The Hypothyroid & Hashimoto’s Handbook


Hi I’m Veronica, owner of Positively Powerful Coaching.  I created The Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s Handbook because I wanted to help those of you who have been told “you’re fine” despite the fact that you don’t feel fine.  I wanted to help those of you who have been told “it’s all in your head” because your lab work looked ‘normal’, and those of you who have been prescribed supplemental thyroid hormone and still don’t feel optimal – or just don’t want to be on medication for life.

 

I get it because I’ve been there.  For years I was chronically fatigued and couldn’t sleep.  I discovered I had adrenal dysfunction – so I spent all of focus on healing my adrenals, only to neglect my thyroid.  After I finally healed my adrenals and balanced my sex hormones I realized the mistake I had made – my skin felt like it was going to flake off and my hair was falling out. Thanks to my education from Functional Diagnostic Nutrition I knew these were symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. I ran lab work to evaluate my thyroid and sure enough it wasn’t functioning optimally. Fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, lack of motivation and depression are not symptoms anyone should experience, no matter what age you are.

 

I hope this handbook provides you with a deeper understanding of how your thyroid functions and why it is so important to have an optimally functioning thyroid. I hope it helps you to realize thyroid health is about much more than just the thyroid, and to have an optimally functioning thyroid you have to treat the body as a whole. I hope you feel empowered after reading this handbook and ask your doctor to dig deeper and give you the information you need.  I hope this handbook is the start of your journey to more energy, better sleep, and more motivation and overall optimal health.

 

If you have any questions about the information provided in this handbook, would like to work with a functional health practitioner and run thyroid lab work, or would like to book a session with me to review your thyroid lab work that your doctor has already ran, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You can contact me at veronica@veronicamcnelis.com

 

Table of Contents

Understanding the Thyroid

How Thyroid Function Goes Awry

Underlying Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction

Hypothyroidism

Autoimmunity & Hashimoto’s

Functional Lab Work

            Optimal Reference Ranges

Lifestyle Modifications

            Diet

            Stress Reduction

            Sleep

            Exercise

            Supplementation

   Disclaimer
 

Introduction

 

According to the American Thyroid Association more than 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.  An estimated 20 million of Americans have some form of thyroid dysfunction, yet up to 60% of those with a thyroid dysfunction are unaware of it.  I believe part of the reason for this is because we have become so accustomed to feeling less than optimal. It is common to feel fatigued, to be depressed or anxious, to have sleep issues, or be overweight.  We blame it on getting older.  Or we look around and see most of our friends have the same issues so we don’t think twice about it. But just because these issues are common does not make them normal. You should have energy. You should be able to run around and play with your kids without needing a nap right after. You should sleep well at night and wake up feeling refreshed.  You should have motivation to do the things you love. I believe the other reason people are unaware they have thyroid dysfunction is because doctors fail to run thorough lab tests on your thyroid. They test your TSH and if the level looks normal enough they send you on your way, ignoring your symptoms.

 

The American Thyroid Association also states that women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid dysfunction than men – and one in eight women will develop a thyroid condition in her lifetime. Why this is, we don’t know. But I suspect it may have to do with the high stress levels women have and the pressure they put on themselves to take care of everyone else. So if you’re a woman reading this, please don’t skip the section on stress reduction.

 

 

Understanding the Thyroid

 

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that is located in front of the trachea, right below the thyroid cartilage (otherwise known as the Adam’s apple). The thyroid is the primary gland controlling metabolic rate. Every cell in your body has a receptor for thyroid hormone. When a certain part of your body needs to work harder it requires more thyroid hormone.

 

In order to fully understand how the thyroid works we need to understand how the entire system operates (yes, it is a system – there are many key players when it comes to thyroid health, not just the thyroid itself).

 

The hypothalamus and pituitary reside in your brain and together regulate all hormones in your body.  The hypothalamus is the master gland.  It helps to link together the nervous and endocrine systems, regulate hunger, thirst and sleep, and control body temperature, just to name a few important jobs.  But, it can’t do all of its jobs without help from the pituitary.  The pituitary is a small sized gland located at the base of the brain just under the hypothalamus.  It takes lots of orders from the hypothalamus and in response releases various hormones in order to regulate homeostasis within the body.

 

The hypothalamus is constantly monitoring the levels of thyroid hormone in your blood. If levels seem low your hypothalamus will release thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH).  TRH is sent directly to the pituitary, signaling the pituitary to release thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH.  TSH is then sent directly to your thyroid. 

 

Once your thyroid receives the TSH it takes iodine (a mineral) and tyrosine (an amino acid) from your bloodstream in order to produce thyroid hormones.

 

The tyrosine is converted into thyroglobulin (Tg) and then attaches to one, two, three or four iodine atoms, creating four different types of thyroid hormones - T1, T2, T3 or T4.  You may not have heard of T1 or T2 before and that’s because the thyroid only creates a small amount of them and we don’t know much about either.

T4 is the primary hormone produced by your thyroid – some sources say it makes up 80% of your thyroid’s output – some say up to 93%, either way we know it’s a large portion of the total output.  T4 is the storage form of thyroid hormone.  It circulates through your bloodstream and is stored in your tissues, but does not enter your cells (in other words it does not affect your energy, metabolism or symptoms).  Don’t be fooled into thinking it isn’t important just because it’s the inactive form.

 

Since the thyroid only releases about 7-20% of T3 the rest of it must be converted from T4. Since T4 is constantly in your tissues and bloodstream the body can pull T4 from either location and convert it into T3 whenever it needs more. 

 

The process of converting T4 to T3 is triggered locally – so if you are pushing through a really tough squat workout the cells in your legs may need more thyroid hormone.  When your stomach is working to break down and digest your dinner, your stomach cells will need extra thyroid hormone. This is constantly happening throughout the day in different parts of your body. 

 

The actual conversion of T4 to T3 happens in the gut, liver, skeletal muscle, brain and thyroid.  The enzyme deiodinase is needed.  Deiodinase needs selenium, zinc, and iron to properly do its job.  Deiodinase removes one of the OUTSIDE iodine atoms, turning T4 into free T3.  The free T3 is then ready and able to enter your cells.

 

T3 needs cortisol in order to enter your cells.  Cortisol is produced by the adrenals.  If cortisol levels are low (a sign of possible adrenal dysfunction) T3 will have trouble moving from your tissues to your cells. If you don’t get enough T3 into your cells you’ll start to have hypothyroid symptoms. The health of your cell walls is important as well.  The stronger and healthier your cell walls are the better they can take in nutrients and hormones and keep toxins out. 

 

Once in your cells T3 regulates your metabolism.  The mitochondria inside your cells take in glucose and oxygen (from your blood) in order to make energy. Your thyroid needs to send in the right amount of hormone to each and every cell in order for this process to work optimally.  And you want it to be working optimally because all metabolic processes are being controlled: heart rate, energy levels, brain function, weight regulation and more. So if you have low energy, have trouble focusing or remembering things, difficulty losing weight or gaining it, it could be a sign something isn’t right with your thyroid.

 

The body also converts T4 into Reverse T3 (rT3).  When T4 is converted into T3 one of the outside iodine atoms is removed.  When T4 converts to rT3 one of the inside atoms is removed. Reverse T3 is another inactive form of thyroid hormone, like T4. Reverse T3 also attaches to the receptors inside your cells, where free T3 would normally attach, resulting in less room for T3. Reverse T3 has the opposite job of T3; it slows down your metabolism.  The production of Reverse T3 will increase when you are more stressed, over exercise, or are on an extremely low calorie diet.

 

So to review:

TSH-Thyroid stimulating hormone, released by the pituitary and sent to the thyroid

T4- the inactive form of thyroid hormone, produced by the thyroid

T3- the active form of thyroid hormone, produced by the thyroid and converted from T4

Reverse T3- another form of inactive thyroid hormone, converted from T4 that slows the metabolism

 

How Thyroid Function Goes Awry

After reading the above section you know thyroid function isn’t simple and straightforward. There are multiple systems involved, which means there are multiple ways things can malfunction. The following is a brief overview of the ways thyroid dysfunction can occur.  It is possible for more than one of these dysfunctions to take place at the same time.  Please do not let this information overwhelm you.  Remember, knowledge is power, and when you know exactly what is happening you can properly fix the problem.

 

·      The pituitary is responsible for releasing TSH to the thyroid.  The pituitary can release too much or too little TSH.

·      You can have too much TBG (thyroxine-binding globulin) in your bloodstream.  This will cause too much T4 and T3 to be bound and not enough to be free. Too much TBG in the blood can be caused by excess estrogen in the body.  TBG levels can also be affected by corticosteroid levels, which are frequently prescribed to those with autoimmune conditions.

·      Your thyroid can release too much or little T4.

·      Your thyroid can release too much or too little T3.

·      Your body can have a lack of free active T3 due to difficulty converting T4 to T3.  The body needs an enzyme called deiodinase to convert T4 to T3, and deiodinase needs selenium, iron and zinc to function properly, so if you have a lack of any of those nutrients it may cause conversion issues.

·      You can have thyroid resistance, which is when your cells have difficulty receiving T3.  The cells may be getting enough T3 but not able to properly use it.  T3 needs cortisol in order to pass through the membrane of each cell.  If you have adrenal dysfunction your adrenals may not be able to produce the amount of cortisol T3 needs to pass through the cells.  The health of your cell walls is also important in this process.  Healthy fat in your diet is essential for the health of your cells.

·      Your body may be converting too much T4 into reverse T3, causing the excess amount of reverse T3 to block the effectiveness of free T3.  Your body will produce more Reverse T3 due to overexercise, extremely low-calorie diets, stress and heavy metal toxicity.

 

 

Underlying Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction

 

The underlying causes listed in the previous section can be due to several factors.

 

Insufficient nutrients

Insufficient nutrients can be due to not eating a well-rounded diet, or due to the inability to break down food and absorb nutrients, which is caused by intestinal permeability.

 

Chronic stress leading to adrenal dysfunction – chronic stress causes your adrenals to constantly produce cortisol.  Eventually your adrenals cannot keep up with the demand.  When there is not enough cortisol in the body T3 cannot properly pass through the cells. Being in a state of adrenal dysfunction can lead to sex hormone imbalances.  Excess estrogen can stimulate too much TBG in the blood.

 

Intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut – Leaky gut is when there is damage to the lining of the small intestine.  The small intestine is lined with what are called epithelial cells.  These cells form tight junctions between one another.  When there is damage to the cells or the tight junctions, unbroken down food, chemicals, bacteria and viruses and leak through into general circulation, causing an immune response. In order to have a healthy immune system you must have a healthy, properly functioning gut.

Damage to the lining of the small intestine also causes a decrease in digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCL), which are needed to break down and digest your food.  Without these digestive enzymes and HCL you can not properly break down and absorb the nutrients your body and thyroid need to function optimally.

 

Immune system – Your immune system responds to toxins, bacteria, and viruses with inflammation.  The innate immune system immediately works to defend the body against the invader and uses acute inflammation in the process. The adaptive immune system remembers the foreign invaders (bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites, etc.) in order to properly protect your body and attack against the invaders again in the future. The adaptive immune system uses acute inflammation as well. If your immune system is constantly on high alert chronic inflammation develops. Since your immune system is constantly being attacked and having to attack back it may begin to attack against you, which is when an autoimmune condition develops.This chronic inflammation can be caused by leaky gut, constant infections, high toxic burden in the body, over exercising and chronic stress to name a few.

 

Lingering Infections

It is possible to have a lingering infection in the body that is caused by a bacteria, virus or parasite.  It is possible to have an infection that has no symptoms, or symptoms that are so common they could be caused by a host of other issues. Infections can lie dormant in the body for years before you develop signs and symptoms. A lingering infection can put a great deal of stress on your immune system.

 

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when your cells have too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms include feeling cold (especially cold hands and cold feet), constipation, weight gain or the inability to lose weight, brain fog, memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, feeling unmotivated, fatigue, sleep issues, hair loss, depression, dry skin, infertility, hormone irregularities, joint pain and tendonitis.

 

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s is the most common form of an underactive thyroid condition. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is caused by the immune system attacking the thyroid. If you have been on supplemental thyroid hormone but continue to have worsening symptoms and your doctor continues to increase your dose of medication but you don’t feel better, make sure they test your antibodies and consider Hashimoto’s. In conventional medicine the treatment is the same for hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s – supplemental thyroid hormone.  But supplemental thyroid hormone is not enough to help those with Hashimoto’s.  Supplemental thyroid hormone will not stop the body from attacking the thyroid.

 

If your doctor has told you there is nothing that can be done about autoimmune condition they are wrong. Often times with an autoimmune condition doctors will prescribe you a drug to suppress your immune system or to medicate your symptoms.

 

The problem with taking an immunosuppressant is that the immune system will eventually lose the ability to do the job it was made for – attack outside invaders.  Your problems will become worse if your immune system can no longer fight off viruses, bacteria and infections. Doctors will often then recommend more prescription medications to treat the side effects of both hypothyroidism and a weak immune system – painkillers, laxatives, sleeping pills, steroids and so on.

 

When it comes specifically to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis doctors won’t suggest an immunosuppressant – they will only prescribe a supplemental thyroid hormone, and then continue to increase the dose every time you come back with worse symptoms, while the entire time your immune system continues to attack your thyroid. 

 

To fully understand an autoimmune condition you have to understand how the immune system works. If you accidently ingest something toxic, eat undercooked food with bacteria or have a cut or scrap that gets infected your immune system will respond in two ways.  First, your innate immune system will respond with acute inflammation to destroy the invader. The innate immune system does not remember the bacteria or virus, it just comes in, does it’s job then leaves.  The adaptive immune system is responsible for remembering the invader, so the next time it enters your body your immune system can quickly recognize it and act. The adaptive immune system creates antibodies against the outside invader (bacteria, virus, infection, etc.). Both the innate and adaptive immune systems rely on inflammation to fight off the invaders and protect you. The key is that it’s acute inflammation they use. Chronic inflammation is a problem.

 

Chronic inflammation can be caused by eating foods you are sensitive to or that tend to cause more inflammation (gluten and dairy are common ones for many people), having intestinal permeability (leaky gut), chronic infections, over exercising, chronic stress and having a high toxic burden.  Consider chronic inflammation a constant attack on your immune system.  Your immune system is constantly trying to fight off these invaders and protect you.  Eventually it may become too much for your immune system to handle. If your immune system is constantly being attacked it has to constantly attack back, and eventually it may attack the wrong thing – your own body.

 

The first key place to look to when reducing chronic inflammation is the gut.  Eighty percent of your immune system resides in your gut – and a large number of outside invaders enter your body via food and drink. If you have leaky gut you must address it. Leaky gut is when the cells lining your small intestine become damaged and/or separate, allowing large unbroken down particles of food (and chemicals, bacteria and viruses!) through to the other side, where your bloodstream resides.  Once those large particles enter general circulation your body begins to develop antibodies to attack them, since your immune system does not recognize them.

 

How do you know if you have leaky gut? If you experience bloating or gas after eating, undigested food in your stools, have food sensitivities, fatigue after eating, constipation, diarrhea, achy joints, or headaches, chances are you have leaky gut.  To reduce chronic inflammation you must heal the lining of the small intestine.  This can be done through lifestyle modifications (diet, rest, stress reduction) and supplements, all of which I will address in more detail later in the handbook.

 

It’s important to note in order to know if you have an autoimmune thyroid condition you must test your thyroid antibodies.
Testing

 

In order to properly diagnose and treat hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s you have to run thorough lab work. Doctors often only test your TSH level. Which is an incomplete picture of thyroid function. To fully understand and know how your thyroid is functioning you must test:

 

TSH

Free T4

Free T3

Reverse T3

Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies

Thyroglobulin antibodies

 

 

Reference Ranges

Most doctors use general reference ranges to evaluate a patient’s lab work. The problem with these reference ranges is that they are taking the average of all the results.  When taking the average it wasn’t taken into consideration how the patients were feeling. This may result in your doctor telling you, your results are within the reference range and everything “looks fine”; but you may not feel fine.  Functional health practitioners use a narrow reference range created by taking the results from the patients that felt optimal. When it comes to the thyroid any small deviation from this narrow reference range may result in symptoms – brain fog, low energy, dry skin, etc.

 

The following are the optimal ranges for each:

 

TSH: 1.4 – 2.0

Free T4: 1.0 – 1.5

Free T3: 3.0 – 4.5

Reverse T3: < 10:1 ratio of RT3 to Free T3

Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies: <9 IU/mL or negative

Thyroglobulin antibodies: <4 IU/mL or negative

 

 

Besides running functional lab work you can also do the Basal Temp Test.  I do not think this test is enough on it’s own, but can be good to do in between running lab work. For the test you need a basal thermometer. As soon as you wake up in the morning before getting out of bed or even sitting up (leaving the thermometer next to your bed the night before) place the thermometer under your arm and take your temperature.  Take the average temperature over a five-day period. The desired temperature is greater than 97.8, but between 97.2 and 98.6 is a good range. If your average temperature is colder it is a sign of hypothyroidism, and if your average temperature is too hot it is a sign of hyperthyroidism.

Women be aware that your body basal temperature will rise before ovulation and remain elevated during the second half of your cycle. Taking your temperature for a month or two in a row will allow you to get your baseline temperature and see how your body fluctuates.

 

 

Lifestyle Modifications

 

Diet

Through diet and supplements you’ll consume the nutrients your thyroid needs to function optimally and you’ll eliminate the foods that suppress thyroid function and harm the GI tract.

 

Focus On:

High-quality grass-fed antibiotic and hormone-free meats: red meats, liver, chicken, turkey and pork are all good sources of tyrosine, selenium, zinc, iron, Vitamin D3, B vitamins and Vitamin A.

Wild-caught fish: wild-caught fish is an excellent source of Iodine, Tyrosine, Zinc and Iron. Fatty fish, such as salmon, is a great source of omega-3 fats and vitamin D3.

Seaweed: Kelp, nori and dulse are all sources of Iodine and Tyrosine

Leafy Greens – dark leafy greens contain iron and B vitamins; so make sure to include them in your diet, especially if you do not eat meat.  Spinach is a good source of selenium as well.

Fresh fruit and Vegetables –fruit and vegetables contain essential micronutrients your body and thyroid need. Orange fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of Vitamin A.

 

Eliminate:

Foods that cause inflammation: Eliminate gluten, grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods and processed sugar. Reduce caffeine and alcohol (ideally you’d eliminate these two all together, at least for 30 days, but I’m well aware this is easier said than done).

 

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and spelt, as well as in many processed foods and sauces.  Gluten triggers Zonulin production.  Zonulin is a chemical that causes intestinal permeability (it causes the cells lining your small intestine to break apart, allowing for large undigested food particles and chemicals to leak through into your blood stream),

 

Grains and Legumes

The edible portion of grains and legumes is the seed.  Within the seed is the embryo.  In order to protect the embryo the plant produces its own natural insecticides.  These insecticides help the seed to pass through the body undigested.  One of the insecticides is saponin.  Saponins are insecticides that destroy red blood cells.

Grains and legumes also contain lectins, which are plant proteins that bind to carbohydrates and are hard to digest. Phytates and phytic acid are also found in grains and legumes.  They inhibit digestion by binding to zinc, calcium and iron, preventing their absorption.  As you learned earlier zinc, calcium and iron are essential nutrients needed for optimal thyroid function.

 

Grains and legumes should be removed from the diet for 30 days.  After that time period you can begin to add them back in, in small portions to see how you react.  If you have a negative reaction remove them again from your diet for at least several more months.  If you are autoimmune you should completely eliminate grains and legumes along with gluten and dairy for good.

 

Dairy

Dairy is highly inflammatory.  Conventional farmed dairy is filled with antibiotics, which are bad for the gut, and bovine growth hormone that is an endocrine and thyroid disrupter. If you are worried about not getting enough calcium, you can get all the calcium your body needs from leafy green vegetables.

 

Eliminating gluten, dairy, grains and legumes may not be enough depending on your current state of thyroid and gut health.  If you are still experiencing digestive or thyroid symptoms after eliminating the above, try eliminating one or all of the following common irritants:

-Nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, white potatoes) – Nightshades are also high in lectins. Some people are able to tolerate them with no ill effects, while others are not.  If you have already cut out grains and dairy try eliminating nightshades as well.

-Eggs – Eggs also have a natural defense against predators, an enzyme called lysozyme.  Some people have trouble digesting this enzyme.

-Caffeine – if you have not already eliminated caffeine completely, do so. Caffeine can wreak havoc on your adrenals, which we know places an important role in thyroid health

-Alcohol – alcohol can be very damaging to the lining of the gut, try eliminating alcohol for 30 days and see how you feel. Beer should be eliminated as it contains gluten.

 

Molecular Mimicry

When your body is exposed to an outside invader (virus, pathogen, bacteria, etc.) your immune system memorizes that invader’s protein sequence. This allows your immune system to quickly defend and protect you in the future. However, if a molecule’s structure and protein sequence are similar to another’s the body may get confused (this is often the case in autoimmune disorders).

 

Gluten has a very similar protein-structure to the thyroid.  This results in the body attacking the thyroid when it wants to attacks gluten. Those with gluten sensitivity also commonly experience this issue with casein as well.  Casein is a protein found in dairy. If you have intestinal permeability (leaky gut) the chances of this happening are even greater, as it is easier for gluten and casein molecules to leak through the gut and into the bloodstream.

 

Those with Hashimoto’s will experience their thyroid hormone production slowing as the body attacks the thyroid. Their symptoms will continue to increase despite being on supplemental thyroid hormone.

 

Stress Reduction

Working to offset stress (and reduce stressors if possible) will help to support your thyroid, adrenals and immune system.

Stress negatively affects the thyroid and immune system by:

-Suppressing immune and thyroid function – when the body is under a great deal of stress it is not worried about daily functions, it’s worried about survival

-Stress suppresses gut function leading to intestinal permeability.  Intestinal permeability leads to immune reactions and eventually an autoimmune condition

-Prolonged high levels of cortisol lead to a slowing of thyroid hormone production

- Stress hormone increase the conversion of T4 to rT3, slowing your metabolism

 

Ideas to offset stress:

Daily gratitude journaling

Having a morning routine

Having a nightly routine before bed

Get outside in nature

Yoga

Meditating

Spending time with family and friends

Taking baths

Massage

 

Find methods to offset stress you can do daily. Choose things you enjoy, not methods that stress you out more, or that you feel you ‘should’ do. 

 

Sleep

Regular sleep is an important key piece in getting healthy – and staying healthy.

Some tips:

-       Go to sleep the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning

-       Turn off all electronics one hour before bed time

-       Once the sun goes down dim the blue light on your electronics or invest in blue light blocking glasses – blue light inhibits our melatonin production by tricking our body into thinking it is still day time

-       Let yourself sleep in on the weekends (don’t use an alarm clock) to determine how many hours of sleep your body needs – then get that much sleep during the week!

-       Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep to your adrenals so if you go to bed at 10pm that’s equal to 4 hours of sleep for your adrenals

-       Keep your sleep space dark and cool. If you have trouble sleeping invest in black out shades or an eye mask.

-       Keep electronics and stressful things (office work, bills, etc.) out of your bedroom

Exercise

Here is the part where you really need to learn what’s best for YOU and YOUR body. If you’re dealing with hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s or adrenal issues in addition to thyroid dysfunction, chances are you don’t have much energy. You may not have the energy to workout at all. Or maybe you’re finding you can workout but after you do, you feel much worse. 

 

If you have a hypothyroid condition or Hashimoto’s your metabolism is running slower. Your body may not be converting enough T4 to T3, or it may be creating too much Reverse T3, which we know can happen due to high stress levels.  Exercise is a form of stress, although for many of us it is the good kind of stress. But often the body cannot distinguish between good and bad stress. Overtraining when your thyroid is already struggling may lead to a higher conversion of Reverse T3.

 

So how do you find the right level of exercise for you? Start out slow.  Start with low intensity exercises such as walking, stretching, restorative yoga or similar.  If your body responds well, start to add in more.  Medium intensity exercises include swimming, dancing, lifting weights, and pilates. If you feel well with medium intensity exercise you may try to occasionally add in some high intensity exercise such as cycling, running, or interval training.

 

Increase the intensity of your workouts at a slow rate.  If you feel good add an extra 5-10 minutes to your workout that day, not an hour.  If you feel stronger try going 5-10 pounds heavier, not for an all out max. Remember, restorative exercise is good for your body and for your mind (stress relief). Don’t forget to continue with the lower intensity restorative exercises as you add in the more intense exercise.  

This may take some trial and error. You may find you do well with lifting heavy weights and longer rest periods, but when you add in more intense conditioning or cardio you can’t recover. Or you may find you feel good going for a run but when you start to lift heavy weights you feel worse.  Listen to your body. The gym will still be there when you feel better.

 

Supplementation

Supplementation is going to depend on the results of your lab work.  My goal with this section of the guidebook is to educate you on the purpose of each supplement and the added benefit it can bring to your healing protocol. Please work with a doctor or functional health practitioner who can recommend specific doses before beginning any supplement protocol.

 

Supplements are the last part of the healing protocol because without diet, rest, stress reduction, good sleep and the right amount of exercise for your body, supplements will not fix the problem. There are many supplements and supplement companies out there, and not all are created equal.  Please spend the extra money and invest in higher quality supplements that are corn, wheat and dairy free (especially if you have an autoimmune condition). Some of my favorite brands include: Ortho Molecular Products, BioMatrix Dietary Supplements, and Thorne Research.

 

Omega-3 Fish Oil – Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation in the body while supporting the immune system.

 

Probiotics – As discussed earlier we know gut health is a very important piece when it comes to thyroid health.  In order to have a healthy gut we need friendly bacteria that help us to digest our food and fight off bad bacteria.  Antibiotics, steroids, chronic stress, processed food and alcohol can all kill the good bacteria in our gut. It’s a good idea to supplement with a probiotic to regain a good balance of healthy bacteria in your gut.

 

Multivitamin – A multivitamin is a great way to get iron, which is needed to convert iodide to iodine and T4 to T3.  It is also a good source of Vitamin A, which is needed to bring T3 into your cells and support your immune system.

 

B Vitamin Complex – B vitamins are needed for a healthy immune system, thyroid health AND adrenal health. Vitamin B is used to make stress hormones by the adrenals, which we know are necessary for optimal thyroid health.

 

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is also used to make cortisol by the adrenals.  The highest concentration of vitamin C in your body is in your adrenals.  Vitamin C also helps to bring iodine into your thyroid. It also helps your body absorb iron, which is needed for thyroid health.

 

Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D3 is needed for a healthy immune system and to bring T3 into your cells.

 

Selenium – Selenium is needed to convert T4 into T3 and helps to prevent and reverse autoimmune thyroid. If your T3 levels are low or you have high thyroid antibodies (or have an autoimmune condition) supplementing with selenium is a good idea.

 

Zinc – Zinc is needed to convert T4 into T3, as well as trigger your hypothalamus’s thyroid hormone receptors. The hypothalamus needs to be able to measure the level of thyroid hormone in the blood and regulate its production. If your T3 levels are low or your TSH levels are low, supplement with zinc. The body cannot store zinc, so getting some through diet or supplementation everyday is necessary.

 

Magnesium – Magnesium is needed to produce adequate levels of TSH.  It is also needed for over 300 enzyme systems within the body.

 

L-Glutamine Powder – L-Glutamine heals the lining of the small intestine, making it a great supplement for those with leaky gut.

 

Zinc Carnosine – This form of zinc is also a great choice for healing the lining of the small intestine.
Putting it all together

 

If you suspect you have Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s the first step is to run complete lab work and compare your results to the optimal reference ranges. From there, make lifestyle modifications.  Begin by prioritizing good quality sleep, offsetting stress and finding the right amount of exercise for your body. Eat a well-rounded diet that supplies your body with the nutrients your thyroid needs to perform optimally and eliminates the foods that cause inflammation.  Work with a functional health care provider to find the right supplements and doses for you.  If you have an autoimmune condition and/or suspect you have intestinal permeability take supplements to heal the lining of your stomach.  If you suspect a possible lingering infection please work with your doctor to run lab tests. 
Disclaimer

 

This handbook is not designed to diagnose or treat those suffering from thyroid dysfunction, hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  Veronica McNelis and Positively Powerful Coaching take no responsibility for the choices that you make with your nutrition and supplementation.  By downloading this handbook, you acknowledge that you alone are responsible and if you have questions, you understand that you can and should consult with your physician.  If you feel like the above statement cannot or is not true for you, please do not follow the advice in this handbook.