What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and How Is It Treated? – An Interview with Dr. Holtorf

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Interviewer: Hi! We’re here today at the Holtorf Medical Group with Dr. Holtorf. Today we’re going to be talking about Hashimoto’s disease. So Dr. Holtorf, Hashimoto’s has been in the news a lot lately and a lot of controversy surrounding it. So what exactly is Hashimoto’s?

Dr. Holtorf: Well, what is Hashimoto’s… I think it’s great that people are bringing out more awareness because it’s very common and certainly getting more common. Basically, Hashimoto’s is when the body is attacking the thyroid. Instead of trying to fight an infection, it’s going after the thyroid. So it’s an autoimmune disease.

Interviewer: Okay. I know a lot of doctors say this, and this is another controversial statement, but are there any treatments for it?

Dr. Holtorf: You know, there is. Absolutely! You get a lot of endocrinologists and doctors say, “Why check it if you can’t do anything about it?” But you can get significant benefits from numerous treatments depending on what the cause is. It is treatable.

Interviewer: Okay. What would be some of the treatments that you’d suggest?

Dr. Holtorf: One thing, when you look at the underlying cause of Hashimoto’s… So, you have two sides to your immune system. You have TH1 and TH2. TH1 gets stuff inside of the cells. TH2 gets stuff outside the cells. Normally they are balanced. What happens with autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s is the TH1 is too low and the TH2 is too high. So there’s an imbalance of the immune system. Now what causes this? Many things! Chronic infections… If you look at all autoimmune disease, probably about 90% +, if not 100%, are driven by a chronic infection. Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, MS, all related to an infection. Kill the infection and the autoimmunity goes away. It can also be caused by allergies. For instance, gluten is a big cause of Hashimoto’s. So either fighting the infection and/or–often they go together…. You can get a chronic infection which then causes the immune dysfunction. Now you’re allergic to gluten, for instance, which you weren’t before, and it becomes this viscous cycle. It becomes the chicken and the egg–which came first? We don’t know.

Interviewer: It’s interesting that you mention that because many people say stuff about going gluten and dairy free and it really helps them. Do you see that a lot with your patients?

Dr. Holtorf: It certainly can help. Does it work for everyone? No, but it is certainly a good place to start. Often times you do get some benefit from that.

Interviewer: What about iodine?

Dr. Holtorf: Iodine is controversial. If you read all the textbooks, it says do not take iodine because you can cause autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s. In the short-term that is definitely true, but the long-term data is showing that long-term iodine can actually reduce the incidence of Hashimoto’s. We would recommend doing a blood test as you don’t want too much or too little. Also, supplement, but you have to be very careful with Hashimoto’s or the opposite, Graves’ disease, which is actually caused by the same thing–the antibodies attacking the thyroid, but one happens to attach to the receptors and one causes high, one causes low, but they’re really the same illness.

Interviewer: I do see that you have a couple of items here. Are these specifically for Hashimoto’s?

Dr. Holtorf: We do have a few here. Thyrodine which is iodine. ThyroRx which has a number of different supplements which will modulate the immune system and allow the body to stop attacking the thyroid. We see a good response with those. A lot of things are now coming back to the gut–majority of the immune system is found there. The gut bacteria often determine the amount of inflammation in the body. Again, if you have somewhat high inflammation, you’re going to be at high risk for allergies, sensitivities, autoimmune disease, and by balancing with probiotics, high-dose probiotics, can often make a difference.

Interviewer: One last question, I know that you recently wrote a chapter in a book on LDN. Can that help Hashimoto’s?

Dr. Holtorf: Low dose Naltrexone, LDN, is probably the number one if you had to pick one treatment that is most likely going to work. What it is… Naltrexone is used for someone if they overdose on pain pills/narcotics, the hospital will give them Naltrexone which blocks that. This is a very high dose. But we’ve found that at very low dose it’s an immune modulator. It lowers that inflammation. It can be used for chronic infections such as Lyme because it raises that good immunity. So we actually use immune boosters for Hashimoto’s like Thymosin Alpha 1, which raises TH1. People often ask, “Why would you use an immune booster for Hashimoto’s which is high immunity?” It’s actually not high immunity, it’s high and low. It’s imbalanced. So low dose Naltrexone does both–it raises the good immunity and lowers the bad. Which is why it’s also used in cancer to raise the immune system. In chronic infections and chronic fatigue syndrome all these things are associated with an abnormal immune system which is the same thing that’s going on with Hashimoto’s.

Interviewer: Well thank you for all that information and for clearing those things up, Dr. Holtorf!

Treating Hashimoto’s Properly

At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to properly diagnose and treat your thyroid condition, optimize your health and improve your quality of life. If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, but aren’t getting the treatment you need or if you have symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!

How HMG Has Helped Others: Patient Testimonial

Western medicine couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was having anxiety attacks, heart palpitations and seizures. Dr Bullington found I was hypothyroid. I am on medication and am feeling so much better. She has helped me so much. I am so glad I found this place. I am able to function and take back my life. – Lauren F.

Read more reviews here!

About Holtorf Medical Group

The Holtorf Medical Group specializes in optimizing quality of life and being medical detectives to uncover the underlying cause of symptoms, rather than just prescribing medications to cover-up the symptoms. We are experts in natural, prescription bioidentical hormone replacement and optimization, complex endocrine dysfunction, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease.

We’ve dedicated our practice to providing you the best in evidenced-based, integrative medicine that’s not only safe and effective, but provides measurable results.