Autoimmune Thyroid


The number one cause of hypothyroidism in the world is Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis.  Autoimmune thyroiditis is also the most common undiagnosed autoimmune disease in the world.  More women are diagnosed with this condition than men.  Many patients do not receive a thorough evaluation of their thyroid gland and are put on thyroid medication without adequate testing for autoimmune thyroid.  Patients with autoimmune thyroid usually do not respond to medication and their doctors are continually adjusting their medication based on lab tests.  The TSH test can significantly fluctuate in autoimmune thyroid due to the immune system’s attack causing inflammation of the thyroid.  Traditional medicine does not check for autoimmune thyroid routinely which leaves patients with true autoimmune thyroid in limbo for months and even years before their doctor finally decides to run tests for autoimmunity.  Even in these cases it is sad because the treatment for autoimmune thyroid is medication.  That’s right, the treatment is the same for you whether you have autoimmune thyroid or thyroid dysfunction that is not autoimmune.

There is definitely a familial factor in autoimmune thyroiditis but not necessarily a genetic factor.  Habits of living tend to run in families such as food choices, lifestyle, acid-forming diets, and eating patterns that promote poor digestion, all of which can contribute to the development of autoimmune disease.

In autoimmune thyroiditis, thyroid cells are attacked by the body’s own immune system causing destruction of the thyroid gland and chronic inflammation.  It can cause an overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid – the latter being the most common.  Most frequently, the thyroid is slowly attacked over time leading to hypothyroidism with an elevated TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).  Traditional medicine treats Hashimoto’s with synthetic T4 (thyroxine) and when the TSH is in the normal range, the patient is considered to be treated successfully.  The autoimmune component is rarely addressed which does the patient a great disservice because the body’s attack can be greatly reduced sparing the thyroid gland for a much longer period than without treatment.  Many of these patients continue to take synthetic thyroid hormone but still have symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Autoimmune thyroiditis tends to be an innocent bystander with other autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc.  Most doctors chase these other autoimmune diseases ignoring the possibility that the thyroid is also being attacked.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune thyroid disease?

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are similar to that of hypothyroidism including:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Muscle pain
  • Cold hands and feet and cold all over even in warm weather
  • Dry skin
  • Dry and brittle nails and hair
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems

However, sometimes in the early stages of Hashimoto’s disease your symptoms may actually be that of hyperthyroidism due to acute inflammation causing an increase in thyroid hormone. Patients with autoimmune thyroiditis tend to have symptoms that lead them to explore abusive and addictive behaviors to help deal with the devastating effects of this condition.  Depression, anxiety, hopelessness, extreme fatigue and weight gain can be very difficult to deal with.  Alcohol is one outlet for such people as it is readily available and provides instant results when one is feeling down.  The problem is of course an increasing need to drink regularly to deal with like symptoms.  These people truly need help and can be led  to full recovery.  These are also the patients who are sent to a psychiatrist for medication specific to their symptoms.  They end up on thyroid hormone and then antidepressants or anxiety meds which further impair thyroid and immune system function.

Autoimmune thyroiditis can begin when the thyroid gland becomes more permeable meaning that there is increased blood flow into the gland as well as substances that should not enter the thyroid.  This is a sign that the blood-thyroid barrier has been breached and white blood cells enter the gland and attack it.  This also indicates that the body can no longer keep up and repair the damage that is done by the immune system.  This can many times be traced to an intestine that is hyperpermeable allowing unwanted substances and toxins into the blood further exhausting the body’s repair reserves.  As the gut becomes more permeable or “leaky,” so do the rest of the body tissues including organs such as the thyroid, brain, kidneys etc.  It’s important to understand that autoimmune thyroiditis is not a singular disease process but a symptom of a broken down immune system due to a variety of possible causes which we will cover in detail.

When you wake up, it is the T4 (thyroxine) and T3 produced by the thyroid gland that increase your temperature.  If there is an autoimmune attack on the thyroid, this will impair its ability to make the relevant hormone which leads to low body temperature and difficulty getting going in the morning.  Remember that stress hormones can inhibit thyroid hormone receptors so even if there is normal thyroid hormone production, you may still have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism.  This is why the adrenal glands are so important in all types of thyroid dysfunction.  Thyroid hormone receptors can become dysfunctional due to not only stress hormones but also metabolic acidosis, environmental toxins, toxic heavy metals or antibodies that specifically attack the receptors.  This further emphasizes the importance of a thorough investigation into the causes of your symptoms and not just a TSH blood test.

Many patients with autoimmune thyroiditis seek care for other problems in the beginning of their disease process.  Some of these include increased allergies, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep problems and weight gain.  They go to specialists such as allergists, gastroenterologists, sleep clinics, etc. but end up without help.  This is due to the fact that specialists only look at these diseases as isolated conditions rather than looking for other body system connections.  If only the body were not compartmentalized by these physicians but looked at as one entity that is fully connected in every way with every part of itself, people would have answers to their health problems.

Graves’ disease is another form of autoimmune thyroiditis which is characterized by hyperthyroid activity with symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, eye-bulging, weight loss, swelling in the thyroid gland, and either increased or decreased energy depending on what stage.  Graves’ is more prevalent in women with an 8:1 ratio of female to male.  It usually occurs between the ages of twenty and forty.  Hyperthyroid symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, sweating, weight loss, fatigue and insomnia.  The thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone in these cases which will result in signs of increased metabolism in the beginning; however, over time as thyroid receptors become saturated and the gland begins to lose function, signs of hypothyroidism begin to emerge.  The underlying cause of Graves’ and Hashimoto’s can be the same so we still approach these cases not from a disease model but from a cause-effect model.  What triggered the autoimmunity in the first place?

Graves’ disease is treated with medications that shut down thyroid function including methimazole, propylthiouracil and radioactive iodine obliteration.  Once this is done, the patient must remain on thyroid hormone forever.  I have saved many thyroids from radioactive iodine treatment and surgery.

Carnitine and Graves’ Disease (Hyperthyroidism)

L-carnitine is a di-peptide that shuttles fat into the cell’s mitochondria (mini energy-producing factories) so it can be burned to make energy.  A paper was published in 2004 in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in which the authors found:

L-carnitine is a peripheral antagonist of thyroid hormone action.  In particular, L-carnitine inhibits both T3 and T4 entry into cell nuclei.  This is relevant because thyroid hormone action is mainly mediated by specific nuclear receptors.  In the randomized trial, we showed that 2 and 4 grams per day of oral L-carnitine are capable of reversing hyperthyroid symptoms.  L-carnitine was acting in the periphery, namely as an inhibitor of thyroid hormone action in thyroid hormone target tissues, and not at the level of the thyroid gland as an inhibitor of thyroid hormone synthesis.  Overall the two doses of carnitine (2 and 4 grams) were equally effective in reversing hyperthyroid symptomatology; asthenia, nervousness, and palpitations were the symptoms that benefited the most.  Amelioration occurred 1 or 2 weeks after commencement of carnitine.

So as you can see, L-carnitine is a must for many Graves’ disease patients.

A skilled physician will be able to feel your thyroid gland to see if it is enlarged or if there are nodules.  I have encountered some traditional physicians who do not think it’s possible to feel nodules on the thyroid.  After telling them to perform an ultrasound to confirm my findings, there have always been nodules on the thyroid that I have felt.  The swelling occurs due to increased water in the thyroid due to the inflammation caused by the immune attack on the thyroid.  Usually the thyroid gland is the most swollen in the beginning stages of disease and then slowly shrinks in the advanced stages due to an inability to compensate.

As a natural physician, it is my goal to find the underlying causes of disease and correct the imbalances.  It is important to understand that once the gene is expressed causing autoimmune disease, no one knows exactly how to manipulate our genes to completely turn them off.  What we can do is balance the immune system which greatly reduces the immune attack on the thyroid cells.  We will now discuss the many faces of autoimmune thyroid.


Candida and other yeasts can contribute to the development and perpetuation of autoimmune thyroiditis.  Yeasts that grow in the intestine suppress immune function and acidify the digestive environment.  Yeasts also impair absorption of important nutrients that are required for immune function.  In some cases the yeast is so bad it regurgitates into the stomach causing chronic heartburn and impaired digestion.  Yeasts can also hold onto toxic chemicals and metals which are released when commencing an anti-yeast program.  This is one of the reasons why some people get sick when following such regimens.  Patients with yeast overgrowth also have impaired intestinal barrier function allowing these toxins to freely enter the bloodstream further taxing the immune system.

Yeast overgrowth is a sign of poor diet, impaired immune function and a diet that is too acidic.  In some cases, the yeast must be slowly killed as the immune system is supported simultaneously.  Multiple probiotic strains of at least fifty billion viable organisms must be consumed each day during this process.  If the immune system is still weak, the diet is poor, and supplements are not taken, then the yeast can quickly grow back.  Constipation can further worsen this problem as yeasts feed on sugars that are produced from food that is fermenting in the intestine due to a prolonged transit time.  Food should pass through the entire digestive system in twelve to eighteen hours so it does not have time to ferment.

Increasing transit time is a first order of priority when eradicating yeast overgrowth.  A stool analysis will provide data on the type of yeast and what natural compounds will kill the yeast.  This test is very important as some yeasts are completely resilient to natural medicines that are known to kill yeast.  The lab report contains what is known as a “sensitivity” meaning the yeast has been exposed to multiple natural agents looking for what works and what doesn’t.  For example, the lab may report that garlic does not work for a particular yeast but oil of oregano does work.

Molecular Mimicry

Molecular mimicry is an important aspect to understand as a possible cause of Hashimoto’s disease.  The body’s immune system works by recognizing amino acid sequences which make up protein but the foreign invader looks the same as self tissue.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and make up body tissues, foreign invaders and of course dietary proteins such as gluten and casein from milk.  Molecular mimicry occurs when a dietary protein or infection contains protein that the body’s immune system attacks but is identified as the same protein found in body tissue such as thyroid cells.  According to Tomer et al. in the journal Endocrine Review (1993), “Molecular mimicry has long been implicated as a mechanism by which microbes can induce autoimmunity.”

Yersinia enterocolitica is a bacterium we can get from contaminated food and water and is one example of an infectious agent that can trigger autoimmune thyroid.  The protein that makes up the outer shell of Yersinia can lead to cross-reactivity or molecular mimicry of thyroid tissue resulting in an immune attack on Yersinia and the thyroid gland.  Yersinia has actually been found to have TSH binding sites on its surface.  As long as the Yersinia infection resides in the intestine, the body will continue to produce antibodies that attack the bacteria and the thyroid.  Eradication of the infection will eliminate or significantly reduce the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland. I have found that most of my patients with autoimmune thyroiditis have a chronic infection that is driving the autoimmunity.  Lyme disease and it’s associated co-infections (Babesia, ehrlichia, bartonella, mycoplamsa etc.) tend to be the most common infections that trigger autoimmunity.

Examples of infections that can induce autoimmune thyroid include:

Insulin Resistance and PCOS

Insulin resistance that leads to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can lead to autoimmune thyroid.  PCOS is not only the most common cause of infertility in the US but also the most common female hormone disorder.  PCOS is identified by increased cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar in routine blood testing.  In addition, an elevated testosterone hormone test is diagnostic for PCOS.  As the name suggests, PCOS can present with one or many ovarian cysts.  Chronic surges of blood sugar causing insulin surges lead to increased androgen production in the ovaries leading to PCOS.  Insulin receptors no longer respond to insulin causing the pancreas to release excess levels of insulin further feeding the vicious cycle.  Elevated testosterone and insulin have been shown to result in autoimmune thyroid.  Your natural physician will have a protocol for insulin resistance which has been extremely successful in a short period of time in my practice.

Vitamin D

Adequate vitamin D levels can be achieved only by sunlight exposure or supplementation.  Vitamin D has been found to be associated with autoimmune thyroid.  Vitamin D helps to balance the immune system that is out of balance and attacking the thyroid gland.  Patients with autoimmune thyroid disease have been shown to be deficient in vitamin D with genetic abnormalities in their vitamin D receptors.  Even normal levels of vitamin D in these individuals will not be enough leading to requirements of much higher doses of supplementation.  Lack of sunlight, gastrointestinal inflammation, aging, darker skin and elevated cortisol can cause a vitamin D deficiency.  All autoimmune thyroid patients must be tested for vitamin D deficiency but the traditional laboratory reference ranges are not optimal and miss many deficiencies.  Your natural physician will know how to interpret these tests and guide you with proper supplementation.  1,000 IU is the absolute minimum daily dose for vitamin D supplementation.  Autoimmune patients need between 1,000-4,000IU/day especially if their receptors are genetically abnormal requiring higher doses.


It has been proposed that the immune system tags certain foods such as gluten but also TSH receptors on the thyroid gland resulting in attack on not only the food but the thyroid gland as well.  Gluten is a protein found in many grains including wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt.  Celiac disease is a disease that first appeared approximately 10,000 years ago during the development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent.  The first symptoms that were documented were chronic diarrhea, abdominal distension and muscle wasting.  It was not until 1950 that a young Dutch pediatrician named Dicke made the association between gluten and disease.  He was the first to implement the gluten-free diet as a cure for celiac disease.  It was then in the 1960s that the genetics of gluten intolerance began to emerge in research.

Celiac patients have approximately ten times the rate of autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease as non-celiac individuals.  It has been shown in the literature that 26.2 percent of celiac patients have autoimmune thyroid disease.9 Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are not the same condition.  Celiac disease is the devastating autoimmune condition that significantly breaks down the intestinal barrier causing immune dysfunction, malabsorption of nutrients and many problems outside of the intestine.  In fact, 70 percent of gluten’s effects can be outside of the intestine including multiple organ system disorder which results in dysfunction of organs such as the thyroid, liver, adrenals, pancreas, sex organs, heart, brain, bones, and kidneys.

Gluten intolerance may not have an autoimmune component so the effects are not as devastating as celiac disease.  Gluten intolerance can still result in damage to the intestine and extra-intestinal organ dysfunction but is usually not as severe.  Many people live their entire lives with gluten intolerance but never even know it.  They may suffer from mild to moderate health problems such as osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, hypothyroidism, digestive problems and even autoimmune thyroid.  The degree of gluten intolerance depends on genetics, environment, nutrition and, of course, how much gluten is consumed.

Gluten is hidden in many packaged foods and commercial products.  Gluten intolerance has an extremely strong link to autoimmune thyroid disease.  The body will produce antibodies to gluten but they will cross-react and also attack the thyroid gland.  This is called molecular mimicry.  Many people are gluten-intolerant and are not aware of it.  It is a mistake to think that if you don’t have any digestive problems, you don’t have a gluten issue.  Remember, 70 percent of gluten’s negative effects occur outside of the intestine affecting other tissues including the thyroid gland.

Patients who have celiac disease must avoid gluten indefinitely.    A strict gluten-free diet must be followed in these cases.

Vitamin B12

Hashimoto’s patients have been shown to be deficient in vitamin B12 which causes a condition known as pernicious anemia.  Vitamin B12 requires a substance called intrinsic factor to be absorbed but sometimes the body produces antibodies to intrinsic factor resulting in a lack of B12 absorption.  Many times, gluten intolerance and B12 deficiency go together because gluten sensitivity affects the three main factors in vitamin B12 absorption:

  • Adequate hydrochloric acid production in the stomach.
  • Pancreatic enzymes.
  • A healthy small intestinal lining.

Your doctor will order intrinsic factor antibodies if you are unresponsive to vitamin B12 supplementation.  A blood test for vitamin B12 levels is not an accurate test for vitamin D status despite it’s widespread use in conventional medicine.  A urinary methylmalonic acid test is the most accurate for vitamin B12 deficiency.  Sublingual B12 bypasses the gut and is an excellent delivery system to raise B12 levels.  B12 injections provide the most efficacious route of administration.


Iodine is a very important nutrient for the health of the thyroid gland.  Too much iodine or iodine consumption in autoimmune thyroid can exacerbate the immune attack on the thyroid gland.  The enzyme in the thyroid that is under attack is stimulated by iodine thus leading to an increased attack on the gland.  It has been shown that iodine supplementation in an autoimmune thyroid patient leads to increases in the thyroid peroxidase antibody.  It has also been found that when iodine is added to table salt in iodine-deficient areas, the rate of autoimmune thyroid illness increases.  There is a tremendous amount of controversy at this point on the use of iodine for thyroid function and other parts of the body.  Until there is more definitive research available, iodine is not recommended in most cases for autoimmune thyroiditis at this point due to the potential of worsening the condition.


Mercury is one example of how an environmental toxin can trigger autoimmune disease.  Toxins disrupt normal immune function and can alter tissue proteins making them look foreign to the immune system cells.  Continuous exposure to a toxin such as mercury can lead to immune system dysfunction, culminating in autoimmune disease.  Mercury is one of the best examples because it binds to proteins and enzymes altering their structure which confuses the immune system.

These toxins get into the system by passing through the barrier systems of the body.  These include the intestinal barrier, lung barrier, skin barrier and blood-brain barrier.  Leaky gut is a major problem in our society due to high stress (cortisol eats away at the intestinal barrier), poor diets, toxins, infections, antibiotics and food allergies.  Leaky gut can increase the chances of autoimmune disease.

If the blood-brain barrier is leaky, toxins such as mercury can pass into the brain and cause immune cell dysfunction in the neurons of the brain.  Treating the barrier systems of the body with natural medicine is an integral part of overcoming the negative effects of autoimmune disease.  It is important to understand that we are all exposed to environmental toxins on a daily basis but our overall health and genetics determine how we handle and detoxify them.  Some individuals can live a long healthy life despite constant exposure and some will suffer from severe debilitating sickness with even the smallest exposure.

The Barrier Systems

Understanding the barrier systems is vital to understanding the onset of autoimmune disease in some cases.  The barrier systems are composed of four parts:

  1. Intestinal barrier
  2. Lung barrier
  3. Skin barrier
  4. Blood-brain barrier

The gut has mucosal barriers that prevent the entry of foreign invaders into the body.  They are called the barrier system because they are the first line of defense from the outside world.  When the gut barrier breaks down, the result is a localized or systemic inflammatory cascade by the immune system.  “Leaky gut” or gut hyperpermeability describes this condition and it is not only related to autoimmune thyroiditis but also psoriasis, autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, malabsorption, inflammatory bowel and skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis.

Stress (high cortisol), infections (bacteria, parasites, viruses, yeast, fungi), drugs, antibiotics, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.), steroids, antacids, antibiotics, alcohol, allergens, constipation, immune system imbalances,  xenobiotics, dietary proteins such as gluten, enzymes, constipation due to inadequate fiber intake, poor digestion and environmental toxins can all break down the intestinal barrier which is 70 percent of your body’s immune system.  NSAIDS cause bleeding and inflammation in the GI tract resulting in significant mucosal barrier damage.  Antacids impair normal stomach acid function causing compromised protein digestion.  This leads to large undigested proteins entering the small intestine which are then absorbed into the bloodstream taxing the immune system.  Low stomach acid also causes mineral deficiencies in calcium and magnesium.  Antibiotics disrupt normal flora not only in the intestinal tract but also the skin, vagina, and mouth, potentially leading to yeast infections in these areas.  The yeast that overgrows in the intestine can result in bloating, gas, chronic fatigue, depression and gut inflammation.

The following nutrients can become depleted due to leaky gut:  vitamins A, C, E, B-complex, zinc, selenium, CoQ10, magnesium calcium, essential fatty acids, choline, inositol, glutathione and sulfur amino acids.  Disorders such as cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, irritable and inflammatory bowel, ulcers, colon cancer, low stomach acid and diverticulosis/itis can all lead to gut hyperpermeability as well.  The cells that line the intestine have the highest turnover rate and thus are the most vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies.  These cells mainly feed on the amino acid glutamine, which when supplemented, has been shown to reverse leaky gut.

When the gut bacteria become out of balance, the intestinal barrier is adversely affected.  This can occur from antibiotic use which eliminates not only good but bad bacteria and can result in yeast overgrowth as well.  Replenishing “good” bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacter can reverse this imbalance and help heal the intestinal barrier.  Prebiotics known as fructooligosaccharides (FOS) provide food for beneficial strains of bacteria.  Diets high in simple sugars and excess meat can lead to constipation thus increasing the amount of time that the gut barrier is exposed to toxins.

Chronic inadequate stomach acid production can lead to depressed intestinal immune function and can result in small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.  As the intestinal barrier breaks down, food allergies begin to increase, the immune system begins to function abnormally and the result can be autoimmunity.  The intestinal barrier is composed of tight gap junctions that allow nutrients from the food we eat to pass into the bloodstream.  When the intestinal barrier breaks down, a condition known as “leaky gut” or “hyperintestinal permeability” can occur.  This means that undigested food particles and foreign invaders can pass into the system without resistance.  This constant overload of foreign invaders is a continuous stress on the immune system that over time will lead to immune system dysfunction.  Your immune system knows exactly what is going on in every part of your body but it can only do so much.  If it constantly has to “clean up” what shouldn’t be there, it may eventually break down from overwhelming stress.

The lung barrier is constantly exposed to air pollution, secondhand smoke and off-gassing of toxic chemicals from products such as new automobiles (that new car smell is not good!), carpeting, dry-cleaned clothes, paint, solvents, furniture, wrinkle-free clothes, new plastics, and many building materials.  These will stress the lung barrier and break it down leading to increased toxin exposure into the blood.

The skin barrier’s main enemy is excessive washing practices by those in industrialized nations.  Bathing and washing excessively can break down the skin barrier leading to increased absorption of environmental toxins.  Many of the commercial products available today are loaded with chemicals that break down the skin barrier and contain thyroid-disrupting chemicals.  Cosmetics, soaps, body wash, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, after-shave, etc. are extremely toxic and a broken skin barrier will only allow increased absorption of these chemicals into the bloodstream.

There are two very important things to consider when discussing what products to use.  The first is that if something is on your skin, you are basically drinking it.  Your skin will absorb almost everything you put onto it.  The second thing to consider is that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin unless you would eat it.  Use only all-natural products made from plants that won’t harm your skin or your insides.

The blood-brain barrier begins to break down after the intestinal barrier has begun to break down.  The blood-brain barrier is extremely selective in what it allows to pass in and out of the brain.  This should be quite obvious as brain tissue is very delicate.  As the blood-brain barrier breaks down, substances that wouldn’t normally pass into the brain end up passing through causing an immune response and inflammation in the brain.  The immune cells of the body begin to attack what has crossed the blood-brain barrier but unfortunately, they don’t always attack the foreign substance and harm normal brain tissue as well.

So as you can see, the barrier systems are very important in maintaining a healthy immune system and preventing autoimmunity.  Addressing the barrier systems is a key factor in overcoming autoimmune disease including autoimmune thyroid.  The main target is the intestinal barrier which can be measured through a blood test called the “intestinal barrier function” test.  This test tells your natural physician the integrity of the intestinal barrier and can gauge treatment time and level of aggressiveness.

The first aspect that needs to be addressed when healing the intestinal barrier is to eliminate any infections that may reside in the intestine.  This can be a parasite, bacterium, virus or yeast overgrowth such as candida.  It is also important to take beneficial bacteria to replenish the healthy colonies that may have been disrupted from the infection.  And finally, supplements that have been shown to rebuild the intestinal barrier should be taken through this process.  Daily physical exercise that is not too strenuous is important in healing the gut.  Massage and therapeutic biofeedback are passive modalities that can help to reduce stress.  A high-fiber diet to ensure proper transit time of food through the gut as well organic, whole, unprocessed foods are mandatory for healing. Identify and avoid toxic exposures from chemicals, metals and allergens to facilitate healing.  It will be very difficult to heal the gut as long as there is intake of NSAIDS, antacids, steroids or antibiotics.  Essential nutrients such as fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in fully bioavailable form should be supplemented.

One of the main causes of intestinal barrier breakdown is stress.  Counseling and group therapy can greatly aid in stress reduction.  You must perform regular stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, exercise.

Food Sensitivities

The next most important thing in repairing the intestinal barrier and improving immune function is to avoid food sensitivities.  Each time you eat a food to which your body’s immune system reacts, it further breaks down the intestinal barrier and taxes the immune system.  This can increase the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland.  There are a few different ways to find out if you are sensitive to a particular food.  The first is to have a blood test that measures a large number of different foods and the level of reaction your body is having to each one.  This is a fast and easy way to pinpoint what foods you should avoid while your intestinal barrier is healing.    This is an excellent measure of the integrity of the intestinal barrier and immune function.   The second way is to go on an elimination diet which is done by avoiding the most common food allergens which include:  dairy, gluten, soy, tomato, peanuts, corn and eggs.  This is done for three to six months while the intestinal barrier is healing.  The purpose of this diet is to remove immune stresses on the intestine so it can heal.  Each time you eat a food that your immune system is sensitive to, it stresses the intestinal barrier further breaking it down.  Testing usually consists of a blood sample taken and analyzed for a large number of food reactions.  Each food is graded on a scale indicating a mild, moderate or strong response.  The more food sensitivities that show up as well as the number of moderate-to-strong responses can indicate the integrity of the intestinal barrier.  As the foods are eliminated and the barrier heals, the immune system will no longer react to these foods as before.  Some foods need to be avoided indefinitely or on rotation even when the barrier is healed to prevent a relapse.

Alcohol, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) and aspirin should be avoided as they contribute to the breakdown of the intestinal barrier.  Constipation must also be eliminated which can be done with increased fiber intake, drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day, doing a “vitamin C flush”, and taking probiotics (acidophilus, bifidobacter etc.), FOS, and magnesium.  If this doesn’t resolve the constipation, then there are other underlying causes that need to be evaluated.  Seven to nine hours of sleep each night should be a top priority when healing the gut lining.  This is when the majority of healing takes place, so do whatever you can to get adequate sleep.  Coffee, tea and soda must be eliminated or extremely restricted during this process as well.  The following supplements have been shown to repair and aid the intestinal barrier in healing:  L-glutamine, Zinc-carnosine, Vitamin A, Aloe Vera, MSM, Folate, DGL (licorice), Slippery Elm, Marshmallow Root, Quercetin, Prunus, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Cat’s Claw, Okra, Mucin, and Chamomile.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Many patients with symptoms of thyroid dysfunction are not properly tested for the causes of imbalance.  There are two antibodies that should be tested by blood:  thyroid peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies.  These antibodies are elevated in 85-90 percent of chronic thyroiditis patients.  Thyroid peroxidase is the enzyme required for thyroid hormone synthesis and if these antibodies are positive, it indicates the body’s immune system is attacking this enzyme.  Thyroglobulin is a protein found in the thyroid gland and if these antibodies are positive, it indicates that the immune system is attacking this particular protein in the thyroid gland.  In either case, if one or both are elevated, then the diagnosis of autoimmune thyroiditis can be made.  In addition, ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) can be elevated in cases of Graves’ disease.

Thyroid nodules can occur in autoimmune thyroiditis due to inflammation and damaged thyroid tissue cells.  Nodules can appear in four to seven percent of the US population but have also been found in up to fifty percent of the population upon autopsy.  Thyroid nodules can be felt by a skilled physician.  If a nodule is found on physical examination, an ultrasound should be performed to provide more detailed diagnostic information.  Thyroid cancer can result from autoimmune thyroiditis and should be ruled out.


Many people ask the question if the thyroid can regain normal function once there is autoimmunity.  The answer is yes in some cases but it really depends on the individual and how long they have had it.  If the attack on the thyroid has been too intense and prolonged, then the thyroid cells may simply be dead and cannot regenerate.  If however, the imbalances are found before this happens, the thyroid may achieve full recovery.  As with all patients, it is my main goal to find the underlying physiological imbalance through laboratory testing, correct the imbalances through nutrition, lifestyle and proper supplementation, and to teach each patient how to maintain a high level of health removing dependency on myself or any other physician.

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149 Responses to Autoimmune Thyroid

  1. Janet June 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Dr H ….Thank you for taking the time for caring!!!
    The information you provide has been quite informative. It gives a sense of hope explaining my spurts of sudden weight gain and depression as well as decreased memory ability over the past 20 years… Major stresses during those years was definitely a factor as well…
    I will look forward to your newsletters.    J

  2. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. June 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks for your kind words. These are exciting times for people with health problems!

  3. Tanisha Harris October 10, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    This is a very informative and eye opening article. I  have been going back and forth to docot's and speacialists to help me with my numerous symptoms. Jsut recently the tsh receptor antibody test was drawn and came back positive for autoimmune thyroid disease. I went  to seen endo regarding this abnormal results and she was very dismissive. Didn't want to run other tests to see exactly what autoimmune thyroid disease I had, etc. I am feeling very defeated. this article has shined some light on some things for me.

  4. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. October 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Thanks for your story. I hope you find someone who can help you.

  5. Amy Plummer October 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Thank you so much for this information.  I have two children (ages 18 and 20) whom have been struggling for answers over many of these symptoms.  Both have elevated ANA levels.  My daughter has  been struggling for 3 years now, and was labeled Fibromyalgia and just tossed aside to take amitryptilene forever.  My son just developed symptoms this Spring……..and we are still testing!  All the bloodwork and spinal test results done in September have to be "redone" once he is "stepped off" prednisone.  Have no idea why that was not done in the first place??!!

  6. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. October 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Sorry to hear about the struggles your children are having. I hope they get to the bottom of what’s going on.

  7. Audrey November 2, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    After a stomach flu, followed by mononucleosis, I never seemed to get better.  I've spent nine months going back and forth to doctors, having a multitude of tests, with no concrete results.  I finally went for allergy testing and, of course, the standard battery of allergy tests were negative.  But, the allergy doctor had the presence of mind to order more detailed blood work.  Finally, an answer that made sense to me.  She ran a more detailed thyroid screening than my M.D. had ordered.  Auto-immune thyroid showed up.  But, now I'm left with a result that she wants to "wait-out" for another 4 months, my M.D. dismisses, and alternative medicine, I'm finding, is not covered by my insurance.  I've gotten numerous books, started a gluten-free diet and have yet to feel like myself again.  My physician actually asked me if I was depressed!  I said, "of course I am, wouldn't you be?  But, I wasn't before all of this started!"  The medical community needs to start recognizing that a large percentage of the population is being ignored.  Women, who are most often diagnosed with these disorders, are treated like "it's all in their head."  Something really needs to change.

  8. Darlene March 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    FINALLY,   a doctor who understands autoimmune thyroiditis!  I have been telling doctors these very same things for years and no one believed me.  I have experienced almost everything you mentioned.  I have been on an anti-anxiety drug just to cover up symptoms. I had been under extreme stress this past year and now even my neck lymph nodes hurt so bad. Why can people like me not tolerate Synthroid, levothyroxine, Cytomel, or even time-released compounded T3 without getting sicker?  My antibodies (both peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin) are so extremely high. TSH is elevated too…as high as 14….but Free T3 and T4 are normal. I definitely agree that food sensitivities, chemicals, and stress caused my entire problem.  I can barely walk in stores anymore without getting sick from breathing in formaldehyde. Where can I contact you for help?  I am so desperate!

  9. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. March 5, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Thank you for your comments. You can contact us through the contact page on the website or call our office 828-254-4024. Looking forward to working with you.

  10. BlissfulWriter June 30, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    I do a lot of searching on the web on various topics such as this. And this post is one of the most informative, accurate, and comprehensive on the topic of autoimmune thyroid.

    However, I would like to suggest that you rephrase your sentence in your post to say …
    “Vitamin D deficiency has been found to be associated with autoimmune thyroid.”
    rather than ….
    “Vitamin D has been found to be associated with autoimmune thyroid.”

    It is clear from the context that you mean that low vitamin D is the problem. Hence “vitamin D deficiency” would be more apt term, in case the sentence is inadvertently taken out of context.

  11. Els July 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I’ve been seeing a functional medicine practitioner for a few months now. He determined I have several issues. I can probably sum them up by saying “leaky gut” since that pretty much covers it all. It implies the multitude of infections throughout my body and all the thyroid/adrenal stuff that goes along with it. There are many other side effects that I will not get into.

    I knew that when things leak from the gut, the immune system attacks the particles as invaders. Today my doctor told me that the “stuff” your immune system uses to attack some particles can actually attack your thyroid. I presume this is a simplified way of describing autoimmune thyroiditis.

    First, we went after my H Pylori infection. Now we’re working on the other infections in the gut. Today I learned that my gut infections (bacteria, candida, and parasites) are about 1/2 gone and my leaky gut is 50% better too. I’m 46 and was hoping that healing my gut and cleaning up the various organ system infections (along with some much needed flushes) would reverse most of my issues. But now I’m reading that my thyroid may be irreversibly damaged. I’m trying not to be discouraged. I know my thyroid issues never even showed up on tests 8 years ago. I don’t know if they would now, but I’m guessing they would. I have the signs – hair loss, eyebrow loss, low body temp especially at night. I imagine there will be some permanent damage, but I’m trying to be optimistic and trying not to get furious with traditional medicine that has so clearly failed me for years.

  12. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. July 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Thank your for sharing your story.

  13. Vanessa September 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I have a right thyroid nodule which was found benign. I still have the lump and I am scheduled to see an endocrinologist on Oct. 8 I was wondering is there any homeopathic doctor you can recommend in San Francisco, or Burlingame, California who can help me? Thank you.

  14. Mrs. Susan Belohovek September 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    yes i have all of that and have exsausted all the pills . i want bio – dentical only . i’m tired of feeling ill with this i was diagnosed with hashamioto disease 3 years ago. and nothing drs give me work. hair loss, severe headaches tired memory loss etc. and my blood work came back normal and i don’t feel normal.

  15. Christine G October 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Dear Doctor, I am in the process of learning about how my thyroid antibodies and IBS may be related. I have had severe IBS for 25 years and two years ago I was diagnosed with thyroid autoimmune disease (never had meds for it). My total T3/T4 numbers were normal. My TSH is 0.01 and my TPO is 8600. It has been run 7 times in two years, the TPO has always been >1000. I have been tested for Celiacs, but it was negative. I have Thalassemia Alpha Minor (anemia), hemoglobin is <10 on a regular basis, and my Ferritin level is <10. I would love to know what to do next, I am at a loss. Can you offer advice.

  16. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. October 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Christine, I cannot give medical advice online. Please contact the office for information. thanks

  17. Ginger October 11, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    Thank you for this information. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thryoiditis in March 2012. I have changed my diet to the Paleolithic diet and have gotten wonderful results. I still have high antibodies over 450 and I do take 400 mcg of selenium which is suppose to help but I noticed this number is up from a previous blood test. Not feeling well either with all the tests showing normal results except for the antibodies. I read it’s almost impossible to bring the antibodies back to normal. Would like to know what else I can do to help myself.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you.

  18. Zarina October 16, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    hello doctor Hedberg, i’ve been diagnosed with the autoimmune thyroids few years ago. got some supplements, vit D, diet (diet is not easy to follow though) etc. the info from you is just so supportive and very solid, many thanks. i hope that following simple recomendation and having the basic knowledge definately will help thousands of people with autoimmune. thanks a lot! Zarina.

  19. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. October 16, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks Zarina!

  20. robin November 29, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    I was excited to find this website. I have had these issues for many years and everything fits. I was diagnosed with Graves disease at 25 and at 30 had my thyroid removed. I am now 45 and have spent the last 20 yrs. extremely frustrated with my poor health. I have been to so many doctors, none who have ever addressed the root problem of the autoimmune issues that caused the Graves disease (hyper thyroid) to begin with. So my question would be: Since I don’t have a thyroid anymore should I assume to follow all the same recommendations except that I now have to take a thyroid replacement medication?

  21. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. November 29, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Thank you for the post but I can’t give medical advice on the internet.

  22. sangeetha December 12, 2012 at 2:02 am #


    I was diagnosed with Auto immune thyroid when i was 23 now i am 26 my value was stable for some time and again it has started going up and now TSH has reached upto 19 and currently i am 75 mcg thyronorm and i feel sleepy always i sleep for 6 – 7 hours. i am always iriitated, get angry at the drop of the hat.

    Dont know what to do should i increase my dose to 100 mcg?

  23. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. December 12, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Thank you for your post but I cannot give medical advice on the internet.

  24. katie December 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Hello doctor

    I am a 26 year old firefighter from the UK, I was diagnosed 16 months ago with graves. I’ve avoided RAI and will continue to do so despite being told I have a 20% chance in remission on tablets. I started on max beta blockers and 80mg of carbimazole. Improvements were seen through additional supplements and good diet. I stopped taking beta blockers 6 months ago and carbimazole was reduced to 5mg per day, 2 weeks ago I went to 5mg every other day however this combined with recent stress and a reduction in good diet has led to T4 increased (21.5) and TSH inactivity (0.2). I understand you don’t give medical advice online but I am having trouble contacting you unless I can email and I have been asked to begin block and replace treatment, I was hoping you could give some information on if you think this could permanently damage thyroid.

    Many thanks for your knowledge and being so mindful

    Kind regards


  25. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. December 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Thank you for your post but I can’t comment on your situation.

  26. Dawn White January 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I’m 44 and was diagnosed with Hasimotos. Lately I have gained weight. Work out, cycle, play tennis like always. Had blood work and now it’s showing hyperthyroid. Seeing the endo tomorrow. Your article opened my eyes. Thank you so much!

  27. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. January 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    I’m glad it helped you!

  28. Reema January 7, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Nikolas.. thanks for the information… could you please give contact details in India

  29. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. January 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

  30. Reema January 8, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    it seems in US but i am staying in India… it wud not possible to come there…. is there any other way to approch you?

  31. Katerina-UK January 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    Hello Dr. Hedberg,
    I am writing to you as ive had enough of the “wait an see” approach which I feel is not benefiting me. I would like to explains my situation and with you expertise maybe have a plan for my doctor and I to follow. I had my first child 03/09, I was sluggish and vey dependant on my mum for support while my partner was working. I had a bad diet trying to eat whilst getting used to feeding a baby every 3 hours. Generally biscuits, choc, quick foods and lots of tea(all things I barely ate before). I eventually went to the doctor where I was tested for thyroid problems. I was told I was borderline hyper, I didn’t have an autoimmune dysfunction and showed I had an inflamed thyroid gland on the left side with no nodules. Since then I was yo-yo ing borderline hypo and hyper, in early 2011 it showed it was a little better and told I would be able to have another baby safely. I fell pregnant in 07/11, I was hypo but a consultant said it was normal in pregnancy. Second baby was born 04/12. Post pregnancy I had a thyroid test which showed I was slightly hyper. In nov I done an auto immune function test. Results were thyroid peroxidase antibody level (XaDvU) 1,280.0 iu/ml, thyroglobulin autoantibodies (Xa1d4) 491.0. I have been told to go and do urea/electrolyte, lft, creatine, CBC, tfts, calcium and chemical pathology – general haematology-immunology test. I have been drink antioxidant by juicing berries, drink actimal and eating what I used to living at the family home which was curries and rice. (the sudden change in diet after having my first baby could be a factor). I’m really worried as being on no meds, waiting it out and hoping it will go seems to be a bit of a joke and worried I’ll be dependent on drugs if I don’t take action myself. Symptoms are dry hands, pasty skin, constipation and diarrhoea, no sex drive, random tiredness, Brittle hair, brainfog and very bad concentration, I used to be able to do most metal arithmetics and now find it difficult to do the basic. Please can you direct me in the right direction as I have been told I will have to take meds for the rest of my life depending in blood results.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards

  32. Priya Sharma January 30, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Hi.U know what iam really thanking God that i read your article.Iam 25years old,5’7″tall,63kgs.17days back i was diagnosed of suffering from hypothyroidism.My TSH level was >100.when i did a reconfirmatory test the TSH level came out to be>150.One of the other doctor advised me to get FreeT3,T4,S T3,T4,AMA,ATA done.All the values were normal except ATA.It was 3times the normal level(157.1).Iam taking Thyronorm 100mcg everyday empty stomach in morning.5days back again did the TSH test.Now it has come down to 95.5.After reading your article i gained knowledge which will definately help me.Would u mind if i share my treatment details with you in future? It would help me to have a more positive approach to my treatment. Thank you.Regards.

  33. Stephanie Robbins January 31, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    WOW! Thank you so much for writing this article. After being misdiagnosed, I finally went to a doctor who looks at the whole picture and doesn’t just throw meds my way. I just got diagnosed with this issue. I am now armed with a gluten free/no dairy diet as well as supplements. Your article made me feel more confident about my issues and their recovery as well as about my doctor. Thank goodness there are doctors out there that understand the importance of nutrition! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  34. sreekumar February 11, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    thanks to your sincere efforts to make it simple to understand the complexities of the autoimmune thyroditis. now i will think twice before rushing into treatment before trying with food related issues causing high TSH initial test, which came low during the follow on tests with out any medication as such my doc had deferred medication.
    i wish you continue your research & updates are welcome.


  35. Deirdre Arvidson February 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    This makes so much sense to me. I have just been diagnosed with Hashimotos and my endo did nothing other than blood tests! So I am going to someone else who specializes in thyroid disorders and hopefully will be examined more closely for the cause. As a nurse I am not inclined to just keep putting a bandaid on something…if this is something I can recover from I would like to try!

  36. Nancy March 7, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    Thank you for publishing this information on the internet, it is very informative. My 14 year old daughter was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. She is also struggling with sinus infections, ulcer like symptoms, excema, weight gain and fatigue. Do you treat teens? I was also diagnosed with Graves Disease a few years ago and now struggling with Hypothyroidism.

  37. Crystal March 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    I have been searching for months to find this type of info. Thank you so much it is deeply appreciated by all of us that are so miserable & suffering. So many doctors are so quick to tell the patient they are wrong & they are fine.

  38. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. March 15, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Thanks Crystal!

  39. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. March 15, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Yes, we work with teens.

  40. Tiffany March 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Can l-glutamine powder help increases thyroid hormones or tsh? Just want to make sure it is safe before taking as I need to boost my thyroid if you could please be so kind and help me with this it would truly mean a lot. I am looking to heal my gut and my thyroid.

  41. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. March 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    I am not aware of any connection between the two.

  42. Karina March 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    I am a 38 y/o female have a history of Vitiligo and for years I have been pushing my PCP to refer me to a Endocrinologist and my PCP dismisses my request… What should I do?? I have routine blood work done annually but everything is always WNL. I feel my doctor ignores me because I am a RN and she feels I’m always trying to diagnose myself… PLEASE HELP?!

  43. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. March 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Thank you for the comments but I cannot give advice on the internet.

  44. komal bhojvaid March 26, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    This information is very useful.

  45. Jack March 28, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    How detrimental to your thryoid would it be to eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables every day for several months? How long would it take to recover from this?

  46. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. March 28, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    This would have no effect as long as they are lightly cooked or steamed.

  47. Jack March 28, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    What if they were not steamed?

  48. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. March 29, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    That would have little to no effect unless you were eating pounds of it every day.

  49. Jack March 29, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Thank You for answering my question.

  50. helen kanaris April 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    My 4 year old grandson has been diagnosed with Grave’s disease,
    can this be treated and what are the implications to his life?

  51. matthew lamothe April 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi dr H,

    Ive been having some troubles after taking massive amounts of antibiotics (500mg amoxicillin 3x daily 10days starting oct 28, 2012, followed by 1000mg amoxicillin 2x daily for 14 days staring january 7th, and then followed by IV clindamycin 600 mg every 8 hours, with a total of 4 treatments, followed by clindamycin 300mg 3x daily, for 14 days, in which i only took them for seven because im sick of taking so many antibiotics. The IV clindamycin started march 18th and the oral clindamycin started on the 20th) My normally very oily skin, that was smooth and blemish free is now dry and greasy at the same time, flaking, I can peel off 1-5 flakes ranging from a millimter in diameter,upto over a centimeter in diameter. Im also getting alot of congested pores, white heads and alot of reddness (not a rash, looks like red spots from acne, even where theres no active acne) I havent had acne in 2 years proir to antibiotcs. Also my stomach never shuts up, always making noise, especially if I drink coffee. sounds like its regurgataing everything? My stool is very soft and slimy, although it holds its shape, if i cut into it with a q-tip it sinks right in, i can easily spell my name in it without it breaking apart..just really slimy like. Do you think this will resolve in time, ive taken probiotics but it seems to make my skin break out even more. I just want my normal skin/digestion back. how do I do this? could this lead to autoimmune disorder if not treated? ANY advice highly appretiated as i kinda feel like jumping off a bridge at this point. Please Email me when and if there is a response to this as I may not be able to find this site again (shared computer that gets erased frequently)

    Thank you very much

    Kind regards,
    Matthew Lamothe

  52. Jonas April 14, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Dr. Hedberg,
    My wife ha had Hashimoto since 10 years ago and we did not know about B12 deficiency. The question I have is whether oral B12 is recommend as a supplement. You have just mentioned sub-lingual and injection forms.
    I would like to thank your very informative page.

  53. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. April 14, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Supplementation is only necessary when there is a deficiency. This can be done through laboratory testing.

  54. angelica margherita April 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    bitte um information ueber meine autoinmune tirodistis

  55. sherri April 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    I lost my voice in dec 2012, hoarseness still that way. Went to an ENT and they did the scope down the throat to check the vocal cords, said the right one is partial paratlysis, but also was tired all the time said that had nothing to do with the vocal cord. Had blood work in Jan 2013 and they checked my thyroid only the FT4 not FT3 or Antithyroglb…Well had another series of blood work in April 2013 and they did check the FT3, FT4 And Antithyroglb …the FT4 was .80 in jan and 1.10 in april, and my Antithyroglb is 814…Im still Hoarse, I have no energy what so ever, lymph nodes in neck are sore. I go back to see the ENT in May and Endocrinologist in May also. My question is do you think my vocal cords has anything to do with my Thyroid, And if I have to be put on thyroid med, can I just have the thyroid removed and just be on the med..This has been going on too long and Im tired of feeling like there is something in my throat and food gets stuck .

  56. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. April 22, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Thanks for the post but I can’t give medical advice.

  57. Annabel Hollins-Cliff May 6, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Re iodine and Hashi’s – Part one and two seem to be saying that iodine does not cause issues when supplemented with selenium. What’s your opinion?

  58. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. May 6, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    That is not true. Avoid all or nothing statements about iodine and selenium. It’s a case by case basis.

  59. Chris Parker May 29, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    In July 2010 I was diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism (TSH 120) – slurred speech, uncoordinated, acute sleep apnoea, constantly tired and lethargic. Treated with thyroxine since with 6-monthly blood tests – more recently on 200 mcg a day. Last blood test in April 2013 determined I was now toxic (TSH <0.02) – now hyperthyroidism!!
    I was involved in an incident that involved alcohol- Are you aware of any evidence that severe hypretyroidism can affect the metabolism of alcohol through your liver due to issues with alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH)? I had been drinking but my blood alcohol concentration seemed to stay very high for a long period of time after I stopped.

  60. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. May 29, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    Abnormal thyroid hormone levels can definitely affect alcohol metabolism.

  61. Ross May 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    This is an extremely interesting article – thank you. I’m a 33 year old male who has just been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I have been prescribed thyroxcine. I have displayed over the last few years a lot of the problems you describe such as apparent increased allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep problems and weight gain (despite being sporty and eating a (relatively) good diet). I’m a British national who is currently living in Australia and would love to have a consult with someone like you in order to assess the autoimmune factors that may be affecting me. Are you able to recommend any colleagues in Australia? Many thanks in advance for your consideration.

  62. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. May 30, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    My office will be in touch with you soon. I don’t know anyone in Australia.

  63. angie May 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    What blood test is used to check for food sensitivities? Thanks much

  64. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. June 1, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    IgG, IgA and IgE can be tested through ELISA method.

  65. Ann cotterell June 1, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    I have been diagnosed in the last 6 months with hypothyroidism due to autoimmune .i also have had 4 operations on my tongue to remove either cells with dysplagia or cancer that is not invasive .
    Both are being treated totally seperately. I am 65 .i have never smoked and drink a glass of wine on average once a week.
    I am in Australia and would like a suggestion of who to see in Australia .
    I am open to travelling overseas .
    I appreciate your advice

  66. Laura K Bramlett June 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    I have been desperately seeking help. Traveled to Boston (Mass general), Vanderbilt, UAB here in Bama. I have a hoarse voice, hair falling out, get so cold that my face feels like it’s in a bucket of water and even my buttocks are freezing cold. My thyroid tests (tsh are either always high normal or low normal but never out of range. I have had a positive Thyroglobulin antibody screen by mayo at 44 (<22 normal range) and a positive GAD. I have low IGg and get infusions now. But I have massive drops of bp, dizziness, muscle and joint pain, etc and cannot find a good physician to figure me out and treat me so I can get back to my life again. Diagnosed with CVID, UCTD, Dysautonomia, Hyper Pots, Raynauds, neuropathy, etc. Do you take new patients??

  67. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. June 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    We will contact you shortly.

  68. Diane June 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Very informative article. Thank- you for posting this info for all of us with this benign disease. Luckily I found a physician who knew about autoimmune diseases. It’s a shame we are still treated like our symptoms are emotion and we need a Xanax.

  69. Bel June 19, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I found this article very interesting – and whilst desperately searching for possible alternatives to my mother’s recent diagnosis. In June 2012, she was found to have been overmedicated (doctor error) for Hypothryoidism. She had been taking 5 times what she needed for approx 2 1/2 years. She presented initially with hand tremors. They then started to try to correct the new imbalance and she became increasingly unwell, with blood work levels swinging wildly. In Nov, her stomach swelled up although she had considerable weight loss. Since Jan 2013, she has experienced increased weakness (in areas of mobility), some numbness, still has hand tremors, significant appetite decrease (only able to eat a few mouthfuls before feeling full), anxiety, pain at the top of her stomach.lower chest (not heart related) and generally major loss of life quality. She was eventually referred back to an endocrinologist, a return visit to the neurologist and the gastroenterologist. The Neurologist diagnosed her at the end of May with Motor Neurone Disease – a shocking diagnosis for us. The gastro then clinically confirmed my own diagnosis of gastroparesis. The burning question which I am desperately researching is: Is it possible that the over medication for such a prolonged period has further damaged her thyroid function, causing the stomach issues and the neuropathies? Perhaps caused her thyroid to disfunction in a different way or become autoimmune? Would you consider something like this possible? If so, what sort of tests should we be looking at? The neurologist said it was 99% certain MND, but ….? The myopic view? I understand you do not give medical advice, I am mostly asking your opinion on the overmedication issue as pertianing to autoimmunity. BTW we are also in Australia – Sydney.

  70. Goeril June 30, 2013 at 10:07 am #


    Very informative!
    Is it possible that untreated Hasimotos can cause eating disorders?

    and would carnitine be of any help for low thyroid function?

    Thank you:-)

  71. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. June 30, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    I am not familiar with a connection between Hashimoto’s and eating disorders but I could be possible. Carnitine works well for hyperthyroidism.

  72. Jennifer HIrsch July 3, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    I’ve found a ray of hope in reading this page, moving on now to read more of your offerings, thank you, this is brilliantly presented. I’ve been on Eltroxin for 6 years, been feeling ill for so long, and getting worse….. finally took myself for thyroglobulin ab and peroxidase ab tests, (had many thyroid tests but no doctor referred for antibodies tests) results are 9.7 and 1072.0 respectively, I am in South Africa, now to try to find help along the lines of your recommendations. Thank you again, nothing I have read comes near your clear explanations.

  73. Yolanda Gonzalez July 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    Your article was incredibly helpful, I just started having thyroid problems and I’m not on any medication yet, over the past two months I have been checked three times every two months; first TSH was 4.7 two months later 7.7 and another two months 14.7 only that this last time they checked my hormones and my testosterone was high, double the normal range. I believe in my case it was caused by severe stress and cortisol production. My question is that in this scenario you say and others too, that when thyroid inhibitions occur do to high testosterone TSH is normal but that us not my case. So what would cause that and what other factors should I be looking at?
    Thanks! I’m completely overwhelmed

  74. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. July 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    I cannot give medical advice to you on this blog.

  75. Grace Gastelum July 13, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Dr. Hedberg – I have a neighbor who has Graves Disease who has taken radioactive iodine. She is living with much anxiety and depression. Has one bulging eye and the other is severely sagging. She has been taking Synthyroid for some years now. Do you have a treatment protocol for patients who no longer have a thyroid? A prompt response would be greatly appreciated as it is difficult to see her suffering so much, God Bless

  76. stephanie howe July 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I have atruggled with thyroid like issues since childhood but always tested in the normal range. I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance years ago. I had a bout with a horrible stomach flu about six yrs ago after which I started having these “episodes” where I would wake up start having hot flashes, sweating, upset stomach, and this indescribable feeling of restlessness. The episodes were sporadic and lasted a couple of hours. A year ago I developed allergy symptoms along with eczema and had one of these episodes that lasted for two days. Over the last two years I have lost 115 pounds. I started experiencing some hyperthyroid symptoms. I tested just barely withn rang on my tsh but was definetly on the hyper side. Two weeks ago I had another episode and my life has been hell since. I am very symptomatic and again tested on the hyper side with a tsh of 0.40. My thyroid is obviously enlarged with some difficulty swallowing and discomfort in my neck. I have had a yeast infection on and off since december. I am awaiting an appt with an endo but would really like to solve this by getting to the core of the problem. Thanks in advance.

  77. homepage July 27, 2013 at 11:16 am #

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  78. linda July 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I was treated with azithromycin by pulm doc treating my mild ashma after blood test showed bacteria 14 days then predisone for 10 days GP gave me azithromycin when I got sick then was told I have celeiac and hypothyroid after 2 doc&2 endocrine doc I found doc who would prescrib armour thyroid pill & t4 T4 pill others prescrib levoxyl had breathing problems

  79. sharda August 7, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Highly positive antithyroglobulin antibodies with thyroid swelling and fatigue
    Candidiasis tongue

  80. Kristina Heininge August 17, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    11 months ago I had the flu and an ear infection. I was prescribed antibiotics and took them although I was apprehensive. My life has been a nightmare since. I went from weighing 165 to 220. I sweat uncontrollably and shake. I feel scared and I don’t know why. My breasts have tripled in size and that is not a good thing, it only makes me feel worse. I have a bubbling in my ears that never goes away and migraines that persist daily and make it hard to take care of my family. I have little appetite and starve myself some days. My doctor will do nothing but prescribe me antidepressants and tell me there is not anything wrong. I don’t take the drugs, only medical mj seems to help. I am going to try to start some of these suggestions in my life and see what happens, Nothing could be worse than living like this. Thank you for such a wonderful article that I have been looking for forever. This pain I am feeling makes me feel crazy, but this made me feel a little bit more sane.

  81. Simone September 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    I’m curious to understand this disease as I continuously become frustrated with the lack of my progress. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s about 6-8 years ago and I take Synthroid (in Canada). My TSH levels are ALL OVER THE PLACE! I recently went gluten free (3 months ago) and I was all but symptom free. And I was eating clean. No cheating. My TSH was 1.23 (average). Then boom! My TSH when up to 12.69. What the… why does that happen? How does that happen? I don’t understand. I realize that you can’t give medical advice and I’m not seeking advice, I’m searching to understand how this happens. Why it happens. *sigh* Pfft

  82. Sally Taylor September 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Help! I have been hypothyroid for 3 years – now I am hyper. (TSH is up) The last nine months have been hell. I also have a nodule on the left that has doubled in size and 2 new hot ones on the right. I have a double biopsy scheduled next Wed. They (radiology) say to take the thyroid out – I have been suspecting an autoimmune issue is going on but the Endo said no. I tell him the thyroid/neck are flaring (times of increased swelling in lymph glands in neck and under arms, obvious goiter that is larger during flares, terrible sore throats and hoarseness, symptoms of hyper, not hypo) and I’m told, thryroids don’t flare – changes take weeks. Ha! NOT TRUE! I can tell in a given day if I am up or down by how my BM’s change. Endo’s solution to all this was to cut my 60 mg of daily Armour in half one day a week. I don’t want to take thyroid out unless it is cancer, but I had a needle biopsy barely 2 years ago and it came back benign , and now that nodule is hot and twice it’s size. And now less than 2 years later, I’m back for a double biopsy. Don’t know what to do! Can removing the thyroid address the underlying autoimmune condition, or does it just make you hypo the rest of your life with no way out??

  83. BLe September 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Your article was very interesting!!!! I need to find someone around here that understands autoimmune & thyroid nodules! I have been diagnosed with parasites/candida- got those under control. Went completely strict Paleo to fix my digestive issues. Took oregano, an herbal cleanse, L-glutimene, pathetic acid, also did colonics. Cured all of this in about 6 mo. Still have been struggling with weight gain which is frustrating being that I am a fitness instructor & have a clean diet. 20lbs up!!! All thyroid tests have come back ‘normal’. Am on iodine, magnesium, D3 nd vitamin C now. Starting having issues with breathing and my heart. Was just diagnosed with asthma. Ugh! Add it to the list. So frustrated.

  84. Suzanne September 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Article was so informative, thank you. I saw an new endo 8 months ago. Just recently I lost a significant amount of hair and then weight gain (20 lbs over three months) I begged him to recheck my thyroid, endo said everything was normal. I found a new endo who ran the entire thyroid screening and my Thyroglobulin cam back 1300, I have hashimoto. The new endo started me on cytomel 5mg along with levothiroxine of 150mcg (been on this dose for ten years). The new medication gives me headaches, I put on an additional 10lbs in the last thirty days while taking these two meds and my belly is very swollen and I am retaining fluid in my hands and face. (tommorow I have a CAT scan). I wish I could find answers, I feel sad, I eat healthy, dont drink, or smoke, sleep well and I look terrible. I stopped taking the cytomel. can you help me?

  85. Nicola Carroll September 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    I found your article very very interesting and found it when looking for links with candida ( which I think I may have) and a recently diagnosed autommune thyroid condition which my doctor has told me has led to an underactive thyroid, When asking which autoimmune disease she said it didn’t matter as they were all treated in the same way, when I asked if the butterfly pigmentation on my face was part of the same thing she replied no, I think it may be another auto immune disease but we will treat your thyroid first but she said all of the things may be triggered by my whooping cough. I asked if I could be referred to a specialist as I named all of the infections that I have had, whooping cough, pharyngitis,Laryngitis, Tonsillitis, glandular fever, 2x ‘Anaphylaxis shock, swine flu, sarcoid, asthma. My GP told me that thyroid is controlled in house and they don’t refer to specialist. I am now paying to see an immunologist who specialises in auto immune diseases, but I want my life back. I want to be healthy again. I want to loose the 4 stone I have gained in the last year, I don’t want any more time off work, I want my friends to stop worrying if I am infectios to their babies and children…..Is this possible. I really am desperate.
    Is Dr Mohamed Abuazkouk at the Spire hotel the right person to see or am I just wasting my time and money??? Is there anyone I can see in the UK that you can recommend? Thanking you in advance

  86. Jeanne Huelskamp November 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Hi, I’ve been doing a lot of research for my Hyperthyroidism. I am calculating that I may have had this for 5 years. YOU have the best information and I trust what you say. I have been on a allergy free diet for 3 weeks now and feel so much better. I still wake up with swollen eyes. I am working on my eliminating my fatigue. Do you think it is possible to reverse this and be free of this? Are you going to print a book specifically for Hyper? It seem a lot of info is for Hypo. Thank YOU!

  87. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. November 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Thanks Jeanne. I have been contemplating a book on Graves’/hyperthyroidism so will let everyone know if it happens.

  88. WO December 8, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Do you work with anyone in the NJ area?

  89. Glen Hibbard December 15, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    G’day, I was diagnosed about 5 years ago with Hashimoto’s. I am currently taking 150mg of thyroxine, my symptoms have stayed the regardless of the amount of thyroxine I take. I am so tired, I go from the bedroom to the lounge where I sleep off and on all day until it’s time to go to bed. This has been my routine for nearly 8 years now. Aswell as massive weight gain, sick all the time and feeling hot all the time except for my feet. I would really appreciate any help you could give. I also live in Australia. Thank you.

  90. Janis December 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Could you please cite some of your sources?

  91. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. December 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    The sources can be found in the references section of my thyroid book….over 120 citations.

  92. Ashley H December 28, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    After reading this article I was in tears! I am a 29 yr old female who has been dealing with this for years! I’ve been in and out of doctors for years and always being told I’m fine. When from seeing my PCP monthly for blood work and none of the correct work was being done. Then sent to do sleepy studies and told I was fine just had moderate to sever daytime sleepiness. Then sent to a physiatrist. I have been on many medications from antidepressants to stimulants and nothing has seem to resolve the underlying issue. Even those every doctor had been told this runs in my family. Finally after several years I decided to go to another endocrinologist. it the past I has seen one and I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid. I was told I would one day have a hypothyroid and end up with Hashimoto’s. After seeing the endocrinologist last week finally the correct labs were done. I received them back and my thyriod peroxidase was at 175 when range is 0-34. I am following up with the endocrinologist next week and hope to finally get it resolved. I really wish more doctors had more knowleadge of this. Its horrible to suffer with this for so long before getting diagnosed.

  93. pauline harkin January 8, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    high antibodies 6 times normal have thyroiditis help

  94. dhan January 23, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    My wife have thyroid problem and was taking medication(thyronorm 125) for the last 2 months.Now some white patches are seen or her hands and we consulted a dermatologist , doctor diagnosed it and says it was vitiligo.and it may be due to autoimmune thyroid disease. Sir we two are so upset and so feared, sir please find it and give suggestions for what treatment we have to go? is treatment was there for this condition.
    Thanking you sir, waiting for your valuable suggestions sir.

  95. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. January 23, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Thank you for the comment but I can’t give medical advice on this blog. Please see a physician who specializes in this condition.

  96. Aruna February 7, 2014 at 5:04 am #

    I am diagnosed with autoimmune disease after a surgery for the breast lump. On check up it is found that there is a lung inflammation and thyroid disease with TSH levles of 5.5 . This resulted after 2 months after surgery . IN the surgical profile tests done before surgery all the levels are normal including the lung. Kindly help how I can reverse the autoimmune disease.

  97. Sydney February 8, 2014 at 3:49 am #

    Dear Dr. Hedberg,
    My name is Sydney and I am eighteen years old. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid about 6 months ago. I was prescribed levothyroxin and I’m not too sure if I’m getting correct treatment or not. After reading your article, I was compelled to write to you because I know at my age it’s easy to ruin your body for the rest of your life. If you could contact me or give me some kind of information or get in touch with me I would appreciate it. I have come into a lot of problems lately that are thyroid related and my tests say my thyroid is low but enough to be healthy. I really want a second opinion and even to seek further treatment and not have to take this pill all my life. If you would please get back to me I would really appreciate it.

  98. sue mutlow February 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    excellent – given more encouragement to continue to fight my autoimmune thyroid the natural way – have had a goitre for 9 months so hoping I can achieve my goal of no drugs and back to normal. Where can I get these specific blood tests done.

  99. Mimi March 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Hello there; to whom ever this may concern; can u please send me a list of things I can do to eat healthier and to loose weight for me and my daugther..she and never ate the same afther the tragic loss my brother and his I have a thyriod problem and i’moverweight

  100. Jay C. March 5, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    I have had blood testing done for my throid and have had my results off the charts they said. Its over 150.. They are currently doing more testing on the t3 and t4 and some other things.. I am not the type to take medication.. can u suggest any vitamins and or nutrients I can take that would start the healing process instead of that govt medication.. I prefer natural remedies if possible. Please let me know..

  101. Brenda March 8, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    For my reoccurrant Grave’s I changed my diet and have been in remission for ten years. I read some Japanese studies and I significantly reduced the consumption of fish and shellfish from the ocean; switched to Kosher salt; eliminated sugar substitutes; and stopped taking antihistamines. My Endocrinologist didn’t think it would make a difference but for me it has been life changing.

  102. Debbie Collins March 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    L-Carnitine began diminishing my symptoms of erratic heartbeat and feeling generally awful the day I began taking 4 mg of it daily. I am definitely suffering from autoimmune thyroiditis of the hyper variety brought to a crisis stage by supplementing with iodine for 2 months. In my case, raw cruciferous veggies help block my iodine uptake and I avoid iodized salt. I’m now gluten-free and dairy-free and seeing excellent results. Herbal drops of Motherwort, Melissa & Bugleweed have helped immensely as well. Thank you for this article which helped me put a name to what I have.

  103. Debbie Collins March 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Sorry, I meant to say 4000 MG of L-Carnitine (liquid) or 4 Grams.

  104. Mary March 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 1996 and took synthroid until May 2013 and I asked my doctor to let me take Armour, because no matter what I did I was unable to lose weight. I began taking Armour and took soy out of my diet and I began to lose weight. At the end of September 2013 I began to get hoarse, and my voice would go in and out. I had no pain, just a weak voice. I went to an ENT in November, he diagnosed me with inflammed vocal chords, not due to strain or stress. The vocal chords were white and inflammed. He stated that this may be a side effect of hypothyroidism if my thyroid levels were not normal. He advised to get my thyroid levels under control and then go back to see him, because I had two nodules and he could not determine or see clearly because of the inflammation. I have seen an endocrinologist recently and completed the blood work and I am waiting on the results. Have you ever hear of inflammed vocal chords as a result of hypothryoidism?

  105. Michelle Deshenes May 9, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Hi, I have been diagnosed with an unknown form of Thyroiditis and have a positive ANA, I have all the signs of Lupus but they won’t make a decision. They keep repeating the same test, I do to feel like my head is in a bucket of ice, I have neuropathy, my hands are freezing cold and my feet, I can’t sleep and medicines don’t work on me. I also have severe Celiac Disease Can you recommend a Dr that might actually be worth the money they charge? Thank you.

  106. Maureen Daulby May 10, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    can never lose weight even on strict diet

  107. Annette June 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Great article with a lot of important information.

  108. Sylvia June 23, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    Thank you so much. I am having a chronic allergies since day one of my first dose of HPV vaccine. I am very depressed and so sick of my life. Just recently, I’ve read somewhere that allergy to yeast ppl should not take this vaccine. I took only 2 doses and I have been continuously suffering for almost 5 years. What you said must be very true for me. My one doctor gave me Ranitidine and I lost 30 pounds in 6 months and I really looked like a dead person. Few months ago I took aloevera tabs , its getting better. Then I took turmeric tabs and its getting more better. But I never was able to stop my daily antihistamine. Then I had appointment with Allergologist/Immunologist and he asked me to do some blood works. My Antithyroglobulin is high. That was before taking Probiotics. Then I took Probiotics as he prescribed one 500 million per day for 2 weeks. Then I took my Anti-TPO and this one is normal. Now I am taking twice a day 500 million (1 Billion) and I am getting very better. His plan is to increase up to 40 Billion in August. Thanks again for letting me know why my doctor is giving me Probiotics.

  109. sinead August 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    Hi there,
    I was wondering if I could take n-acetyl-l-carnitine with an underactive thyroid. I am taking armour thyroid 60mg and t3 15mg daily. I am still very tiredin the morning, my memory is nearly goine at this stage which is really worring me as I am only 39. I had radioactive iodine 5 years ago because I wanted to have another baby. My muscles are very weak, I am fairly active I walk and go to the gym I find lifting weights very hard as my arms are so weak. I have tried n-acetyl-l carnitine and I have bags of energy my muscles are not sore when I lift weights my mood has improved greatly I am not as irritated as normal. So why am I so confused about what I am reading …………. please explain why I am feeling so good being hypothyroid while taking this supplement. I am afraid to take it now because of what I have read in the past few days that it interferes with the conversion of T4 to T3, is it because I take T3 separately to Armour that its not interfering??????? I would love your opinion on this.
    kind regards


  110. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. August 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Thank you for the comment but we cannot give health advice on this blog. Please consult with your doctor.

  111. Leana October 2, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you for the information if only every one of the 10 + doctors I have seen with regards to my thyroid problem had this approach about 5 years plus of my life would have been completely different. Good luck in your work and thank you again from the bottom of my heart

  112. Maria October 24, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Do you have any ideas of why someone’s levels would go from hypo- out of range, to hyper- out of range? I am on levothyroxine but the smallest dose possible.

  113. Dr. Nikolas Hedberg October 24, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    These fluctuations can be due to the autoimmune response which creates inflammation in the thyroid gland and unstable thyroid hormone levels.

  114. Kelli November 10, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Hello! I have a serious issue, and I am looking for medical help. My endocrinologist of 16 years had to take a leave from practice, and I have a new doctor – who is not very much of a patient advocate. on Sept 26th, I had 3, 6 ounce beers, with an ABV of 7.3% between the hours of 7:45 pm and 12:30 am. I stopped drinking at midnight. At 1:20 I was pulled over due to making an illegal right turn on red (after trying to outrun a truck that was going to drive me off the road). I passed the sobriety test, but I did admit that I had alcohol earlier in the evening. I took a breath test – and blew a .197. This seems IMPOSSIBLE! I had my thyroid tests come back – I had my thyroid removed due to cancer on Feb 2, 2011. My TSH is 0.08……and my T4 is 1.2 – and all of a sudden I have thyroid antibodies coming back up – way up – they were completely gone for the past 2 years. Is this medical induced hyperthyroidism causing me to have increased blood alcohol levels? I need to know this for court. If Levothyroxine is making me hyper, is that also what is causing an over exaggerated reading for the blood alcohol levels? And, this is very frustrating, because I am already feeling awful health wise – and this could just be making it all worse. Thank you for your time.

  115. bart December 8, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    is the presence of antibodies enough?. I never had problems with gluten foods, I always tried to eat organic and fresh food. And I cook everything myself as I love to cook. For the last five years I have been exercising 5 times a week and eating healthy and organic foods. I don’t have symptoms of any thyroid disease yet. I am 39, 6.1, 170pounds. So I wonder what should be my next steps? Am I considered sick at this point? Is the presence of antibodies end of the word and now no matter what i do i will get sick in the long run or I am already sick? Are the levels in my results high? Below my blood test results. I would love to hear your opinion. At this point i dropped gluten but I wonder if I had to. Is my test a indication that I will get sick at some point? I

    Test results:
    My tsh and t3 and t4 are just in the middle of accepted range.


  116. Nebojsa T. January 10, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    Hello Nikolas,
    Thank you for this great article. I have a question you might help me with.
    In the concluding part of your article you claim that: ” If the attack on the thyroid has been too intense and prolonged, then the thyroid cells may simply be dead and cannot regenerate.”
    My question is how can I know is this the case with my thyroid gland?

    I am suffering from Hashimoto since 2006, and at the moment I am taking 150micg/day of supplement. The medicine I am taking is Eutirox (Merck).

    Thank you.
    Best regards,

  117. Angel January 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    Hello my name is angel. i really need to ask u a couple questions im currently haveing every single sympton to what u jst wrote up above here i already have RA , hashimotos, i have vitiliago, systemic lups e. i need a lil help im currently going to get a pelvic ct scan all i feel is pain on my lower stomach my whole insides feel like there dying i take methotrexate. 8 pills a week .

  118. Angel January 31, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    please email me back couple other things are going wrong bt to tell u that id love for u to help me.

  119. sam barbary February 9, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    Great information on thyroids. What came first the chicken or the egg? Actually, what came first the autoimmune disease or low stomach acid. Instead of the autoimmune disease like Hashimotos causing low stomach acid, can the low stomach acid cause the autoimmune disease?

  120. Emily (ToHealthWithIt) February 13, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you for this article! I wish I read this 2 years ago when I was diagnosed. Luckily, I have done my own research and have learned about a lot of the causes of Hashimotos to drop my antibodies through diet and supplements. I love this article because it lays out all possible causes & effects that you need to look at.

    I am on my journey to fix leaky gut, low stomach acid, malabsorbtion issues, adrenal fatique, and food allergies. I have eliminated gluten and dairy… but was interested in trying a blood test to rule out other intolerances. Do you recommend the Alcat or the Cyrex?

    I’m also on iodine and selenium and may rethink my doctor’s decision after this article. How would I know if the iodine is causing more harm than good?

    Thank you!

  121. Dr. Nikolas Hedberg February 13, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    I do not recommend Alcat or Cyrex. Ask your doctor about iodine supplementation as it can cause a thyroid storm and a trip to the emergency room or even death.

  122. Jen February 15, 2015 at 7:56 am #


    Great article. Very informative. What would you suggest as a plan of action for someone with a very high TG..thyroglobulin level…141 but no elevated antibodies. I have rapid weight gain despite no food changes…I even dropped some calories. I also have most of not all hypothyroid symptoms. I also have ileitis and gastritis and eat veggies, meat , and clean oils…that’s it. I am not sure why I’d gain over 22 lbs in a year with no alterations. I do a lot for stress reduction such as exercise, Epsom baths, meditation, journaling And yoga. I am at my wits end and my functional.Dr thinks its not a big tg level. Any next steps from you would be helpful….

  123. Hyper February 18, 2015 at 4:33 am #

    Can an allergy to cats (cats living with you) cause thyroid problems.

  124. Carrie Rogers March 26, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

    I feel your article has the most complete description of everything related to Hashimotos that I’ve read. I’ve pieced together many of these connections over the past five years doing extensive research but I’m so happy to see there is a doctor out there that is aware of all of them. My doctor had some knowledge if the leaky gut and how diet was connected but didn’t help me heal it. I had to find most of the things that have helped me on my own. I wish I had seen this article years ago! I’ve been on a journey to try and heal for a long time. First found out my thyroid was not functioning after getting extremely sick five years ago. I was put on Armour thyroid but didn’t get better. I then tried going gluten free and wow what a difference! I was tested for celiac but it was negative. I then went diary free, then soy free. With those changes I noticed a significant difference but never back to my normal self. I continued to gain weight despite everything I was doing. Then a few months ago I started the autoimmune paleo diet. This cut out additional possible triggers including all grains, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, and so on. I also stopped drinking coffee which I’ve drank a couple times since and noticed huge increase in inflammation. Also with green tea. It was a miracle! I felt so much better but was having some digestive issues. All that meat slowed everything down unfortunately. Then I had routine testing done and my doctor discovered I had candida! Then I started thinking back to when all this started.. I had taken eight rounds of antibiotics for step throat that just wouldn’t go away, I also was drinking too much alcohol, drinking tons of coffee, and stressed to the max. So I basically messed myself up big time. Leaky gut, candida, probably some level of adrenal fatigue and my thyroid called it quits. Now after treating the candida and following the AIP diet, trying to heal the leaky gut with bone broth, and taking probiotics I feel like I’m healing. Finally! I so wish doctors knew more about this because Im Sure there are many others out there going through the same thing. I was on 97 mg of WP thyroid for the past year. Now since started diet and treating candida my TSH has dropped significantly and I am lowering my dose of medication. Better yet I’ve lost 25 pounds! Don’t give up everyone, if you put the effort in to getting healthy and finding the root cause there is a light at the end of the tunnel!!

  125. Bonnie March 31, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi, I have been hypothyroid for 9 year, since Christmas I have had a swollen tongue and allergies to starch and wheat. I have been diagnosed as autoimmune thyroiditis. I have been on 100mcg of levothyroxine and have now been put on liothyronine 20mcg BD
    My levels are free T4 21.75, pmol/L , FreeT3 4.9, pmol/L , tsh 0.258 uIu/ml, . Thyroid periods se antibodies 401.0 iu/ ml( consistent with autoimmune thyroiditis) is the dose acceptable and how long will it take for me to feel better.? My thyroxine doesn’t appear to be working at the moment and I have lost nearly 2 stone in weight and don’t feel well. I am a registered nurse and would appreciate some feedback. Thank you for your time

  126. Dr. Nikolas Hedberg March 31, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Bonnie, you should seek the help of a qualified healthcare professional to deal with these health concerns.

  127. lois April 1, 2015 at 4:31 am #

    Hi i am interested in working with you, i’m based in Ireland. How do i get incontact.

  128. Ash April 1, 2015 at 4:33 am #

    Hi, thank you for taking the time and effort to publish these details.
    I am 39 years, female, mother of a six year old kid and grossly over weight.
    I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid at 28 years and there is not a single symptom I have not experienced till date. I have been taking 125 Thyronorm for the past 4 years and that kept TSH, T3 and T4 levels normal. Five months back I was recently diagnosed with B12 deficiency (190). After treatment, the levels have come up to 270 but my TSH has dropped to 0.09 and T4 rose to 13.70 making me hyper thyroid. The last two thyroid profile and B2 tests were five months apart. I need help understanding what needs to be done.
    Unfortunately my endocrinologist did not suspect my B12 deficiency and it was just a random health checkup package that I did which had a B12 test included. Your comments and views would be appreciated.
    Best Regards,

  129. Marnie April 12, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    I have been suffering from Graves Disease for 15 years. I still have my thyroid and take PTU which only marginally manages my symptoms. I’m very interested in trying Carnitine. Do you recommend acetyl L-Carnitine or just L-Carnitine. The acetyl version looks to have some added benefits but I’m not sure if it will have the same benefit to the thyroid as the non-acetyl version. Great article I have recently started vitamin D and B12 and will get more information on the diet. Thanks for putting this out there!

  130. Charles April 17, 2015 at 6:40 am #

    My wife has Graves and it’s very difficult for me to explain to her that she needs to try a different approach towards her condition. All her Doctors do are Labs and give no other advice. Her Arthritis doctor told her she’s depressed and she almost checked herself into a Hospital for Depression. I was so hurt , I didn’t want my wife to be committed because her doctor put her on depression meds and she’s not the same now. It hurts to see someone you Love go through this. I myself am a Cancer Survivor and I changed my Lifestyle and I’m 3 years cancer free and avoided Chemo. Your advice is a Godsend. I just hope that my wife follows your advice.

  131. Loriann April 24, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Dr Hedberg,
    I live in Port Charlotte, Florida and was wondering if you were able to recommend a Dr in my area? Thank you for sharing all this wonderful information! Any direction you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

  132. Heather April 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    Thank you for the info. I do have a question though. I have had symptoms of hypo for about2 years. I’m extremely cold, exhausted, depressed etc. I finally found an answer. I have a thyroid nodule with high antibodies…however my other tests are normal. Could my symptoms be just from the high antibodies? Or could Hashimoto’s be a factor as well? I’m wondering if it’s caused by one or the other..or both possibilities?

  133. Dawn May 6, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    Thank you for all the great information here. Have you witnessed TPO antibodies going away ever? As demonstrated by labs? Or is this part of what you were referring to when you were saying that once a gene is altered it can not be reversed?

    The first year that I found and implemented many of the lifestyle/diet changes that you mention here I saw my TPO antibodies go from 400 to 100. I was expecting the next labs to be zero, as I was feeling so much better. I am holding out hope that further adjustments to what is already working so well will eventually resolve the issue of TPO antibodies being created.

  134. Joyce Ward May 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    About a year ago I started having palpitations, than throbbing in my neck like someone was choking me. These two symptoms were intermittent . I went to my doctor with these complaints and he did a TSH which came back normal, I will be having a 24 hr halter monitor in June to check my heart. I still feel like it is my thyroid because of the pressure on either side of my trachea. Should I insist on T4, T3 testing? Any other suggestions?

  135. Gayle Bryan May 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    I would like to clarify regarding thyroid autoimmune disease (which I have). You mention that once the gene is expressed causing autoimmune disease it will never turn off, but then in the Conclusion you state that normal function can be regained after autoimmunity; that the thyroid can recover if there has not been too much damage. I am undergoing therapy for Hep C which I suspect could be the underlying cause of my thyroid ana. Will this resolve upon achieving SVR on the Hep C if the Hep C is the cause? Thank you. Very good article.

  136. Marcelle Welsh June 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi. such a great site. thankyou. i have helped my daughter manage life as best she can with hashimotos. we are from the uk and despite being under various hospitals no consultant can explain why her thyroid swells and brain fog increases dramatically with the slightest of pyhsical exersion. she has had numerous thyroid dumps that cause irregular body rythms for 4-6 hours. she has a hashimotos supportive lifestyle but the worst trigger by far is the physicsl movement which would be considered low to most. any thoughts gratefully recieved…all necessary full tess such as lupus, addisons etc done and clear. many thanks in.advance x

  137. Rebekah July 1, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    I have just read your article and wondered if you can give me any advice since I have been ill since 2001, doctors have done bloodtests, they say my thyroid is fine, the only abnormal result is that my esr levels are raised. I’m in pain and tired all the time, my weight has increased though I eat little but can’t exercise due to the pain in my body. I don’t know if you can but if you have any advice I would be extremely grateful

  138. nanoo July 7, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

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  139. shamshad August 4, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    i m little satisfied n hopefull after reading full son is suffering from autoimmune thyroid oroblem which is not yet duagnised for hypo r hyper but all bloid results n sign symptoms are showing the pic of hyper.
    Endocrinologist advised 1st for neomercazole and inderal…but after getting the results of normal thyroid scan n high levels of tpo ab and trab results,he stopped medicine.he took medicine 1wk only..but symptoms are a bit reduced with inderal..i want to call you for further consultation but i couldent get you…plz help me for proper diagnoses…i will wait for email or a call on my cell phone after misscall i will contact myself n pay also your fee…thankyou dear

  140. Angela August 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Hi, my old man is 48 years old, and he had a thyroid problem but wasnt taking his meds the right way because he didnt have insurance, now he is getting sick , weak , always tired, hes back on his meds levothyroxine 150 mgs but he lost alot of weight, and is still not feeling good, can u get a infection in ur stomache area from not taking meds the right wat and his stool is loose and has a oder to it, also his perineum is swollen, is it from his thyroid problem????? they r wanting to look at his colon but i dnt think its that, he also has a hard time peeing, when he does it burns, so im thinking he has a infection from his thyroid and needs to get antibotics put in him and his thyroid meds uped to higher dose, what do u think ???? Please help him. Thanks so much.

  141. Elizabeth August 18, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi I’m a 23 year old female that has been suffering with pcos hypothyroidism, I have been to many doctors about it nothing seems to help I take 300 mcg of synthroid a day and I get an ultrasound on my thyroid every three months because I have large goiters on both right and left side of thyroid, with multinoducles and I am starting to feel like it’s all hopeless for me to feel better…I choke and feel like I can’t breathe because of how large my thyroid gland is. I have noticed that my allergies are worse than ever before, I never had any issue with allergies up until a few years ago and it was around the same time I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism I had to get rid of my dog I’ve had for years because of the allergy that appeared out of no where….what if anything can I do to help! I just feel like it’s useless anymore :(

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  143. Kristi Smith October 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    Thanks for such a thorough and eye-opening article! I came across it when I was searching for a connection between hypothyroidism and allergies, and it opened a whole can of worms for other reasons (in a great way).

    You mentioned autoimmune antibodies and Hashimotos. If antibodies are absent in a blood draw (but hypothyroidism is present), does that necessarily rule out Hashimotos? I’m curious if the antibody testing is the gold standard, or if there are alternative (definitive) diagnostic methods?

  144. Dr. Nikolas Hedberg October 20, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    In extremely rare cases someone can have Hashimoto’s but not test positive for antibodies.

  145. karien October 29, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    Hi Dr. I have tested my thyroid my tsh 0.02 , ft3- 4.5, ft4- 30.2, thy globulin 0.2, tg 71.98 tpo- 65.04 and for about 3month I got this swelling at my wright side and when I eating it swels bigger and is very uncomfortable please help and I have read all above and most off all is true please help and my Dr do nothing I am sure it is my gut that’s leaking just a gut feeling.

  146. Swapna November 12, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    I wish to contact you Dr. My daughter 9 years a is having high anti thyroglobulin antibody for last 3 years with severe hair loss. Could you please share your number with International code. I am from India.

  147. Dr. Nikolas Hedberg November 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    Our practice number is 828-254-4024.

  148. Joseadric November 23, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    Homeopathy……you will get wonderful result. reducing the antibodies is the key to feel good with hashimoto. Homeopathy reduces antibodies…otherwise your immune will continue to attack other organs after its done with thyroid gland.

  149. Cindy Potter-Sherman December 8, 2015 at 3:19 am #

    Where can one get tested to see if there are stealth infections in their body triggering their Hashimotos?

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