and autoimmune thyroiditis
A Japanese doctor named Hashimoto was the first to describe (in 1912) an autoimmune illness that affects the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s was the first disease to be recognized as an autoimmune disease. It affects women more than men, at least 10 times more.
Thyroid antibodies are created when the body has decided to attack and attempt to destroy its own thyroid gland. There are a number of reasons that are linked to the beginning of this disease process. It is quite clear to me that the primary triggers are iodine deficiency and type 2 hypothyroidism. Iodine protects against autoimmune diseases and is responsible for destroying abnormal cells and minimizing allergies. It is also required for the immune system to be strong. When patients have low thyroid function, the immune system also suffers mightily. None of my patients who have been properly treated with desiccated thyroid and iodine have ever developed Hashimoto’s. Fluoride, such as what is in drinking water and toothpaste, destroys thyroid tissue and may be a primary contributor to the epidemic of Hashimoto’s. (See www.FluorideAlert.org)
There are 2 types of antibodies that doctors are taught to check for when looking for this illness. They are called TPO and thyroglobulin antibodies. Doctor’s have created arbitrary titers (measurements or quantities) of these antibodies that when surpassed, the patient is deemed to suffer from Hashimoto’s disease. For the TPO antibodies, the patient must have have greater than 34 international units per milliliter of antibodies in order to qualify as having Hashimoto’s disease. The standard for the thyroglobulin antibodies is 115 international units per milliliter. It is very common for patients to have thyroid antibodies that are less than the required arbitrary cut off for Hashimoto’s. I often see patients with 2-34 international units/milliliters of TPO antibodies. These patients must be treated just like those with Hashimoto’s. Patients with very high levels of antibody titers (in the hundreds or thousands) may often be more difficult and complicated to treat but the basics of treatment remain the same for anyone with thyroid antibodies. At the November 2009 American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) conference, which was devoted entirely to the epidemic of autoimmune diseases, it was reported that if no interventions to reverse the autoimmune thyroid disease are instituted, then patients with low levels of thyroid antibodies will eventually develop higher levels of antibodies and qualify as having Hashimoto’s disease. I lectured on the subject of autoimmune disease and Hashimoto’s as well as type 2 hypothyroidism at this conference and copies of all the lectures are available through the ACAM.
Statistics very widely concerning the number of Americans who have thyroid antibodies. At the 2009 ACAM meeting, it was estimated that up to 10% of Americans may have thyroid antibodies. Hashimoto’s disease is thought by mainstream doctors to be the #1 cause of hypothyroidism (type 1) in America. In the vast majority of cases, this illness must be treated differently than the type 2 hypothyroidism that I have described in my book. My apologies to readers of my book, Hypothyroidism Type 2-the Epidemic, for not including the treatment of Hashimoto’s. I did not want to confuse the issue of the epidemic of type 2 hypothyroidism with the autoimmune illness. However, I have seen a marked rise in patients with thyroid antibodies and it is imperative that I address the treatment of Hashimoto’s as it is a different illness than type 2 hypothyroidism.
Mainstream endocrinologists and physicians are taught that the synthetic T4 is the only effective treatment for this illness. I recommend a combination of compounded synthetic T4 and T3. The porcine desiccated thyroid that I recommend for patients with type 2 hypothyroidism usually will make patients with thyroid antibodies feel worse as well as increase the antibody levels (titers). The composition of porcine glandular thyroid is virtually identical to that of our own thyroid gland. The body’s immune system attacks this additional thyroid just as it is attacking the patient’s own thyroid gland. Patient’s often feel better initially because of the increased thyroid hormone levels but become more fatigued and feel worse within several weeks of beginning treatment with desiccated thyroid. So with Hashimoto’s the synthetic forms of T3 and T4 are actually better.
Compounding pharmacies formulate whatever dosage the physician’s order. I recommend using the same ratio of T4 and T3 that is in the desiccated thyroid. The typical starting dosage for adults is 19 mcg of T4 and 4.5 mcg of T3 which is the equivalent of one half grain of desiccated thyroid. I increase the dosage by that much each month. Adults usually will require a minimum of 76 mcg of T4 and 18 mcg of T3 (the equivalent of 2 grains) and the average dosage will be 114 mcg of T4 and 27 mcg of T3. Almost all patients will require desiccated adrenal hormones in order to tolerate larger dosages of thyroid. Some patients may require a small dosage of glucocorticoids (adrenal steroids) such as cortisol in order to tolerate the higher dosages that are necessary for the patient’s to improve symptomatically.
To complicate matters, patients with thyroid antibodies often are intolerant of iodine replacement as well. Giving iodine to these patients often causes palpitations and makes their symptoms worse. Patients may take weeks to recover from a very small dosage of iodine. However, in order to resolve this autoimmune disease, patients will eventually require a gradually increasing dosage of iodine. My favorite form of iodine for these patients is from a company named Standard Process that has been in business since 1929. They make organic whole food vitamins that are very well-tolerated and effective. Iodomere is the name of the vitamin that contains 200 mcg of iodine. Some patients can only take 1 tablet or one half of a tablet every other day and then gradually increase the dosage over a period of months. Once the patient is on 3 or 4 a day, I switch to another Standard Process product called prolamine iodine. Patients can start with the equivalent of one quarter or one half tablet and increase the dosage slowly.
Patients with autoimmune illness usually have had mercury amalgams for dental fillings and are toxic with mercury, other heavy metals, and scores of other toxins. Research has shown that removing the amalgams helps decrease the thyroid antibody levels. I recommend patients seek out biological dentists who can safely remove the mercury without poisoning the patients. A rubber dam must be used to ensure the patient does not swallow pieces of the mercury fillings. Oxygen should also be used and high suction devices are necessary. I have seen a number of patients who have had their amalgams removed by a dentist who did not use the proper precautions. The patient’s health deteriorated because of the mercury exposure. The international Association of Medical Toxicologists have a listing of properly trained dentists. Their website is www.iaomt.com.
There are a number of other issues with autoimmune thyroid problems. Gluten intolerance has a strong association with autoimmune thyroid disease. The majority of patients I see have significant gastro-intestinal complaints that include gluten intolerance and yeast overgrowth (Candida). I have a protocol for “leaky gut” that many people also require. A number of these people are on acid blockers that completely block the ability of the body to absorb B12 – no matter how much is taken orally. B12 must be administered sublingual (under the tongue) or with shots to be effective. These people also have nutrient deficiencies because of their inability to absorb properly the foods they eat.
I will devote a chapter to Hashimoto’s, with even more detail, in the next printing of my book. I have put very specific information concerning the treatment of autoimmune thyroid in this brief explanation because doctors as well as patients have asked me lots of questions on the subject.
Because I have been very specific in my recommendations here, I need to add the following disclaimer: The reader should regularly consult their own physician and matters regarding his or her health. Although certain medical procedures and medical recommendations are mentioned in this article, no endorsement, warranty, or guarantee by the author is intended. Due to the fact that research is ongoing, some of the material may be invalidated by new findings. I cannot guarantee that the information and advice in his book are safe and proper for every reader. For this reason, no warranties or guarantees of any kind are expressed or implied. The author disclaims any liability, loss, or damaged caused by the contents. Please consult qualified physicians for proper treatment of all endocrine disorders. Heart attack, stroke, or other severe complications such as atrial fibrillation can result from the improper usage and occasionally the proper usage of thyroid hormones.