Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism Can Lead to More Autoimmune Disease

June 5th, 2012 | by Dr. Richard Herbold

Dr. Richard Herbold of Clifton Park, NY: Manage the underlying cause of Hashimoto’s

thinking womanFailing to manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism condition could lead to future autoimmune diseases. A recent study revealed that roughly one in six patients with Hashimoto’s has another autoimmune disease, most commonly:

  • atrophic gastritis, a condition in which the lining of the stomach is constantly inflamed
  • vitiligo
  • celiac disease
  • antiphospholipids syndrome, which may cause blood clots, miscarriages, or stillbirths, and
  • multiple sclerosis.

 

In my office, I see this in many patients with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, who come from Guilderland, Loudonville, Delmar, Colonie, and other areas of the Capital District. In addition to the diseases mentioned above, I also see pernicious anemia, alopecia, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that attacks and damages the thyroid gland, causing symptoms of hypothyroidism that include weight gain, cold hands and feet, depression, fatigue, and hair loss. In the United States, about 90 percent of hypothyroidism cases are due to Hashimoto’s.

Of the more than 1,500 patients with autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) who were included in the study, 16 percent were found to have an additional autoimmune disease. These patients also exhibited poor absorption of T4, chronic unexplained anemia, and recurring pregnancy losses. Thyroid hormone medication, which is the conventional treatment, may compensate for a damaged thyroid, but it does not address the underlying autoimmune condition.

Managing your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism can prevent other autoimmune diseases

Hashimoto’s is more an autoimmune condition than a thyroid condition and must be managed accordingly. Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism are evidence of an immune system that has become so imbalanced it attacks the very tissue it was designed to protect. Fortunately, research in recent years has provided us with tools we can use clinically to help restore balance and thus tame the autoimmune attacks.

Ditch the gluten

The first and perhaps most important step is removing gluten from the diet. Gluten causes a strong immune reaction in many people, and studies show a link between gluten and numerous autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s. When someone with an undiagnosed gluten intolerance eats gluten regularly, it puts the immune system on constant red alert. This causes chronic inflammation and can trigger the onset of an autoimmune disease.

Because gluten has been shown to underlie 55 diseases so far, I advise many patients seeking nutritional therapy in my Clifton Park, NY clinic to adopt a gluten-free diet. As both a clinical nutritionist and a chiropractic neurologist, I have seen a gluten-free diet improve many conditions considerably in my Capital District area patients.

The autoimmune diet for Clifton Park, NY and Capital District area patients

Most people with an active autoimmune disease also suffer from intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, a condition in which the gut walls become damaged and overly porous. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, where they trigger more inflammation.

Managing an inflamed and leaky gut is foundational to taming an autoimmune disease. One of the first steps to repairing leaky gut is to temporarily follow an autoimmune diet, which eliminates foods that commonly provoke an immune reaction. Many people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism find they must also eliminate other foods, such as dairy or corn, in addition to gluten. In my Clifton Park, NY office, we supplement this diet with select nutritional and herbal compounds that help restore the gut lining.

Sometimes these tools alone are enough to substantially reduce autoimmune flare-ups.

Going beyond the autoimmune diet may be necessary

Other times, more intensive therapy is required. This can include unwinding long-established cycles of inflammation, restoring immune balance, and/or determining whether a bacterial or viral infection, an environmental toxin, or something else is provoking the autoimmune attacks. As an experienced clinical nutritionist, I provide guidance in these areas that require nutritional therapy and supplementation.

When a brain imbalance triggers autoimmunity

There are times, however, when a brain imbalance is a primary contributor to your inflammation and autoimmune flare-ups. As a chiropractic neurologist, I use drug-free tools of brain therapy and rebalancing to help optimize your brain function. Restoring balance to the brain can significantly regulate inflammation.

Nutritional doctor for Guilderland, Loudonville, Delmar, Colonie, and other areas of the Capital District

For more information on natural healing, nutritional therapy, chiropractic neurology, and for help managing your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism or other autoimmune disorder, please contact Dr. Richard Herbold of Capital District Vitality Center. For 30 years Dr. Herbold has been developing his clinical excellence blending clinical nutritional approaches with specific brain-based chiropractic therapies.

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