A woman has just been diagnosed with chronic Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. Although she has been experiencing some symptoms related to this, her thyroid levels are such that her doctor is not prescribing treatment until she "gets worse", which, he estimates, will be in about two years' time. While she is glad not to be on thyroid hormone treatment, she feels there must be something she can do now. Can readers offer any suggestions?
Nutrition and supplements
Mary also suffers from Hashimoto's disease and has been taking thyroid supplements for 30 years now. However, she feels that if she had taken the nutritional route when she was first diagnosed, this may not have been necessary. She advises taking large doses of vitamin C and B complex, along with zinc and copper. Nevertheless, she recommends seeing a qualified nutritionist to get the best advice for your condition. Other readers agree that good nutrition is essential. Recommended supplements include magnesium, selenium and the amino acid tyrosine, while David suggests avoiding foods that provoke an inflammatory response, such as those containing flour and/or sugar.
Annette's advice is to see a qualified medical herbalist. A medical herbalist herself, she has successfully treated patients with the herbs guggul and withania. She notes that the important thing is to tackle the problem at its root cause, i.e., not just see it as a thyroid problem but as an autoimmune disease. Pamela agrees. She has been taking thyroxine for Hashimoto's disease for some years now but it was not until she tried an immune system-boosting herbal remedy that she started to feel better. "Padma, available from Nutrisun, normalises the immune system and stops it attacking the thyroid," she says. "I feel so much better and have been able to reduce the dosage of thyroxine. On my last blood test the thyroid antibodies had completely disappeared."
In addition to trying herbal remedies and nutritional supplements, it may be worth reading up on the disease. Kim recommends Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield's "excellent, life and sanity saving" book, Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy (Hammersmith Press, 2006), while Susan endorses Living Well with Autoimmune Disease by Mary Shomon (Collins, 2002). Thyroid UK's website - www.thyroiduk.org - may also be a useful source of information.
E-news broadcast 20 February 2007 No.335