bottles of supplements with text overlay - Healing Hashimoto's Thyroiditis [Part 6] How I Keep My Thyroid Antibodies Low

How I Keep My Thyroid Antibodies Low: My Hashimoto’s Management Plan

Anna Hashimoto's Disease, Living Well with Autoimmune Disease 21 Comments

bottles of supplements with text overlay - Healing Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: How I Keep My Thyroid Antibodies Close to ZeroThis is Part 6 of my Healing Hashimoto’s series which outlines my personal experience with Hashimoto’s Disease.  The other posts in this series include:

Part 1 – 26 Symptoms That Led to My Diagnosis

Part 2 – Why I Became My Own Advocate for My Hashimoto’s Disease Treatment

Part 3 – My Hashimoto’s Disease Treatment: 24 Interventions I’ve Tried So Far

Part 4 – 10 Steps I’d Take if I Was Diagnosed Today

Part 5 – How I Reduced My Thyroid Antibodies from Over 2000 to (Almost) Zero

Part 7 – How I Reversed Chronic Pain & Put My Hashimoto’s in Remission

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.  The information in this post cannot be used to treat or diagnose any disease.


In case you haven’t read the beginning of my antibody journey, head on over to read: How I Reduced My Hashimoto’s Thyroid Antibodies from Over 2000 to (Almost) Zero.  And then come back here after!

I first want to preface that from the time I was diagnosed in 2010 until now, I have been continuously searching for new interventions to try.

So, really, I expect to see my thyroid antibodies trending downwards over the years.  My knowledge of what works for ME continues to grow and I am healthier each year as a result.

The plan I’m going to outline in this post is the management plan I used for about 2-3 years to keep my antibodies low and stable, until I found a few more things that eventually eliminated them all together and put my Hashimoto’s into full remission.  Aside from taking thyroid medication, I still follow this plan, but with a few additions/tweaks I talk about in the next post of this series.

My Hashimoto’s Management Plan

Thyroid Medication

Due to the years of constant and unaddressed bombardment on my thyroid, I am dealing with some damage.  I still need thyroid hormone supplementation, though it is less than I needed before.

You may be surprised to hear that my goal has never been to stop using thyroid medication (of course, it would be welcomed).

Instead, my focus is supplementing with what my body needs but can’t produce.  Right now, it definitely needs extra support so that the rest of me can thrive.

Currently, I use Westhroid Pure natural dessicated thyroid and I love it.  It is pure and clean, with only 2 inactive ingredients.

UPDATE May 2020: I am surprised and elated to say that I am no longer taking any thyroid medication.  Read the next post in this series to find out more!

Diet

Diet is my non-negotiable.  Without a healing, nutrient-dense diet, I’d be VERY sick.

This is so important that I go to great lengths to eat the food I need to stay well… I do NOT cheat.  Not even a crumb.

I don’t eat out because of cross-contamination risks (unless it is at a strict, gluten-free vegan restaurant – not because I’m vegan, but because many vegan restaurants are allergy-friendly).

My diet falls between a Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol type of diet.

My focus is on LOW SUGAR, LESS MEAT and MORE VEGGIES.  I’ve noticed a major difference in how I feel ever since we doubled the vegetables in every dish and halved the meat (which saves us money too).

I eat plenty of homemade fermented foods, bone broth, and warming foods like soups and stews.  My “treats” are dark chocolate, coconut milk yogurt, and fruit with nut butters.

Supplements

With the help of blood testing, my own research, trial and error, and all of my doctors’ help throughout the years, I have landed on a supplement plan that works amazingly (and I am ecstatic because supplement experimentation is EXPENSIVE).  It includes:

Sleep

Sleep was always a priority back in the day because of my chronic fatigue.  But now, without the need to sleep 24/7, I have to make sure I get enough.  I do this in two ways:

  1. 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
  2. Strict nap/quiet time routines with my kids.  This is a safety net that allows me time for a nap if I need one.  There are still days I need extra rest, especially if the kids keep me up at night.
Also, NO CAFFEINE!

No coffee.  No energy drinks.  Not even tea.  I feel better without it all.  If I am in an energy slump, I’ve experimented with and found that I tolerate an adaptogenic tea blend called RASA.  I blend it up with some coconut cream, a touch of maple syrup, and cinnamon.  So good.

Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care

These are therapies I started out of desperation for VERY specific reasons that had nothing to do with my Hashimoto’s Disease:

  • Chiropractic for wide-spread pain from carrying a backpack.
  • Acupuncture for help with conceiving (and keeping) a pregnancy.

Both therapies were (and still are) so helpful in more ways than I can list, but I’ll name a few:

  • Acupuncture cured my 6 months of post-partum vertigo in 1 visit.
  • Chiropractic care helped me decrease my thyroid medication dosage within the first few months of starting regular visits.
  • Both are helpful for PAIN and STRESS – two things that go hand in hand when dealing with autoimmune disease.
  • Chiropractic care is literally a lifesaver during pregnancy for hip and back pain.

I have tried to drop them due to cost, but always find myself going back.  After a couple years of doing this, I decided to just add them on to my treatment plan and budget for the costs.

If there is ever a time that I start experiencing chronic symptoms, I increase the frequency of my visits.

Non-Toxic Products

I have always been sensitive to artificial ingredients in foods and cosmetic products: dyes, flavorings, preservatives, but especially artificial scents.

Once I removed all the artificially scented products: laundry products, air fresheners, hand soap, dish soap, body wash, shampoo, all hair products, etc… basically everything, I noticed a huge shift in my health.

The best way to explain the feeling after I use artificially scented products is: “heavy.”  It’s like my body is run-down when I am exposed to the scents.  I also develop a sore throat and headache within minutes.

And when I don’t use them, I feel totally refreshed – clearer, healthier.

So… I don’t use them.  Simple.

Homeopathy

I discovered Homeopathy in 2016.  After having a good laugh about it, I realized we were actually using it for our daughter’s teething pain with great success.

You can read more about it (including why I laughed), in this post – Homeopathy for Beginners: What the Heck is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy has removed the need to use OTC and prescription drugs, many of which carry side effects and can’t even be used if you have thyroid disease (like decongestants, which I learned the hard way…).

Once you find the right remedy, homeopathy WORKS.  And it is incredibly impressive.

Just within the last year, homeopathy has:

  • Stopped a throat-swelling dairy reaction in its tracks.
  • Alleviated my morning sickness during pregnancy.
  • Completely resolved my hormone-related migraine headaches.
  • Relieved my debilitating leg cramps (the ones that make you hop out of bed in the middle of the night because they are so painful).

You can read more about the ways I use homeopathy in this post – 4 Ways I Use Homeopathy to Manage Autoimmune Disease.

Homeopathy *could* be a reason why my thyroid antibodies have stayed close to zero, but that would be hard to prove, so I can’t be sure.  If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use homeopathy to manage your Hashimoto’s or autoimmune disease, be sure to check out Joette Calabrese.

Chewing My Food COMPLETELY / Using Digestive Enzymes

I mentioned before that diet is my non-negotiable.  But what’s the point if my body can’t absorb the nutrients?

Eating slower, taking smaller bites, chewing my food completely, and supplementing with digestive enzymes helps tremendously!

After years of the food-coma type feeling, I finally realized it was possible to have a boost of energy after eating.  It is very exciting!

It also helps with the stools… I’ll leave it at that.

Stress Management and Self-Care

SO important.  Yet so hard to do.  In fact, at my last appointment with my functional medicine doctor, he rattled off a bunch of tests that were high and his reasoning was always…

“This is high because of stress, but since you’re a mom… it’s hard not to be stressed, so…”

Sigh…

There are two things that really help to keep my stress down:

  • Daily prayer and time with God – absolutely crucial.
  • Walking OUTSIDE in the fresh air.  I also make sure I breathe, like not just enough to live, but slow deep breaths to completely fill my lungs with fresh air.

Plus, with acupuncture and chiropractic care, I have two very effective handles on my stress, being a mom and all.

So, to recap:

  • Thyroid medication
  • Diet
  • Supplements
  • Sleep
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Non-toxic Products
  • Homeopathy
  • Chewing food/using digestive enzymes
  • Stress management and self-care (daily prayer and walking)

It’s a long list, and it took me many years to figure it out.

It’s important to note that there are so many options… SO MANY!  And it’s overwhelming at first, but keep searching and trying new things.

You will land on the things that work so well for YOU too!  Sometimes, unexpected surprises will happen, and you might just put your Hashimoto’s into remission without meaning to.  This is exactly what happened to me.  Click below to read:

How I Reversed My Chronic Pain & Put My Hashimoto’s in Remission

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bottles of supplements with text overlay - Healing Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: How I Keep My Thyroid Antibodies Close to Zero

Comments 21

  1. What cleaning products, shampoos, make up etc do you recommend? I cleaned the other day and was so sore and tired after two hours. I think the chemicals contributed to that.
    Do you have a list of good brands?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Erin! Thanks for reading. It’s really encouraging that you noticed a reaction to cleaning because it means you are really paying attention to your body’s signals. I don’t have a list on our blog yet… but it is definitely something that is important. I’ll be sure to add a list in the near future! In the mean time, take a look at the Environmental Working Group website to help you pick cleaner products. And a good rule of thumb is to always look for plant-based cleaners with no artificial or synthetic fragrance.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Marcia, thanks for reading! I do not have a blog post about it yet, but I plan on writing one soon. When it’s ready, I’ll reply here with the link!

  2. Hi Anna hope you get this message , I am so grateful for people like you that are so willing to help others like me . You have given me so much hope and peace as I recently had a car accident that lead me to get my neck checked and they found a small nodule in the X-ray . I had suspected my thyroid was off and was getting ready to see my Dr anyway . Reading slot right now I came across your article and had moved me to tears . Yes everything starts with God . Absolutely no other way . The rest is Him and I and a big major change in life . Thank you for your hard work looking up so much info . It definitely will be part of my life now . Thank you Esther

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Esther. Thank you so much for your kind words! Just from your comments, I know you are on the right path to finding the answers you need, especially with God on your side. I wish you all the wellness in the world and will be praying for you!

  3. Hi Anna,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have been diagnosed with Hashimotos for the last three years, my antibodies went from 90 in 2015, to 2000 in 2018 and then up again 2200 this past week:( I feel like I’ve tried everything! I do not eat gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, sugar, I try to be careful of cross contamination but I live with a family that eats gluten, and I eat out only a few restaurants I feel are *safe* but I should prob be even more careful. I’ve been working on healing from gastritis for the last YEAR, I can’t seem to figure out my triggers and what combo of supplements may help heal, I seem to react to a lot of ones I’ve tried…
    I’m contemplating trying LDN, but the trick will be finding a Dr that will prescribe… Did you have to find a Functional Dr to prescribe it to you?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Whittney, I am so sorry to hear you are going through this, and totally understand your frustration. I did have to find a functional medicine doctor to prescribe LDN, but I’ve also heard of conventional doctors who are starting to use it by the request of their patients. It sounds like you could really benefit from working with a functional medicine practitioner to help sort out some underlying root causes (infections, mold, heavy metals, etc.) that could be contributing to the continual rise of your antibodies. Have you read Dr. Izabella Wentz’s books? Hashimoto’s Root Cause and Hashimoto’s Protocol. I think they would be very helpful in your situation, just to give you some ideas and guide discussions with your doctor. The good news is that there is a ton more you can try to help reduce those antibodies. You’ll find your answers soon enough. You’re already half-way there! Be sure to come back and let us know how you’re doing.

  4. Thank you for writing this. I am 34 year old female. Went into an ENT, for my tonsils and came out with an ultrasound scan for 3 nodules on my thyroid. I had elevated antibodies, the whole thing with my thyroid and am scheduled an apt with an endocrinologist this week to go over everything. *fingers* I’m hoping it’s just Hashimotos and not cancer. Your post gives me so much hope when I’ll be honest, I was losing some, and I am such a positive person. So I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write this, and giving hope to those who need it. I’ll continue to follow you and will most definitely be following your tips and advice through ur post. Thank you again.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Emily, thank you for your kind words. Regardless of the outcome of your doctor’s appointment, there is always ALWAYS hope. If there is one thing I’ve learned in this entire journey, it’s that our bodies were designed to heal, and with the right tools, your body will do miraculous things. Please check back with us and let us know how you are doing. You are on the right track, Emily!

  5. Its so overwhelming i dont know where to start. I never made it to the Endocrinologist to confirm hashimotos but its more then likely. I have had hypothyroidism all my life. Since young childhood. Back then the knowledge was minimal..42 now. I was off medicine for years. Discovering it and bringing it to my docs att. My TSH was 85 when it started coming down. I am now in my own without insurance with God! Researching and trying to figure out where to start..one place is chiropractor. Thanks! But tge diet and profucts are overwhelming. Where to start? How to start? Cold turkey?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Gretchen… I get it! It is SO overwhelming. But take comfort knowing you are headed in the right direction. The best thing to do when you feel overwhelmed is just take the next best step forward… that is going to look different for everyone. I, personally, always start with a book so I can have all the information I need upfront before making a decision. I recommend Dr. Izabella Wentz’s books – Hashimoto’s Protocol, which lays out a plan for you to follow right away so that you can start feeling better! Remember that no healing journey is ever perfect, but the best thing to do is just START! This book does a great job of helping you do that.

  6. Hi there –

    I am curious if you still take the systemic enzymes now that your antibodies are non-existent?

    Do you continue (to this day) to do all the aforementioned things you did to reverse the antibodies and hashimotos?

    Am just wondering if it’s necessary to continue it all now that is been reversed or if it would come back if you stopped with things like the systemic enzymes etc?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Tara, that is an excellent question! It is something I’m still figuring out myself. It’s only been a few months since my antibodies went negative, and I am still taking the systemic enzymes along with following the same diet and lifestyle guidelines I’ve adopted over the past decade.

      I really don’t plan on stopping the enzymes for at least a couple years because I am currently pregnant and know that I am at risk for an autoimmune flare after delivery. While I’m not sure about what would happen if I stopped the enzymes, I’m quite certain that my autoimmune issues aren’t “cured” in the sense that I can now eat and do whatever I want without it coming back. I expect there will always be some sort of lifestyle and diet habits I’ll need to follow to keep my antibodies negative and inflammation managed.

  7. Hello Anna !!
    I read that you take low-dose naltrexone for your tpo antibodies. May I ask how you were prescribed that drug? My primary care doctor will not administer it to me, so I am looking into pain specialists or functional med docs.
    Thanks so much! Love your blog!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Jo. Yes, I took LDN for quite some time (I am not on it anymore). I was prescribed it by a family practice functional medicine doctor local to my area and I have to admit, it was just sheer luck. That particular doctor did not do much else for me, but she was knowledgeable about LDN which I am grateful for. Since then, I’ve worked with two other doctors who use it regularly and they are functional medicine/integrative family practice doctors. Whenever I mention to any other type of doctor, they have never heard of it being used for autoimmune disorders.

      A helpful resource for finding a doctor who may prescribe it is: https://ldnresearchtrust.org/LDN_Prescribers but I know that list isn’t all there is because my doctors aren’t on the list for my state. 🙂 Hope that helps!

  8. Hi Anna,

    I’m so thankful for your blog. I just found you this week and have been trying to absorb it all.

    You mentioned finding something that helped with leg cramps. Can you share what that was? My husband takes ibuprofen several nights a week for that and I’ve been searching for a better option.

    Thank you! ❤️

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Allison,

      My leg cramps have always been tricky, but over the years it seems to be a combination of fish oil, Vitamin D/K, and magnesium glycinate. For the magnesium and Vitamin D in particular, if I do not take a large enough dose, I will still get the leg cramps. So for me, I need to take at least 5,000 IU of Vitamin D per day and 4 pills of the magnesium glycinate per day. Anything less and the cramps are back.

      I also know of a few people who have had great success using a homeopathic remedy by Hyland’s specific for leg cramps.

      Also, staying hydrated is another key factor I found!

      Hope that helps. 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for this info; I do think it will help. And thank you for all the info on your site. It’s been so incredibly overwhelming trying to figure this all out. Your blog seems to fit me and where I’m at right now. ❤️

        1. Post
          Author

          Of course! I know exactly how you feel – it is so overwhelming at first but eventually the pieces start to come together. Please let us know if you have any more questions.

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