Most physicians and endocrinologists will say that in Hashimoto's, hypothyroidism is irreversible and ends with complete thyroid cell damage, leading to a lifelong requirement of thyroid hormone medications. However, this isn't true! It has been reported that thyroid function spontaneously returned in 20% of patients with Hashimoto's.
These individuals will return to normal thyroid function even after thyroid hormone replacement is withdrawn. (1,2)
Studies show that once the autoimmune attack ceases, the damaged thyroid has the ability to regenerate. Thyroid ultrasounds will show normal thyroid tissue that has regenerated, and the person will no longer test positive for TPO Antibodies. (3)
This regeneration may often be missed in adult patients because they are assumed to have hypothyroidism for life and antibodies and ultrasounds are not usually repeated after the initial diagnosis.
Most cases of hypothyroidism in the United States, Europe and Australia are caused by Hashimoto's, yet many people do not know that they have it.
In addition to the ultrasound and TPO antibodies, a test can be done by administering TRH (Thyroid Releasing Hormone), which will cause an increase in T3 and T4 if the thyroid has recovered. This test will help determine if the person can be weaned off thyroid medications safely. (2)
While this information is readily available in the scientific literature, most physicians do not attempt to administer TRH in an effort to see if patients could be weaned off of their thyroid medications.
What else are they missing?
When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's in 2009, I was told that there was noting I could do other than take medications for the rest of my life, in increasing doses, as my thyroid continued to burn itself out...
Conventional medicine has yet to recognize the impact of lifestyle modifications that can slow down, halt or reverse thyroid antibodies. While a lot of this information is available in the scientific literature and some progressive naturopaths, chiro's, nutritionists and alternative medicine practitioners have began implementing it with great results, these experts are often unattainable to the average Hashimoto's patient due to their extremely high costs.
Additionally, skepticism often keeps patients from reaching out to alternative practitioners. I can't blame them...I too have been taken advantage of, swindled and promised the world by unethical practitioners who prey on sick people who just want to feel better.
This is why I, as an established clinical pharmacist, decided to take on lifestyle interventions as a personal mission. I wanted to not only get better myself, but to also bring this information into the mainstream to help others with Hashimoto's. I hope that my background and experience will encourage people to take a second look.
People are recovering from Hashimoto’s every day. Some of them are recovering by accident, and some on purpose. I have been researching lifestyle interventions for Hashimoto's for the past three years and hope that this blog, my book and your own research will give you the tools to find and treat the root cause of Hashimoto’s so that you too can get better—on purpose!
Obviously there is way too much information to cover in one blog post, so I will be trickling the information out over the next few months . Please subscribe to the blog and like my Facebook page for updates.
Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP
1. Nanan R, Wall JR. Remission of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in a twelve-year-old girl with thyroid changes documented by ultrasonography. Thyroid 20(10), 2010
2. Davies, TF. Pathogenesis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (chronic autoimmune thyroiditis) Ross, DS. UpToDate
3. Takasu N et al. Test for recovery from hypothyroidism during thyroxine therapy in Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Lancet 1990 Nov 3 336 1084-1086