Around 15 million Americans have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). However, up to 60% of those with a thyroid disorder are completely unaware of it.
Hypothyroidism symptoms include weight gain, memory loss, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Many doctors insist hypothyroidism is incurable and that patients must manage the condition for their entire lives with medications like levothyroxine.
Is there a cure for hypothyroidism? Yes, there is a cure for a majority of cases of hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s. Patients may completely reverse hypothyroidism with an individualized treatment plan including dietary changes, supplements, stress relief, peptide therapy, and thyroid medications.
The board-certified physicians and providers at PrimeHealth have worked with patients to learn how to cure thyroid problems permanently — and naturally! When patients seek our help, we tailor an individual treatment plan that is both undisruptive to your body’s natural processes and unique to your individual needs.
Set up a free 15-minute consultation to learn if our providers can help you, too.
Underlying Causes of Hypothyroidism
Many healthcare providers begin hypothyroidism treatment with a check for low thyroid stimulating hormone levels. (TSH is produced by the pituitary gland.) However, during our work with patients, we’ve found that TSH levels don’t give us a full picture of your thyroid.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism? The symptoms of hypothyroidism include food sensitivity, lowered heart rate, leaky gut, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and toxins.
When a patient comes to us with symptoms of hypothyroidism, the first thing we look for is Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism — this autoimmune condition accounts for 90% of hypothyroidism cases.
Causes of Hashimoto’s are varied, but we administer blood tests, urine tests, and/or elimination diets to understand your unique diagnosis. Our experience has taught us that treating the root causes of Hashimoto’s is how to cure hypothyroidism permanently — it also means each patient gets a tailored treatment plan, and all treatments don’t work for all people.
To heal your thyroid with natural treatments, we look at the following 6 risk factors:
- Hormone imbalance: If your hormone levels are imbalanced (not only thyroid hormone levels), this can trigger an underactive thyroid.
- Food sensitivity: Food allergens can cause a hormone imbalance or even hypothyroidism. Celiac disease (an allergy to gluten) has been linked with increased risk of autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s. Other food sensitivities may be less obvious but may be just as significant.
- Leaky gut: When your intestines are chronically inflamed, the tight junctions in your intestines may let toxins escape from the gut and into the bloodstream. Leaky gut is both a cause and a symptom of hypothyroidism, and it’s closely associated with the other five root causes of hypothyroidism.
- Infections: Tick-borne infections (such as Lyme disease) and viral infections (such as Epstein-Barr) may lead to an underactive thyroid.
- Nutrient deficiency: Nutrient deficiencies may trigger hypothyroidism and other health issues. Simple dietary changes can treat this condition. The most common nutrient deficiency that leads to hypothyroidism is iodine.
- Toxin exposure: Harmful toxins can wreak havoc on your thyroid. Watch out for heavy metal exposure, mold toxins, as well as exposure to chemicals like pesticides and other industrial chemicals. Daily workplace exposure to toxins is a cause of hypothyroidism.
Other causes include thyroid cancer, hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, pregnancy, and overtreatment of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid due to Graves’ disease).
To reverse hypothyroidism permanently, we start with diagnostic tests and assessments that point us to the root causes that apply to each individual patient.
By addressing the underlying causes of Hashimoto’s disease (which accounts for 90% of hypothyroidism cases), we are almost always able to reverse these thyroid issues without medication.
Can hypothyroidism go away? Hypothyroidism can’t simply go away on its own. But with an individualized approach to treatment, it’s possible to reverse the condition.
The treatment options we suggest for most people dealing with hypothyroidism are not very difficult changes. The diet can be strict, and the supplements may cost money, but these natural remedies are non-invasive and have none of the side effects that thyroid medication have.
What is the best way to treat hypothyroidism? The best way to treat hypothyroidism is to work with a functionally-minded healthcare provider who can conduct detailed testing to determine the root cause of your autoimmune issues. They will probably suggest you follow an autoimmune Paleo diet (also known as AIP diet), take certain supplements and/or medications, and adjust your lifestyle to reduce triggers.
In patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system condition responsible for most hypothyroidism cases, our first optimal approach is to start patients on an AIP diet. For reference, the Whole30 diet is a very close approximation to AIP.
Typically, this restrictive diet is only recommended for one to six months — as we identify each patient’s unique allergies and sensitivities.
What foods trigger hypothyroidism? Fatty foods such as butter and fatty meats like bacon are common triggers for hypothyroidism because they interrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce necessary hormones.
Our diets are vital to thyroid health — as well as general health. That’s why we pair all our patients with a health coach so you can work together on dietary recommendations as part of thyroid treatment.
Foods To Avoid:
- Nuts and seeds
- Dried fruits
- All nightshade vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and peppers)
- Vegetable oils
- Alternative sweeteners (stevia, sucralose, aspartame, and sugar alcohols)
- Processed foods
Foods to Eat:
- Fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Non-dairy fermented foods like ACV and kombucha
- Non-nightshade vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables (as long as you aren’t at risk of iodine deficiency)
- Herbs like garlic and turmeric
- Gelatin/bone broth
- Green tea
- Arrowroot starch
- Small amounts of honey, maple syrup, fruits, and monk fruit
While it is not the primary goal of this diet, you will likely experience some weight loss during this period.
8 Natural Supplements for Hypothyroidism
Dietary supplements can be a useful tool in how to cure hypothyroidism permanently and treat the underlying causes of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
For example, if your Hashimoto’s disease is caused by a leaky gut, a supplement that promotes gut health should alleviate thyroid disease.
Always seek medical advice before starting a new dietary supplement for hypothyroidism treatment. Each supplement on this list is appropriate in specific types of cases, based on root cause.
Here are the 8 best natural supplements for hypothyroidism:
1. Radioactive Iodine
Found primarily in seafood, iodine is a mineral nutrient that the body uses to produce thyroid hormones. Our bodies don’t make iodine naturally.
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiters, a thyroid disorder. If your iodine levels are low, replenish them quickly — either with dietary changes or iodine supplements.
According to scientific research, iodine seems to be paramount in treating and even preventing autoimmune diseases, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
It is important to note that excessive iodine supplementation can also be detrimental and actually increase antibodies to the thyroid gland. It’s best not to exceed the recommended daily intake of 150 mcg per day.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria. Antibiotic medications can wipe out the good and bad bacteria that live in your gut — leading to leaky gut. It’s important to replenish these good bacteria with probiotics and restore your gut health.
Recent research shows that probiotics reverse leaky gut by supporting the tight junction proteins that act as a barrier between your gut and your bloodstream.
Selenium is an important nutrient found in muscle meats, fish, and eggs. It can also be found in supplement form.
In a 2010 meta-analysis, researchers found that adding selenium to a conventional treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis — inflammation of the thyroid — improved biomarkers of thyroid conditions.
Selenium also seemed to improve mood and general well-being.
4. Vitamin D
First discovered in 1913, vitamin D is naturally found in very few foods. We produce vitamin D most efficiently from exposure to sunlight. It is also available in dietary supplement form.
A 2018 study revealed that vitamin D is essential to produce enough thyroid hormones — and vice-versa. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism.
Vitamin D is also technically a hormone produced and secreted by the kidneys — the only vitamin with that distinction.
Chasteberry is commonly used to treat female hormone imbalances, such as PMS symptoms, menopause symptoms, and sometimes even infertility.
With a few uncommon side effects like dry mouth, chasteberry is a well-tolerated method of balancing female hormones, which may, in turn, treat Hashimoto’s.
Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant naturally found in our bodies. However, low levels of glutathione can occur due to stress, poor diet, or exposure to environmental toxins.
Oxidative stress (free radicals damaging your cells) can increase the severity of hypothyroidism. Antioxidants like glutathione fight this oxidative stress.
Curcumin is the bioactive ingredient in turmeric — a common spice. Curcumin comes with its own host of health benefits, including prevention of autoimmune diseases.
Like glutathione, curcumin is an antioxidant. Curcumin is also anti-inflammatory and may be able to fight Hashimoto’s disease.
Lifestyle Changes to Relieve Stress
Stress is a major factor in disrupting normal thyroid function. Relieving stress in your everyday life can lead to a stronger balance in your hormone levels and can potentially reverse hypothyroidism.
Meditation is one easy way to alleviate stress and lessen symptoms of hypothyroidism.
A full eight hours of sleep is important to handling stress, as is sleep quality.
To get better sleep, try cutting out blue light exposure an hour before bedtime. Blue light is emitted from most electronic devices, like your TV and phone.
Not only should you sleep, you should relax. Yoga or taking up a hobby are two common methods of relaxing, therefore relieving stress.
Being outside, especially in primarily green locations, can also lower levels of stress.
An exciting new area of medicine is peptide therapy. Peptide therapy is a safe method of targeting certain health issues in your body.
Peptides are just proteins, except they have much shorter molecular chain length.
The use of peptides has gained popularity as a treatment for hypothyroidism recently. Certain peptides seem to treat inflammation, Lyme disease, and autoimmune dysfunction — all root causes of hypothyroidism.
The best part? Peptide therapy doesn’t come with the side effects associated with non-specific immune suppression — think constipation, diarrhea, increased risk of infection, etc.
Medications for Hypothyroidism
Medications are used to treat hypothyroidism only when absolutely necessary, and as a last resort after addressing root causes.
Not only are standard thyroid medications associated with concerning side effects, they often leave the root cause untreated. This may lead to spending the rest of your life trying drug therapies to manage health problems that could have been reversed permanently.
For some patients, medication may be helpful during treatment if administered properly. The great thing about medication with a functional approach is that you don’t have to use only Synthroid.
Instead, we may prescribe patients one of two other options: either a desiccated thyroid medication in a ratio of 4:1 T4 to T3 like Armour thyroid or Nature Throid, or a compounded synthetic combination of T4/T3 that can be made in a personalized ratio made just for you.
These offer thyroid hormones to the body in a more natural ratio of what the body is meant to produce. Compounded synthetics may sound concerning, but they actually carry the lowest risk of autoimmune reactions of all available options.
Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid gland. This can lead to all sorts of unwanted symptoms, like dry skin, chronic fatigue, memory loss, and higher risk of heart disease.
It is possible to cure hypothyroidism permanently for many of those suffering from Hashimoto’s, which causes 90% of hypothyroidism cases.
To start on your path to healing, begin with the AIP diet, add in thyroiding supporting supplements, reduce daily stress, and get plenty of sleep.
Looking for a holistic approach to reversing hypothyroidism? If you live in Colorado, come visit PrimeHealth’s clinic, where you’ll work with providers on the cutting-edge of functional medicine. We’ve already helped hundreds of patients reverse hypothyroidism! Set up a consultation today. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram.
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