According to the American Thyroid Association, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is responsible for over 90% of issues relating to an underactive thyroid in the United States.
And if you are suffering from HT, you already know how frustrating it can be when trying to figure out where to start with a treatment plan.
In patients with this autoimmune condition, immune cells incorrectly flag healthy thyroid cells as dangerous invaders and destroy them with antibodies. Because this will ultimately impede the production of thyroid hormones, the metabolic process slows down, and the underactive thyroid symptoms continue.
If you have an underactive thyroid, HT, or you are currently undiagnosed but suspect you may be suffering from these symptoms, here are four lifestyle tips to help you deal with your condition and reclaim control over your health.
1. Take Gluten Out Of Your Diet
Removing gluten from your diet is critical to treating Hashimoto’s for a couple of reasons:
- Gluten exacerbates leaky gut syndrome (also known as intestinal permeability). This means that undigested food and pathogens are gaining access to your circulation, causing an immune response. Leaky gut is a telltale trait in autoimmunity.
- Gluten’s structure is similar to that of thyroid hormone. In cases of HT, since your immune system has been reprogrammed to attack your thyroid, chances are it will attack the gluten protein as well.
2. Pinpoint Food Sensitivities
Since leaky gut is an associative condition to HT, those who suffer from it have a higher risk of developing various food sensitivities. As food stays undigested and enters the bloodstream, the immune system flags them as dangerous and programs itself to respond accordingly. Your functional medicine practitioner can help you pinpoint which foods trigger a response in your body. Once you find out which foods cause a negative response, you can remove them from your diet as you undergo your treatment plan, which should also be aimed at healing the gut.
3. Learn Good Stress Management Skills
Chronic stress heightens cortisol levels, and this could lead to poor thyroid hormone conversion, inflammation, and lower immune sensitivity.
That being said, it’s important to keep your cortisol levels down, which means that learning healthy ways to cope with stress is a must in the healing process.
There are many ways to accomplish this, notably mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, and yoga have all been techniques that are proven to reduce stress.
4. Get the Proper Testing Done
It can be extremely daunting to try and navigate the healing process without the right doctor. Make sure you seek out a functional medicine practitioner who will test you for the following:
- Free and total T4
- Free and total T3
- Reverse T3
- T3 uptake
- Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies
- Thyroid peroxidase antibodies
- Food sensitivity testing
- Microbial overgrowth
- Heavy metals
- Adrenal function
- Glucose and Insulin
Similarly to all autoimmune conditions, using medication to ease the symptoms is a short-term fix that won’t address the underlying issue. Your functional medicine practitioner will help you come up with an individualized treatment plan that will address the unique root causes of your illness and allow you to be an active player in your healing process.