Hashimoto`s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto`s: Check your antibodies

Hashimoto`s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is named after the first doctor who described this condition, Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, in 1912. It is caused by an attack of the immune system..

In Hashimoto`s, antibodies react against proteins in the thyroid gland, causing gradual destruction of the gland itself, and making the gland unable to produce the thyroid hormones the body needs. The first evidence of autoimmune thyroid disease is the appearance of thyroid peroxidase antibodies, called anti-TPO antibodies.

This test goes by a confusing number of names, including:

• thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody (TPOAb) test,

• thyroid peroxidase autoantibody test,

• antimicrosomal antibody test, and

• antithyroid microsomal antibody test

Hashimoto`s typically involves a slow but steady destruction of the gland that eventually results in the thyroid`s inability to produce sufficient thyroid hormone, the condition known as hypothyroidism.

Over many years, there can be periods where the thyroid sputters back to life, even causing temporary hyperthyroidism, then a return to hypothyroidism. This cycling back and forth between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is characteristic of Hashimoto`s disease. Symptoms can alternate between anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea and weight loss and depression, fatigue, constipation, and weight gain.

Most conventional doctors do not treat Hashimoto’s unless the symptoms are severe. However, Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center believes that Hashimoto`s disease warrants treatment with small amounts of thyroid hormone. This practice is supported by a study reported on in the March 2001 issue of the journal Thyroid.

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Address Hashimoto`s Naturally

In a study published in journal, Thyroid, in 2007 confirmed that using 200mcg of selenium in the form of selenomethionine orally resulted in a significant reduction of thyroid antibodies. An overall reduction of antibodies occurred in 21% of persons who took the supplement for a full year. reference here

Thyroid and Iodine

Under the influence of TSH secreted from the pituitary, the thyroid produces the thyroid hormones T4 and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones normally exert feedback inhibition on the pituitary to negatively regulate TSH release. In the early stages of hypothyroidism, a reduction in thyroid hormone levels leads to the decrease of negative feedback to the pituitary and to an increase in serum TSH levels.

Under these circumstances, the TSH can also increase to collect more iodine into the thyroid gland.

Because patients with elevated TSH levels often do not show symptoms, mild thyroid dysfunction is also referred to as subclinical hypothyroidism. It is estimated that 20% of women over 60 have subclinical hypothyroidism.

If a patient has elevated TSH with relatively normal FT4 levels and few, if any, symptoms, he or she is said to have mild thyroid failure. We also believe this mechanism is an indication of overall low iodine levels.