Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a complex autoimmune disorder that affects many individuals. Managing and improving thyroid hormone balance is crucial for those dealing with Hashimoto's. Here are ten essential steps to consider:
**Step One: Address Autoimmunity**
Autoimmunity is often at the core of thyroid hormone imbalance. Gluten can trigger autoimmune responses due to molecules entering the bloodstream through a protein called zonulin. To address this, it's crucial to eliminate gluten from your diet. Comprehensive gluten lab tests are now available in Canada.
**Step Two: Stress**
Stress plays a significant role in immune responses and thyroid health. Managing stress is vital, as elevated cortisol levels can negatively impact the thyroid, especially during autoimmune attacks. Cortisol can spike at night, leading to night hunger. Consider a high-protein snack before bedtime.
**Step Three: Nutrients**
Ensuring you have sufficient iodine in your diet is critical. In some cases, it's recommended to consume around 800 mcg of iodine for a specific period. Foods like Brazil nuts and fish are rich in selenium, while iodine can be found in sources like kelp and bladderwrack. A variety of sea vegetables is beneficial.
**Step Four: Magnesium**
Supplementing with 300-500 mg of magnesium glycinate at night can be helpful for various reasons, including metabolic support.
**Step Five: Goitrogens**
Be mindful of goitrogenic foods and nitriles in your diet. Cooking these foods can reduce their negative effects.
**Step Six: Healthy Carbs**
A moderate carbohydrate diet (around 30% of total calorie intake) is recommended since thyroid hormone conversion requires sufficient carbohydrates. Focus on plant-based carbs from root vegetables.
**Step Seven: Regulate Insulin**
Research shows a connection between diabetes and thyroid disorders. Balancing blood sugar is essential as it's a bidirectional relationship—thyroid disorders can worsen blood sugar issues, and vice versa. High blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, which can damage the thyroid gland.
**Step Eight: Gut Health**
Improving gut health is crucial for all thyroid diseases. An autoimmune protocol can be a starting point, with variations based on individual experimentation. Thyroid hormones influence the gut's tight junctions, and an autoimmune reaction can be triggered by endotoxins escaping from the gut, leading to inflammation and decreased thyroid hormone production. Consider including foods like sweet potatoes, yams, and fermented vegetables in your diet.
**Step Nine: Selenium**
Selenium deficiency is common, especially in individuals with gut problems and inflammation. Adequate selenium is essential to protect against iodine toxicity and for the conversion of T4 to T3. Research has shown that supplementation can reduce TPO antibodies and inflammatory activity in Hashimoto's.
**Step Ten: Blood Sugar**
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is critical, as low blood sugar can lead to increased cortisol release from the adrenal glands. Chronic cortisol release can suppress the pituitary and reduce thyroid hormone output, creating a vicious cycle. Stress reduction is a key part of treatment, as stress can exacerbate autoimmune diseases and thyroid issues, increase inflammation, and impair thyroid receptor sensitivity.
Understanding the intricate relationship between blood sugar and cortisol is essential, especially when addressing thyroid hormone imbalances. By following these ten steps, you can take significant strides towards managing Hashimoto's and supporting your thyroid health.