We know that the body produces antibodies as part of a normal immune response to foreign invaders, like viruses and bacteria. In this way the human body protects itself. It happens that certain body proteins, going peacefully about their business, can get attacked by the immune system, even if they have done nothing wrong. When this happens the body cells being wrongly attacked can be damaged and destroyed. This can happen in a number of ways, but we of course are most interested in the thyroid.
Our immune system is like our guardian dog. In a case of autoimmunity, instead of our dog barking only when there is an intruder coming into the house, our dog barks day and night and won’t stop!
Now, we don’t want to kill off that dog, we love him very, very much! But we need to re-train the dog to protect us only when a possible danger arises. Autoimmune disorders respond well to Naturopathic treatment, some herbs are actually classified as “Immune modulators” aka a dog trainer! Autoimmune Thyroiditis is a common cause of poor metabolism, inciting disease and thyroid related symptoms
The antibodies that appear most frequently and should be involved in a proper Thyroid screening (in conjunction with the hormones TSH, Free T4 Free T3, RT3) are
- Antithyroid Peroxidase Antibody or TPO Ab (Ab is short for antibody) this is also known as Antithyroid Microsomal Ab
- Antithyroglobulin Antibody, Thyroglobulin Antibody or TG Ab
- Thyroid receptor antibodies or TRABS
The first group, the TPO Ab, are found raised in Hashimoto’s disease – otherwise known as autoimmune thyroiditis. Here the cells of the thyroid gland are attacked and slowly destroyed. Patients with these antibodies present either have Hashimoto’s, or are going to have it with subsequent reduction of thyroid function. (Elevated levels are found in virtually all cases of Hashimoto’s disease and they will also be raised in 70% of patients with Graves’ disease).
The next group is the TG Ab. These levels rise as well as the TPO Ab levels in autoimmune thyroiditis, but to a lesser degree. The presence of auto-antibodies against thyroglobulin indicates possible inflammation of the thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). High levels are found in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (85%), thyroid carcinoma (45%) and Grave’s disease (30%). Low levels of antibodies are found in 10% of normal patients, many autoimmune conditions, including pernicious anaemia and SLE, and some chromosomal disorders, such as Turner’s syndrome and Down’s syndrome.
The third group is Trabs-, exert their effect by targeting the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) receptors in the thyroid gland, and activate them abnormally, thus stimulating the thyroid gland to overproduce thyroid hormones. This is commonly called Graves’ disease and these Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins are the chief cause of it. This test is essential is Hashimoto’s as both other antibodies are present in any Thyroid autoimmune case, whereas TRABS is Graves disease specific with different treatments required
What are the possible causes of thyroid autoimmunity?
Family history of autoimmune disease
Not enough dietary nutritional intake.
Most people with autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s will have a combination of hypo and hyper thyroid symptoms. For example, a person may suffer from fatigue, cold hands and feet and hair loss, but when their immune system attacks the thyroid gland, thyroid cells are destroyed and released into the blood stream along with thyroid hormones which may cause signs of Hyperactivity such as palpitation, shakiness, tachycardia or feeling hot; hyper symptoms don’t tend to be present often except in extreme cases. What the video here about Thyroid symptoms and testing
Types of Treatments For Reducing Thyroid Antibodies
David Brownstein describes how Iodine deficiency can predispose the thyroid gland for undergoing oxidative damage. This oxidative damage can be presented as a small fire burning in the thyroid gland. The body‘s defence (our immune system) against this oxidative damage (or fire burning) is to produce antibodies against its own thyroid tissue (anti TPo and anti –TG). These guidelines come from Dr. David Brownstein’s book “Iodine-Why you need it, why you cannot live without it” 4th edition, but for those who don’t have the book:
“The autoimmune inflammation response to iodine/iodide deficiency may result in Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease” as discussed by Dr. Brownstein an international Thyroid specialist. “The major toxic halides that prevents Iodine/Iodide uptake are Bromine, Chloride & Fluoride, unrefined sea salt (Celtic Salt, can help in the reduction of Bromide), all patients need to check for intake /exposure of these halides.”
As per our treatment plans, each patient may need to include iodine in their Thyroid treatments, after being tested with an Iodine 24hr Urinary Loading test. It is important to note that along with the Iodine/iodide it may be necessary to address the co-factors Vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin), vitamin C, magnesium, Selenium and zinc are also required in therapeutic doses, but remember, see an Integrative practitioner for personal advice and testing before you self dose.
- So according to Dr. David Brownstein , the best way to remedy this condition is to correct Iodine deficiency and to counteract oxidative damage with potent antioxidants.
- A diet free of gluten and dairy will give the immune system “a break” and won’t make it over react and cause oxidation which will speed up recovery. Strict autoimmune guidelines can also be given to patienst where the case requires it.
- Adrenal support to address stress response;
- Nutritional cofactors in adequate ratio’s for your symptoms and test results
- Herbal support and nutritional support immunity, inflammation, immune modulation, and thyroid symptoms.
- Testing & Treatment may be recommend for heavy metals affecting your Thyroid and also Copper could be complicating your Thyroid health
- Improving gut health for the regulation of immunity and inflammation, read about bloating and gut health here
- Help regulate your metabolism, weight loss, autoimmunity and inflammation by testing and treating your leptin hormones
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Adv Dip of Naturopathy, Dip of Herbal Medicine – College of Naturopathic Medicine in London
Audrey grew up in Provence, South of France where she developed her passion for Herbal Medicine from an early age. She is passionate about helping people gaining optimum health and energy to able them to live a fulfilling life. She understands how Endocrine hormonal balancing is a beautifully complex and essential system for providing a healthy state to our bodies. Audrey has since moved to Canberra and completed an accreditation course at CIT in order to comply with Australian regulations and standard. Next, she is planning on studying for the Bachelor in Health and Sciences in Complementary Medicine.
Restoring full health and attaining wellness is an exciting process; Audrey is dedicated to working with customers, supporting and guiding them to archive the best health they possibly can. Audrey has experience both in Pharmacies and Health food store where she has developed a strong understanding of a united system of health care with the management of allopathic and Complementary medicines. Audrey has also previously worked as a Nanny in England for many years where she has gained knowledge on infants and children’s health.
She is registered practicing member of the Australian Natural Therapist Association.
Recommended Reading & References
Brownstein, David (2014): Overcoming Thyroid disorders. Third ed. West Bloomfield, MI. USA.
Mayo Clinic www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos…diagnosis/con-20030293
National Healthcare System, UK. Website: www.thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_the_thyroid/hashimotos.html
www.thyroid.org › … › Clinical Thyroidology for the Public › Vol 7 Issue 9