Hashimoto's Disease -- Causes and Top 10
Natural Remedies
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Last updated November 14, 2017, originally published March 29, 2011

By Louise Carr,  Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and certified articles are reviewed by Registered Nurses,
Certified fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial Boards.]

Are you tired all the time? Have you been gaining weight and
you're not sure why? Do you have difficulty concentrating?
Many conditions cause tiredness, sluggishness, weight gain
and difficulty concentrating. But there is one immune
disorder that you may not have considered that may explain
what's going on. All these symptoms could be caused by
"Hashimoto’s disease", a disorder of the thyroid.

Hashimoto’s disease, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is named
after Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto who first described it in 1912.

Hashimoto's is an auto-immune disease. In Hashimoto’s
disease, your immune system creates antibodies that attack,
inflame and damage your thyroid gland, a small butterfly-
shaped gland at the base of your neck. The damaged thyroid
is unable to produce enough thyroid hormone. There are 1
out of every 182 people in the US who have Hashimoto's
disease, according to the authoritative book on the disease
by Rose and Mackay, "The AutoImmune Diseases". The
American Accreditation HealthCare Commission states
Hashimoto’s disease affects between 0.1 and five percent of
all adults in Western countries. Women are 5 times more
likely than men to suffer from this disease.

Hashimoto’s disease often leads to an
underactive thyroid
hypothyroidism. As Mayo Clinic and other experts report,
Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of
hypothyroidism in the United States.

Hypothyroidism causes all your bodily functions to slow
down – from brain function to heart rate and the rate your
body turns food into energy. (Read more about
causes of

What Are The Symptoms of Hashimoto Disease?

You probably won’t realize you have Hashimoto’s disease or
hypothyroidism at first. Initial symptoms are mild and last a
long time. They include fatigue, weight gain and difficulty
concentrating. But over time symptoms can grow to be
severe and affect all the organs in your body. (Read more to
find out
reasons you are always tired.)

More obvious signs and symptoms of Hashimoto's disease
include increased sensitivity to the cold, pale and dry skin,
constipation, hoarse voice, puffy face, muscle aches and pain
in the joints. Will you notice a different shape to your
thyroid? Most often the thyroid enlarges only a little with
Hashimoto’s disease, and causes the front of your neck to
appear swollen.

What Are The Causes of Hashimoto’s Disease?

Experts don’t know why the immune systems attacks the
thyroid like it does – could it be a virus or bacterium, or a
genetic flaw? Some people are more at risk of Hashimoto’s
disease than others, according to experts, which is due to
their genes. Hashimoto’s disease tends to cluster in families.
A 1967 paper by Hall and Stanbury published in the Journal
of Clinical and Experimental Immunology noted thyroid
abnormalities with clinical outcomes were observed in 33
percent of offspring of patients with Hashimoto disease or
Graves' Disease.

Scientists are still looking to isolate the particular gene or
genes responsible. Sex hormones may also play a part –
women are more likely to get Hashimoto’s disease than men
and sex hormones may explain this statistic. Pregnancy
affects the thyroid gland and some women have problems
with their thyroid after having a baby. Radiation exposure
has been demonstrated to cause autoimmune thyroid
diseases. Are you at risk of Hashimoto’s disease? What can
you do to prevent Hashimoto’s disease?

Who Suffers From Hashimoto’s Disease?

You’re much more likely to suffer from Hashimoto’s disease if
you’re a woman – Hashimoto’s disease is around seven times
more common in women than men according to eMedicine.
com, although men and even children do suffer from
Hashimoto’s disease. The condition is more common in
middle age and later years.  

Is Hashimoto’s Disease Dangerous?

If you don’t treat hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s
disease, you could be storing up problems for later life.
Untreated Hashimoto’s disease can increase your risk of
heart disease, leave you at higher risk of having a baby born
with birth defects, and make you depressed. Your enlarged
thyroid may make it more difficult to speak or swallow.

The condition may be difficult to spot but you benefit if you
catch Hashimoto’s disease early. According to a 2011 study,
even if your levels of thyroid hormone are still normal,
Hashimoto’s disease can decrease your quality of life. The
study from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria found
women with Hashimoto’s disease had symptoms like fatigue,
irritability and weight gain even when their thyroid function
was normal.

What can you do if you have Hashimoto’s disease? Doctors
usually replace thyroid hormones with synthetic hormones.
Oral levothyroxine is the most common drug to take. But are
there any natural remedies you can try? What works well to
combat the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease and
subsequent hypothyroidism? We’ve checked out the latest
medical research for the natural remedies most likely to help

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Hashimoto's Disease

1. Natural Thyroid Hormone to Treat Hashimoto’s Disease

While synthetic levothyroxine is doctor-recommended, many
experts claim thyroid hormone from the thyroid glands of
pigs is just as effective in treating Hashimoto’s disease and
hypothyroidism. Studies haven’t found this natural thyroid
hormone, sold under prescription as Armour Thyroid, to be
better than the synthetic, but many people prefer to take it
as a more natural alternative to synthetic hormones.

Selenium is a Treatment for Hashimoto’s Disease

Selenium supports your thyroid. Selenium, the trace mineral
that we use to produce antioxidants that works with Vitamin
E, may be a remedy for hypothyroidism, according to 2010
research from Papageorgiou General Hospital, Thessaloniki,

Researchers found selenium supplementation resulted in
significantly lower thyroid autoantibodies (the chemicals that
attack the thyroid in Hashimoto’s disease) and improvements
in wellbeing and mood.

Foods rich in selenium include meat, seafood and dairy, as
well as wheat germ,
nuts, oats, bran, whole wheat bread,
brown rice and orange juice.

Bacopa monnieri For Hashimoto’s Disease?

The flower Bacopa monnieri grows throughout Southern
Asia and is reportedly useful for stimulating the thyroid. A
2002 study from Devi Ahilya University, India found an
extract of B. monnieri increased quantities of thyroid
hormone in male mice. Bacopa monnieri is used in traditional
Indian Ayurveda medicine to assist the mind and enhance

Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine as a Hashimoto’s
Disease Treatment

Chinese herbal medicine is a traditional means of treating the
diseases and conditions that affect our bodies. According to
some studies, Chinese herbal medicine helps treat
hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. For example, a
1988 study by Kuang Ankun et al entitled “Observation on
curative effects of Chinese herb and Western drug therapies
for primary hypothyroidism” used tablets with codonopsis
and astragalus, and epimedium, curculigo, and cuscuta to
treat the condition, resulting in improved symptoms, and
increased thyroid hormone.

Can Zinc Treat Hashimoto’s Disease?

Zinc may help fight Hashimoto's disease. According to
research (including a 1979 study by Hartoma, Sotaniemi and
Maattanen entitled “Effect of zinc on some biochemical
indices of metabolism”), thyroid hormone levels are lower in
people who also have lower blood levels of zinc. Does zinc
deficiency account for incidences of Hashimoto’s disease?
Our Western diet is marginally low in zinc but more research
is needed to see if zinc supplements could be useful in
preventing hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease.

Be Careful With Iodine When Treating Hashimoto’s Disease

Iodine deficiency causes low thyroid levels, so you may think
that by taking iodine supplements or eating lots of seaweed
will increase your thyroid levels and ward off hypothyroidism.

Be careful – if you’re not deficient in iodine (and most of us
aren’t), iodine supplements won’t help and may actually
cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (overactive
thyroid), according to 1991 research from the University of
Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales.  

Foods to Avoid If You Have Hashimoto’s Disease

If you’re taking levothyroxine for Hashimoto’s disease and
hypothyroidism, experts advise you to avoid some foods that
affect the drug’s absorption.

Risky foods include a lot of soy, or a very high-fiber diet.
According to a 1988 study from the Hazard Evaluation
Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency vegetables
like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower
contain natural "goitrogens" – thyroid gland-enlarging
chemicals that interfere with your thyroid hormones.

Soy, sweet potatoes, maize, millet and lima beans are also
goitrogens. Doctors advise against large quantities of these
foods if you already have hypothyroidism, but bear in mind
eating these healthy foods has not been proven to cause

Vitamin A as a Hashimoto’s Disease Remedy

A few studies claim people with hypothyroidism have a lesser
ability to convert beta-carotene to
Vitamin A (including a
1993 study from Krankenhauses der Barmherzigen Brüder
Graz-Eggenberg, Germany.)

Some doctors suggest supplementing with Vitamin A if you
have hypothyroidism and you don’t get enough of the
vitamin in your diet.

Acupuncture Helps You Combat Hashimoto’s Disease

Acupuncture is an ancient art and suggested as treatment for
a range of diverse conditions. Acupuncture can treat
hypothyroidism, experts claim.

One 1993 study from the Shanghai Medical University in
China tested acupuncture on 32 patients with
hypothyroidism for one year and found symptoms were
improved at the end of the study period. Acupuncture is also
reported to reduce symptoms of stress and depression that
can come along with Hashimoto’s disease and
hypothyroidism. (Read more about
natural remedies for

Can Too Much Vitamin B3 Cause Problems with

A 1995 study from National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda,
Maryland found 2.6g of
Vitamin B3 (niacin) lowered thyroid
hormone levels, so should you stop taking Vitamin B3
supplements if you have Hashimoto’s disease?

Seek medical advice – in this study the patients didn’t
experience hypothyroidism after a year and longer but in
another 1992 case report from the Mayo Clinic one person
was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after taking niacin for
high cholesterol.

11. Gut Bacteria May Trigger Hashimoto's

A 2012 study from JR Sendai Hospital in Japan has theorized
that imbalances in your natural gut bacteria environment
(the  "microbiome") may trigger Hashimoto's disease. The
study, though preliminary, offers an intriguing possible
solution for this baffling disease. For other auto-immune
disease, changing your microbiome would involve eating pre-
biotic foods such as radishes, aspargus and carrots to
encourage growth of beneficial bacteria.


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Home  > Conditions  > Thyroid
Problems >You Are Here

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Life
Oprah Winfrey is one of many famous
people who suffers from thyroid disorders
such as Hashimoto's disease. Winfrey
came forward in 1997 to disclose her
condition that causes sleeplessness and
accelerated weight gain.

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Orange juice is rich in selenium, which combats the symptoms of Hashimoto's disease.
Add orange slices to your salads for a refreshing change that also
helps to boost your selenium levels. Selenium fights Hashimoto's
disease and stomach, bladder and, in some cases, prostate cancer.
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