In the presence of autoimmunity, the body imposes an inappropriate assault on itself. Confusion reigns – there’s no differentiation between self and non-self. The immune system has gone awry, whereby normal tissue (self) is confused with a pathogen or other trespasser (non-self) and a rogue immune response launches a seek-and-destroy mission on otherwise healthy tissue. With Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune hypothyroidism), antibodies attack and damage the thyroid gland.
[I’m the co-author of the #1 best selling cookbook, The Essential Thyroid Cookbook: Over 100 Nourishing Recipes for Thriving with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.]
Hashimoto’s is the most common autoimmune condition in the U.S. It’s estimated that a whopping 97% of those with low thyroid function have Hashimoto’s. But most aren’t getting tested – much less treated – for the autoimmune component of their condition. They’re simply getting a prescription for thyroid hormone replacement. To us, this approach is barking up the wrong tree. It can leave people mismanaged, miserable, and prone to developing another autoimmune condition because antibodies have been given free reign to smolder on.
[Click here for my Hashimoto’s NoNos (aka Hashi NoNos) guide (blog post and free download).]
We’re currently experiencing an explosion in autoimmune conditions. An estimated 24 million (and rising rapidly) Americans are now affected. Hashimoto’s is but one of many – according to the National Institutes of Health, there are over 90 autoimmune diseases. A short list includes rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Celiac disease, scleroderma, and psoriasis.
According to Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of The Autoimmune Epidemic, “The numbers are staggering: one in twelve Americans – and one in nine women – will develop an autoimmune disorder. And since it’s clear that not every patient with an autoimmune disease is correctly diagnosed, the prevalence is certainly higher than that. The American Heart Association estimates that by comparison, only one in twenty Americans will have coronary heart disease. Similarly, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, one in fourteen American adults will have cancer at some time in their life. This means that an American is more likely to get an autoimmune disease than either cancer or heart disease. Yet we hear much more in the press about heart disease and cancer than we do about autoimmunity.”
Most conventional healthcare practitioners are unaware of how to manage autoimmunity. Why? Because other than the newly-discovered benefits of low dose naltrexone (LDN), there’s no pharmaceutical for autoimmune diseases, only drugs for symptom management. In the case of hypothyroidism, even when doctors look beyond TSH and assess the full spectrum of thyroid hormones, they frequently don’t test for thyroid antibodies. Too often they reckon, “If I can’t write a prescription for Hashimoto’s – or any autoimmune condition – why test for it?”
Once you have one autoimmune disease, other systems of the body are up for grabs. According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal?, “Eighty percent of those with a diagnosed autoimmune condition have antibodies to other tissues.”
The good news is that:
1. Autoimmunity can be brought into remission. Likely without drugs.
2. Autoimmunity is an umbrella condition with the spokes of that umbrella representing different manifestations of autoimmunity. Anything you do to address one of those manifestations will not only address any other potential manifestation, but will also significantly decrease your chances of developing another autoimmune disease.
This is amazing and transformative and life-changing. Autoimmunity doesn’t have to be a life-long sentence. Both the allopathic/conventional and the integrative/functional medical communities agree that once you have autoimmunity, you’re always thought to have it. But you can live a full, symptom-free life. The list of Healthful Elements clients who’ve seen antibodies plummet and vitality soar is lengthy.
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The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. It is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional.
You should not use the information on this website for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you have a health condition.