In November 2014, my patient MR came to me for a treatment for her hot flashes, and mentioned that her MD had seen an abnormal lab value when he ran tests for her on November 4. It was her TSH – THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE – that came back high.
When the level of circulating thyroid hormone is low, TSH is released by the pituitary to stimulate the formation of T4 by the thyroid gland (a butterfly shaped organ in the front of your throat). T4 is then converted to T3, the most active thyroid hormone that maintains our metabolic rate. If your thyroid hormones are deficient, your body’s processes slow down and you may feel fatigued, cold, depressed, gain weight easily, have poor memory, and trouble thinking. Low thyroid function is also implicated in sex hormone imbalances.
My patient didn’t have any symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, except her hot flashes. Her MD had given her a Rx for Synthroid (synthetic T4), and told her she’d be taking it for the rest of her life. My eyes widened.
We ordered a complete thyroid function panel – TSH + the thyroid hormones T3 & T4, and the anti-Thyroid peroxidase antibody, ANTI-TPO. These labs were done on November 20.
We discovered that her immune system was making antibodies to proteins in her thyroid gland, a condition known as HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS – the most common cause of low thyroid function.
I recommended that she start taking a formula for auto-immunity that included the herb Hemidesmus, along with the natural thyroid support formula I’d given her when she first told me about her MD’s Rx. MR had decided not to take Synthroid. She didn’t want to suppress TSH without addressing thyroid health.
Her MD was very supportive of her decision to take charge of her thyroid health, and worked collaboratively with us as we monitored lab work to track her progress.
We retested her TSH again on December 14. Even though it had only been a few weeks of supplementation, she had managed to bring her TSH down much closer to normal levels. Without tricking her body with synthetic hormones, while her immune system destroyed her thyroid. Now she was putting an end to the thyroid destruction by balancing her immune system.
To get to the bottom of the auto-immunity cause of her low thyroid function, she agreed to test her blood for antibodies to foods.
MR had high IgG antibody reactions to Dairy, and a moderate reaction to Peanut. She was consuming these foods every day! We discussed alternatives, and I gave her dairy free resources. I asked her to take these foods out of her diet while we worked on restoring her digestion and healing her gut, while continuing to calm her immune system and support her thyroid.
We ran this test on January 23rd. Within 3 months, she’d restored her TSH to just outside of normal.
By March 6, 2015, MR had restored her TSH back to within normal limits. She continued with her naturopathic protocol.
When treated in the early stages of autoimmune thyroid disease, restoration of normal thyroid function can be achieved. Studies show that once the autoimmune attack ceases, the damaged thyroid has the ability to regenerate.