How I Reduced My Thyroid Antibodies from Over 2000 to (Almost) Zero
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This is Part 5 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 – 24 Interventions I’ve Tried So Far (What Worked, What Didn’t)
Part 4 – 10 Steps I’d Take if I Just Received a Hashimoto’s Diagnosis
Part 6 – How I Keep My Thyroid Antibodies Low: My Current Management Plan
Part 7 – How I Reversed My Chronic Pain & Put My Hashimoto’s in Remission
Part 8 – How (& Why) I Weaned Off Thyroid Medication
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional. This site is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice.
In 2010, I started on my personal roller coaster of recovery (from Hashimoto’s Disease). And I mean roller coaster, just check out my thyroid antibody results…
*FYI – I was diagnosed in 2010, but at that time, my antibodies were just barely there. Then, I went a few years without further testing, and picked it back up in 2013. That is where we are going to start.
So, let’s hop off this crazy coaster and look through the details of my thyroid antibodies journey since 2013.
Here’s the table of my thyroid antibody progress:
For the sake of simplicity, I am only going to focus on my thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) for this blog post because that is really where I experienced the most dramatic shifts. However, I do want to note that my thyroperoxidase (TPO) antibodies have also made awesome progress. They are now within “normal range.”
As you can see, I’ve had great success in reducing both antibody levels. I’m going to explain what correlated with the ups and downs along the way.
Plus, I’ll tell you what I am doing NOW in terms of diet, lifestyle, etc. to keep them from increasing.
But first, let’s discuss what caused my thyroid antibodies to go up so high in the first place.
Between 2010 and 2013, I never had my antibodies tested. Within that time-frame, I was a pretty lost duck. There was just no consistency in my treatment plan.
I was uneducated. My doctors were uneducated. And there were two things that hurled me into the realm of intense inflammation – poor diet and poor exercise choices.
In 2011, my new functional medicine doctor told me to go gluten-free. So, what did I do?
I went kind-of gluten-free. Duh.
This was the first time I had ever heard of using a gluten-free diet as an autoimmune disease treatment, so I didn’t really take it seriously. I cheated often, usually in the form of cake and cross-contaminated sushi.
Plus, my gluten-free diet was the Standard American Diet version…
Piles of gluten-free pasta, crackers, chips, cookies, and bread, heavy on the poor-quality meat, and complimented with maybe 1-2 servings of veggies per WEEK. And of course, plenty of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
And although my doctor warned me that a poor diet could be a major contributing factor, I continued to play it off like it wasn’t that big of a deal.
I thought that exercise was the answer, not diet. So, I pushed myself to the limits (which weren’t that far, given I could barely go up the stairs without being exhausted).
Training for a Half Marathon
My logic was simple:
Exercise = good for body
Exercise = pushing body to limit
Pushing body to limit = good for body!
With my logic in mind, I chose to run a half marathon.
Training consisted of daily runs for 2 months straight, and oh my goodness, I felt awful. But I “knew” that pushing my body meant “good” health, and I ran that half-marathon!
Then it was over.
Recovery felt like months. Everything hurt. Exhaustion made moving again impossible. It was just better to stay still.
Lesson LEARNED. Never again.
At that point, my doctor decided to test my antibodies. We were absolutely horrified at the results. My thyroglobulin antibodies were well over 2000.
“These are the highest antibody levels I have ever seen,” she told me.
Then she explained that autoimmune diseases come in 3s. If I have one, then my likelihood of developing 2 more increases (and she was right, which you can read more about in my post: I Traded My Hashimoto’s for a Big Fat Autoimmune Mess!). My prognosis was grim.
She immediately prescribed Low Dose Naltrexone, a prescription drug she used with great success in many of her autoimmune disease patients (specifically MS).
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Fortunately, the LDN did its job and decreased my antibodies. It WORKED!
Within 7 months, my antibodies were down to 380.
And I have to say that LDN gave me amazing hair. While a surprise to me, it was a welcomed side-effect. Any of you hypothyroid peeps out there know what it’s like to feel like you’re balding.
Even with the amazing hair, I still didn’t feel well. I had brain fog and exhaustion. The purpose of the LDN was to reduce antibodies and it did, but when I tried to get pregnant, I watched them start to climb back up.
The Stress From Miscarriages
One miscarriage is a pretty normal occurrence, but 4?
The heartache that I felt month after month is indescribable. I became completely paralyzed in all facets of my life.
Had it not been for the LDN holding those antibodies down, I would have had the worst autoimmune flare of my life, possibly resulting in new health conditions.
Surprisingly, the rise in antibodies that I expected wasn’t all that big. They increased from 380 to 584 and then dropped again to 503.
The miscarriages were the kick in the butt I needed to start taking all of this seriously.
Together, Frank and I completely re-made our lifestyle – diet, sleep, nontoxic products, new doctors, new therapies, genetic testing, in-depth blood work and hormone testing… it’s a long list.
I was determined, at this point, to get pregnant by natural means. We had no interest in pursuing fertility treatment. I knew deep down, that lifestyle changes and working with the right doctor were the solution.
Eventually, our hard work paid off – I was pregnant. And guess what? I felt awesome. And the test results agreed.
Through my piles of research regarding pregnancy and autoimmune disease, I understood that it’s possible for some conditions to get worse and others to improve during pregnancy.
For me, two things happened: my brain fog disappeared and my energy levels were high. Despite my nausea and morning sickness, it was quite possibly the best I have ever felt in my entire life (not kidding).
So, when I saw that my antibodies decreased to 36 (WHAT!?), I was elated! No joke, I wish I could have been pregnant forever. Yes, that is how good I felt.
But, as we all know, the baby HAS to come out at some point.
Delivering First Baby / Stopping Low Dose Naltrexone
For various reasons, post-partum was stressful and my diet consisted of daily Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Go-Macro bars (ugh, so good). While still gluten and dairy-free, I was more concerned about filling my belly than what I was actually eating.
It took a couple months, but after loads and loads of sugar, I experienced brain fog, fatigue, and a new symptom: vertigo.
I also stopped taking my Low Dose Naltrexone for a week thanks to another new condition – new mom. Even with my new symptoms and new baby, I decided, after discussing with my doctor, that it was time to stop it for good.
So, in terms of antibodies, there was really no surprise to see them rise again. At 189, I was pleased with the results despite all of the stress and weaning off LDN.
The Rest of My Thyroid Antibody Journey
I got pregnant again about a year after having our daughter. My antibodies lowered from the pregnancy, as expected… but this time, I got to a new low: 21.
Then, a couple months later, AFTER delivering our second child, AFTER I literally almost died from an emergency situation, AFTER 2 blood transfusions, they still remained at 21!
If after all of that stress and trauma, I was able to keep them from rising, then obviously whatever I am doing seems to be working.
So, let’s do a quick recap.
Here is my roller coaster graph:
The things that correlate with an increase in my thyroid antibodies are:
- Poor diet
- Poor exercise choices
- Birth of my first child/stopping LDN
The things that correlate with a decrease in my thyroid antibodies are:
- Low Dose Naltrexone
- Better lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, etc.)
(If you want to learn more about these factors and start on your own journey towards Hashimoto’s healing, click the button below to grab our free Hashimoto’s Starter Pack.)
But there is one last thing that I personally believe made a major impact on reducing them and that is…
Quitting My Job
After 5 years of working in the corporate world, with 1 of those years spent working full-time away from my daughter, I quit.
Related: How I Thrived in a Corporate Desk Job with Brain Fog & Chronic Fatigue
It wasn’t that I didn’t like my job… there was just NO passion. None. And especially after having our daughter, all I could think about was how I was using my time to do something I didn’t enjoy while someone else watched her.
It was miserable and depressing and I have no doubt that working was the biggest source of stress in my life at that time. The day I walked out those doors for the last time, I felt a huge weight lifted off of me.
After years of pushing my way through brain fog and chronic, debilitating fatigue, I was finally without the restraints of a set schedule, long commute, and hours of sitting at a desk. Finally, I was FREE!
And ever since my last day in August 2017, my antibodies have not increased. Of course, this is in conjunction with all of the other things I have been doing to keep them low.
So, what else am I doing?
Since 2010, my treatment plan has been a major work in progress. Each year brings new knowledge and new understandings of what works for me.
But, in order to keep this post from being 5 miles long, I decided to do a separate blog post. So… click here to learn about the management plan I used to keep my antibodies from rising!
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits, so you can find the healing you deserve.
I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s November of 2019 after having a 16-week miscarriage and a 9 week missed miscarriage this past year. I only recently had my antibodies tested and TPO is at 427 and TG at 290. Was there a magic number that they needed to be at before your doctor told you that you could try again without the threat of a miscarriage? Thanks!
Hi Holly, I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. That breaks my heart… and I know exactly how it feels. I am praying for you.
As for my history with miscarriages, my doctor wasn’t too concerned (like at all) about thyroid antibodies, and neither was I at the time. I assume I got pregnant with my TG antibodies in the hundreds, and my TPO slightly lower but I don’t recall being tested near the time I had my first successful pregnancy, so I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I really don’t think my thyroid antibodies played a role in my repeated miscarriages. My doctor ended up doing a few tests and we found that I had uterine polyps. She did a D&C to remove those polyps and started me on baby Aspirin and progesterone and within the first cycle of trying after my surgery, I was pregnant with my first full-term pregnancy. I should also mention that I was on Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) at the time to control my thyroid antibodies. I then got pregnant again 12 months post-partum without any issues at all – this time no aspirin, progesterone, or LDN.
I mentioned that back then, I didn’t think thyroid antibodies played a role, but then I read the book “Is Your Body Baby Friendly?” and now see that they could possibly problems (not always of course, because I got pregnant with high thyroid antibodies and I know many other people who have too.) I highly recommend that book… it’s a great resource. I really hope you find the answers you need, Holly.
Anna, just want to take the time to thank you for just reading this much about your journey with your Hashimoto’s you have given me something to go talk to my immunologist and my endocrinologist about they have never mentioned anything about my Antibodies but this is something that I will look into once again thank you very much
Hi Diana, you’re welcome! I had the same experience. None of my specialists mentioned antibodies. It wasn’t until I found a functional medicine doctor who mentioned that antibodies can cause damage, that I really started to pay attention and got to work on reducing them. The lower they got, the better I felt. Good luck, Diana!
Hi Anna –
I was recently diagnosed with hashimotos in 2019. My last TPO In January 2020 was 79… three months prior to that it was 101. I’ve only had two tests – how frustrating – it wasn’t even my doctor who told me I had hashimotos!! It was my research and getting a copy of my lab results. As far as he was concerned, I was just hypothyroid.
This was all before I started to go gluten free. I haven’t had my antibodies tested since January but still experience highs and lows.
My other labs – t3, t4 were all normal to optimal and my tsh was 3.60 in January.
This is all soooo confusing to me. One day I feel amazing, the next I don’t?!?
I am curious if you are still on medication now that your levels are normal and if your thyroid has been regenerating?!?
The fact that my levels are lowering is promising for me but When I experience a trigger – for me it seems to be stress – it seems like it takes forever to heal or feel like myself again.
Any help or guidance is always appreciated!!
Hi Tara, I can relate to all your ups and downs! But it sounds like you are making progress in decreasing your antibodies. I am no longer on any medication and feel my thyroid has completely regenerated, or at least enough to produce all the thyroid hormone my body needs.
Your story sounds similar to mine when I first started to make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation… the smallest thing was a trigger and made me feel worse. The biggest help for me was identifying triggers (food, stress, certain toxic chemicals, etc.) and then building healthy habits around those specific things to make sure I was avoiding/managing them as best as I could. We can’t avoid everything, but we can take a proactive approach. I found that these healthy habits, followed by many months of a nourishing diet, supplementation, etc., my body became much more resilient to my triggers. In fact, at one point, I even ate a bunch of gluten-filled bread and didn’t even know because my body didn’t react like it used to.
I encourage you to keep listening to your body and working at building a lifestyle that supports you both mentally and physically. I think, like me, you’ll see overtime that your body becomes much stronger and healthier than ever before.
So, I was just told I had Hashimoto and I was going to have to be on this medicine the rest of my life. Well I’m not ok with that. So thank you ladies for giving me something to think about and I will now go see an alternative dr to help with my diet and I’ll ask my dr about the meds you were put on Anna. The meds they want to put me on can cause all these other problems which in turn will make me be on more meds. Anyways I’m so thankful I came across this ❤️
Hat, you have the right attitude! I love it! I’m so happy you’ve been able to see that it is possible to reverse Hashimoto’s, despite being told otherwise. 🙂
Thank you so much for your story. I am a 43 male diagnosed with hashimotos 3 years ago and my life has changed so much. I am just not the same and have struggled with brain fog, fatigue and overall degradation in health. My TPO antibodies have been well over 1000. I have tried gluten free diets but they are so hard to maintain. Also this is the first I have heard of LDN to decrease antibodies. What do you suggest as a replacement if I’m not able to obtain that? Any help or suggestions would be a god send. Thanks, and god bless!
Hi Todd! That is a great question, especially since it is still difficult to find a doctor to prescribe LDN. I, personally, have had great luck using systemic enzymes to decrease my thyroid antibodies, so that would be a great place to do some more research. You can read more about them in this blog post under the “systemtic enzymes” section.
Also, speaking from personal experience with plenty of failures, we know diet changes are extremely difficult to make and stick to, but we’ve also experienced just how helpful they can be. This is why Frank is currently training to become a certified health coach – to help others make effective and sustainable lifestyle/diet habits. If you are ever interested in working with someone to help you navigate all the obstacles that come with changing your diet, then please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have struggled with Hashimoto’s for years. When I was in my early teens, I was first diagnosed with hyper-thyroidism and then in my mid twenty’s, it had progressed into hypo-thyroidism. I recently had a more detailed blood panel done (my previous doctor would only request the thyroid panel with TSH) and the results were ALWAYS within normal range but I really didn’t feel any different. Recently I had my thyroid antibodies tested and my Thyroid Peroxidase was 412 and my Thyroid antiboides were 2250! Yikes. I don’t know where to start and what to do first to lower those numbers. So just starting my internet search on other people like me and their journey. Any advice would be great!
Hi Amber, wow! I know of many people with a story just like yours, and I am happy you are seeking out information to help you lower your antibodies. The best place I always recommend starting is by educating yourself about the various root causes behind Hashimoto’s Disease. Dr. Izabella Wentz and her books are an awesome resource for this: https://thyroidpharmacist.com/. You can also read more about my personal journey and what worked for me by reading all the posts I’ve listed at the beginning of this one. It’s a lot of information at the beginning and might feel overwhelming, but it does eventually click and you’ll be on your way to hopefully reducing your antibodies. 🙂