The other day a patient walked into my office and announced that she had just been diagnosed with Hashimotto’s to which I replied, “Gesundheit!” In patients with Hashimotto’s disease, they have hypothyroidism as well as antibodies to their own thyroid. You guessed it; this is more of an immune system malfunction than just a simple case of hypothyroidism. Allopathically this condition is treated as hypothyroidism and Synthroid or Levoxyl are prescribed. Now, it is my understanding that Synthroid has been on the market for just over forty years and also to my understanding until two years ago there had been no clinical studies to elucidate the efficacy vs the side effects. It is also my understanding that within six months of commencing clinical trials just a couple of years ago the trials had to be halted because of the severity of the osteoporosis associated with the drug.
There are at least two things that you must keep in mind when a patient presents asking you what you know about Hashimotto’s. One, with virtually no exceptions the hypothyroidism has been diagnosed via a TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and two, Hashimotto’s is an immune system problem that needs to be addressed if you are going to help the patient return to a state of wellness. For those of you that haven’t heard me go on a tirade about how TSH is NOT a thyroid test… it is a pituitary test you have been spared, but then we all learned that in chiropractic school. It can be used as an initial screen to determine if more thorough thyroid testing is required. So, plan on ordering total thyroxine, tri-iodothyronine uptake, free thyroxine and in a few rare instances a reverse tri-iodothyronine.
As for the autoimmune condition of Hashimotto’s we need to look to the underlying etiology – what caused the breakdown of the immune system? I am a firm believer that in order to develop a condition you must have a genetic tendency and then you must be exposed to a trigger mechanism. So, see if the patient has a family history of Hashimotto’s or thyroid conditions in general. Then, assess the gut – did the patient take long term antibiotics for ACNE as a teenager. If so, you have a starting point to begin your investigation. Begin by running a Fecal Microbiology test and an Intestinal Permeability test and correct any underlying problems. You may wish to perform an ELISA/ACT LRA in order to assess for food and chemical allergens.
If the patient is a woman I peruse her medical history to see if she has ever taken oral contraceptives as they almost always have an adverse effect on the pituitary and the Hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis will need to be evaluated and coaxed back to homeostasis.
Somewhere along the way, it would be prudent to perform an Iodine Load test in order to assess the iodine levels as iodine will be an integral part of the patient’s recovery. Brownstein states that when treating Hashimotto’s naturally the TSH and TPO antibodies may remain high for eighteen months and then slowly begin to fall back toward normal levels. As for the hypothyroidism, there are some good nonprescription glandulars on the market that stimulate the thyroid to work for itself. The thyroid panel should be assessed every three months until the thyroid is stable and the Iodine Load test should be repeated every six to nine months. These patients should avoid goitrogenic foods like soy, Brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage.