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Graves' Disease & Hyperthyroidism
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What’s Your Experience With The Autoimmune Paleo Diet?

Many people with autoimmune conditions such as Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis follow an autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet.  I’ve spoken about this diet numerous times in other blog posts and articles.  An AIP diet is similar to a “standard” paleo diet, but also excludes eggs, nightshades, and nuts/seeds.  I commonly recommend this diet to my patients, and while some people do great when following it, others don’t do as well.

In the past I wrote a blog post entitled “Should Everyone With Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Follow an Autoimmune Paleo Diet?“.  Although I commonly recommend an autoimmune paleo diet to my patients, in this blog post I spoke about some of the common “flaws” of this diet.  The truth is that there is no diet that perfectly fits everyone, and this applies to the autoimmune paleo diet.

Anyway, for those who have already followed an autoimmune paleo diet, or are currently following an autoimmune paleo diet, I’d like for you to share your experience in the comments below.  If you followed an autoimmune paleo diet and noticed an improvement in your symptoms and test results please let me know!  Or if you followed an AIP diet and felt worse please let me know!  Please feel free to be as specific as possible, as I’d love to hear how you felt from a symptomatic standpoint when following an AIP diet, if there were any positive or negative changes in your test results, etc.  Thank you in advance for participating!


 

24 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 2 yrs ago. I tried following the AIP diet on two separate occasions. The first was 30 days. I felt no difference. Later I tried again, 6 weeks, still felt no difference. I was very strict, but it did not seem to make me feel better (or worse) although I was hungry at times from not eating enough. I am wondering if I should try again? Do something different?
    Thank you.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Hi Dr. Eric, I think the AIP can work very well for people in the early or middle stages of autoimmune disease. But, for people like me, who are dealing with advanced problems and additional sensitivities to things like histamine and salicylates, it has way too many foods that we cannot eat. I also have the problem of not being able to tolerate sugar in any form, not even in low-glycemic fruit, so that knocks out even more of their recipes. I would be delirious if someone would go to the trouble to create recipes for someone like me because my diet is truly monotonous, simply because I can tolerate so little. I’m sure I’m not the only one out here who’s dealing with this….

    • Marina says:

      Absolutely in line with the experience. There are way too many foods that I can not tolerate so it is far beyond eliminating traditional “paleo AIP ” foods.

      That brought me to the point that there are no simple answer and on top we all at a different age, hormones, and state of our digestive health.

      I do my own trial and errors . Perhaps, another few months and I will be a bit closer to at least understanding what I can not eat at all. Or rather what I can.

      I did intro GAPS and then tried full protocol without dairy , fruits and berries. I was still having symptoms but some were resolved. However, at the very end, I was in such bad thyroid state that I stopped the diet and was diagnosed with Hashimoto . By no means I suggest that GAPS leads to Hashimoto. There were probably many reasons but it looked like I was completely exhausted of the restrict regimen that did not provide recovery after following for three and some years. But in my case the strict regiment led to fear of food and all… It is may be me. And yes, I developed severe histamine issues without realizing it.

      • Hello Marina. With regard to yoursensitivites to foods, sugars etc. I can relate. I have hypothyroidism with raised antibodies and have had a lot of sensitivities over 25 years to the point i was only eating about 5 foods. Have you been told about leaky gut syndrome and candida over growth with thyroidism problems. If you havent google it and start to heal yourself as both conditions cause multiple sensitivites, intolerances and autoimmune conditions themselves.its a huge problem but can be reversed with the right treatments. Im sure Dr Eric has info about this.Going Paleo makes sense as Gluten alone is a major allergen that affects the gut causing it to leak which causes sensitivies and autoimmune disease.Im in New Zealand but your American practicioners are light years ahead of ours in general. Ive spent 20 odd years studying this and googling people kike Dr Eric will teach you all you ned to know.

    • Julia says:

      How very true, I can identify with most of what you say, and agree about salicyates. Even how it is cooked can make a difference.

  3. Celeste says:

    I have Hashimotos and was very strict at first and saw my numbers go down…it really worked. Since then I have gradually added back a few items like eggs and a few nuts…cashews seem to work best for me….unfortunately I don’t tolerate almonds. I avoid nightshades and all dairy. I had a strong reaction to a little bit of butter after going on an elimination diet. I can now usually tell fairly quickly when I eat something that doesn’t work. I definitely recommend the diet and also suggest getting some paleo cookbooks…makes it a lot easier.

  4. Nikki says:

    I have early stage Hashimoto’s, I tried autoimmune paleo for a good 6 months, it didn’t make a difference for me. I do much better on a ketogenic diet, it helps me reduce belly fat. But even that diet didn’t effect my TSH or TPO. Next I’m going to try the Medical Medium diet which is more plant based, it’s the only thing I haven’t tried.

  5. Alison says:

    My Grave’s Story: I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease in January 2015. The first endo I saw, who was recommended by my primary doc, gave me the 3 options – meds, RAI, or surgery. She strongly pushed RAI and I felt that wasn’t right for me. So I started reading and learning. I found out about the AIP diet from a thyroid group on Facebook and after more investigation started the diet immediately. I pursued a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic. Since my numbers from bloodwork were getting worse and my anxiety growing I decided to take the Mayo endo’s advice and start on Methimazole, yet on my own I still continued with the diet. After 3 months my TSH, FT4 and FT3 were all back in the normal range. My TSI and Trab antibodies were down within normal ranges after 6 months. My TPO continues to be elevated, but has been decreasing with each blood draw. My endo at Mayo took me off the Methimazole after a full year on it “to help with long term remission”. I’ve been off the meds now for a full year and am still in remission.

    I have loved the diet and believe in it 100%. I started adding foods back in after 3 months – very slowly. Anything that I thought reacted negatively with my body I stayed away from. My entire life I have had occasional achy legs, as a kid my mom said it was growing pains but I never outgrew it. I’m 38 now. If I eat something that I know doesn’t agree with me I will ache. I was on the diet for several months when it dawned on me that I hadn’t felt those leg pains and the mysterious hip pain that had been bothering me for the last 2 years also went away. After two years I have learned what foods work and don’t work for my body – if I’m achy I have been eating too much of something that I shouldn’t. I love that I can make my body feel it’s best if I stick to the foods that work for me.

    The best part is that I kept my thyroid and it is functioning normal now. I’m so glad I listened to my gut and didn’t follow the advice of the first endo I visited.

  6. Gabriela says:

    I have Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s. I am only recently diagnosed and have not tried a total Autoimmune Paleo diet yet. I have cut gluten, reduced sugar, cut alcohol (though I may have had a holiday glass or two), no soy and minimal dairy. I feel better but just had labs done so we will see.

    • Rosy says:

      How you are diagnosed that have both? Graves and Hashimoto?

    • Meme says:

      You can’t have graves & Hashimotos at the same time, you could have had Graves’ disease which lead to you having to get your thyroid removed which has now made you hypothyroid then turning into Hashimotos.

  7. Miriam says:

    I was diagnosed with Graves Disease August 2013. I’d been taking just Methimazole until this past April when I read some articles about eliminating chlorine, fluoride and bromine. I put a chlorine filter on my shower head, drinking filtered water, non-fluoride toothpaste. My daughter encouraged me to cut back on gluten and nightshades. I started feeling better but still not the best. Five months ago I had my 10-year colonoscopy and at my pre-op appointment I gave my doctor my medical history which included Graves. When I finished he said that any patient of his who has an autoimmune disease he puts them on a Glute-free and Dairy-free diet. It also includes GF and soy-free in shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap and hand lotion. I went cold turkey. I have felt really good, lost and still losing weight, and my blood work has been in the “normal” range. I’m taking the lowest dosage of Methimazole (2.5mg) and if I continue moving closer to the “optimal” range I’m hoping I’ll be able to drop the medication. My biggest concern is trying to maintain my weight now that I’m where my weight should be..

  8. Laurin says:

    I was diagnosed with Graves’ in 2012. I have struggled on and off over the past 4 years to get my levels in normal range. I have tried the AIP diet several times, each time, attempting to reintroduce foods slowly. Thus far, I have not been able to pinpoint a negative reaction from any specific foods. Eventually I add most things back in and I feel crummy again. The AIP diet doesn’t seem to directly affect my thyroid levels (that I have noticed), but I do usually feel better on it. I have just found that it’s not sustainable for me because I don’t enjoy eating animal flesh that frequently and it’s so restrictive. So far, it’s been an all or nothing thing for me since I can’t figure out what foods are inflammatory for me.

  9. ella says:

    I have Hashimoto’s, pernicious anemia (no injections), and deficiency of iodine. After two months on AIP (nutritionist’s recommendation) I noticed that my cholesterol went up as well as my LDL. I have lost weight and have more energy but the low carbs diet’s effect on cardiovascular system worries me.

  10. Sally says:

    It’s coming up two years since I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and 12 months since Graves although I am pretty certain that I have had the condition for a good five years. I’m pretty lucky that my symptoms are not debilitating – I have only been through one period where i had heart palpitations and next to no energy. My main symptoms are shaking and dry eyes/enlarged eyes. I do have a slightly enlarged thyroid too. I’ve never taken the drugs, nor considered surgery even though I work with endo surgeons who have put a lot of pressure on me to have my thyroid removed. I changed my diet, but not to AIP. I’m a vego so AIP would have left me with not much to eat. I went down the wholefoods route and eliminated processed sugars. I eat dairy, I eat wheat. I strongly believe the gut’s reaction to foods, in particular wheat/gluten, is around how certain foods are processed in this day and age. I try and make as much of the foods I consume myself including sourdough, and buy organic. Removing sugar was one of the best things I did. My thyroid and eyes went down and have pretty much stayed that way for quite a while now – well over a year. Occasionally I have eye issues (dry eyes mainly) but this is when I am stressed. Stress is probably the biggest trigger for me now. I have been doing acupuncture and Chinese medicine from the moment I was diagnosed. I also have reiki (great for stress) and bowen therapy. My bowen therapist has discovered a connection between my thyroid and a hip/spine complaint, and looking back both thyroid and hip issues have been side by side this whole time so I am excited to see what happens here with further treatment.

    I wanted to share my short history here because, at the beginning, I researched high and low diets and alternative therapies, and found this particular site to be an amazing wealth of information. But with all the research came a level of confusion, because while a western doctor will tell you to have RAI, drugs or surgery, an alternative therapist will tell you to cut gluten, sugar and diary. I understand the gut connection, but i guess what I want to say is it’s about trial and error and finding out what works for you. I don’t look at these sites very often anymore, I don’t take any supplements anymore, and I haven’t felt this good in ages (don’t know what my bloods say but I really don’t care). Wishing everyone on this site, and thyroid disease sufferers manageable solutions towards good health that doesn’t involve a doctor trying to blast an important part of your body away.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks for posting this. The AIP stuff is very frustrating for vegetarians and it was nice to see another point of view.

  11. Caroline says:

    I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in August 2016. I was immediately bullied into taking carbimazole, however, I am trying what I can by myself. I have excluded dairy, gluten and soya as well as reducing processed foods. I am vegetarian, so doing a full AIP diet is not an option. As yet, I haven’t seen a benifit, but have found out through trial and error that I am sensitive to strawberries, coconut, beetroot and artifcial sweeteners (especially xylitol). Even experimenting with different food types can be helpful even if you can’t do the full protocol.

  12. Maggie says:

    I have a low thyroid condition high antibodies showing signs of autoimmune. I tried at the recommendation of my chiro and homeopathic dr. a gluten/dairy free diet. I didn’t need to lose weight. (My weight was 118) Eliminating bread, pasta, milk, cheese etc. made me go down to 103. I looked way too thin. The thyroid condition was still there and I had to go on naturethroid. I found the diet to be too difficult to follow so I eventually gave it up, but would like to try it again only because I thought it was a healthy way to eat. I felt that taking the Vit. D3 helped significantly as I was deficient. The mystery pains I had and the back pain and muscle pains went away with the Vit. D3. Blood work is very expensive to do, so I really don’t know what kind of an impact it did on bloodwork. Too bad medical insurances don’t cover lab work for something like this.

  13. Im from New Zealand and just found this site so decided to add my experience. 25 years ago i was realky unwell with chronic fatigue and a multitude of other problems. I luckily found a “new age doctor” in my city that slowly took me off different foods, gluten, dairy and all its products of which NZs eat alot everyday, red meat etc. With other herbal supplements for adrenal and thyroid support etc i slowly recovered. The connection between food and thyroid autoimmune disease wasnt known here in the early 90s but i told my doctor one day that my thyroid T4 levels raised when i wasnt eating dairy and wheat and reduced when i was which i did do for periods of time. He was surprised but it came out not long after that in medical journals that it was true. I have been on a paleo diet for 6 months and my t4 levels have risen again and as im on eltroxin my now doctor gets me to reduce the dose as im at the top end. I hadnt heard of the AIP paleo diet but will read about it. Only problem being i do eat eggs everyday as i avoid other foods due to multiple sensitivities but Im working on that. DR Eric I will add too my reading/learning list. Thankyou for educating us.

  14. Jen says:

    I was diagnosed with Graves, hyperthyroid in 2014. The doctor put me on Tapazol and 4 months later I was in remission. According to the Endocrinologist, my Thyroid had reset itself. Now 2 years later it’s back again only this time is much worse. I have lost 50 lbs and was having heart palpitations. I was put on Beta Blockers to help with the heart. This time my Endocrinologist wanted to kill off my thyroid because she says it will just happen again. I decided to try a Naturopath. My naturopath says that she can help to balance me out again and then my thyroid will calm down again. I’ve been on something called Thyroid calm which has been helping. Here is the connection to food. I don’t know what any of these diets are. Way back in Sept 2016 when this all started my stomach was so sore. I had constant stomach upsets. It was horrible. I couldn’t eat anything! My family doctor got me to go off gluten, soy, dairy and sugar. I also avoid all nuts. Wow!! What a difference! When I stay true to that at least my stomach doesn’t hurt. What is an AIP diet and what else can I do? I’d like to keep my thyroid.

    • Linda says:

      Jen an AIP diet is Auto Immune Paleo Diet. Works for many with Haishi’s. There is tons of info on the web including websites with free recipies. I have been on this diet for a year, but made the change over slowly. I recommend that. At least for me I have been able to succeed at staying on it, by eliminating bad foods (for me) and adding in the recommended ones over the course of a year. My Haishi’s with the help of an RDNP
      ( Registered Clinical Nutritionist Practitioner) I have been working with, is now in remission. Like a few others mentioned here STRESS is a huge trigger. My diet, and supplements are working really well, but STRESS can throw me overboard very quickly. I am working to eliminate that, set boundaries with friends and family. And say NO when I don’t want to do something and know it’s not good for me. Just my journey… As others have said, everyone has a unique journey with the many faces of Thyroid disease, be it Hypo, HYper or the other faces …. Good luck with your research and journey.

  15. Anne O'Donnell says:

    I am concerned about this diet because high cholesterol runs in my family. After one year of avoiding all meat and dairy my cholesterol was still too high. Any comments?

    • Ashley says:

      Anne, your cholesterol should have come down after a year of avoiding meat and dairy. Could it be that there is still a significant source of saturated fat in your diet, coconut oil/milk or other processed oils for example?

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


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone