Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Care and Management

Caring for yourself with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is more manageable when you have the right tools to do so. This article will help you explore the many ways you can manage your symptoms and support your thyroid function with targeted nutrition and lifestyle techniques, as well as conventional medication if you need it. 

Conventional Treatment

Treatment for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may vary depending on individual factors such as your age, overall health, and condition severity. One of the main approaches to managing this condition long-term includes conventional medical treatments such as hormone replacement therapy. 

An inflamed thyroid may lead to decreased production of the hormones T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). As a result, if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis you may experience symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and sensitivity to cold. To manage the effects of Hashimoto’s, hormone replacement therapy may be recommended to you. This usually involves taking levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the hormone T4.

Levothyroxine may help restore the body’s levels of T4, which is then converted to T3, the active form of the hormone, and can alleviate symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Finding the right dosage of levothyroxine for you can be a process that requires close monitoring and adjustments over time. It is important to communicate openly with your health care provider about any symptoms you are experiencing while on hormone replacement therapy.  Levothyroxine may have potential side effects that include headaches, nausea, shakiness, irritability or anxiety, menstruation shifts, and changes in heart rate. (Source, Source)

Nutrition

There are steps you can take to manage symptoms and improve your overall health with Hashimoto’s, and one important factor to consider is nutrition. Proper nutrition may play a crucial role in managing your Hashimoto’s by supporting the thyroid gland with necessary nutrients and maintaining gut health, while avoiding foods that trigger inflammation. 

To function properly, the thyroid gland requires certain nutrients such as iodine, selenium, and zinc. Iodine is especially important as it is used by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Though iodine is an important nutrient to manage Hashimoto’s symptoms, it also is important to note that over consumption of iodine may cause issues as well. Foods that are especially rich in Iodine include seaweed and shrimp. (Source)

Consuming anti-inflammatory foods can help fill dietary gaps and nourish your thyroid gland while maintaining gut health and balancing the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a major role in your overall health. Poor gut health has been identified as a factor in developing autoimmune disorders, so if you have Hashimoto’s disease, consider a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, high quality proteins, and probiotics from fermented foods to maintain flourishing gut bacteria. (Source)

Avoiding trigger foods may help manage your Hashimoto’s by reducing inflammation and gut dysbiosis. Some processed foods and some foods that contain gluten, dairy, and refined sugars may aggravate inflammation and worsen symptoms by stimulating an autoimmune response. If you have Hashimoto’s you may be more likely to also have celiac disease, an autoimmune condition triggered by consumption of gluten, so removing gluten from your diet may curb bothersome symptoms and reduce overall inflammation. (Source, Source)

You may find it useful to record what you eat in a food journal, as it may help identify trigger foods and potential food sensitivities and track any accompanying symptoms.

Supplementation

Supplementation can be a valuable item in your tool box to improve thyroid function and relieve symptoms. Supplementation aims to support and improve your thyroid function, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and mood disturbances. While supplements can help manage your condition and improve your quality of life, it’s important to work with a health care professional before starting any new ones, as they can interact with some medications and potentially cause side effects.

Iodine

One key nutrient for thyroid function is iodine, which is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. However, if you have Hashimoto's, excessive iodine intake may potentially aggravate the symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland, leading to the gradual destruction of thyroid tissue. Consuming excess iodine may exacerbate this inflammation and trigger an immune response, worsening the autoimmune attack on the thyroid. Limiting Iodine intake to less than 200 mcg per day has been seen to improve Hashimoto’s symptoms in some people with the disease. Your health care provider may advise caution and monitoring of your iodine intake to prevent further complications and optimize your thyroid health. (Source, Source)

Selenium

Selenium is another important nutrient for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as it plays a key role in reducing inflammation in the body and supporting proper thyroid function. Selenium intake can reduce antibody levels and possibly reduce the dose of levothyroxine that is needed. Before supplementing your diet with more selenium, consult with your primary health care provider to make sure that you’re taking the right amount. (Source)

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including immune system regulation and proper thyroid function. Supplementing with zinc may improve thyroid function overall and reduce inflammation while also boosting your immune system. Studies have shown zinc can make a difference by itself in Hashimoto’s, but it is most beneficial when combined with selenium. (Source)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for proper thyroid function, and low vitamin D has been linked to the development of autoimmune conditions. Supplementing with vitamin D may help reduce inflammation and support immune health by reducing antithyroid antibodies and improving how the thyroid functions. It’s important to have your vitamin D levels checked regularly and work with a health care professional to determine the appropriate dosage of any vitamin D supplement you may need. (Source

Magnesium

Chronic inflammation is a common feature of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Magnesium has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and play a role in several processes related to thyroid function, such as hormone production and conversion. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to imbalances in thyroid hormones, and supplementing with magnesium may improve energy levels, promote better sleep, and help you manage stress more effectively, too. Overall, magnesium supplementation can have numerous benefits if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. (Source)

Probiotics

Probiotics can be beneficial in managing Hashimoto’s, as they can improve the health of the gut microbiome. These live microorganisms help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and support immune system function, too. Supplementing with probiotics or consuming them from food sources such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha, to name a few, may help reduce inflammation and improve overall thyroid function. (Source)

B12 

Research has shown that those with Hashimoto’s tend to have lower levels of B12 due to absorption issues that lead to nutrient deficiencies. Aside from alleviating the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, there are also other benefits that B12 supplementation can bring. Supplementing with B12 may increase absorption to improve energy, digestion, mood, cognitive function, and boost your immune system. (Source

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Inflammation is a major factor in autoimmune disorders in general, and omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce overall inflammation in the body. By reducing thyroid-induced inflammation, omega-3s may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s, as well as improve mood and cognitive function and support overall thyroid health. (Source)

Lifestyle

Living with a chronic condition like Hashimoto’s can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. While lifestyle changes alone cannot cure Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, they may play integral roles in helping to reduce symptoms and prevent the triggering of autoimmune flare-ups. The support of your family, friends, others who are affected by the condition, and your health care team, along with adopting the following lifestyle habits, will help you manage your Hashimoto’s.

Movement

Regular exercise has numerous health benefits and can also help manage your symptoms by reducing overall inflammation. Mindful movement can promote healthy body composition, improve energy levels, and reduce stress. However, it is essential to find the right balance when exercising with Hashimoto’s, as overexertion can lead to fatigue and may exacerbate symptoms. Low-impact exercises such as walking, yoga, or swimming are ideal if you have this thyroid condition. (Source)

Sleep

Getting quality sleep is crucial for overall health, including managing your Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Lack of sleep can lead to increased inflammation and fatigue, appetite and bowel changes, and low mood. Establishing a regular bedtime routine, keeping your bedroom dark and cool, and avoiding screens for 2 hours before bed can help create a comfortable environment that promotes consistently deeper quality rest. (Source)

Stress Management

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off inflammation and other health issues. Therefore, managing stress is crucial for managing Hashimoto's thyroiditis symptoms. Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and journaling may improve your quality of life with Hashimoto’s. It is essential to prioritize self-care and practice healthy coping mechanisms to manage your stress regularly and effectively. (Source)

Liver Health

The thyroid gland and the liver are intimately connected in their functions. The liver is involved in converting inactive thyroid hormones into active forms your body can use, thus playing a crucial role in regulating overall thyroid function. A disruption in thyroid function can have a direct impact on the health of your liver and vice versa. (Source)

Recommended Care Team for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis requires ongoing care and management, and having a knowledgeable and supportive care team in place can greatly improve your quality of life. Although the composition of your Hashimoto's care team will be unique to you, the following may be integral members of your team. 

Primary Care Provider

Your primary care provider is likely to be the first point of contact once you start noticing unusual symptoms. They may be responsible for diagnosing and monitoring your condition, as well as prescribing medications and managing any coexisting health issues. 

Endocrinologist

An endocrinologist is a specialist in hormone-related disorders, making them an integral part of your care team. They have specialized knowledge and experience in managing conditions like Hashimoto’s. 

Nutritionist or Dietitian

Proper nutrition is crucial for managing Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. A nutritionist or registered dietitian can provide individualized dietary advice that takes into account your specific needs and preferences. These specialists can also help identify any nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to your condition and make recommendations for supplementation if necessary.

Naturopath or Functional Medicine Doctor

Naturopathic medicine and functional medicine are two approaches to health care that focus on treating the root cause of health issues rather than just managing symptoms. These two practices have gained popularity in recent years, particularly for chronic conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Mental Health Practitioner

Living with a chronic condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can take a toll on your mental health. It is essential to have access to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychologist, who can help you cope with the emotional and psychological challenges that may come with managing a chronic illness.

Support Group

In addition to the care team above, you may be interested in becoming part of a support group. Joining a support group can provide invaluable emotional and social support. These groups often consist of individuals who are going through similar experiences, allowing you to connect with others and share tips and advice on managing your condition in a healthy and motivating way.

WellTheory’s Perspective and Approach

At WellTheory, we approach chronic illness and autoimmune disease by assessing the individual needs of each member within our community. With high-quality nutritional therapy and lifestyle approaches, we prioritize filling in the gaps in our members’ healing journeys to optimize whole-body health and well-being. This method of collaborative care empowers our members to lead their own health journeys, while our care team guides them in how they can effectively manage their condition.

WellTheory can provide one-on-one support and guidance to help you manage and thrive with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. At WellTheory, we offer functional lab testing which can serve as a valuable tool in your arsenal to provide more insight into the root causes of your symptoms. Lab testing supports our food-first approach and helps us understand your unique needs, so we can tailor and personalize our approach to your autoimmune condition. Bridge conventional medicine and holistic practices in the management of your autoimmune condition with a WellTheory membership. 

The Bottom Line

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one of the most common thyroid disorders and affects millions of people worldwide. Though there is no cure for Hashimoto's, it may be effectively managed with targeted nutrition, appropriate lifestyle habits, and medication. Most people with Hashimoto's can lead vibrant, healthy lives. Approaching your Hashimoto’s care with nutrient-dense food sources, quality supplementation, and consistent lifestyle approaches of mindful movement, good rest, stress management, and supporting your body’s detoxification process, can improve your overall health and wellbeing.

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