Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune thyroid disease and most often causes hypothyroidism. The Hashimotos antibody marker is Anti-TPO (also known as antithyroid peroxidase.
Graves’ Disease, which is also the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, is often diagnosed with a different thyroid antibody marker. Grave's disease antibody marker is known as TSI (Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin).
Another autoimmune thyroid marker that we assess for is thyroglobulin antibody. This is a general marker that tells us if you have an autoimmune attack to your thyroid. While some patients with autoimmune thyroid disease usually have 1-2 of these markers positive or elevated, it’s not impossible to have a 3 and be diagnosed with both Hashimotos Thyroiditis and Graves’ Disease.
How to lower your thyroid antibodies
Before we discuss the possible ways to reduce thyroid antibodies, we have to note that we have yet to see clinical symptoms correlate with thyroid antibodies. Some patients have extremely elevated thyroid antibodies, but with a proper treatment protocol experience little to few symptoms. Nonetheless, there is some research on several different protocols or ways to lower thyroid antibodies.
1. A diet change
There is some evidence that following a gluten-free diet can help lower thyroid antibodies. When someone has an autoimmune thyroid condition, their likelihood of co-morbidities like celiac disease increases.
However, that’s not to say that avoiding gluten, even if you’re not diagnosed with celiac disease, isn’t a good idea. In fact, gluten contains a protein known as gliadin that resembles an enzyme your thyroid produces, known as transglutaminase. The research shows that having celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can mistakenly cause your immune system to attack your thyroid when exposed to gluten.
It may be prudent to get tested for celiac disease, and even if you don’t have celiac disease, inquire about testing for gluten sensitivity. There is some data pointing towards an autoimmune paleo diet to help lower thyroid antibodies. However, the research is mixed, and the diet can be quite restrictive when following long-term.
Regarding diet, there is a general consensus that iodine in excess can wreak havoc on thyroid function. We recommend testing your urinary iodine/creatinine ratio to see whether you’re getting too much iodine. You can do this with Labcorp or Sonora Quest.
Given that so many foods on the shelves are often fortified with iodine, it’s less likely to be deficient. When it comes to iodine, you don’t want to exceed 150 mcg daily. Iodine sources include fish, eggs, seaweed, kelp, and spirulina. Other sources of iodine could be skincare and topical iodine used as an antiseptic. Your skin is your largest organ, and whether you are applying iodine topically or ingesting it in excess, it can cause complications regarding thyroid function and thyroid antibody levels.
2. Supplements and medications
When it comes to supplements and medications, there are a few things that have been shown to lower thyroid antibodies. Some certain nutrients and minerals have been researched for lowering thyroid antibodies.
Selenium is a mineral found in the soil that can naturally be found in certain goods. There is research that points towards consumption of 200 mcg of selenium daily can not only improve some symptoms in those with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis but has also been shown to reduce antithyroid peroxidase (TPO).
You can check to see how much selenium your body has through a blood test. Certain foods like Brazil nuts and organ meats are very rich sources of selenium. Consuming 2-3 Brazil nuts daily should provide you with enough selenium to meet your daily requirements.
Curcumin, a yellow pigment found primarily in turmeric, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There have been many studies linking curcumin and chronic inflammation. Given its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, some research indicates that it helps protect the thyroid gland.
It has been shown that individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis generally have lower levels of Vitamin D. In fact, it has been shown that vitamin D deficiency has been linked with symptom severity in Hashimotos Thyroiditis.
Other nutrients and vitamins that tend to be low in individuals with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis include vitamin B12, magnesium, and iron. Not only do these clinically present to be lower in individuals with Hashimotos Thyroiditis, but there is research supporting that supplementation with each of these (if necessary based on bloodwork) can lower thyroid antibodies and also improve symptom severity in patients.
Black cumin seed oil
Another herb that should be highlighted is black cumin seed oil, also known as nigella sativa. A randomized control trial looked at 40 patients with autoimmune thyroiditis and gave half the participants nigella sativa and the other group a placebo for 8 weeks.
The study found that patients treated with nigella sativa had lower anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies and lower levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The group treated with black seed oil also experienced a significant weight loss and reduction in their BMI. Most of the research on nigella sativa is on 1,000 mg (1 gram).
When it comes to medication, Low Dose Naltrexone (also known as LDN) has been gaining a lot of traction in helping alleviate symptoms in those suffering from autoimmune diseases. LDN is an immune modulator that helps improve immune function by increasing the production of endogenous endorphins.
This increase in endorphins stimulates improved immune function. More specifically, LDN modulates or regulates certain immune markers and lowers a pro-inflammatory cell known as TH17, which is an autoimmune promoter! In doing so, LDN has been shown to reduce thyroid antibodies in individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease significantly.
Triggers to avoid
While there is a list of things you can incorporate into your diet and lifestyle, there are also other triggers to avoid to help lower your thyroid antibodies. Stress has been shown to be an environmental trigger for Hashimoto's or any other autoimmune disease.
Research suggests that any type of stress, whether it is psychological or physiological, can impact the immune system, which can, in turn, aggravate the thyroid gland. A randomized control study looked at women with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and stress's impact on their thyroid antibodies.
They split the group in which one group received the standard of care, and the other group was provided with stress management intervention. The study found that the group that was provided with the stress management intervention had decreased levels of stress, lowered thyroid antibodies, and improved lifestyle scores.
So, there are many ways in which you can take action to lower your thyroid antibodies. Your thyroid antibodies are an indication of how your immune system is functioning, so reducing thyroid antibodies could imply an improved immune response. Speak to your Physician about all the different avenues you can take toward lowering your thyroid antibodies.
Take the first step towards getting your thyroid back on track:
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