Inflammation: Hashimoto’s or non-autoimmune hypothyroid of any cause
Inflammation is a healthy and positive response of your immune system to counter the infectious problem of a virus, bacteria or fungal excess. It can also be activated by an irritant (picture a splinter in your finger) or damage to your cells from an injury.
But in thyroid patients, whether with 1) insidious Hashimoto’s disease, or 2) non-autoimmune hypothyroidism of any cause, the inflammation response can become chronic and problematic! And while many thyroid patients may be clear they have inflammation, others may have it with no clue! The latter is common.
The following article was written by thyroid patient Mary, plus more contributions by Janie A. Bowthorpe, M.Ed., to help you become informed and pro-active about this potential problem.
It’s all too common for thyroid patients to find themselves with high levels of inflammation as discovered by certain lab work, such as a high ferritin (iron goes into storage when inflammation is present). For most of us, this is the best away to find inflammation. Or a positively high C-Reactive Protein (CRP), but sometimes it’s good even with inflammation.
Why is chronic inflammation a concern?
- Chronic Inflammation can spread and affect far more than a localized area. And sometimes that spread can have serious results.
- Chronic inflammation can also result in dampening of your HPA axis (meaning you won’t signal your adrenals well to produce cortisol).
- Chronic inflammation can result in higher blood pressure, allergies, joint pain, heart problems, harmful swelling, bone loss, lowering of iron and so much more that is negative to your health and well-being.
- Chronic inflammation can also raises the protein hepcidin, which inhibits iron circulation, and the latter means iron will go into storage, plus your reverse T3 goes up, making you more hypothyroid.
- Hashimoto’s-caused inflammation from the attack on the thyroid raises the risk of awakening other autoimmune diseases.
What lab work do I need if I haven’t proved inflammation yet?
Patients first start with the ferritin lab–that can go higher even in the presence of small inflammation, but will go even higher the longer and stronger the inflammation is going on (usually ~90’s or above for women; ~120’s or high for men), i.e. your body will push iron into storage, pushing it higher and higher in response to inflammation. Other inflammation labs are CRP (C-Reactive Protein) and ESR and can be ordered from Ulta on the Recommended labwork page without a prescription. CRP is also helpful with infection-caused or antibody-caused inflammation, and ESR is helpful to show chronic inflammation. But most find their inflammation with ferritin. If we don’t but suspect inflammation, then we get CRP and ESR.
Action Plan for Inflammation
- TREAT YOUR HYPOTHYROIDISM from any cause
Patients have learned that a huge step in lowering that inflammation (which can be hypothyroid-caused) is being on an optimal thyroid treatment – that is, a working natural desiccated thyroid, or even adding T3 to that T4 in an optimal amount, NOT T4-only medications like Synthroid or Levothyroxine. Read Chapters 1and 2 in the **new updated revision** STTM book.
- TREAT YOUR AUTOIMMUNE HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
It’s very important in lowering inflammation to get those antibodies down, avoid environmental triggers, moderate or lower stress, and be careful what you’re eating. Get the book Hashimoto’s: Taming the Beast for important information on how to get those antibodies DOWN based on patient experiences, and treating inflammation.
- DISCOVER AND TREAT POTENTIAL ADRENAL ISSUES
Don’t guess! Do a 24-hour 4-point adrenal saliva test! If saliva reveals a problem, patients then treat any adrenal issues based on those results. Low cortisol can contribute to inflammation, since the right amount of cortisol is naturally anti-inflammatory. There’s an adrenal chapter for those with Hashimoto’s in the book Hashimoto’s: Taming the Beast. It’s a companion book to the **new** updated revision Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Thyroid Treatment
TRY TO IDENTIFY THE ROOT CAUSE OF YOUR INFLAMMATION. Here are several possible reasons…(Janie has added to these, too)
- Chronic life stress
- Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease(liver labs like ALT would reveal this)
- Autoimmune triggers like foods you eat, stress, infections
- Bacterial imbalance or overgrowth
- Bacterial infection, such as H. pylori (if you have low iron, check into this!)
- Lyme disease
- “Hidden” food sensitivities or allergies
- Gluten intolerance or Celiac
- Thyroiditis and/or the attack on your thyroid like Hashimoto’s (see this book)
- Yeast/Fungal overgrowth, such as Candida
- Mold exposure (can cause Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome aka CIRS)
- Underlying viral infection
- Low cortisol(as confirmed by saliva testing, NOT blood)
- High cortisol
- Mixed high and low cortisol
- Continued hypothyroidism, especially those who use the inadequate T4-only or dose by the TSH.
- Heavy Metal Toxicity (Hair testing from Direct Labs, 3rd one down on list, can help detect what you are high in)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Hidden or exposed tooth infection (this happened to Janie Bowthorpe under a root canal)
- MTHFR mutation or other methylation issues (which causes those high levels of certain metals)
- Excessive consumption of high oxalate food
LOOK TO YOUR GUT IF NOTHING ABOVE FITS
A healthy human body is estimated to contain ten healthy bacteria for every 1 cell–and there are billions of cells! The presence of beneficial bacteria is essential to maintain health, particularly of the GI tract, and to prevent pathogenic bacteria from taking up residence. Fermented foods and drinks can help populate and maintain the presence of these beneficial bacteria. Good probiotic supplements can help as well.
- Increase healthy fats and cut bad fats. Consume fats that are rich in omega-3, not omega 6 or 9, including meats from healthy animal sources (that is, from grass-fed, not feed lot meats). And though coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are also good fats, they have only minimal omega-3 by the way. Avoid pro-inflammatory fats from oils that are rich in omega-6 such as safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut and soy.
- Address food allergies or intolerances–this is ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IF YOU HAVE HASHIMOTO’S, too. For some people, the gluten-containing grains wheat, barley and rye or even any grains cause an autoimmune response, leading to inflammation. For others, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, nightshades and even meats can be problematic and will cause inflammation. EnteroLabs offers sensitive stool testing for food allergens, which many patients report being the most accurate. Cyrex laboratories also specializes in gluten sensitivity blood tests. However, the sure-fire way to know is to conduct a strict elimination diet, such as this one. Intolerances and/or allergies are mentioned in the book Hashimoto’s: Taming the Beast for those with the autoimmune disorder.
- Eliminate or greatly lower refined sugars from your diet, since they increase insulin resistance, weight gain, and inflammation, and can contribute to candida yeast overgrowth. Natural sugars, such as fresh fruit, raw honey, and maple syrup may be beneficial. Be cautious of over-consuming high oxalate foods since they can trigger pain and inflammation.
- CONSIDER TAKING THE ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENT LIKE ASTAXANTHIN. While eating wild Pacific salmon is one way of obtaining astaxanthin, it would take eating it daily to get the amount we could be getting from a supplement. Triple Strength Astaxanthin by Healthy Origins brand might be a good choice because it is marine microalgae-based; they do not use chemicals in their processing; and the serving size of 12 mg is a solid dose. But there are other good brands as well. (Mercola recommends 12 – 20 mg.)
- MODERATE TO LOW EXERCISE CAN DRAMATICALLY LOWER INFLAMMATION And if you have low cortisol, don’t push yourself; gentle movement can help, along with being in tune to your body’s limits. Heavy exercise can harm.
- OPTIMIZE VITAMIN D LEVELS, which inhibits inflammation naturally and is a key component for a healthy-functioning immune system. Optimal Vitamin D levels are especially crucial if you have Hashimoto’s disease.
- DE-STRESS (See Number 2 about treating adrenals.) Take time to be quiet. Meditate, pray, contemplate. Do deep-breathing exercises periodically throughout the day. Get good sleep.
- If you are taking higher amounts of iron supplements in trying to raise low iron, but have inflammation, we’ve found we have to lower the supplements, since all inflammation does is push more and more iron into storage, floating around our bodies.
MORE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUPPLEMENTS to research and decide upon.
- Selenium: But test your levels first, just in case a methylation problem has made it high.
- Bioflavanoids (flavonoids): Quercitin is one example. Can also be found in the pulp of fruits. More here.
- Serrapeptase: anti-inflammatory properties. Also known to break down scar tissue, help brain health. FYI: It can thin your blood. More here.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin: well known combination that are anti-inflammatory. Especially helpful for arthritis. More here.
- Lactoferritin (found in breast milk, supplements, and even colostrum supplements)
- Pau D’Arco tea: #3 here.
- Ginger: a natural way to lower inflammation. Janie used it to remove tendonitis in her fingers caused by being on nothing but T4
- Turmeric (though it’s high in oxalates, so if you have an oxalate issue the way Janie often does, you can go for straight Curcumin, which is within turmeric and gives the anti-inflammatory properties. Take iron with it, as it will lower iron without the iron supplements
- Guggul (note that this can also increase thyroid hormone production)
- Chinese Skullcap: The active ingredients found include natural anti-inflammatory flavonoids and flavones. The flavonoids baicalin, baicalein and wogonin, have potent anti-oxidant properties.
- Cat’s Claw: From a vine and definite anti-inflammatory. More here.
- Boswellia (Frankincense): a tree with anti-inflammatory properties in the resin. More here.
- DHA/EPA fatty fish oil (Janie takes this, 3000 mg daily)
- Holy Basil (but be careful as it can lower cortisol)
- Berberine can help lower blood sugars and clear inflammation
- Bromelain: from pineapple. More here.
- Cilantro: Those little green things you see in salsa. lol. More here.
- Reishi Mushroom: Go here
- Black Seed Oil: Lots of articles and studies out there, including this.
- Aloe Vera
- Slippery Elm
- Pink Rock Rose
- Also, note that pre-existing inflammation can exacerbate methylfolate supplementation in those with MTHFR gene mutation.
An Important Note: Low Iron with high ferritin = Inflammation
Sometimes this condition of low iron with high ferritin has a fancy-dancy, scare-mongering name called Anemia of Chronic Disease (ACD) or Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA). But honestly, that high ferritin with low iron just represents inflammation, as your body is thrusting iron into storage in the presence of inflammation, so as not to feed the inflammation. Still very important to lower the inflammation….the retest your four ion labs to see if you need to now raise your serum iron, which is impossible to do with inflammation pushing iron into storage.
Have Hashimoto’s? Get those antibodies DOWN! https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/ldn
Need to do inflammation labs? Go here and order your own!