by Shelby Burns, MS, RDN/LDN
Hashimoto’s disease (also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) is an autoimmune disease involving chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. Because the immune system attacks the thyroid, the thyroid is unable to make enough thyroid hormones.1 Therefore, the treatment of choice for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is often synthetic T4 or thyroxine (levothyroxine).2 Although Hashimoto’s is a leading cause of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the body does not make enough thyroid hormones, being diagnosed with hypothyroidism does not always mean one has Hashimoto’s. Hypothyroidism can manifest on its own due to an issue with the thyroid gland, whereas Hashimoto’s involves the immune system.
Tyrosine, one of the metabolites Ixcela tests, helps to regulate mood, behavior, and general feelings of well-being. It also plays a direct role in increasing the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which are low in Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. T3 and T4 regulate growth, cellular repair, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. As a result, people with Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism may feel “down,” and experience tiredness, hair loss, weight gain, chills, and many other symptoms.3 Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid, meaning our bodies produce it, and it can also be obtained through diet in foods such as chicken, turkey, salmon, nuts, beans, and dairy products. Although L-tyrosine supplementation should be avoided because it may cause excessive T3 and T4 production, consuming tyrosine-rich foods has not been shown to be problematic.
Hashimoto’s disease symptoms, which include weight gain, debilitating fatigue, brain fog, constipation, chills, and low heart rate, may be similar to symptoms of low tyrosine. These symptoms can be further exacerbated due to an unhealthy gut, and by using Ixcela and gaining insight into gut health, one can improve their nutrient absorption, sleep, overall health, and performance. Read on to discover how one athlete with Hashimoto’s used Ixcela to feel good again and improve her energy, recovery, digestion, and overall health.
In the meantime, start by paying attention to certain foods that may trigger an immune response that makes Hashimoto’s worse. These foods are commonly known as goitrogens. Goitrogens interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland, making it difficult for the thyroid to produce T3 and T4.4 Read on for ways to support the thyroid via diet, lifestyle, and more!
Those suffering from Hashimoto’s disease should avoid:
Foods to Focus On:
If you’re curious about other dietary protocols, check out our article about AIP (autoimmune protocol diet), which is an elimination diet recommended for individuals who have autoimmune diseases.
In addition to the above, Ixcela recognizes the benefit of getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and practicing restorative self-care. In fact, research has shown that supporting the parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for the “rest and digest” response) not only helps Hashimoto’s, but also supports mood. That is why all of Ixcela’s customized recommendations include a variety of stress-reduction options such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or just listening to relaxing music.
Although those who suffer from Hashimoto’s may experience low energy, they may also find that it is difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, which worsens daytime fatigue. This can in turn increase hunger, because hunger can be a microbial response to lack of sleep. Therefore, prioritizing quality sleep and sticking to a regular sleep/wake cycle is crucial. This will allow the body to recharge and regenerate while keeping hunger in check. Getting sufficient sleep and consuming a diet rich in non-goitrogenic vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins may be especially helpful in supporting the overall wellness of individuals with Hashimoto’s.
Read 7 Suggestions for Better Sleep for tips about getting quality sleep.
People who have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s should approach exercise slowly and mindfully. Rest and recovery are crucial for an already overtaxed system, so high-intensity or lengthy workouts can be replaced with low-intensity exercises such as walking or yoga. Regular physical activity is an energy booster that also benefits the gut.
Health is one of our greatest assets. Because every individual is different, a variety of health modifications can work together to ease Hashimoto’s symptoms. It may take some trial and error (and patience) to determine the most effective strategy, but it's important to make whichever lifestyle modifications allow an individual to feel their best.
† Before starting any supplement, dietary, or exercise program, including Ixcela, you should consult your doctor. If you are pregnant or nursing, please discuss your personalized recommendations with your doctor.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Shelby Burns has been in the fitness and nutrition industries for more than ten years. Shelby, who has personally struggled with gut issues, believes that exceptional wellness starts from within. Her passion for helping people prioritize their health shines through as she assists Ixcela clients in making diet and lifestyle shifts that result in renewed energy, better sleep, and improved digestion.
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Interested in learning more about Ixcela? Check out Ixcela’s test, to receive personalized nutrition, supplement, mindfulness, and fitness fitness recommendations based on the metabolites we test to improve energy, GI health, mood, and overall wellbeing.