by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Today we are going to address the number one factor that is affecting your thyroid.
The past two weeks we have addressed thyroid function on other deep core factors. If you have missed these, feel free to click on the links below.
We’ve already discussed many other factors for those struggling with either hyper or more often hypothyroid conditions. These are often tied into challenges with:
- Adrenal glands
- Brain (hypothalamus)
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Pituitary gland
- Lack of simple brain support
- Poor circulation
- Neurotransmitter imbalance
- And more…
I will not leave you hanging any longer, here is the single biggest factor for thyroid issues.
It is suggested that approximately 90% of thyroid issues are tied into an autoimmune response. Yes, 90%!
The most recent statistics tell us that approximately 23.5 million Americans have autoimmune disease. And that is just those that have this diagnosed, there are literally millions of Americans that are actually living with an autoimmune reaction that is undiagnosed.
So if you have autoimmune disease, there is nothing you can do about this, right?
This is often what you would be told based on conventional medicine and from that perspective, this is true. There is not a prescription drug you can take to eliminate an autoimmune condition. Most doctors would simply share that you can use drugs to slow the progression of your condition or take some of the edge off your symptoms.
From a holistic perspective, there is quite a bit you can do to address an autoimmune condition.
I refer to this as “quieting the fire” of the autoimmune condition.
I want to be very clear that I am not claiming that this is a cure for autoimmunity, rather addressing the underlying challenges that have lead to this condition in the first place.
If you find that you are diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, an autoimmune reaction or suspect that this is a challenge for you, I would recommend following the systematic approach below.
This would of course be the case for those with Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease, both autoimmune conditi0ns of the thyroid.
This is the list of underlying challenges we see in the Depke Wellness Center with clients challenged with autoimmune conditions.
- Poor fundamentals of health
- Food sensitivity
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Gut challenges such as pathogens (parasites, detrimental bacteria, protozoa, H-pylori, etc.)
- Brain challenges
- Poor immune function
- Chronic inflammation
- Toxicity such as chemical, environmental or heavy metal
Almost every client I have seen over the years that has been challenged with autoimmunity has had to work through this systematic approach.
The good news is that many have seen significant changes in their autoimmune response. One client had a thyroid peroxidase or (TPO) of 352 that eventually dropped to 12, another at 98 that dropped to 10 and yet another that in just six months went from 650 to 352.
Notice you will find two subjects missing from the list above that are commonly discussed with individuals challenged with thyroid conditions. These two subjects are iodine supplementation and goitrogenic foods, such as bok choy, broccoli, broccolini, brussels sprouts, cabbage, canola, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, choy sum, collard greens, horseradish, kai-lan (Chinese broccoli), kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radishes, rapeseed (yu choy), rapini, rutabagas (swedes), tatsoi, turnips, tempeh, tofu and edamame. It has been shown in countless studies that goitrogenic foods do not affect thyroid function. Rather than focusing on eliminating these foods, it would be much more beneficial to eliminate gluten and gluten associated cross reactive foods from your diet. If you are not testing for these specific sensitivities, it may be a good idea to even experiment with a grain from diet for about 60 days to see how your symptoms may change.
The other subject is with iodine. Most individuals with hypothyroid disease are recommended to supplement with iodine. If you have a non-autoimmune thyroid condition and your iodine levels are low, this may be a benefit to you. The challenge though is if you have an autoimmune driven hypothyroid condition such as Hashimoto’s. If this is the case it is important to understand that it has been shown the iodine has a strong likelihood to trigger the autoimmune condition, thus worsening your thyroid condition.
This is why it is always so important to have your doctor look at your thyroid peroxidase levels or TPO so you can rule out autoimmunity.
So what was a common denominator for all of the clients listed above that found significant changes in their autoimmune response?
They all went through this systematic approach to help their bodies find balance.
Not to overwhelm anyone, you do not do go through all of this at once.
Once some balancing is recognized in these areas, you can then move on to assisting your body in balancing your gut, brain, immune connection.
After addressing these areas, you can then move toward assisting your body in creating a health anti-inflammatory response and lastly you can assist your body in detoxification and elimination of chemical, environmental or heavy metal toxicity.
And in the end, what are you looking for?
“Quieting the fire” of the autoimmune response of course!
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