Last month, we discussed the reasons why Hashimoto’s patients may need more than just Synthroid to get them feeling better. This month, we focus on specific supplements and vitamins that may kick start your body to get you back on the road to feeling well once again. (It is possible!)
What many people don’t realize is that Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease, not merely just a slow functioning thyroid as it is commonly mistaken. The disease does definitely cause a thyroid to become sluggish (hypothyroidism) and it is essential to get your thyroid working at optimal function, but often debilitating symptoms will persist unless the autoimmune part of the disorder is addressed and treated.
Dr. Mark Hyman, chairman of the Functional Medicine Institute, an international leader in the field of functional medicine, and medical advisor for Bill and Hillary Clinton of explains.
“Your body is fighting something — an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food, or the stress response — and somehow it redirects its hostile attack on your joints, your brain, your thyroid, your gut, your skin, or sometimes your whole body,” he says.
Dr. Hyman targets the key issue that often goes missing in the treatment of Hashimoto’s disease and other autoimmune disorders: identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness.
As mentioned last month, while many traditional endocrinologists will treat the disease with a one-pill-fits-all dose of synthetic Synthroid, many doctors, particularly integrative physicians, are willing to go the extra mile — treating the symptoms and not just the lab results, and beginning a detoxification treatment plan that includes natural thyroid replacement, supplements, vitamins, and healthful eating as part of a full lifestyle course.
• Please note it is imperative that you discuss these with your doctor prior to taking any on your own. Every single Hashimoto’s patient has different needs and blood tests must be performed to determine which areas you may be deficient in before starting any new supplements or vitamins.
Here are some typical supplements and vitamins that help many Hashimoto’s patients:
Multivitamins: Taking a good multivitamin daily is vital, but ask your doctor if she can recommend one, because the vitamins found in pharmacies are often not enough.
Vitamin B12: Since Hashimoto’s disease causes low stomach acid (which in turn causes leaky gut syndrome), many patients have trouble absorbing the vitamin into their systems efficiently. It may lead to anemia despite best efforts to eat properly. Sometimes supplements in the form of pills or injections are needed. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes many of the same symptoms that Hashimoto’s disease does: brain fog, poor memory, tingling, nerve pain, and more.
Vitamin D: Like vitamin B12, vitamin D may also have trouble being absorbed in those with autoimmune diseases, and it is a fundamental vitamin, as it regulates insulin secretion and balances blood sugar. Since reactive hypoglycemia can also be a problem for Hashimoto patients, having enough vitamin D is vital. It also helps the pituitary gland produce sufficient thyroid hormone.
Selenium: Selenium deficiency may impair the body’s conversion of T4 to T3 and cause hypothyroid symptoms. Some researchers believe that selenium deficiency may actually trigger Hashimoto’s disease.
Probiotics: It has been said that 80 percent of immune system lives in the gut, and fixing your digestive issues is key in controlling the disease. Probiotics help improve stomach function by decreasing the growth of harmful bacteria and fostering a healthy and fully functioning digestive system.
If your doctor has not tested you for these vitamins, request that she do so. It is key to be proactive in fighting any chronic disease, and even more so with Hashimoto’s, which remains an overlooked disease.
Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for more than 10 years. Sullivan also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babble.com. Find Sullivan on her blogs, Just Write Mom and Some Puppy To Love.
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