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A Diet for Hashimoto's Disease

author image Ann Louise Truschel
An organic chemist with a Master of Science from Case-Western Reserve University and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University, Ann Louise Truschel has been a freelance medical and business writer since 1982. Her client list includes big pharma, insurers, CME firms, medical journals, trade magazines, professional medical organizations, newspapers and The Department of Defense.
A Diet for Hashimoto's Disease
Microscopic Image of a Thyroid Gland Photo Credit Duncan Smith/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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

A Diet for Hashimoto's Disease
Fatigue can be a symptom of Hasimoto's disease. Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

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

A Diet for Hashimoto's Disease
You'll need a regular blood test. Photo Credit Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

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

A Diet for Hashimoto's Disease
Supplements may help you deal with symptoms. Photo Credit NA/Photos.com/Getty Images

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

A Diet for Hashimoto's Disease
Certain foods can make your condition worse. Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

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.

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