advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: An Autoimmune Threat?

I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis and have read that it could lead to another autoimmune problem. True? If so, what can I do to prevent it?

A
Answer (Published 5/25/2009)

Hashimoto's thyroiditis occurs when the immune system targets the thyroid gland. Because this attack interferes with the production of vital hormones that regulate metabolism, it often results in thyroid deficiency  (hypothyroidism). Symptoms include weakness and fatigue, weight gain (because your body isn't burning calories at its normal rate) and increased sensitivity to cold. Your skin may become dry, rough and pale, and you may notice some hair loss. Other common symptoms are muscle or joint aches, constipation, depression, irritability, memory loss, abnormal menstrual cycles with heavy flow, and decreased sex drive.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit - A healthy body, mind and spirit are the fundamental components of a successful life. The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide combines therapies, an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, spiritual assessments and more to help promote better overall health. Sign up today and get 14 days free!

Since autoimmune diseases tend to flare up and subside in response to emotional ups and downs, I recommend experimenting with some type of mind/body treatment - hypnosis, psychotherapy, or guided imagery therapy. You might also consult a practitioner of Chinese medicine in addition to working with a conventional endocrinologist. In most cases, Hashimoto's thyroiditis eventually "burns out," leaving you with an underactive thyroid and the need to continue with thyroid hormone replacement indefinitely.

It is true that persons with Hashimoto's thyroiditis are at increased risk of developing other autoimmune disorders. For that reason, I suggest following my anti-inflammatory diet, and the recommendations below, which are helpful for anyone who has experienced autoimmunity: 

  • Decrease protein intake toward 10 percent of daily calories; replace animal protein as much as possible with plant protein.
  • Eliminate cow's milk and all cow's milk products, substituting other calcium sources.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables regularly and make sure that they are organically grown.
  • Eliminate polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils, and all foods (such as deep-fried foods) that might contain trans-fatty acids. Use extra-virgin olive oil as your main fat.
  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Take ginger (start with one capsule twice a day) and turmeric supplements (follow the dosage directions on the package).
  • Protect yourself from harmful effects of stress, start by learning and practicing the 4-7-8 breathing exercise I recommend.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here