What is it?
With the term hypothyroidism we mean a pathological condition that affects the thyroid gland, characterized by a reduction in the secretion of thyroid hormones.
It should be known that pathological conditions affecting the thyroid gland are very widespread, the World Health Organization estimates that around one billion people suffer from thyroid problems in the world.
As for Italy, people with thyroid diseases are about 20% of the population, where women are particularly more exposed.
In addition, there is a strong association of hypothyroidism with other diseases such as type I diabetes mellitus, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, iodine deficiency and exposure to ionizing radiation.
Hypothyroidism is classified into 4 main classes:
- Primary hypothyroidism;
- Secondary hypothyroidism;
- Tertiary hypothyroidism;
- Iatrogenic hypothyroidism.
Primary hypothyroidism is a congenital deficiency of the hormone from birth, a condition also known as thyroid dyshormonogenesis.
Secondary hypothyroidism is characterised by a deficiency in TSH synthesis by the pituitary.
Tertiary hypothyroidism is characterised by a deficiency in the synthesis of TRH by the hypothalamus which in turn leads to a reduction in the secretion of pituitary TSH.
The main cause of Iatrogenic hypothyroidism is pharmacological, following a prolonged intake of drugs such as interleukin, ethionamide, lithium, methimazole, interferon-alpha and amiodarone.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system creates antibodies that attack thyroid cells as if they were bacteria, viruses or some other foreign body. The immune system wrongly enlists disease-fighting agents that damage cells and lead to cell death.
We know that thyroid hormones are metabolic hormones so when their levels in the blood tend to drop, symptoms of organic and metabolic slowdown arise.
The main symptoms are as follows:
- Physical fatigue;
- Cold intolerance;
- Weight gain;
- Muscle aches and cramps;
- Dry skin;
- Brittle nails
- Loss of libido;
- Difficulty in digestion
- Difficulty in losing weight;
- Hair loss
- Irregular menstrual cycle;
- Weak memory;
- Voice changes;
- Face swelling;
- Hearing reduction.
In the most serious cases we can see:
- Coma due to myxedema, or due to accumulation of fluids in the tissues;
- Increase in cholesterol with relative cardiovascular risk;
- Goiter and noticeable increase in the thyroid gland.
The diagnosis of hypothyroidism can be made in different ways:
- Medical and family history, where the competent doctor will take into account cases already present in the family, if radiotherapeutic treatments or other types of interventions have been carried out.
- Thyroid ultrasound
- Blood test TSH, FT3, FT4, antithyroglobulin, antiperoxidase, vitamin D, selenium and iodine dosage.
For the treatment of the thyroid there are different types of drugs:
- Levothyroxine iodine or Eutirox, the main drug used to treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Liothyronine sodium, the same mechanism of action as Eutirox, which is metabolized faster by the body, but disappears within 1-2 days.
There are several natural remedies to be able to cure the thyroid:
- Fucus has a stimulating effect on the thyroid, due to its high iodine content;
- Ginger is rich in antioxidants, excellent for fighting inflammation of the thyroid gland;
- Hypericum is rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants with anti-inflammatory action for the thyroid;
- Dandelion is excellent for fighting constipation associated with hypothyroidism;
- Spirulina is an algae rich in selenium, a very important mineral salt for autoimmune diseases as it lowers the concentration of antibodies in the blood;
The diet should aim to correct the symptoms of hypothyroidism, protect the thyroid gland and aim for the patient’s overall well-being.
It is also necessary to take into account stressful factors and the endocrine-sexual framework.
Consider bowel tolerance, in case of simultaneous presence of celiac disease and a possible inflammation of the skin, in case of simultaneous presence of psoriasis.
Furthermore, selenium supplementation is important to decrease the antibody titer.
Regarding the breakdown of macronutrients, it is important to alternate carbohydrates and fats daily. Proteins must be present in quantities of 1.5 kg per body weight per day, for the development of muscle mass, which is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones.
Avoid coffee and stimulants if there is hypersensitivity to light, imbalance on progesterone.
It is also important the intake of fresh proteins with the ingestion of an abundance of vegetables and spices, the right amount of water, to insert carbohydrates in the morning, and a small source after sport, in case the patient trains, to increase the lipid intake from extra virgin olive oil and coconut, avocado, coconut, to decrease sugars, legumes, dairy products, cereals, fruit, coffee, to favor a very natural diet characterized by fermented, sprouted, vitalized foods, to prefer a diet with low glycemic load and free from industrial foods (including exciting drinks and alcohol).
Finally, it is preferable that soy and gluten are removed from the diet.
Scientific studies show soy elimination from the diet improves the clinical picture of subjects suffering from hypothyroidism, lowering the levels of TSH and instead increasing those of T3 in the blood.
Gluten elimination is important because, as previously mentioned very often subjects suffering from hypothyroidism can also develop celiac disease. Also some studies show that gluten has in its amino acid sequence, the same amino acids towards which the autoantibodies act at the level of the thyroid cells. Therefore gluten elimination from the diet should lower the levels of anti-thyroid autoantibodies in the blood.