Hashimoto’s and accelerated brain degeneration
In this seven-minute video, Dr. Kharrazian talks about how Hashimoto’s can accelerate brain degeneration.
Many Hashimoto’s-related factors affect brain health:
- Gluten sensitivity often manifests as brain disorders
- The thyroid antibodies that cause attack of the thyroid gland can also bind to brain tissue and accelerate degeneration
- The brain needs sufficient thyroid hormones to function
- The gut and inflammatory issues that often accompany Hashimoto’s also degenerate the brain
- Depression, fatigue, brain fog and other brain symptoms are being found to be more brain-based as secondary to Hashimoto’s.
These are just a few of the topics Dr. Kharrazian covers. Watch the video to learn more. If you would like to learn how best to manage and improve your brain health when you have Hashimoto’s, check out the course Banish Brain Fog: The Six-Week Brain Rescue Plan.
Why your Hashimoto’s may not be improving
In the standard health care model, treatment for autoimmune Hashimoto’s is aimed at lowering TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) via hormone replacement. That’s it.
As many Hashimoto’s patients know, that won’t get you far in functioning and feeling better.
In the functional medicine model, we understand Hashimoto’s is a complex autoimmune condition that requires a much broader approach. Various factors can prevent a Hashimoto’s patients from getting better.
Sometimes it takes skillful sleuthing to dial in the best approach. Here are some factors to be aware of on your journey managing Hashimoto’s:
Unexpected gluten contamination
If you have Hashimoto’s, you know to eat a gluten-free diet. But are you really gluten-free? If you eat gluten once in while, you are not gluten free; your body can react to a gluten exposure up to a whopping six months after ingestion. Some medications have hidden gluten — check the labels. Eating at restaurants is tricky too as not all chefs are careful to avoid contaminating so-called gluten-free menu options with gluten.
Though a gluten-free diet is key, eating foods that cross-react with gluten may sabotage recovery. Cross-reactive foods have proteins similar in structure to gluten and can trigger the same immune response as if you were eating gluten.
Provoking the TH-1 or TH-2 immune system
People with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s often exhibit a dominance in either the TH-1 or TH-2 arms of the immune system. TH-1 is the immediate immune reaction, such as pus that forms around a splinter. TH-2 is the delayed response that creates antibodies. Certain nutritional compounds can boost either one of these systems. For instance, Echinacea boosts TH-1 while green tea boosts TH-2. This can make your autoimmune symptoms better or worse depending on your TH dominance. I talk about that more in my thyroid book.
Stress reduction is a deal breaker
You can do all sorts of things to quell your autoimmune response, but if you don’t truly manage your stress level, it’s a moot point. Stress drives the immune system and increases inflammation, which lies at the root of autoimmune symptoms. Stress isn’t only from being late to work or worrying about bills—emotional stress matters, too.
Good diet, bad habits
Any well-informed Hashimoto’s patient knows diet is key for reducing inflammation and quelling the autoimmune “fire.” But even with proper foods, if you have imbalanced blood sugar, your anti-inflammatory diet won’t do you much good. Keeping blood sugar stable is important not only for energy levels and immune balance, but especially for brain health, a key consideration for Hashimoto’s patients.
For more details, please see a longer article on the topic here.
Do you have Hashimoto’s and want to preserve your brain health? Check out my six-week online course
If you want to delve deeper into addressing your brain fog, please consider my online course, Save Your Brain: The Six-Week Rescue Plan.