You’ve probably heard of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. While the name sounds a lot like a Japanese Samurai, it’s actually the leading cause of hypothyroidism (a form of thyroid disease) in the U.S., and it is silently destroying lives.
This might sound like a bold statement, but when you’re so exhausted it literally hurts to get out of bed, or you’re so anxious you think you’re going crazy, or your hair literally won’t stay on your head—you can see how this disease puts life on hold while you struggle to get through each day.
Conservative estimates say that 1 in every 5 women will suffer from Hashimoto’s or another type of thyroid disease at some point during their life. I’m going to share why this usually happens more often to us women (although men are definitely at risk too!) in the next section, but this condition can dramatically affect moods, weight loss, and even fertility.
How Do You Get Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition that triggers hypothyroidism. Dr. Alessio Fasano, a world-renowned gastroenterologist, discovered that there are three factors that cause an autoimmune disease to manifest.
- Your genes play a huge role
- There is usually an environmental trigger
- You have intestinal permeability
Hashimoto’s occurs when your genes are predisposed to an autoimmune condition; when there’s a trigger (like a toxin or chemical exposure, nutrient deficiency, a sensitivity to gluten, dairy, or soy, infections, etc.); and when you have a leaky gut (intestinal permeability). When these factors arise, the stage is set, and autoimmunity is born. We can’t do a whole lot about our genes, but we can proactively work to address the triggers and intestinal permeability.
Addressing the Source of the Problem
Addressing the triggers and healing your gut is essential to reversing the condition and feeling a whole lot better.
So where to start? Here are six steps to begin with:
1. Get the correct diagnosis — This might surprise you, but so many people get a misdiagnosis that keeps them in a cycle of sickness for years.
2. Get on the right medication — Thyroid medications are very sensitive. Too much is harmful and too little is not effective. It’s important to work with your doctor to determine the proper dosing amount.
3. Food — Diet is everything. Find a lifestyle diet that works for you and work towards implementing it in your life. A lot of experts recommend the Paleo or Autoimmune Paleo diets.
4. Balancing adrenals — Adrenal health is huge because these little glands control our ability to handle stress and the inability to properly handle stress is a key contributing factor to autoimmune disease.
5. Healing the gut — Bone broth is excellent for gut health, and is delicious and easy to make.
6. Removing toxins — Whether this is clearing pathways by eating a diet that supports your intestines or literally removing toxins from your personal care regimen, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the increase in energy and overall wellness you experience by taking those chemicals out of your life.
How to Start Feeling Better Today
Many experts recommend beginning with nutrition, and I certainly agree that this is an important first step!
Clean Up the Diet
Start by removing gluten, dairy, and soy from your diet. You may find that Paleo or Autoimmune Paleo options are the best diets to use while you’re trying to get your health back. You guys know how I feel about gluten, dairy, and soy, so when I found out these are the recommended steps to be proactive about preventing thyroid disease, it was a no-brainer! You may find my Wellness Mama Cookbook helpful because it’s full of great recipes to support your gut and fill you and your family with delicious nutrients.
Make sure to get the proper amount of vitamins and minerals to give the body a fighting chance to combat disease and illness. A lot of times, people suffering from thyroid disease and especially Hashimoto’s are nutrient deficient. Loading up on selenium, zinc, vitamin D, and even magnesium will drastically improve the way you feel (sometimes overnight!)
Consider doing a little bit of early bird spring cleaning of your personal care products.
Personal care products tend to make women more susceptible to thyroid-related conditions than men. Women use an estimate of 12 personal care products with 168 ingredients on a daily basis. Compare this to a man using 6 products with 85 ingredients.
When we slather our lotions and creams all over our faces, necks, and bodies, it seeps into our bloodstreams and deposits right into our other organs, especially the thyroid. The thyroid is like a hoarder, and instead of releasing the toxins, it just holds onto them. Over time, this builds up a toxic environment, and if they’re not released properly, they can cause a build-up and wreck havoc on your thyroid gland which then produces the autoimmune response.
Infections can also play a huge role in healing the gut. Discovering whether or not a parasite or some other gut infection is present can actually help you leap over a healing wall. I wrote about SIBO and how it impacts the gut, and it’s something that can affect Hashimoto’s as well. In fact, my friend, Dr. Izabella Wentz was recovering her health from Hashimoto’s, and once she addressed all four of her infections, she saw vast improvement and went on to fully reverse all of her symptoms!