Hashimoto’s is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity can occur a few different ways, but eventually the thyroid gland progressively becomes underactive due to antibody and cell-mediated autoimmune processes.
Integrative doctors using functional medicine work mainly with environmental triggers to address the underlying dysfunction in autoimmune disease. These may be food triggers such as gluten, or food sensitivities that can trigger inflammation as well as offending compounds co-ingested with the food, such as toxins or molds. Additionally, an individual’s nutrient status can also affect their reactions to these factors, be that antioxidant status, vitamin and mineral repletion, essential fatty acids, etc. Gut health—including “leaky gut” and dysbiosis—is another factor that affects susceptibility to autoimmune processes. Proper immune function can also be altered by the presence of various toxins in the body, such as heavy metals and xenobiotics.
According to a study published last month in Advanced Biomedical Research, researchers demonstrated that selenium reduces antibody levels in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
In this study, seventy patients ranging from 18 to 60 years of age with Hashimoto’s were divided into two groups. One group received 200 mcg of selenium with levothyroxine and the other group received a placebo along with the medication. Laboratory assessment included serum selenium levels, TSH, freeT4, free T3, and thyroid antibodies at baseline and three months later.
Results indicated that compared to placebo, the mean thyroid peroxidase antibody level was significantly lower after treatment in the selenium group. Selenium is involved in the metabolism and regulation of thyroid hormones and is an antioxidant which has protective properties.
Another nutrient to consider is inositol. Myo-inositol is a second messenger regulating several hormones such as insulin and TSH.
A study published last year in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences demonstrated that inositol at 600 mg a day and selenium at 83 mcg per day significantly reduced TSH levels in Hashimoto’s patients with subclinical hypothyroidism and increased thyroid hormone concentrations. In addition, there was a reduction in TPO and thyroglobulin antibody concentrations.