Standard clinical guidelines suggest that once people require thyroid hormone replacement, they will need to stay on it for life. That is not my experience, or the experience of the doctors you can locate on our website. Some people can indeed recover with proper support- here’s what I suggest.
1) Get stress under control.
High levels of stress hormones interfere with your body’s ability to use thyroid hormones properly and can damage the thyroid gland itself. Every person is unique in how they reduce stress. Some make more time for exercise, while others meditate or find ways to cut back or simplify. Some get organized while others slack off. One thing important for everyone, though: get enough sleep.
2) Tame your immune system.
Some people’s immune system attacks their thyroid cells, a process called autoimmunity. Gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, and rye, seems to trigger this reaction in some people. I recommend avoiding gluten altogether if you have thyroid problems.
3) Take proper nutrients.
Make sure you get enough vitamin D. A good middle-range blood level is about 50 ng/ml. Most people need supplements of several thousand IUs a day to achieve this level. Vitamin D helps to normalize your immune response. Selenium, a trace mineral that protects the thyroid, is important, too. For people with established thyroiditis, I find that 400 micrograms is a useful dose. Get nutritional support for good production and T4-T3 conversion. Make sure your diet contains adequate iodine, which is essential for proper thyroid function. Use iodized salt, eat some shellfish, and have seaweed. Sushi is a great way to get iodine and other trace minerals, like selenium, which is needed to convert T4 to T3. Brazil nuts are the best source. Have two a day. Make sure your iron level is adequate, because it helps your body utilize iodine. If iron levels are low, take iron supplements until all markers, including serum ferritin, are within a good middle range.
4) Clear metabolic pathways with T3 therapy.
If you have been taking T4 (levothyroxin or Synthroid) for a while, and still have symptoms of low thyroid function, or if you seem to need a higher and higher dose, you may do better if you switch to T3 for a few months. This active form of thyroid hormone can often help to clear out blocked metabolic pathways and restore normal thyroid function.
5) Help your body heal itself with adrenal supportive herbs.
Some people benefit from both adrenal and thyroid support, since both the thyroid and adrenal systems can be taxed by stress. Adaptogenic herbs can support your adrenal gland while it recovers on its own. These herbs, such as Holy Basil, Rhodiola, licorice, ashwaganha, Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), astragalus, and others, have a long and safe history of use for supporting energy and calm focus in the face of stress.
Note: If you’re someone who might benefit from these suggestions, please share this article with your doctor, who can call us at 800.420.5801 to get more information about how to use T3, along with herbs and nutrients to support thyroid and adrenal health, and to discuss your individual case. You can also use our website to find the health care practitioner closest to you who is trained in T3 treatment.
Bizzaro G, Shoenfeld Y. Vitamin D and autoimmune thyroid diseases: the known and the obscure. Immunol Res. 2014 Nov 19.
Gärtner R, Gasnier BC. Selenium in the treatment of autoimmune thyroiditis. Biofactors. 2003;19(3-4):165-70.
Panossian, A., et al. 2009. Adaptogens exert a stress-protective effect by modulation of expression of molecular chaperones. Phytomedicine, 16 (6–7), 617–622.
Stein EJ, da Silveira Filho NG, Machado DC, et al. Chronic mild stress
induces widespread decreases in thyroid hormone alpha1 receptor mRNA
levels in brain–reversal by imipramine. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009
Toulis KA, Anastasilakis AD, Tzellos TG, et al. Selenium supplementation in the treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: A systematic review and a meta-analysis. Thyroid 2010;20:1163-73.
Yamamoto T. History of stress-related health changes: a cue to pursue a diagnosis of latent primary adrenal insufficiency. Intern Med. 2014;53(3):183-8.