The 3 Essential Steps to Overcome Thyroid Disease Forever
Are you wondering if it’s even possible to heal your thyroid and overcome all your symptoms?
When I was first diagnosed, it didn’t seem like I would ever get to feel “normal” again. I was told by almost every doctor I met with that medication was my only option. I wasn’t given much hope.
Before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune type of hypothyroidism, I thought I was going crazy. I had all these vague symptoms — I was exhausted, yet had insomnia, I was having panic attacks, I was in and out of the hospital with gastrointestinal distress, I was depressed, and I barely had enough energy to keep myself and my newborn alive!
Yet every doctor — more than a dozen, in the end — told me I was “fine.” They couldn’t find anything wrong with me. They told me it was stress, or worse, insinuated that it was all in my head.
Luckily, the doctor who diagnosed me told me what was going on in my body and that healing was possible – it could be done. And instead of listening to all the naysayers, I decided to have faith in his words and trust that my body could heal itself with the proper nourishment and care.
You see, when doctors don’t look at the body as a whole functioning organism and instead only focus on its individual parts, they miss the boat….
Our bodies are like a symphony, a compilation of different systems that work together to make beautiful music. Because there are crucial systems that are inextricably linked, you can’t treat the thyroid in a vacuum. It just doesn’t work.
That’s why so many women don’t find real relief when they pop a pill. In fact, often times, the medication that is supposed to relieve symptoms actually causes more symptoms because of side effects of the medication itself. The fact is, there’s no magic pill for healing thyroid conditions…and that’s because in order to reverse thyroid conditions and eliminate symptoms, you have to address a few of the body’s systems all at once; not just one beautiful butterfly of an organ.
That’s why I designed my free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment & Report — to help women like you discover where you are in your thyroid journey and help get you get on the right path to health.
Understanding what’s going on with your body is vital to finding the right steps to heal. But in my experience helping hundreds of women heal from thyroid disorders, I’ve discovered that the path to health is almost always supported by three simple pillars of healing.
Step 1: Repair Your Leaky Gut
Leaky gut sounds like an embarrassing digestive issue, but the truth is, you probably have it and don’t even know it.
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the barrier inside your intestines, which is supposed to keep food, toxins and pathogens in, becomes permeable, allowing microscopic particles out into the bloodstream where they don’t belong.
Research has shown that leaky gut is a precursor to autoimmune disease. That’s because these particles trigger an immune response. Our immune systems are programmed to attack any foreign particles. But when these particles continue to leak into the bloodstream, the immune system ramps up, and starts attacking more vigorously.
To the immune system, the molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaks through the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system attacks it, but those antibodies can also start to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have autoimmune thyroid disease, and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will continue to attack your thyroid.
So, we must repair our leaky gut if we want to heal our thyroid, because the two are inextricably linked.
The first step is to stop eating gluten and other inflammatory foods that are causing the immune response. Growing research shows a connection between gluten sensitivity and thyroid disease, and even shows that thyroid antibody levels decrease on a gluten-free diet. Gliadin also increases the production of a protein called zonulin, which is linked to increased permeability in the gut (the opposite of what we want!).
Next, you want to increase your intake of fermentable fibers from vegetables. These fibers are what feed the good bacteria in your gut.
And speaking of those good bacteria, in all likelihood, you don’t have enough! For centuries, we humans have eaten natural probiotics in fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and so on. But our modern diet doesn’t contain this natural source of probiotics. Plus, many of the pesticides and artificial ingredients in our diet can harm those little good bugs.
You can (and should!) add some natural fermented foods in your diet, but you should also supplement with a high-quality probiotic.
Research has shown that intestinal bacteria actually change the expression and distribution of tight junction proteins, thereby regulating your intestinal barrier and helping it stay strong.
I recommend MegaSporeBiotic, because it totally revolutionized my life. I used to have an immediate and severe reaction to gluten and dairy, and now I don’t have to worry about gluten cross-contamination, and I can even eat cheese! It’s on the pricier side but it’s the most effective probiotic I’ve found available in the past 10 years.
What’s the price of freedom when after a short time, you’ll be able to eat what you want without having an allergic reaction?
What makes it work differently than other probiotics is that it is designed to survive and thrive in the harsh environment of the digestive tract. Most common probiotics found today at the grocery store or in yogurt don’t actually survive in the gut and thus, they don’t assist you in repairing a leaky gut. Megaspore is the first probiotic I’ve found that actually survives, repopulates and repairs a leaky gut.
MegaSpore is ONLY available through qualified health practitioners — so you won’t find it in your drugstore or on Amazon. That’s because this is a pharmaceutical-grade product!
It’s so refreshing to see a supplement company have integrity when it comes to administering their product. They want to make sure you are protected and only receive dosing instructions safely and by a qualified health practitioner who will also be monitoring your progress.
You must sign-up for access to our password protected ordering system – which you can do below. From there, you’ll receive an email for access to the portal with instructions for ordering.
Finally, to help heal your gut, you must reduce your stress, which brings me to pillar number 2.
Step 2: Support Your Adrenals
When it comes to stress and your thyroid, it’s a chicken and egg type situation. As it turns out, modern life is not so friendly to these little balls of stress (hormones), and the accumulated stressors of everyday life in the twenty-first century can have major consequences for your adrenals and your thyroid.
In fact, when it comes to your thyroid and your adrenal glands, you can’t look at one without the other, and adrenal stress could possibly be the most important component in healing yourself.
When you are exposed to stress, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (or HPA axis for short) is activated, and a series of hormones are activated that cause the release of the “stress hormone,” cortisol from the adrenal gland. Normally, when the stress goes away, our body turns off the HPA axis and stops the release of cortisol.
But modern life is full of stress, and consequently, our HPA axis is turned on all. the. time.
Beyond the obvious daily stressors in our lives, the adrenal glands pump out more stress hormones when your blood sugar isn’t regulated, your gut is leaky, you have food sensitivities (such as gluten), toxins and infections are present, or you are inflamed and under an autoimmune attack — all of which could be happening when you have thyroid disease.
In response to this constant barrage of stress, our system creates a constant secretion of cortisol, which can weaken the adrenal glands and eventually lead to adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue can affect how your hormones are used by your cells, which can affect how you react to stress or trauma, your temperature, digestion, immune system, mood, libido and energy. In fact, weak adrenal glands can mimic symptoms of thyroid disease — whether you actually have thyroid disease or not.
That’s why it’s hard to say which came first: did your adrenal stress contribute to your thyroid disease, or did your thyroid disease contribute to your adrenal fatigue?
It actually doesn’t matter; what does matter is that you support your adrenal glands now, which will help heal your thyroid.
When the adrenal glands are weakened, the body is put in a destructive state where it begins to break down. Since the thyroid gland controls the metabolism of the body, the gland will slow itself down in order to hinder this destruction. As a result, a hypothyroid condition will usually show up in the body.
The problem is that — just like thyroid dysfunction — poor adrenal function is usually a result of something else, which could include anemia, blood sugar swings, gut inflammation, food intolerances (especially gluten), essential fatty acid deficiencies, environmental toxins, and of course, chronic emotional and psychological stress.
You can start to support your adrenal glands by making sure you’re getting enough B12, betatine, folate, selenium and sulphur. (But you should always work with a qualified health practitioner before adding vitamins or supplements to your routine.)
In addition, cutting out coffee and caffeine is crucial to healing your thyroid.
By starting with a cup of coffee in the morning, you’re setting yourself up for a roller coaster of highs and lows throughout the day. From the first sip, the caffeine in coffee enters your bloodstream through the lining of your mouth, throat, and stomach. It begins to affect the central nervous and stimulates your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin. This puts your body in a “fight-or-flight” mode. When you’re in a “fight-or-flight” state, you’re taxing your adrenals, you’re actually in a perpetual state of alert. This actually puts your body in a state of stress.
For thyroid sufferers especially, even having one cup of coffee in the morning can have long-term consequences for your adrenal health and the body’s ability to repair itself. If you don’t know, here’s why adrenal health is crucial to thyroid healing.
Can’t give up the flavor of your morning Joe? My favorite substitute is Dandy Blend. It’s aroma and flavor are much like coffee. Dandy Blend also has the added benefit of being a liver cleanser and is gluten-free. You can drink it iced or hot and turn it into a black coffee, cappuccino or even a chai latte. It’s a staple at our house. Dandy Blend is a little hard to find so I just order it online.
You also need to destress on a daily basis. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of healing, but it’s absolutely crucial. When you’re stressed, you are sending a continuous stream of cortisol into the body which as we learned above, is a major no-no for your thyroid and for things like weight loss. It’s imperative that you build in time for you to just breathe and relax each and every day. Your body deserves it and you do too!
Try some (or all!) of these techniques to help you destress:
Many studies have described the link between even a few minutes of mindfulness meditation each day and a reduce in stress. Start with 5 minutes of guided meditation each day. I like these free ones from the UCLA school of health.
Expressing your emotions and pent-up thoughts can also help you destress. A study published in Psychotherapy Research found that patients who expressed their emotions through journal writing experienced less anxiety and depressive symptoms when compared to a control group.
3. Kundalini Yoga
This yoga DVD is my favorite and when I’m pinched for time, I do the first 25 minutes of the DVD to set my adrenals and mind up for a stress-free day. Yoga is like moving meditation, and has many of the same benefits, with the added physical benefit of moving your body.
If you want to learn more about some basic uses of aromatherapy, you can watch my talk with Carrie Vitt on 30 practical uses of essential oils. After scouring the research and talking to experts about the best brands of essential oils, I landed on these oils as the best for my family and I.
Find a gym or spa facility with a sauna to help sweat out your stress (quite literally!). Or, I found it more cost effective to buy a small one for the home. We use it all the time now and our per use cost is less than your Starbucks coffee — which you’re giving up anyway, right? We chose the Clearlight Sauna because it emits zero EMFs, has a combination carbon/ceramic heater fan, and was designed by a doctor. We chose one of the basic models that could accommodate 2 people. It’s just perfect and is housed on our patio…you can also put these in your garage or home if you have the space.
6. Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is not only a wonderful way to stimulate your lymphatic system and help detox every day, it’s also an invigorating pick-me-up to do first thing in the morning. For me, I think it’s even better at waking me up than my old cup of coffee — for real!
Step 3: Rebalance your thyroid
Finally, we have to work to rebalance our thyroid and the hormones it puts out.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your throat, right below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid makes, stores and releases thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) into your blood. This process affects almost every cell in your body, helping control the body’s functions and it has a profound effect on cellular energy and metabolism.
The thyroid gland works together with your pituitary gland and hypothalamus to control the amount of thyroid hormone in your body. For some of you, this information will be old hat. But for those just starting out, here’s a closer look at how the thyroid works.
- The hypothalamus gland sends a message using thyroid releasing hormone (TRH) to your pituitary gland.
- Your pituitary gland then determines how to stimulate the thyroid by sending thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
- TSH stimulates your thyroid to produce inactive T4 and active T3 (thyroid hormones);
- The inactive T4 goes to your liver and intestinal tract to be converted to active T3.
- Active T3 goes straight to the bloodstream to be delivered to your cells.
Active T3 is the hormone used by our cells to produce energy and protective steroid hormones. Our thyroid only makes 10% of the active T3 we need to function properly. The rest of the Active T3 (the other 90%) is created when T4 gets converted in the liver.
The more I’ve learned about the thyroid, the more it seems to be in charge of everything that goes on in the body from basic aspects of body function to all the major systems. (It’s actually kind of annoying that it’s such a big deal!) Every cell in our body has thyroid hormone receptors, which can be affected by inflammation and autoimmunity, and so every system in your body can be affected when your thyroid is off.
Most doctors prescribe thyroid medication to combat these problems, but thyroid medication only increases the levels of T4 in the blood. No matter how much we take, it’s not going to restore HPT axis coordination with your adrenal glands, improve the function of those hormone receptors on your cells, or improve conversion of T4 to T3 in your liver.
In fact, taking too much thyroid medication can actually make your hormone imbalance problems worse, by flooding your body with T4, which can really mess up your liver.
Of course, you may need to take thyroid medication or glandular supplement initially to help improve your symptoms, but the goal should always be to heal the actual root causes — so that you no longer need the thyroid medication. Think of it like taking cold medicine; we know that cold medicine doesn’t actually cure the cold, but it makes us feel better while we work on healing.
I was able to completely reverse my thyroid condition without medication, so I know it can be done! But if you’re already on medication, don’t worry, because I’ve helped hundreds of women decrease their need for medications with pesky side effects so that they could wean off or eliminate them completely.
There are several important ways you can start balancing your thyroid hormones right away:
1. Eat more selenium.
Selenium is a vital nutrient for supporting your thyroid that many of us don’t get enough of. You can add more selenium to your diet by eating Brazil nuts, crimini mushrooms, cod, shrimp, tuna, halibut, salmon, scallops, chicken, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, lamb, and turkey. I eat 2 or 3 Brazil nuts every morning with breakfast or as a tasty snack.
2. Fight inflammation with a Paleo-style diet.
I’ve found that a Paleo-style diet that is heavier on healthy vegetables and fats, and lighter on grass-fed or wild-caught meats is just about the perfect diet for most people looking to heal their thyroid. It’s also perfect because it eliminates inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, and soy.
3. Balance your hormones.
The best resource I’ve found out there to not only balance your thyroid but also your hormones is the Cooking for Balance Workshop. This program teaches you simple and delicious ways to feed yourself and your family to rebalance your hormones.
As you can see, the reason it’s seems so challenging to heal your thyroid when you’re only treating the condition with medication, is because it’s not really addressing the root cause of the condition at all.
Knowing your thyroid healing type and implementing the suggestions above to support your gut, adrenals and thyroid can give you the energy, body and peace of mind you’ve been searching for…. so that you have the freedom again to do anything you’d want in life.
Want some more free thyroid coaching? Click here to get your thyroid healing type assessment and report + 20 free email coaching sessions with me that follow the exact steps I use with my one-on-one clients.
I’ll walk you through the baby steps you need to take to begin to heal without getting overwhelmed, plus offer resources for talking with your doctor to ensure you’re on the path to your best thyroid life!
If you’re ready to take action to overcome thyroid disease forever, I provide a ton of resources on healing your thyroid naturally, including:
- Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
- Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
- My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
- My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
- The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Remember, no matter what diagnosis you’re facing, you always have a choice. Taking small daily action will lead to big results and you can heal and have a normal life again!
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.