New Approach to Hashimoto’s
Hormones just one step in the healing process
Hashimoto’s disease, which is when the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid, is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid in the United States. Yet the most common treatments for this problem might not be sufficient.
The destruction caused by Hashimoto’s means decreased production of important energy-regulating hormones from the thyroid, a condition called hypothyroidism. The common practice for treatment is to give artificial hormone replacement.
Dr. Joshua Redd, a chiropractic physician and thyroid expert at Red River Health and Wellness Center in Utah, says that while replacement hormones are necessary (more than 70 million prescriptions are dished out each year for hypothyroidism), patients often don’t get the needed care to tame the autoimmune disorder itself.
“It’s kind of like seeing a check-engine light and then turning it off without figuring out what the problem is,” says Dr. Redd, who is Certified in Functional Medicine. Dr. Alexander Haskell writes in his 2011 book Hope for Hashimoto’s that most physicians don’t know enough about the disease, and have few answers if any, resulting in too much reliance on pills. But answers are out there, he writes.
“The ‘just take this pill’ era is over!” his book says.
While the disease is hereditary in part, certain environmental triggers also bring onsets of Hashimoto’s, beginning the attack of antibodies. These triggers, which differ from person to person, can be determined by specific tests, Redd says. High estrogen (in males and females), blood sugar imbalances, iodine and gluten are a few of the many possible triggers to increase the attack on the thyroid in these patients.
“Everybody’s just a little different,” he says, “so you can’t treat these patients like a protocol.”
Dr. Redd’s treatment involves identifying a person’s physiological imbalances that trigger the Hashimoto’s, along with the dietary/environmental triggers, through blood and other tests. Once found, he then finds ways to help the person improve or restore the physiological imbalances, and teaches what specific dietary and environmental triggers the person needs to avoid.
Hashimoto’s is seven times more common in women than in men, according to the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Redd explained one woman’s 12-year struggle with the disease, including a lack of energy to do anything, weight gain, swelling and digestive issues. She found no lasting solutions from the traditional or alternative medicine.
“I was a walking zombie,” she said. “With so little reserves I had to ration my energy for work and my family and no matter what, I always saved energy, for my son.”
One day she noticed her son come home from school with a picture of a woman lying in bed. She asked who it was.
“It’s you mommy,” he said.
She said her heart sunk, knowing that was how her son saw his mother.
She saw Dr. Redd soon after, who was able to discover the woman’s specific triggers and set her on a treatment path that allowed her to lose weight, think clearly and eat without negative consequences.
“It was like waking up from a long hibernation,” she said.
Considering that the thyroid influences so many of the body’s systems, and that Hashimoto’s has different triggers in every patient, patient specific solutions are necessary. Dr. Redd says that proper treatment is also vital to avoid other autoimmune diseases like lupus and Type 1 diabetes that often come when Hashimoto’s is left untreated Whole-person and individual solutions are what every Hashimoto’s patient needs to improve wellbeing, he says, and otherwise, the consequences are terrible.
“This disease can take over their lives,” he says.
Dr. Redd’s approach is a new breakthrough approach that people have been looking for. Rather then treating each patient like a protocol and providing them with the same treatment, Dr. Redd understands that each and every patient is uniquely different in one way or another and could have different imbalances contributing to their disease. He performs detailed cutting edge medical testing and analysis to uncover why a person is experiencing the disease. Then he designs and customizes a treatment plan that is very personalized for each individual patient.