Thyroid disease is incredibly common. One of the first things to consider in a patient with this condition is that it is crucial to first determine the cause of the problem. Why your thyroid is not working optimally in the first place. Medications such as Levothyroxine and Dissected Natural Thyroid can be helpful in relieving symptoms, but in the vast majority of cases, the root cause – the reason for origin – is often overlooked. Be sure to read this article that will share with you the 6 root causes of hypothyroidism that are commonly overlooked by doctors.

6 Overlooked Causes of Hypothyroidism

Doctors have identified the 6 most commonly overlooked causes of hypothyroidism including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and we will share them below.

1. Chronic stress

Our bodies and minds are bombarded with stressors on a daily basis. These stressors can include emotional and mental stressors, but also chemical, biochemical, and mechanical stressors that put our bodies on alert for long periods of time. As these stressors accumulate over time, our bodies tire of managing them and eventually begin to shut down.

Imagine an annoying group of neighbors knocking on your door multiple times a day. If these neighbors continue to do this over and over again for many years, you will eventually look so upset that you will no longer answer your door. You will close and it won’t matter if someone knocks on your door. In the same way, our cells don’t want to be constantly bombarded and bothered with the door banging on a daily basis. This “lack of response” of cells is what leads to harmful consequences, such as hormonal imbalances.

Learning to handle all kinds of stress is essential to prevent burnout. Here are some strategies to consider on a daily basis:

  • Environmental Exposure – Avoid harsh chemicals in products such as makeup, personal care products, and plastics (eg, water bottles, plastic containers).
  • Dietary Exposure: Avoid conventionally grown produce and switch to organic produce.
  • Mental stress: Take breaks when you sit at your desk at work as mechanical stress and postural problems can affect your health too.

2. Leaky Gut Syndrome

It has been estimated that 70-80% of hypothyroidism cases are caused by an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis . A leaky gut is the most common cause of autoimmune disease.

A leaky gut is when the lining of the intestinal wall becomes leaky, allowing foreign substances to enter the bloodstream. The body then sees these proteins as foreign invaders and forms antibodies against them.

In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a process known as molecular mimicry is a contributing factor. For example, the protein in gluten known as gliadin is similar in structure to proteins that are present on the surface of thyroid cells. The body then creates antibodies against normal thyroid cells.

Specifically, thyroxine peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies attack proteins on the cell surface of thyroid cells, after being activated due to toxin proteins entering our bloodstream through a leaky gut.

If you have antibodies that act against any of your own cells, it is very likely that you have a leaky gut and in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it is essentially confirmed. It is important to see a functional medicine doctor who can perform a laboratory test to see if these antibodies are present, and therefore can help determine if this is the cause of your problems.

3. Chemical and food sensitivity

There are certain chemicals and foods that can lead to overactive immune systems as our bodies try to protect us. The way to combat these chemicals is simply to reduce the risk of exposure.

These are some of the main strategies you can follow:

  • Eat organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid the most common allergenic foods: gluten-containing grains, dairy products, peanuts and other legumes, and nightshade greens for those experiencing autoimmune symptoms.
  • If you decide to eat meat, make sure it is not given antibiotics or hormones, and ideally from free-range, wild, or herb-fed animals. Remember, you will eventually eat what the fish, chicken or cow has eaten before you.
  • Reduce exposure to plastics and reduce microwave use.
  • Eliminate environmental sources of mold in your home and / or workplace.

These are just a few suggestions for making a positive change in your exposure levels.

4. Poor nutritional status

We have all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” The reality is that, “you are what you digest.” If your digestion is not optimal, then your cells are not able to absorb all the important vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. They can’t produce enough energy to protect you from chemicals and infections that can lead to poor health and autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.

A great test that has been done to check the functional status of nutrients is an organic acid test. Talk to a functional medicine doctor about getting this test done.

5. Lifestyle

What if your habits are leading you down a path that is causing thyroid dysfunction? The decisions we make on a daily basis determine our longevity and our quality of life. Making good lifestyle choices every day is paramount in creating the habit of being healthy.

Your food choices, clothing choices, choice of friends, choice of daily activity levels, choice of personal care products, etc. all contribute to how healthy you can be and the effort required by your body to eliminate unwanted intruders. While this root cause overlaps with the first four, it was important to include it as a separate point in this article to emphasize that the role and importance of habit formation and elimination – makes the difference between optimal and poor health .

6. Stealth infections

One of the most common causes of autoimmune thyroid disease is a sneaky infection in the intestine. This is an overgrowth in our gut consisting of bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts, and fungi, which can trigger the body’s stress response, leading us to have a chronic stressor to deal with in the long term.

Bacteria overgrowth can enter the small intestine, leading to a waterproof intestine. The overgrowth of parasites, viruses and yeast can lead to nutrient deficiencies that stress our bodies. This overgrowth and stealth infections are often the stressors that are overlooked by doctors when looking for the root cause of health problems like autoimmune thyroid disease .

Talk to your functional medicine doctor regarding stool tests to determine if a stealth infection is at the root of your autoimmune health condition.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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