The Root Causes of Thyroid Disease
An estimated 12 percent of the population of the United States will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. (1) The incidence of autoimmune thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s (hypo) Thyroiditis, and Graves’ (hyperthyroidism) Disease doubled from 1932 through 1976. From 1976 through 2010 it went from a relatively rare, 10% of all cases of thyroid disease, to an estimated 90% of all cases of hypothyroidism.(2)
Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system confuses our own body’s tissue as a foreign invader, attacking itself in a mistaken attempt to protect itself.
I turn to two wise, elderly, street smart aunts, Freida age 89, and Audrey, age 83, for a practical explanation.
Aunt Freida, G-d love her, she of thinning hair, poor eyesight, a beautiful singing voice, wisdom from the old country, and more than a little dementia, (at age 87 she plowed her 1987 Chevy Citation into a legally parked $80,000 BMW 750i. A week later she asked; Where is my car? “ “You wrecked it.” “ I did?”), after another calamity in my life, would shake her bony index finger at me, ala Bill Clinton and proclaim; “You are the cause of your own trouble.”
Aunt Audrey, age 83, a little less forgetful, just as outspoken, summed up my worldly troubles thusly: “You dumb boy, you.”
In a nutshell, Aunt Freida and Aunt Audrey, in their own way, summarized the root cause of thyroid disease better than any Harvard based researcher. The thyroid gland attacks itself, causing its’ own troubles. It gets in trouble, falling for the same insincere “lines” over and over again, because it is “dumb.”
The 6 Root Causes of Autoimmunity in the Thyroid Gland:
- Gastrointestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome)
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Infectious diseases
- Adrenal insufficiency, or “burnout,”
- Iodine deficiency
- Nutrient deficiency.
While each is a seemingly disparate entity, the mechanism of action in every instance, be it a GI, toxic metal, infection, adrenal, iodine or other nutrient issue, is essentially the same.
Molecular mimicry is the term used when one set of tissues closely resembles another totally different set of tissues. Thyroid molecules, unfortunately, closely resemble, in one form or another, all of the above “disease” entities.
When the brain detects that circulating thyroid is low, the pituitary gland, via Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, instructs the thyroid to produce more storage (T4) hormone and usable (T3) hormone. If a chemically similar, but foreign substance is present, the thyroid utilizes it, thinking it is producing thyroid hormone. The body realizes it does not have the proper amount of thyroid hormone on board to function properly and signals the brain to produce more (false) hormone.
Eventually the immune system is alerted, produces antibodies to protect the itself from these “invading” entities, resulting in inflammation and end organ damage.
Following the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American Thyroid Association’s self declared “standard” treatment of hypothyroidism, “replacement with levothyroxine,(4) and its’ companion declaration, “Any treatment of thyroid disease other than desiccated T4 (levoxyI, levothyroxine, or Synthroid), is outside the realm of medicine,(5) is patently ridiculous.
Without treating the root cause, the disease entity will continue ad infinitum. A 55 gallon drum of synthetic thyroid replacement hormone would never be sufficient treatment.
In the G.I. tract, gluten, lactose and night shades damage the intestinal lining, leading to improper nutrient absorption. Food particles are misinterpreted as foreign bodies, the immune system reacts by creating the above mentioned antibodies, setting in motion the (dysfunctional) autoimmune scenario cascade.
Mercury, in sushi, and dental fillings, perchlorate in fireworks and fertilizer, and
nitrates in fertilizer and processed or cured meats like hot dogs and bacon, are the molecularly similar heavy metal and toxic players.
Infectious disease mimics include Herpes, Ebstein-Barr, (Mononucleosis), and Hepatits C viruses, and Yersinia enterocolitica (food poisoning), and H. pylori (stomach ulcers) bacterial infections.
Excess cortisol is the body’s response to chronic stress leading to “burnout” or adrenal fatigue. Cortisol signals the brain to lower the production of other hormones until the stress passes. In this modern era of never ending stresses, our cortisol levels never” rest.” Cortisol is chronically high. Thyroid hormone is produced on the same pathway as cortisol and is “unwittingly” lowered. (‘You dumb thyroid, you.) In addition, the thyroid hormone that is produced is frequently ‘inert,’ the false flag reverse T3 we spoke ofpreviously.
Iodine, a member of the halogen family, is necessary for the production of T4. Fluoride, found in toothpaste, chlorine, found in swimming pool water, and bromine, found in flour, (a gluten-toxin double whammy), are also halogens. They mimic iodine, causing displacement and thyroid dysfunction. (You dumb thyroid, again.)
Lastly, a deficiency in a variety of nutrients, including selenium, magnesium, and zinc among others, creates molecular mimicry and autoimmune dysfunction.
Aunt Audrey was right. The thyroid is a dumb boy, or girl.
As a reminder, hypothyroid symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, pale, puffy face, feeling cold, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry, thinning hair, heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods, slowed heart rate, difficulty getting pregnant, and depression.(6)
Hyperthyroid symptoms represent the flip side of the coin; rapid heart rate, anxiety and panic, attacks, insomnia, weight loss, hair loss, elevated body temperature, tremors and diarrhea.
The risk of elevated blood pressure, Hashimoto’s Disease, and depression in relation to the thyroid can be seen with a TSH reading as low as 1.9. At 2.0, elevated markers for cardiac and carotid (c-Reactive Protein and Homocysteine) disease are evident. When the TSH is 3.3 or greater severe forms of depression, increased body mass index, and blood sugar abnormalities are common. These are all within the confines of a “normal” thyroid.(7)
On a positive note, hypothyroid children, thanks to better antibiotics, better diagnostic techniques, sanitation and treatment strategies, now survive into adulthood and pass on their genetic code. Sociologists tracking various patient populations, including hypothyroid patients, find these individuals lead relatively sedentary lifestyles, attract similarly quiescent (hypothyroid) mates, reproduce, and further extend the gene pool.(8)
Negative influences include the rise of autoimmune diseases, dietary and gastrointestinal health issues, environmental toxins and lingering, low grade and infections diseases.(9)