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To Medicate or Not to Medicate

In Hashimoto’s, the thyroid is constantly under attack from the immune system. Taking thyroid hormone helps, but this is short term. The body has optimal thyroid function when the TSH level is between 0.50 and 2.00. Hashimoto’s patients are not in this range.

Hashimoto’s patients will be told that they have a sluggish thyroid gland. However, the immune system is constantly attacking the thyroid gland and it barely has the chance to release enough thyroid hormone. Therefore, taking thyroid hormone will help restore healthy thyroid functioning and reduce thyroid inflammation.

Synthroid and its generic Levothyroxine are the most recommended thyroid medications. Both of these drugs contain T4, which is the inactive form of the T3 hormone. While 90% of patients will feel better after taking these medications, a small percentage will not rip the benefits. There is a small group of patients that are not able to convert T4 to T3.

These people can take T4/T3 combination medication, which has both inactive T4 and active T3, such as NatureThroid and Armour. Another option for these patients is taking compounded medication from a compounding pharmacist. Another option is taking Cytomel, which is a drug that contains T3 hormone alone.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition, which means there have to be triggers or root causes that cause the attacks. The following three things have to be present for an autoimmune attack to develop; correct genes, intestinal permeability (leaky gut), and triggers; this is according to Dr. Fasano. Addressing the root causes is the key to putting Hashimoto’s in remission.

There is nothing that can be done about the genes. But, intestinal permeability is treatable through taking food supplements such as zinc, and it is possible to control the triggers such as food sensitivities, stress, and nutrient deficiency.

Treating Hashimoto’s has a lot to do with lifestyle changes such as gluten free diet and managing stress. Even if Hashimoto’s will not go into complete remission, patients feel much better after addressing the triggers.

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