The Paleo Diet is a popular diet that can work well for many chronic diseases, especially autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s disease. However, the Paleo Diet can be somewhat restrictive which can result in deficiencies if the dieter doesn’t carefully review their food and micronutrient intake. Iodine is one important micronutrient that may become depleted on a Paleo Diet. The Autoimmune Paleo Diet is an even more restrictive diet so the same deficiency may happen.
We have known since the early 1970s that infections can trigger autoimmune diseases and now we have an interesting hypothesis on the potential triggering of Hashimoto’s disease by COVID-19 infection.
A recent case study out of Singapore published in the Singapore Medical Journal entitled, “COVID-19 complicated by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis” presents an individual who developed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis after contracting COVID-19.
COVID-19 can cause a hyperinflammatory state in the body which is a potential recipe for developing autoimmune disease. The authors begin by pointing out the most current literature on COVID-19 connections to the autoimmune diseases antiphospholipid syndrome, autoimmune thrombocytopenia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
There have never been any studies on leaky gut and Hashimoto’s disease but now we have a new study on this connection. Leaky gut was something rejected by conventional medicine despite the fact that papers on leaky gut date back to the 1970s. For many years functional medicine practitioners have been testing for it and treating it which has helped many patients overcome their chronic illnesses. There are currently over 500 published scientific papers on leaky gut so there is no doubt it exists.
There is a new exciting paper on the connection between eradicating the intestinal parasite Blasctocystis hominis and improving Hashimoto’s disease. I previously reported this infection connection in a case study which revealed an individual with Hashimoto’s disease getting better after eradicating Blastocystis hominis. Case studies aren’t the strongest scientific proof of a particular therapy but now we have an excellent paper with three research groups including a much-needed control group.
Human herpesvirus 6 or HHV-6, is a herpes virus just like Epstein-Barr Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Chicken pox (varicella zoster), HHV-7, HHV-8 and Herpes simplex 1 and 2. There are two types of this virus including HHV-6A and HHV-6B. 100% of human beings get infected with HHV-6B by the age of three which results in fever, diarrhea and a rash called roseola. In rare cases it can cause seizures and encephalitis. There are many infection connections to autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s disease and in this article I’ll cover the connection between HHV-6 and Hashimoto’s disease.
The connection between iodine and Hashimoto’s disease has been one of the most requested topics that I cover, so I’d like to present the research on this topic, so we can set the record straight. Please be aware that none of this is my opinion but rather a detailed analysis of what the scientific literature currently presents.
Your body has about 15 to 20 mg of iodine and 70 to 80% of it resides in the thyroid gland. Iodine is transported into the thyroid gland through the sodium-iodine symporter or NIS. The thyroid peroxidase enzyme oxidizes iodine which is then integrated into thyroglobulin resulting in the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) regulates this process.
Your thyroid only needs 150 to 250 micrograms a day of iodine to function properly. Once iodine intake exceeds this range, hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disease may occur in some individuals.
Inflammation is at the core of most chronic illnesses including hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. But how exactly does inflammation cause hypothyroidism? Nonthyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS) is the state in which inflammation causes negative changes to thyroid hormone including low T3 and increased reverse T3 (rT3). T3 is the most active form of thyroid hormone and rT3 actually blocks T3 receptors so inflammation can really knock out thyroid function. TSH levels however stay relatively “normal” in NTIS thus leaving many patients with the symptoms of hypothyroidism but no diagnosis since no one is checking their T3 or rT3 levels.
In this article I’ll be referencing a paper entitled, “IL-6 promotes nonthyroidal illness syndrome by blocking thyroxine activation while promoting thyroid hormone inactivation in human cells.”
TSH is the current gold standard for diagnosis of hypothyroidism but are the current TSH levels optimal and how do they relate to Hashimoto’s disease? An excellent paper out of China entitled, “Using Hashimoto thyroiditis as gold standard to determine the upper limit value of thyroid stimulating hormone in a Chinese cohort” has shed some light on this important question which looked at the upper limit of TSH levels in relation to Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism.
The authors begin by stating that subclinical hypothyroidism is characterized by “normal” T4, T3, Free T4, and Free T3 with an elevated TSH. And these patients have an increased risk of cholesterol abnormalities, heart disease, mental illness, and pregnancy complications even though their symptoms are relatively mild.
Ashwagandha is one of my favorite supplements for Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism and we have some excellent studies to support using it for these conditions.
The main study I’ll cover in this research review is entitled, “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial” published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. We’re already off to a good start just by reading the title which indicates that it is a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study so we know it is of the highest standard.
We finally have a study specifically looking at the efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, also known as the Autoimmune Paleo Diet or AIP, and Hashimoto’s disease. The exact title of the paper is, “Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet as Part of a Multi-disciplinary, Supported Lifestyle Intervention for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis” by Abbott et al. Published in April of 2019 in the journal Cureus. I break down the study details below so you can better understand if this diet actually works for Hashimoto’s disease.