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Hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s, & Auto-Immune

 

It is estimated that in America, 90% of hypothyroid cases are caused by an auto-immune disorder called Hashimoto’s (We have seen thousands of thyroid cases and we agree with these statistics). Most of these cases go undiagnosed because mainstream medicine does not treat Hashimoto’s. Since there is no treatment for Hashimoto’s, doctors will often not run antibody testing, leaving many patients diagnosed with simply hypothyroidism.

The problem is that Hashimoto’s is a immune system disorder that leads to hypothyroidism. Until the immune system is treated, there will be a continuance of fluctuating thyroid symptoms and a constant battle to regulate TSH levels. The fluctuating thyroid lab ranges are instigated by the immune system, which attacks the thyroid and releases high levels of thyroid hormones into the blood. Immediately following this, the thyroid goes back into a low functioning state. As a result of these ‘flair-ups,’ lab ranges will drastically fluctuate. Furthermore, depending on when you get your blood work you will see varying TSH and other thyroid hormone levels.

Since we utilize functional medicine at The Holistic Wellness Center of the Carolinas as a result we use different lab ranges then mainstream medicine. Functional medicine uses tighter lab ranges to identify disorders. This is important due to the millions of Americans having lab work performed, still suffering with symptoms, but falling between the large ranges used in conventional medicine. This is even more evident in thyroid lab testing. For example: in mainstream medicine TSH levels range from .4 – 5. Whereas in functional medicine, TSH levels should be between 1.8 – 3. This is a big difference and can help us identify thyroid patterns earlier in its progression.

With any auto-immune disorder, one side of the immune system is polarized and hyper-functioning. Their are two main sides to the immune system: TH1 and TH2. TH1 cells are the NK cells, cytotoxic t-cells and macrophages; TH2 cells are all the B-cells, which identify pathogens. Research indicates anywhere between 60-90% of Hashomoto’s cases are TH1 dominant. Why is this important? At the Holistic Wellness Center, we know exactly what herbal immune tonics that stimulate TH1 and TH2 cells; thus, we are able to give the patient the opposite immune stimulants to balance out the immune polarity to reduce auto-immune flair ups. Furthermore, we know through years of research which supplements and herbs stimulate TH3 cells which balance out both TH1 and TH2 cells.

Unfortunately, many patients go un-diagnosed for many years and once the auto-immune expression has been turned on they will start to develop other organ/system failures and symptoms such as: leaky gut, adrenal dysfunction, allergies, pain, depression, and memory loss.  Once we are able to calm down the auto-immune ‘flair-up,’ we are then able to focus directly on these systems and regenerate some of them back to their normal capacities.

We have found that, whenever managing Hashimoto’s and other auto-immune disorders, it is always important to investigate and find out each patient’s underlying causes and daily triggers. The main underlying triggers to autoimmunity are: Infections (there are 7 known infections as a potential cause of Hashimoto’s), chemicals and food intolerance’s (through molecular mimicry or cross-reactivity). Daily triggers of “flair ups” can be various including allergies, infections (Viral or bacterial), reactions to chemicals or heavy metals, hormone imbalances, stress and or blood sugar imbalances. All must be dealt with to reduce auto-immune flair ups.

Even if you have primary hypothyroidism, there is more treatment needed beyond taking a thyroid pharmaceutical.  There are a litany of other biological in-balances that can disrupt thyroid hormone uptake and conversions such as: liver function, inflammation, allergies, Adrenal dysfunctions/cortisol, and blood sugar in-balances. These must be addressed for proper thyroid hormone production, conversion and uptake.

We implement functional herbal/nutritional protocols, nutrigenomic testing (genetic testing), infectious disease markers, sex hormone testing and food sensitivity panels with all our auto-immune patients which help us find the underlying causes and daily triggers of a autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s.  Furthermore, we empower our patients with knowledge so they can handle their condition indefinitely through dietary and lifestyle changes.

 

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