Basics of immune balancing for Hashimoto’s

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  1. Tiffany S.’s avatar

    It’s my understanding, as explained to me by a variety of doctors, that Hashimoto’s is NOT hypothyroidism but a fluctuation of hypo and hyper that may or may not eventually result in full-blown hypo. I think explaining it as only hypothyroidism is an over-simplification. I have been able to treat my symptoms with T3 therapy and have very little hypo symptoms anymore and rarely feel the hyper but they had been there. Just my two cents, as a Hashi’s patient.

  2. Chris Kresser’s avatar

    When did I describe Hashi’s as being limited to hypothyroidism?

  3. Elizabeth’s avatar

    Perhaps you weren’t clear, then, Chris. I had the same belief, but maybe that was because that was what you were discussing.

  4. Chris Kresser’s avatar

    What I’ve said in the articles was 90% of hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s.  That’s not the same thing as saying Hashimoto’s is equivalent to hypothyroidism.

    Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that progressively destroys the thyroid gland.  During an autoimmune attack, as the gland is destroyed thyroid hormones are dumped into the bloodstream.  This causes a temporary hyperthyroid condition (Hashimoto’s toxicosis), and explains the fluctuations between hypo- and hyperthyroid a Hashimoto’s patient experiences early in their disease.

    As time goes on, more and more of the thyroid gland is destroyed and the condition evolves into frank hypothyroidism without any hyperthyroid surges.  Note that some Hashimoto’s patients never experience significant episodes of hyperthyroidism secondary to glandular destruction, while for others, such episodes can be quite severe (to the point of these folks sometimes being misdiagnosed with Graves’).

    Ultimately, without (and often even with) treatment all Hashimoto’s patients will end up being hypothyroid.  How much time this takes depends on the person and the treatment.

  5. Maria Minno’s avatar

    In this article they are taking everything so piecemeal, yet in reality it’s all connected.  I think it’s kind of nearsighted, as opposed to holistic.  If you add it all up, a diet following the principles of Weston A. Price is really what it all points to.  But they never really add it all up.  It’s sort of like if you describe all the letters in detail but you never say the word.  I don’t see anything simple here!  Also, for most of the practitioners I know who have worked with thyroid disease, they believe that iodine will help even autoimmune thyroid disease.  However, this article says to avoid iodine.  I found than in my case, even though I had an autoimmune thyroid condition and was allergic to iodine, a simple anti-allergy procedure (and a healthy diet) enabled me to take the iodine I needed and recover from thyroid problems without any drugs.

  6. Renee Blancq’s avatar

    “In the first post in this series, we established that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease (called Hashimoto’s) in the vast majority of cases. ”

    Just to be clear, the above quote from this article is wrong, hypothyrodism is not an autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder with hypothyroidism being the most common symptom of the disorder. Hypothyroidism can be caused by many things but Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroidism.

  7. Chris Kresser’s avatar

    There was a word missing. It should read: hypothyroidism is *caused* by an autoimmune disease in the vast majority of cases.

  8. claire’s avatar

    I’ve been following this series with interest since my N. Doc has me on iodine supplements and is using iodine loading test(s) to check on my progress. Your anti-iodine ideas gave me food for thought, but no real idea if I should stop taking it. What is the test I should ask for from the Naturapath to determine Hasimoto’s. (I know I haven’t had it)
    Also in this article you mention estrogen fluctuations  as a potential auto-immune trigger, but no ideas what to do. This is what my naturapath is helping me with- perimenopausal estrogen dominance and better clearing of estrogen through the liver by working on diet, stress, and helpful supplementation. (she uses estrogen metabolism tests to see how well my liver is doing) I do love your writing, but I can’t help but feel like few doctors, natural or otherwise, do more than just attribute problems like this to perimenopausal hormone imbalances without the corresponding suggestions of tests or treatments.
    I’m trying to prevent myself form developing autoimmune disease and it’s frustrating because when hormone fluctuations are a problem, it’s like I’m supposed to accept this as part of perimenopause and that nothing can be done.
    Please talk a bit about things women might do about hormone triggered autoimmune disease?

  9. Chris Kresser’s avatar

    Claire: I wish I could give you an easy answer. But these are complex problems, and they’re not amenable to canned, one-size fits all approaches. I couldn’t hope to advise you or anyone else without doing a full work-up and exam to determine the exact mechanisms involved. Hopefully that’s what your naturopath is doing. In general, hormone problems are secondary to (caused by) blood sugar imbalances, adrenal stress (cortisol dysregulation), essential fatty acid deficiencies, hormone clearance issues and gut infections or inflammation. If all of those issues are addressed, the hormones generally balance themselves. In particular, the state of the adrenals is important in perimenopause and menopause because during that time ovarian production of hormones is declining, and the slack is picked up by the adrenals. A salivary test can give your practitioner important information about your adrenal health, and cues for where to go from there.

  10. hans keer’s avatar

    Hi Chris, This is really becoming a helpful series. I forwarded your posts to some acquaintances of mine, who suffer from hypothyroidism. Won’t be long and Kharrazian can serve his apprenticeship with you :-) . This week I wrote an easy to read post on how to reverse a leaky gut and stop autoimmune diseases. I hope your readers may benefit from it too: . VBR Hans

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