By Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Hashimoto's thyroid treatment is extremely different than regular hypothyroidism in Naturopathic Medicine. In my mind, Hashimotos is very different from regular hypothyroidism and requires a different treatment plan. As a Female Hormone Specialist and Naturopathic Doctor.
Many of my patients have been treated for their thyroid for years without knowing what type of thyroid disease they have. Half the time most MD’s could care less what form of thyroid disease the patient has because it does not affect their thyroid treatment. The thyroid treatment is the same for an autoimmune Hashimotos as standard hypothyroidism. This makes little sense since we are comparing apples and oranges.
Did you know with Hashimoto's the real problem is actually the immune system attacking the thyroid, and there is generally nothing actually wrong with the thyroid gland itself? I like to think of the thyroid in this situation as the poor little kid getting bullied in the schoolyard. He is constantly under attack, but otherwise would be completely fine. When we fail to address the immune system in this frustrating autoimmune disease, we fail to ever truly help the patient return their inflammation levels to normal, restore energy, and reduce arthritis, achy joints, swelling and traveling pain that is the hallmark for Hashimotos.
If you are a thyroid patient that has not been tested for Hashimoto's yet, you have constant traveling mysterious aches and pains that no doctor or physical therapist can diagnose…I will bet the farm that the diagnosis is Hashimoto's.
As a thyroid doctor and Hashimoto's specialist, it is extremely important to me to understand my thyroid patient’s diagnosis, and if they have just a “Lazy Thyroid” as I have in regular hypothyroidism, or whether they have an autoimmune disease that is actually causing the hypothyroidism.
Nutrients that most thyroid patients are deficient in can also cause severe adverse reactions for my Hashimotos patients. I have seen patients harm themselves from too much iodine, zinc, tyrosine, b-vitamins and thyroid cofactors that can throw the sluggish low thyroid into hyperdrive and cause an actually “Thyroid Storm” where the immune system is ferociously attacking the thyroid and as an immediate result of cell destruction.
During a thyroid stomr, the thyroid hormones are dumped into the bloodstream causing the heart to be immediately triggered, as T3 stimulates contractility and thus palpitations, tachycardia and anxiety can ensue from the hyperthyroid storm.
When we work to address the autoimmune condition from a Naturopathic standpoint, we can calm these thyroid storm attacks down and lessen the rate of destruction the thyroid will endure. Once the thyroid has endured enough attacks, and as part of the natural aging process of our glands, most Hashimoto's patients eventually require thyroid replacement hormones.
What is the best thyroid medication for Hashimotos?
While it may have a higher likelihood of adverse reactions for those with autoimmune Hashimotos I do see Armour Thyroid work the best to control symptoms and improve fatigue and weight loss. Armour thyroid is a generic term for “Natural Dessicated Thyroid” because the pig gland is desiccated generally there is no reaction to the natural thyroid medication for the majority of my Hashimotos patients and therefore the "rule" that autoimmune patients should not be given Armour thyroid is simply untrue.
Around 95% of the Hashimotos patients in my hormone practice prefer Natural Dessicated Thyroid or Armour over levothyroxine or synthroid.
The other choice is synthroid or levothyroxine combined with T3. I do not recommend patients take T4 alone or “T4 Monotherapy” unless they are great converters to T3, the metabolically active thyroid hormone. Because most women struggle with this conversion, especially when in Menopause and Perimenopause as female hormones can impact the thyroid levels and smother them, reduce thyroid function, and cause the metabolism to slow down.
Therefore monitoring the thyroid for women in their forties and fifties is critical in Women's Health.
Women with Hashimotos should find a seasoned Hashimotos Expert that specializes in Naturopathic Medicine, Herbs and Nutrition. Many other hormones can impact the Hashimotos patient such as adrenal hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and insulin. In my mind, there is no patient that needs a Naturopathic hormone doctor more than a Hashimotos patient!
Your naturopathic doctor should be providing hormone testing and treatment to the adrenals which are the underlying foundation of support for the thyroid, in addition to addressing gut health and the microbiome which are also triggering many women with this frustrating thyroid disease.
Treating Hashimotos properly is extremely complicated and requires a multifaceted approach to correct hormones, nutrition, inflammation, and most importantly balance the immune system, helping it to become less reactive and thus less likely to “bully” or attack the thyroid.
If you would like my help with your thyroid condition simply visit my SCHEDULE page to set up your initial Naturopathic visit!
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!