Natural Thyroid Treatment Methods
Graves' Disease & Hyperthyroidism
Hashimoto's & Hypothyroidism
  Natural Endocrine Solutions
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Natural Treatment Methods:
Graves Disease Treatment
Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Natural Thyroid treatment


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone
 
 
 
 

The Challenge of Suppressing The Autoimmune Response

Whenever I work with someone who has an autoimmune thyroid condition, one of the main goals is to suppress the autoimmune response.  After all, with conditions such as Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, we’re dealing with an autoimmune condition which is affecting the thyroid gland.  And while it might be important to provide thyroid support, either in the form of thyroid hormone for hypothyroid conditions, or antithyroid medication or herbs for people with hyperthyroidism, these won’t do anything to address the autoimmune component.

This is what’s frustrating about working with most endocrinologists.  My goal isn’t to criticize endocrinologists, as while there are many who are close minded and don’t want to hear anything that has to do with natural treatment methods, there are some open minded endocrinologists as well. When I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease I saw an endocrinologist, and in addition to being very knowledgeable, she was also extremely polite, and she took a more conservative approach by recommending prescription medication over radioactive iodine.  But she didn’t recommend anything which would address the autoimmune component.  Of course I didn’t expect her to recommend anything to address the cause, as I realize doctors aren’t trained to do this in medical school.

The Challenges Of Finding The Trigger

Before one can even think about suppressing the autoimmune component, it is important to find out what has triggered the autoimmune response.   Once this has been accomplished it of course is necessary to remove the trigger.  I talk a lot about this during my webinars, articles, and blog posts.  So for example, if gluten happens to be the trigger, then one must remove gluten from the diet.  If a pathogen such as H. Pylori is the trigger, then this needs to be detected and eradicated.  If stress is the main factor then one needs to work on reducing the stress levels while improving their stress handling skills.  If a specific toxin triggered the autoimmune response then this toxin needs to be detected and then removed.

The problem is that there can be many different factors which trigger an autoimmune response.  But that’s what testing is for, right?  Well, testing can be valuable, but you can’t test for everything.  There are dozens of different tests available, and most people can’t afford to do all of them.  Fortunately this usually isn’t necessary.  However, some detective work usually is required, and in some cases it can be a challenge to determine what has triggered the autoimmune response.  So for example, I’ll frequently recommend a saliva test and the controversial hair mineral analysis, which combined will help to evaluate the adrenal glands, and to some extent the gut (by looking at secretory IgA), mineral imbalances, and toxic metals.  These all can be factors which can lead to the development of an autoimmune condition.

But there can be other factors as well.  Although toxic metals such as mercury can trigger an autoimmune response, there are other toxins which also can affect immunity.  And while there is comprehensive testing available to determine which toxins you might have built up in your tissues, there is no comprehensive test which will determine the levels of all of the different toxins.  Plus, everyone responds to toxins differently.  For example, two people might be exposed to the same amount of a specific toxin, yet one person might not have any reaction, while another person might go onto develop an autoimmune thyroid condition due to this exposure.  Of course the person who went onto develop an autoimmune thyroid condition probably had a genetic predisposition for the condition.  But as I’ve discussed in past articles and blog posts, not everyone with a genetic marker for Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis will develop these conditions, even when exposed to certain “triggers”.

How Do You Know If The Trigger Has Been Removed?

What happens once the trigger has been detected and removed?  Well, it depends on the situation.  For example, if gluten, or some type of intestinal pathogen caused a leaky gut which in turn triggered the autoimmune response, then this could get a bit complex. One first needs to remove the factor or factors which caused the leaky gut to occur.  So if gluten was the culprit, then this needs to be removed from the diet.  If H. Pylori was responsible for the leaky gut, then this pathogen needs to be eradicated.

However, just removing the factor which caused the leaky gut might not be enough, as you probably will need to do some things to rebalance the gut flora and repair the leaky gut.  On the other hand, if a toxin such as mercury triggered an autoimmune response, then one might only need to focus on reducing the levels of this toxin.

Assuming the trigger has been removed, the immune system very well might calm down on its own.  As a result, the person might notice a reduction in their symptoms and a decrease in thyroid antibodies.  However, while it’s great to see the thyroid antibodies decrease, one can’t rely on this alone, as the antibodies can fluctuate.  And just because someone has thyroid antibodies which fall within the normal reference range doesn’t mean that the autoimmune response has been suppressed.  This is why other factors need to be looked at, such as the secretory IgA.  Some people will do testing to see if the Th1 and Th2 pathways have been balanced, but this isn’t completely reliable.  The truth is that no single method by itself is reliable when trying to determine if the autoimmune response has been suppressed, which is why one needs to look at numerous factors:

  • A dramatic improvement in the person’s symptoms
  • Normal thyroid hormone levels
  • Normal thyroid antibodies
  • Normal secretory IgA
  • Possibly balanced Th1/Th2 pathways
  • In some cases one might also need to consider testing for an increase in intestinal permeability

Downregulating NF-kappaB Is Important

Last week I released a blog post entitled ” The Role of Cytokines In Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions“.  In this post I spoke about something called Nuclear Factor Kappa B (NF-kB), which is associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines.  When something triggers an autoimmune response, the immune system activates pro-inflammatory cytokines.  This will result in the activation of NF-kB.  Why is this important?  Well, this contributes to the inflammatory process, and chronic activation of NF-kB will help to perpetuate the autoimmune response.

The problem is that removing the trigger might not necessarily inactivate NF-kB.  So let’s revisit the previous example where gluten or H. Pylori caused the development of leaky gut syndrome, which in turn triggered an autoimmune response.  If someone eliminates the allergen or pathogen which caused a leaky gut, and then goes onto repair the leaky gut, NF-kB might still remain activated, which in the case with someone who has Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis will mean that the autoimmune response will still be active.  And so one needs to focus on downregulating NF-kB.

The good news is that there are numerous supplements and herbs which can help with this, which I discussed in the blog post on cytokines.  I focused on fish oils, vitamin D, turmeric, and resveratrol.  There have been clinical trials which demonstrated that these nutrients can help to downregulate NF-kB.  And of course one’s diet also plays a big role in controlling inflammation.

With that being said, some people who consult with me are already eating well, are gluten-free, and are already taking supplements such as fish oils, vitamin D, and possibly even turmeric.  Yet they might still be symptomatic, have high thyroid antibodies, etc.  Why is this the case?  In most cases, the reason why the autoimmune response is still active in these people is because the trigger hasn’t been detected and/or removed.  This can be frustrating, and I deal with this factor with some of my patients from time to time, as while I’m very successful in helping to restore people’s health back to normal, there are times when I’ve focused on a person’s adrenals, gut, hormones, toxins, and perhaps other areas, and yet the autoimmune component remains active.  Dealing with autoimmunity is very challenging, and for some people it takes more detective work than others to find out what the trigger is.

In summary, in order to suppress the autoimmune component of Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it is necessary to find out what has triggered the autoimmune response, and then of course remove this trigger.  This could become complex when there are numerous factors involved.  And then once the trigger has been removed and the compromised areas of the body have been addressed (i.e. weak adrenals, a leaky gut, etc.), it is important to downregulate NF-kB.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to find out what is triggering the autoimmune response, which can become very frustrating to both the doctor and patient.


 

15 Comments

  1. dawn says:

    wondering if you see iodine as a culprit in hashimotos…i had low thyroid prior to taking iodine..tested low on iodine and started taking iodoral..i love it..it cured so many other issue i have but my antibodies still remain elevated and only lowering iodine seems to help..yet when i lower it i get a kidney issue return so would rather have iodine and tpo antibodies…i take lots of selenium and other nutrients..and take dessicated thyroid meds…

  2. Margaret says:

    Hi there,
    I would really like a chance to work with you or someone whom you could work with here by my home. I know I have a family history of autoimmune but no one has been able to detect what my trigger is. I have what they think I be RA but they don’t know for sure. I have confirmed diagnosis of Hashimoto’s which has been being treated now for 3 years. My pain and swollen joints have been unbearable at times. I am on Embrel and prednisone along with Plaquinil. They want me to try an infusion thereapy next. I am not willing to do anything more until we know for sure what is going on. I started having symptoms after I had my daughter who is now 5. I have since given birth to my son who is 16 months. I responded well to the mess before I had my son but after having him have not had full relief. I have started the new year as Gluten free as possible. I think it’s helping. I know I need supplements. I have just been afraid to take too many at once bc of toxicity. I also want to make sure yet absorb well.
    I have never had a saliva text or hair strand test done. I really need to get this figured out. I am concerned that I may have passed something down to my son. He seems well and good but I worry about it. Please let me know what I can do to see you.
    Thanks so much,
    Margaret

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Margaret,

      I’d be happy to work with you although I require all people to attend one of my free webinars before scheduling a consultation, as the webinar will give some information you’ll need to know to become a patient, including the fees, plus it will provide you with some valuable information on natural treatment methods which will help improve your chances on receiving great results when following such a protocol. I’ll be having a couple of live webinars on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis this week. Another option is to contact one of the local natural healthcare professionals in your area (naturopaths, chiropractors, etc.), and see if they have experience dealing with endocrine conditions.

  3. Valerie says:

    I have hypothyroidism however I was reading up about the adrenal glands i am taking levothyroxin however I am wanting to get off of it and figure out if my adrenal glands are what the problem is. I know there are tests but they are expensive what do you recommend as a alternative choice ? In other words something not expensive thank you Valerie

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Valerie,

      There really isn’t a substitute I can think of for the adrenal testing. The hair mineral analysis isn’t too expensive, and this can give some information about the adrenals, although it’s not as specific as the saliva testing.

  4. Elsie says:

    My endo states that there is nothing that can be done for my Graves Disease and that I can eat what ever I want. He states that food will not help correct my hyperthyroidism or Graves. He hasn’t been able to tell me what has caused my autoimmune condition, he states that it might be due to stress. I want to get my hyperthyroid and Graves under control and am frustrated that my doctor isn’t helping me or trying to determine what has caused my conditions. He is saying that if the Methemazole doesn’t work in getting my thyroid under control that I will have to do radioactive iodine. I do not want this because I have heard of other people having problems with the thyroid replacement and still having symptoms of their hyperthyroidism.
    My question is will doing a Paleo diet help me and what other testing can be done to determine the cause of my conditions. What questions or tests should I be asking my doctor to do? Please help

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Elsie,

      Eating a Paleo diet can help, although doing this alone probably won’t be enough to restore your health. As I mentioned in the blog post, I usually recommend testing the adrenals through the saliva, along with a hair mineral analysis. Sometimes I also do hormone testing, although it depends on the person. Just keep in mind that most medical doctors won’t do saliva testing or a hair analysis, and so you probably will need to find someone in your area who takes a more alternative approach.

  5. Jennifer Kuhlmann says:

    Thank you for describing this step. I am right in this exact place, hoping to find my trigger. Thanks for mentioning saliva and hair analysis. Those my be my next tests.

  6. Debbie says:

    Thank you for all your valueable information! I appreciate learning about this as I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Thyroid Cancer at the same time. So now my thyroid gland has been removed…and I wonder if I could still have the autoimmune condition? I didn’t notice the symptoms before as I thought they were all just menopausal type sysmptoms…..and I don’t really have any now that I can positively identify.

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Although you had a very good reason for having your thyroid gland removed, just keep in mind that thyroid surgery does nothing to address the autoimmune component of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. And so I would recommend working with a local natural healthcare professional who can try to balance your immune system, along with any other compromised areas.

  7. Billy says:

    My wife has graves disease and has received the Iodine Treatment. She is 28 now but received the iodine treatment when she was 16. Instead of them shrinking the thyroid her thyroid is now dead. We were also told that there would be a slim chance of having children or her having a high risk pregnancy. After three normal pregnancy’s and differences in a opinion from her endo we actually have several questions.

    1) Are there any health concerns by having a dead thyroid in the body?
    2) She has been off of her Thyroid medicine (Synthroid 150) for about 2 months now, is there any value in getting a thyroid panel, free T3, FREE T4 to see what the actually levels are before resuming her medication. I guess we really want to ensure that it is dead, all the endo has done for the past 10 yeas is check the levels and adjust medicine.
    3)Are there any blood test that you would recommend?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Billy,

      If someone has received RAI and the thyroid gland is no longer producing thyroid hormone, there is no risk to having a malfunctioning gland itself, although as you know, the RAI didn’t do anything for the cause of the condition. As for your second question, if she stopped taking her thyroid medication then it probably would be a good idea to do another thyroid panel and see what the numbers are, and so I definitely would look at the Free T3 and Free T4, along with the TSH. It also might be a good idea to get the different thyroid antibodies tested, such as the TSH receptor antibodies, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, and thyroglobulin antibodies.

  8. Derrick says:

    .

    спасибо….

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Get Your Free Guide Entitled
“The 6 Steps On How To Reverse Graves' Disease & Hashimoto's Through Natural Methods”
You will also receive email
updates on any future webinars
on natural thyroid health.
 

"We respect your privacy"
 
Free Webinars on
Natural Thyroid Health


Click Here For More Information

 
 
 
Natural Treatment Methods:
Graves Disease Treatment
Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Natural Thyroid treatment


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone