Today, we’re taking a question from Cathy about Hashimoto’s disease, which she was just diagnosed with.
It’s an autoimmune hypothyroid condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid. Hashimoto’s symptoms range from fatigue and weight gain to hair thinning and joint and muscle pain. It’s no fun at all.
As would be the case with anyone stricken with this dreadful condition, she wants to know what to do.
It’s a bit of complicated answer, so rather than get into all the minutiae, I’m going to lay out some actionable steps Cathy can take to lessen its impact, and which you can also take to avoid it altogether.
First and foremost, you have to understand why Hashimoto’s comes up in the first place. It’s an autoimmune disorder, which I realize most folks don’t understand. As such, I’m going to use myself as an example.
As you can tell, I have no hair. It’s a result of alopecia, which is also an autoimmune disorder.
What this simply means is that rather than defending me from infections and disease, my immune system attacked itself. More specifically, it attacked my hair follicles and all my hair fell out.
Hashimoto’s, sadly, has a far more punishing effect. It stems from an attack on your thyroid, which is your master metabolism gland. The result is that you’re always tired, lethargic, and have a tough time losing weight.
In order to fix it, you have to look into calming your out-of-control immune system so it doesn’t go to war against itself.
So, how do we do that?
1. Heal Your Gut
The first step is to heal your gut, because that’s the command central of your immune system.
Unfortunately, most of us treat our gut badly with a diet full of processed and nutrient-deficient foods. You may understand that these foods can lead to weight gain, but did you know they can also cause intestinal permeability, otherwise known as leaky gut?
The lining of your small intestine is home to small pores—like little channels—that funnel nutrients such as glucose and amino acids out of the food you eat and into your body.
The problem with a terrible diet is that improperly digested or irritating foods can widen these pores, allowing large food particles to slip into your bloodstream.
Once this happens, your immune system mounts a defense in an attempt to fend off these foreign invaders. This is how you start developing allergies. Over time, with repeated exposure to these intrusive particles, the immune system becomes hyperactive, and that’s how autoimmunity develops.
To reverse this destructive process, you have to start by removing irritating foods from your diet.
Gluten and dairy are two of the big ones. The other thing with Hashimoto’s is that gluten has a very similar protein structure to your thyroid tissue so with repetitive exposure, the immune system eventually ends up attacking your thyroid. Not good at all.
For this reason, if you have Hashimoto’s you absolutely have to ditch the bread from your diet, at least the gluten bread. Pastas and cereals have to go as well.
Here are a couple of recipes that might interest you:
2. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Secondly, you want to eat an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of plant foods and good omega-3 fatty acids.
Throw some curcumin in—a very powerful anti-inflammatory— as well as fish oil, ginger, and other amazing foods that cool inflammation in the body. This will also lessen your cortisol levels, as your stress response is associated with high inflammation. Together, they can cause a nasty cascade of events.
Here are some helpful related links:
I hope this answer provides some clarity for Cathy and anyone else dealing with Hashimoto’s. It’s not as simple as getting some pills from your doctor, but if you follow these guidelines, allow time for the immune system to cool down, and get rid of those antibodies working against the thyroid tissue in the bloodstream, you can start working towards relief.
It will take several months, but it will be worth it.