Natural Remedies for Hashimoto’s Disease
If you are struggling with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) or another autoimmune disorder, you most likely have experienced fatigue, digestive upset, sleep disruption, weight-gain, inflammation, or possibly a mood disorder. It can feel as though you are walking in a never-ending maze of life-disrupting symptoms. But take heart. Medicinal herbs are a powerful ally for addressing these symptoms and the underlying causes of the disease. Below I explore several botanicals that will help you to heal and regain your vibrancy and health.
What is Leaky Gut and How Do You Heal it?
Otherwise known as “intestinal permeability,” a leaky gut is when the epithelial cells that hold the tight junctions together in the intestines become compromised and allow the passage of toxins, bacteria, and antigens into the bloodstream. This disruption causes acute inflammation and is many times associated with autoimmune disorders. Clearly, it is extremely important to maintain these tight junctions.
Unfortunately, leaky gut is becoming increasingly common. Poor diet, chronic stress, bacterial imbalance, and toxin overload all contribute to the condition. Disorders that indicate intestinal permeability include:
- Food sensitivities
- Nutrient malabsorption
- Inflammatory skin disorders
- Autoimmune disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
Hashimoto’s is strongly linked with leaky gut syndrome. Known as “chronic thyroiditis,” characteristics of HT include low thyroid function, weight gain, fatigue, depression, and more. According to the paper, Does the Gut Microbiota Trigger Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?:
“A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that environmental factors including infection are critical in triggering Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in genetically predisposed individuals. Not only pathogens but also intestinal symbiotic microorganisms can influence extra-intestinal immune responses, and thus dysbiosis in the gut might lead to the loss of tolerance to self-antigens including thyroglobulin and the autoimmunity that underlies Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In addition, enteropathy with increased intestinal permeability and intraepithelial lymphocyte infiltration may increase the risk for developing thyroid autoimmunity.”
To correct the gut imbalance, many turn to natural remedies for relief and healing. A high-quality probiotic is essential. Look for products that have been clinically tested to heal a permeable gut. Fulvic acid has also demonstrated the ability to tighten loose junctions within the gut. Just make sure it is of high quality and has been tested for heavy metals.
Personally, I and many others have found great success using medicinal herbs such as reishi, turkey tail, and lion’s mane mushrooms, along with marshmallow, plantain, and slippery elm for helping heal a leaky gut. Turkey tail also has prebiotics that aid the digestive tract, while lion’s mane calms gut inflammation. For ease of use, my convenient, double-extracted Balanced Gut Tincture is available in the Apothecary and contains each powerful herb. You can read more about these botanicals and how leaky gut is connected with autoimmune disease in Why Healing a Leaky Gut Should be a Top Priority for Health.
Fatigue and Weight Gain
Regrettably, low energy and weight gain typically accompany Hashimoto’s disease. As noted in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, research has confirmed that chronic fatigue syndrome (CSF) is directly linked with an inflamed and leaky gut—the same as what you find in HT patients. The researchers concluded that “[t]he results support the view that a weakened tight junction barrier with subsequent gut-derived inflammation is a novel pathway in CFS.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people with Hashimoto’s often experience weight gain as well because when the thyroid is attacked, the output of thyroid hormones is disrupted. However, many still experience difficulty losing weight even after they have been put on thyroid medication. Why?
Inflammation is the first clue. It can cause a wide-range of issues beyond creating acute swelling in the body. Inflammation affects the metabolism and increases fat stores. Many times it also leads to insulin resistance, which in itself can cause weight gain. Since inflammation goes hand-in-hand with autoimmune disorders, gaining weight is common.
Chronic stress can also cause your body to store fat. How does this relate to Hashimoto’s? When we experience stress, whether emotional or physical, the adrenal glands produce cortisol and release it into the bloodstream. Once our cortisol levels are elevated, it decreases the conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 to T3, which causes fat to accumulate.
To help regulate our stress response, adaptogens like ashwagandha, as well as reishi and turkey tail mushrooms are key. They will help your body to adapt to stress so that cortisol levels are maintained at a healthy level. It’s important to only take products that utilize the fruiting bodies of the mushroom and a dual-extraction method for the highest effectiveness and potency, like the tinctures found in my Apothecary. You can read about these methods here.
Hashimoto’s and Mental Health
It is not uncommon for mood disorders to accompany autoimmune disease, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Researchers believe neuroinflammation plays a significant role in depression and anxiety related to autoimmunity. One animal study in 2018 found that HT induces neuroinflammation and alters related serotonin signaling in the euthyroid state, which may underlie the deleterious effects of HT itself on emotional function.
Likewise, a meta-study of HT patients found that they exhibited an increased chance of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety or of receiving a diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorders.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety or depression, my Anxiety & Stress Tincture can help. It contains a potent blend of adaptogens and soothing herbs, including: ashwagandha, lemon balm, lion’s mane mushroom, and reishi mushroom. Visit the Apothecary today to learn more.
Supplement, Diet, and Lifestyle Tips
For those struggling with Hashimoto’s, several supplements can help reduce symptoms and the underlying causes of the disease. These include:
- Selenium (via a supplement or 2-4 brazil nuts per day)
- Vit D
- Omega 3s
- Multi-Vitamin + Ca/Mg blend
- Tru Niagen (nicotinamide riboside)
- Reishi, Turkey Tail, and Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
- Balanced/Leaky Gut Tincture
- Anxiety & Stress Tincture
For the Mushroom Trio, Balanced/Leaky Gut Tincture, and Anxiety & Stress Tincture, I use 3 dropperfuls per day for 2 weeks to start, then alter to 1x/day.
It’s important to note that reishi, turkey tail, and lion’s mane medicinal mushrooms have additional beneficial properties, which you can read more about with the links.
Studies have repeatedly shown that reishi mushrooms have antioxidant abilities that allow them to strengthen the body’s defenses against cancer, heart disease, allergies, infections and more. Turkey tail mushroom has been very well researched and proven to help fight cancer, especially when used in conjunction with other medicines. It also regulates the immune system and is effective against colds and influenza, HPV, Herpes, HIV and other viral diseases. Lion’s mane mushroom boosts mental functioning and stimulates Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Research has shown that it has great potential for encouraging myelination and regeneration of the nerves. Lion’s mane is an excellent medicinal herb for people with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and those with dementia or Alzheimer’s in their family history. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and helps to lower the risk of ulcers, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes in animal studies.
Beyond supplements, diet is also an important factor for healing and health. I also suggest having an IgG test. I recommend beginning with a gluten-free, anti-inflammatory diet that is paired with intermittent fasting. For fasting, try to keep the window for eating within 10 hours each day during the week. Over the weekend, maintain an 8 hour window for eating. The remaining hours of the day are reserved for fasting. If you decide on a ketogenic diet, make sure that you get enough fiber. Also add in organic bone broth on a daily basis (8oz), along with chia and flax seeds. High protein, high fat, and high fiber smoothies are helpful as well.
Moreover, lifestyle plays a significant role in supporting health and well-being for those with Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune disease. I can’t emphasize enough how important the mind-body connection is to maintaining health. Daily gratitude and mindfulness are crucial, as is spending time in nature each day. Make sure you have face-to-face time with friends and family regularly. Alone time where you can relax is beneficial too. Many times those with autoimmune disease have very active minds, so it’s important to find activities and hobbies that refocus the mind on something pleasant and calm. Personally, I enjoy reading novels, basketry, and gardening :-).
Unplugging from all media and electronic devices at least once a week should be a priority. Not only does this give your nervous system a much needed break, but it also reduces your exposure to EMFs. These frequencies have been shown to wreak havoc on health. For day-to-day protection, I use Blueshield products. If you are interested in giving Blueshield a try, use the coupon code “doctornicole” for 10% off.
The Power of Herbal Remedies, An Autoimmune Success Story
Needless to say, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis has serious implications for health and well-being. But if you find yourself with a HT diagnosis, don’t lose hope. Many have overcome this and other autoimmune diseases through lifestyle, diet, and herbal support — including me! In closing, I would like to leave you with this inspiring testimonial:
I have been struggling with fatigue, brain fog and weight gain or the inability to lose weight for so long now. I have been a fan of Nicole’s since we watched her on Alone and have followed her story. I didn’t hesitate to try her tinctures [Warrior Bundle] when they became available. After 1 week of using the tinctures I am feeling the best I have in a very long time! The brain fog is clearing and my energy has improved! -Toshia