem. An out of whack immune system is one of the main causes of Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. Do your best to support your immune system and get it healthy. Probiotics will help. Lemon / apple cider vinegar in warm water in the morning will help. Cutting out gluten and sugar will help (the hard part is the first 2 wks but after that your body will have adjusted and gotten used to being without it). Don’t stress over it, stress can cause more weight gain. Take time and listen to your body.

    • Rhiannon, google Hypothyroidism Revolution by Tom Brimeyer. I am on this program, and it has been really helping in healing and reversing my hypothyroidism, and it works for Hashimoto’s as well. I wish you well.

  17. Hi I’ve suffer with under active thyroid I’m on levothyroxine for over 10 years but I keep coming down with flu, tonsillitis, colds and depression is this all down to my thyroid my doctors are not helpful at all I’m so tired of it all I just want to be normal and have a normal life

    • I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 15 years ago, and suffer the same. I was also diagnosed with Crohns in 2015, both autoimmune problems.

      • Steve I also have Crohns can U tell me your symptoms of hypothyroidism , I’ve had some T4 tests that were on the low normal side, one t3 came back high ? Then normal , I’ve had really dry skin , psoriasis , dry eyes, exhausted a lot of the time , Vitamix d is low, depression , no appetite , weight gain , I Dont sleep well, shortness of breath on occasion a rapid heartbeat that comes n goes over 100 beats per minute , muscle cramps, I feel cold a lot,

    • Please google Hypothyroidism Revolution by Tom Brimeyer. I am on this program, and its really working for me.

  18. polyendocrine autoimmune pattern?
    I have congenital Hashimoto’s. I was also born with Pernicious Anemia that went away as I got older. I’ve had MANY health issues with the Hashimoto’s til the finally diagnosed me at 33. I am male.

    I am now 50 and am experiencing some “new” more serious symptoms:
    My levothyroxine seems to have quit working. [email protected] 39 WITH MEDS
    Testing high on sugar, 179 with no warning.
    Blood in stool, not visually noticeable.
    Becoming lactose intolerant.
    Moderate to severe abdominal blaoting.
    Blood pressure going high when not previously a problem…

    My Dr is checking me for the ussual:
    Colon cancer
    Prostate cancer…
    I believe she is taking the wrong path.
    How do I have this “talk” with my Dr without compromising Dr/patient relationship?

      • Yes, it is quite common to develop more than one autoimmune disease and have a whole collection of specialists to treat you. Definitely get checked for celiac disease if you have abdominal pain and bloating. Celiac disease and lactose intolerance frequently go hand-in-hand. Sometimes the lactose intolerance resolves if you strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet after being diagnosed (do not start eating GF before testing is completed!), especially after your leaky gut heals.

    • Have you tried probiotics? The ones with 30-50 billion live cultures You could have an over groth of candidia (yeast) if so cut all the extra sugar out of your diet

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