17 Oct How to Reverse Hypothyroidism
The thyroid gland is the source of thyroid hormone which regulates metabolism for the whole body. Every cell of the body has receptors for thyroid hormone and it’s sometimes called the master hormone of the body because it has such global control of cellular function and metabolism. Thyroid functioning is reflected in how your feel, how much energy you have, and your body’s utilization of nutrients for energy and healing. Protecting your thyroid is one of the best things you can do for your feeling healthy and happy.
Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune problem.
The most common cause of low functioning thyroid is a condition called Hashimoto’s, in which your own immune cells attack the cells of your thyroid gland. This is called autoimmune because it’s your own immune system that is causing the problem. About 90% of the cases of low thyroid are due to Hashimoto’s (1). It’s also interesting to note that it’s more common in women than in men.
Your immune cells are getting confused.
Why is it that your own immune cells start to go after such precious tissue as your thyroid gland? Autoimmune conditions occur when your immune cells are attacking some protein that it later confuses for your own cells. If you have a condition such as leaky gut, or if your overall levels of inflammation are quite high, your immune cells may start attacking your own cells as well. There may be cross-reactivity with other areas of inflammation in your body as well such as with thyroid and heart disease (2)
Give the thyroid what it needs and it can heal itself.
The thyroid can slowly heal itself when levels of inflammation in the body are lowered. Healing the gut is essential for these patients, starting with eliminating gluten and dairy from the diet. Other food sensitivities can be tested and eliminated as well so that the gut lining returns to its healthy, well-functioning state. Other things that set off the immune system in the body are chronic infections or toxin storage in the tissues. A search for chronic infections may uncover a previously-unknown source of inflammation that is damaging other tissues. The body’s ability to detoxify from unwanted toxic metals and chemicals should also be optimized to help the liver do its job.
There are particular vitamins and minerals needed for the thyroid to function well.
Finally, the thyroid requires certain vitamins and minerals in order to produce optimal levels of active thyroid hormone. These include Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, Iron, and B vitamins. Many Americans are typically deficient in many of these because the standard American diet does not include sufficient levels of these. As the nutritional value of our food decreases and our environment stressors increase, supplementing these becomes even more important. If you have fluorinated water or swim in chlorinated water frequently, you may require even higher levels of Iodine, since it is displaced by Fluorine and Chlorine.
- Hypothyroidism and Goitre. Baillière’s Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1988 Aug;2,(3):591-617.
- Haapala AM, Hyöty H, Parkkonen P, Mustonen J, Soppi E. Antibody reactivity against thyroid peroxidase and myeloperoxidase in autoimmune thyroiditis and systemic vasculitis. Scand J Immunol. 1997 Jul;46(1):78-85.
Madeleine M Castellanos, MD is a practitioner of functional medicine – working with people to identify the root cause of their symptoms and helping them to reverse the process of illness through diet, nutrition, and lifestyle optimization. She also integrates the physical with the mental and spiritual aspect of health and teaches people how to use these together for their best quality of life. In her private practice, she does body composition analysis, can recommend nutritional and toxic element testing, and hormone evaluation. For more information, or to book an appointment, please call 917-454-8444.