Hashimoto’s disease, also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disorder in which your body makes antibodies that affect the function of your thyroid gland. The thyroid may become inflamed and underactive, a condition known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy to avoid serious complications. In addition, you can include certain nutritional supplements that may help reduce symptoms. You should be aware of foods that can interfere with thyroid medication and avoid them.
Signs and Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease vary widely and can include fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, puffy face, hoarseness, high cholesterol, hair loss, memory loss, irritability, weight gain, muscle and joint aches, weakness, flaky nails, heavy or prolonged periods and depression. Left untreated, Hashimoto’s disease can lead to goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland, enlarged heart or even heart failure, severe depression, slowed mental capabilities, severe intolerance to cold, extreme sleepiness, unconsciousness, coma and birth defects.
Medication for Hashimoto’s Disease
Hypothyroidism resulting from Hashimoto’s disease is very easily treated with levothyroxine, a medication that replaces the thyroxine that your thyroid gland is not longer producing or is producing in insufficient quantity. You’ll begin to feel better soon after you begin taking the medication. You’ll need a blood test every 6-12 months to make sure your thyroxine levels are in the normal range, and you will need to take the medication for the rest of your life.
Foods and Supplements that May Help You Deal with Symptoms
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends eating whole-grain foods high in iron and the B vitamins when you have Hashimoto's disease. Include fresh fruits and vegetables and other antioxidant foods in your diet daily. Fish oil may boost your immunity and L-tyrosine supplements can help you make more thyroid hormone. Herbs, such as coleus standardized extract and guggul standardized extract, taken 2 to 3 times a day may help support low thyroid activity. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplement or herbal remedy.
Foods and Supplements to Avoid
Avoid iodine supplements because they can actually cause hypothyroidism. Iron supplements and soy products can interfere with thyroid medication. Leafy and cruciform greens, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and mustard greens, along with peanuts, pine nuts and millet, can make your thyroid condition worse. Tell your doctor if you are taking calcium supplements, antacids and medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and ulcers because these can interfere with your thyroid medication.