Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2014-05-21 (EDT)

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam's apple. This condition causes inflammation of the thyroid gland and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the causes are variable and include lifestyle and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to this condition.


  • Nutrient deficiencies, in particular iodine and/or selenium have been linked to this condition[1]
  • Gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease are associated with increased risk.


  • Mental Emotional Health
  • Ongoing or prolonged stress can lead to adrenal insufficiency, thereby weakening the body's immune defenses and hampering the conversion of T4 to T3.


  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis has been linked to infections such as hepatitis C, EBV, Parvovirus B19, and Yersinia enterocolitica[2],[3]


  • Trauma
  • Trauma caused by a surgery or an accident can trigger Hashimoto's thyroiditis[4]
  • Viral, bacterial, and candida infections have been identified as possible triggers or direct causes


  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis seems to be more prevalent in families with autoimmune disorders
  • Several different genes have been identified that confer susceptibility to both Grave's disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.[5]

Diagnostic Testing

  • Diagnostic testing begins with physical examination of the thyroid as well as an assessment of the clinical history.
  • A blood test will then help confirm and determine the level of thyroid function.
  • Blood test includes an analysis of antibodies, namely anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies.
  • An ultrasound may help confirm esophageal or tracheal compression due to an enlarged thyroid.

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Conditions associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis or that may predispose a person to this disease include:


Inidividuals with Hashimoto's thyroiditis typically experience a hyperthyroid phase initially, where an excess of thyroid hormone is produced, called hashitoxicosis. This occurs as thyroid hormone leaks out of the damaged gland as it is destroyed, eventually resulting in a hypothyroid condition. Hashimoto's thyroiditis can cause a feeling of tightness or fullness in the throat. A characteristic lump in the front of the neck also forms as a result of the enlarged thyroid gland called a goiter. There may be difficulty swallowing solids and/or liquids due to compression of the esophagus with the enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Symptoms associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Cold intolerance
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Hoarse voice
  • Puffy face
  • Dy, coarse hair
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased concentration
  • Vague aches and pain
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is typically a chronic disease.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Dietary recommendations
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar, including refined carbohydrates. Eliminate gluten.
  • Limit foods that can interfere with thyroid function such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, and soybeans.
  • Increase protein intake, including nuts, nut butters, quinoa, legumes, and hormone-and antibiotic-free animal products.
  • Increase consumption of natural, healthy fats such as olive oil, ghee, avocado, flax seeds, fish, nuts and nut butters.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for Hashimoto's thyroiditis include:

  • Herbs such as Bacopa monnieri, Avena sativa, Medicago sativa


  1. van Zuuren, E.J., Albusta, A.Y., Fedorowicz, Z. Carter, B., Pijl, H.(2013)Selenium supplementation for Hashimoto's thyroiditis,The Cochrane database of systematic reviews;6:6.
  2. Lehmann, H.W., Lutterbuse, N., Plentz, A., Akkurt, I., Albers, N., Hauffa, B.P., Hiort, O., Schoenau, E., Modrow, S.(2008)Association of parvovirus B19 infection and Hashimoto's thyroiditis in children,Viral Immunology;21(3):379-83
  3. Petru, G., Stunzner, D., Lind, P., Eber, O., Mose, J.R.(1987)Antibodies to Yersinia enterocolitica in immunogenic thyroid diseases,Acta medica Austriaca;14(1):11-4
  4. Tanei, T., Eguchi, Y., Yamamoto, Y., Hirano, M., Takebayashi, S., Nakahara, N.(2012)Isolated adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency associated with Hashimoto's disease and thyroid crisis triggered by head trauma. Case report,Neurologia medica-chirurgica;52(1):44-7
  5. Badenhoop, K., Schwartz, G., Walfish, P.G., Drummond, V., Usadel, K.H., Bottazzo, G.F.(1990)Susceptibility to Thyroid Autoimmune Disease: Molecular Analysis of HLA-D Region Genes Identifies New Markers for Goitrous Hashimoto's Thyroiditis,The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism;71(5)
  6. Bozkurt NC, Karbek B, Ucan B, Sahin M, Cakal E, Ozbek M, Delibasi T.(2013)The association between severity of vitamin D deficiency and hashimoto's thyroiditis,Endocrine practice;19(3):479-84