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- Acid reflux
- Brain fog
- Leaky gut
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Anaemia/low iron
- Food allergies/sensitivities
- Adrenal fatigue
In this post, I am going to cover ways in which you can treat, manage and help your Hashimoto’s and its symptoms. There is no cure for Hashimoto’s, but it can be put in to remission; basically, antibodies lowered and kept more under control and better managed.
How Do I Know If I Have Hashimoto’s?
You can find out if you have Hashimoto’s by completing two blood tests: TPOAB and TGAB. If they are over the range, Hashimoto’s is diagnosed.
More info about what Hashimoto’s is can be found here.
If your doctor will not conduct these tests, you can order them yourself here (for the UK) and here (worldwide link). Finding out if your hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s can be incredibly helpful when it comes to reducing symptoms and improving your quality of life with a thyroid condition.
Related Article: What is the Difference Between Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s?
Gluten and More
One of the first things you may want to think about if you have Hashimoto’s, is going gluten-free and free from other problem-causing foods, too.
Going gluten-free at first was really confusing for me, but it’s easy once you know what you’re doing. You soon become accustomed to it. Check out my easy ‘How-To Go Gluten-Free’ article here.
Gluten sensitivity (common with Hashimoto’s) is different to Coeliac Disease, in the way that you are generally diagnosed with Coeliac Disease if you have an intolerance to gluten, with symptoms of diarrhoea, bloating, bad wind etc. and positive testing for Coeliac’s. But a sensitivity can mean symptoms such as increased fatigue, swinging lab results (also swinging symptoms in feeling hypo one day and hyper the other), goitre, swelling in the throat, aches and pains, brain fog and poor gut health, even with negative Coeliac Disease test results.
In addition to gluten sensitivity, you may also be sensitive to other proteins including grains such as rice, quinoa, and corn.
Other people may also react badly to dairy, soy, nightshades and even eggs, with Hashimoto’s.
It’s always worth going completely free of any offending foods for a few weeks or months to check if you do indeed have a sensitivity to them. See if you notice any difference in how you feel, or an increase in any symptoms after consuming them. It could be hours or a day later, but does it make you feel extra tired or give you acid reflux? Keep a food diary and try an Elimination Provocation Diet (EPD).
The idea of the EPD is to initially remove all and any foods which may be making your thyroid health worse, before adding them back in one by one and looking for noticeable responses to these foods. Those wanting to try the EPD are generally advised to remove all potentially inflammatory foods from their diet for three weeks, which include:
After three weeks, the reintroduction of each food type can slowly begin. On a ‘reintroduction day’ you would choose one food type to reintroduce to your diet, eating around five servings in one day whilst monitoring symptoms over the next few days to determine if it needs to stay out of your diet for good.
Symptoms of a food sensitivity may include fatigue, heartburn, indigestion, bloating, gas, muscle aches and pains, joint pain, skin issues, brain fog etc. but can be individual to you. Foods can then continue to be added one at a time every few days and further signs for issues with these foods recorded.
Some people go Paleo or implement the AIP and say this helps with their management of hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s, too.
A lot of you won’t like this next one, but avoiding/eliminating caffeine is also an important consideration. Caffeine can interfere with your metabolism, place stress on your adrenal glands, and affect oestrogen levels. Read more here.
Hippocrates said: “All disease begins in the gut”
Your gut is home to your immune system, so when you heal and balance your gut function, it can improve your immune function too. Stress and an imbalance of gut flora can lead to a leaky gut. I have experience with Candida (yeast overgrowth) and leaky gut. Addressing this played a big part in getting my health back from Hashimoto’s.
As having Hashimoto’s means having possible damage to your gut lining, loss of absorption from vitamins and minerals can also occur. Because of this, there are many that you may wish to supplement. These include B12, D (always take with Vitamin K), Selenium, C, zinc, iron etc. Probiotics and Prebiotic’s are often recommended to help maintain a healthy gut.
Selenium  has also been shown to help lower thyroid antibodies, as has Vitamin D.
It is also be worth checking for infections anywhere in the body from the mouth to the gut, and treating them appropriately. From mouth ulcers to tooth infections and H Pylori, they can all affect gut health and overall health and wellbeing.
You should try to sweat toxins out on a daily basis. If you don’t do this a lot normally, try physical exercise, hot baths (detox baths with a cup of Epsom Salts to draw out toxins) and saunas. If we don’t sweat enough, we don’t get rid of enough toxins.
Organic beauty products tend to be best, so try to go for them where you can. A lot of people live by ‘if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin’, with the idea that what we put on our skin ends up in the body anyway.
If you have Hashimoto’s then you are more likely to have dry skin conditions, break-outs, rashes, hives etc. especially if your thyroid levels are not optimal and you are not absorbing vitamins and nutrients correctly (see above about a damaged gut and absorption). You can try the oil cleansing method too.
You should address any constipation or diarrhoea, and be sure to be going to the toilet regularly to be flushing toxins out your body that way, too. Everyone should drink at least two litres of water a day.
Optimal Thyroid Hormone Levels
To get your levels right, you may need to switch medication type (with the guidance of a doctor, obviously). A lot of patients have low Free T3 levels when on T4-only medication like Levothyroxine or Synthroid, as they fail to convert it to active T3. So they may do better when adding in T3 to their T4, switching to T3 altogether, or switching to natural desiccated thyroid. It’s about finding what works best for you. We’re all different. You should work with your doctor to do this.
It’s not only crucial to make sure your thyroid levels are right, but also your cortisol levels.
Having high or low cortisol can wreak havoc and cause a lot of similar symptoms to hypothyroidism. Read more here.
You can do a 24 hour saliva cortisol test, testing 4 key points throughout the day, to test your adrenal function. Once you know if you have highs, lows or a mix, you can work on addressing it, and in turn, getting rid of some of those other pesky symptoms.
The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system, just like the thyroid, so they work together. You need to look after both. After all, the body relies on both of them to do so much.
Spend time outside, find ways to destress regularly and spend time with people who make you happy. These things will help your adrenals to remain healthy. Avoid as much stress as possible.
Blood sugar imbalances are also common for those who have adrenal dysfunction. If you feel a low blood sugar moment, eat protein and not sugar. Eating sugar will only make it worse. Learn to eat in a way so as to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Read more here.
You can try to avoid using plastic to store food and drink, as plastic used over time can disrupt hormones. There has also been some controversy on antibacterial products, such as soaps, that use triclosan, so many sources say to avoid using them.
Due to Hashimoto’s being an autoimmune disease, LDN can be beneficial for those with Hashimoto’s by reducing high antibodies, stopping the progression of the autoimmune disease or even reversing the disease. Besides improving endorphin production, LDN can also help reduce inflammation and encourage healing.
What have you found to help manage your Hashimoto’s?
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
The book Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate: When You’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired, which builds on this article in detail. It recounts how I got my own Hashimoto’s in remission and under control.
There is also an online course for overcoming Hashimoto’s, which you can do in the comfort of your own home and from your computer. See Freedom From Thyroid Fatigue.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and award-winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, blogger, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. She has two books: ‘Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate‘ and ‘You, Me and Hypothyroidism‘. Her thyroid advocacy work includes authoring books, writing articles, blogging and speaking on podcasts. Rachel has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN, ThyroidChange and more. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and has received eight 2020 WEGO Health Award Nominations.