Hashimoto’s Disease: Integrative and Holistic Approach To Treatment

thyroid treatment

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that, over time, destroys thyroid tissue.⁠ It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S. It is ten times more common among women than men.⁠

However… many people with hypothyroidism don’t actually know that they have Hashimoto’s? Say what… it’s true.⁠

Because the list of symptoms is long and many of these symptoms mimic many other conditions. 

In individuals with Hashimoto’s, the body produces antithyroid antibodies that destroy cells of the thyroid gland resulting in decreased production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones play a key role in energy metabolism and regulation of several vital body functions, such as growth and development, heart rate, body weight, body temperature, and menstrual cycles.

Those diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism will likely be treated with a thyroid medication called Levothyroxine. Still, not much will be done to address the autoimmune component of the disease.⁠ 

As Mark Hyman says, it is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. 

Fortunately, there are solutions, and autoimmune disease is a condition I regularly treat in my medical practice.⁠

And as a thyroid patient myself, I can attest to the importance of not only addressing thyroid hormone replacement but also addressing the immune system component of this disease.⁠

Diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

If I suspect Hashimoto’s or a thyroid problem in a patient, I order the following lab work:

  • TSH-this is an indirect (but specific) measure of thyroid function. Essentially TSH measures how the pituitary gland (in the brain) communicates with the thyroid. When high, it is indicative of hypothyroidism.
  • Free T4-T4 and T3 are your body’s main thyroid hormones. Free T4 measures the bioavailable (unbound) hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Low T4 is a marker of low thyroid function.
  • Free T3-T4 is converted to T3 in the peripheral tissues. Free T3 is also known as the “gas.” A low level of T3 can indicate low thyroid function, or just a problem with the conversion. Conversion issues are pretty common with my patients, especially those with a lot of stress, inflammation, or a high toxic burden. 
  • Reverse T3-some T4 is also converted to reverse T3. Reverse T3 is also known as the “brakes.” High levels of reverse T3 can be responsible for symptoms of hypothyroidism, since it competes with free T3 for cell receptor sites. However, this is generally not a problem with the thyroid, but rather a sign of a systemic issue like chronic inflammation. 
  • Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) and Thyroglobulin (TG) antibodies-In addition, I look for thyroid antibodies which can indicate underlying Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is sometimes present even with normal thyroid function.
lab tests for hashimoto's

Integrative Approach to Hashimoto’s

When you work with an integrative practitioner, we want to understand what drives your symptoms. So, we can create a personalized plan unique to you to reverse those symptoms and get you back to feeling like you again.

5 Step Approach to Treating Hashimoto’s

1.Test for the cause: infection, toxins, heavy metals, adrenals, nutrients.

2.Right Medication for you.

3.Diet that decreases inflammation in the gut and promotes gut health.

4.Lifestyle: eliminate toxins, right exercise, stress management.

5.Supplements that support the thyroid

STEP 1: Test

I always order a full thyroid panel on my patients. I want to see if the medication they are on is the correct medication. It also helps me gauge what their antibody levels are prior to starting a more holistic treatment.

Sometimes we need more advances hormone testing to look for:

Vibrant wellness labs have the top 4 tests I use.

MOLD (mycotoxin),

Nutrient Deficiencies,

Heavy Metals

Inflammation in the GUT

Genetics to understand where the breakdown is occurring.

jennifer blog book cta 1 5

STEP 2: Medication:
I prescribe thyroid medications like Levothyroxine or desiccated thyroid hormone to replace what your thyroid cannot make. But I make sure that we are using the proper thyroid replacement medication based on your lab work. You may be ok with T4 replacement alone or need both T4 and T3, it depends on what your body needs.

Step 3: DIET

  • Eliminate food triggers like gluten, dairy, soy, corn, fix your leaky gut
  • Eat nutrient dense foods that have selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins
  • Increase consumption of Omega 3 rich foods
  • Nourish the gut with probiotics/prebiotics/fiber
  • Avoid excess mercury, heavy metals IN FOOD

Step 4: Lifestyle Shifts

  • Exercise that works for you, not against you
  • Eliminate Toxins in beauty products, cleaners
  • Eliminate heavy metal exposure
  • Stress Management techniques and adding adaptogens

Step 5: Supplements and Herbs

There are several supplements I recommend to my patients. But this needs to be personalized so you need to discuss any medications with your doctor. Here are my top supplements I recommend.

  • A high-quality multivitamin with Vitamin A, B-vitamins-both B1 and B12, Iron, Selenium, and Zinc
  • Probiotics, typically MegaSporeBiotic or any spore probiotic.
  • Apoptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha.
  • Vitamin D, depending on serum levels

Are you interested in learning more?

As I mentioned earlier, thyroid health issues caused me infertility until I realized what was wrong. But even then, I did not truly feel better until I took an integrative approach and changed my diet and lifestyle. So, whether you have Hashimoto’s or suspect you may, I’d love to help. Reach out to me and let’s get started on the road back to reclaim your health.

During a consultation, we’ll figure out:

  • If your thyroid function is outside of the optimal range
  • And if so – which medication is right for you (i.e. is Synthroid best, or might Armour be a better option?)
  • The root cause of thyroid antibodies and autoimmunity through advanced testing.
  • How to address your health concerns through personalized nutrition, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations

Contact my office to learn more!

Article Resources:

  1. Hashimoto’s disease. Mayo Clinic. 2020.
  2. Bland J. Nutritional Endocrinology, Normalizing Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis Function, 2002 Seminar Series Syllabus.
  3. Gaby AR. Sub-laboratory hypothyroidism and the empirical use of Armour thyroid. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Jun; 9( 2): 157- 179.
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Hey, it's Dr. Jen.

I am so glad you are here! OB/GYN. Mamma of 4. Self-proclaimed foodie. Avid outdoor enthusiast. I am a hormone guru who healed my own PCOS and hypothyroidism through diet and lifestyle shifts.

My natural medicine blog contains tips about health, natural living, and some of my favorite hormone-friendly recipes.

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Dr. Jennifer Roelands

I’m an Integrative Medicine trained OB/GYN and expert in PCOS who healed my own PCOS and hypothyroidism.

I partner with patients to uncover the underlying causes of their unexplained symptoms so they can feel like themselves again.

Using holistic medicine, functional testing, and mind-body tools I create personalized plans unique to your root cause(s) to remove obstacles to healing, correct imbalances, and allow the body to heal.

I’ve helped hundreds of patients transform their health and I welcome you to find out how this comprehensive approach to deep healing can do the same for you.

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