Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of thyroid issues, and we have seen a substantial increase in cases over the past 8 years.
Weight loss is especially hard with this disease, so today let’s see what this means, and how we can address it using a natural medicine approach.
Points covered include:
- Why Hashi’s patients are usually NOT diagnosed in the first vital phase of the illness.
- How the adrenals respond to HIGH and LOW thyroid hormones.
- The sugar binge treadmill and your thyroid.
When your immune system messes with your thyroid, it can cause unexplained weight changes. Your thyroid helps control your metabolism, so if it’s underactive (hypothyroidism), everything slows down. That’s why common symptoms include:
- weight gain
- hair loss and thinning
Causes of this can be clinical – such as Hashimoto’s disease – or can be sub-optimal which does not show in regular GP testing.
Sub-optimal hypothyroidism is far more common than we realise, and is driven by many factors such as; genetics, iodine deficiency, selenium/zinc/magnesium/vitamin D deficiency, adrenal dysfunction, medications (such as Lexapro, the Pill, SSRIs), toxin load affecting nutrient uptake, stress, thyroid trauma/removal, and other medical treatments.
The flip side is an overactive thyroid, which is often caused by Graves’ disease. When your thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone everything speeds up, including your metabolism. You lose weight even though you’re eating like a lunatic, have a rapid heartbeat, usually feel hot, have frequent bowel movements, and difficulty sleeping.
Weight becomes an issue when…
Autoimmune imbalances often start with you losing weight due to extra thyroid hormone being released into the blood in response to the immune cells attacking the thyroid.
No-one complains about losing weight, having more energy, and feeling on a high, so most people ignore these changes! If anything, the main complaint at this stage is the sleeplessness and heart rate changes.
This can last for months to years for some people, and while they come to feel that this is their level of ‘normal’, they are actually burning the candle at both ends and on the way to adrenal burnout. Long term issues normally swing between high and low, making diagnosis really hard, as the test will only reflect that blip in time when the blood was taken, and because the thyroid hormones can swing from high to low, testing can be inaccurate.
Often this shift occurs at a hormone crossroad, such as pregnancy or peri-menopause.
It can also be triggered by extreme stress, such as running a business, facing financial drama, studying full time, raising a family, dealing with divorce, caring for sick or elderly family, or complex and negative relationships that include trauma or emotional manipulation – and many times we are having to cope with more than one of these big stresses at a time!
Suddenly everything changes, weight doesn’t come off the way it did before with diet and exercise, and fatigue and brain fog start to become the new normal.
If you have had the GP run all the normal tests and it is all normal – but you feel anything but – then what you need is a functional approach to discover the driving factor behind your hormones and holistic treatment to help get you back to balance.
Thyroid testing in Australia starts with a standard TSH test – if you meet the criteria to warrant the expense. Testing is expensive, so Medicare needs to have strict codes of conduct to manage our amazing health care system – but this system is not set up for ‘wellness’. It is set up to treat public disease, and screen for early and treatable disease pathologies.
This is why you can have all the symptoms, but be sent off being told you are ‘normal’.
This is where we step in to get your health and vitality back on track! Naturopathy and functional medicine shines in treating sub-optimal health imbalances, and when followed as instructed, usually reverses the disease progression, making this a truly preventative approach.
For clients who already have a disease that needs to be managed by their doctor, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, then our treatments augment the medication to help you reach your health wishes. We have amazing outcomes for either scenario!
Diet Changes for Autoimmune and Weight Loss
GLUTEN: If you have an autoimmune disease, then every spoonful of food you put in your mouth can be bad or good for you. Just 1 bite of toast will push your autoimmune antibodies into high reaction mode, and this can take weeks to recover. Most people think having gluten just a couple of times a week is healthy, but if you have an autoimmune thyroid condition, it affects you 100 times more than anyone else.
DAIRY: Dairy is another food that most people with an autoimmune condition should avoid. A dairy intolerance or allergy is often implicated in eczema, sinusitis, rhinitis, headache, migraine, asthma and digestive disturbances.
SUGAR: Sugar is all round bad for everyone, it ramps up inflammation, increases candida, stresses the pancreas, and basically ages us prematurely. Studies have shown that repeated insulin surges due to meals with high levels of carbs and sugars increase the destruction of the thyroid gland.
Steps to balancing Hashimoto’s
- Consult with people trained and experienced in solving your health symptoms.
- Get thorough functional testing to understand the mechanisms behind your symptoms.
- Follow an integrated health approach that addresses multiple factors – not just one.
- Manage stress, improve your lifestyle, and learn which foods to eat to support your unique healing needs.
- Exercise can be right or wrong for you – get your hormones tested to know the right exercise to help you heal and lose weight.
>>> If you need help with your health goals, book a free consult with a Lucy Rose naturopath to find out how we can support you.