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Hashimoto Thyroiditis

Dr. Dimitris Tsoukalas

Thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system does not recognize thyroid gland cells as its own, attacks them and gradually destroys them, leading to hypothyroidism. The manifestation of the disease usually occurs with a broad range of metabolic disorders, which are the actual causes of the disease and will be discussed below.

It was first described by the Japanese physician Hakarou Hashimoto in 1912 and was recognized as an autoimmune disease in 1957. It is one of the most common thyroid gland diseases and nine out of ten cases are women.


Due to the gradual destruction of the thyroid gland by the immune system, symptoms of hypothyroidism appear within months or years and include:

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is usually diagnosed when patients experience symptoms of hypothyroidism. These patients may also have abnormal growths of thyroid tissue (thyroid nodules), low levels of TSH and thyroid hormones, elevated levels of thyroid antibodies and changes in thyroid gland structure shown by ultrasound scanning.

The usual therapeutic approach for patients without symptoms include regular monitoring and when the thyroid is underactive thyroid hormones (levothyroxine) are administered. Medication is adjusted 2–3 times a year based on TSH levels and by evaluating the patient’s symptoms.

Administration of thyroid hormones improves most of the above symptoms when the thyroid gland is underactive. However, it does not address the causative factors that lead to the onset of the disease and they do not entirely follow fluctuations of normal hormones and body adaptations to different conditions. In fact, this is the main reason why many people although they are on medication they still have symptoms of hormone imbalance, even though their hormone tests are within normal limits.

Thyroid, The Metabolism Regulator

The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating metabolism which adapts to everyday changes related to external temperature, energy requirements, digestion and mood changes among others.

In cases like climbing the stairs or doing physical exercise, the thyroid increases its function and metabolism, as when it gets cold or when we have stress, or we must face some difficulty in life, but also when we are happy or excited. But when we rest, we are relaxed, sad or hot, the thyroid reduces its function and metabolism.

This is also the reason hypothyroidism occurs with fatigue, cold intolerance, melancholy and weight gain and so on. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism occurs with symptoms such as hypertension, weight loss, tachycardia, heat intolerance, and general symptoms associated with increased metabolism.

Thus, we can see how the intake of thyroid hormones helps to improve the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and that the adjustments to thyroid medication 2–3 times a year cannot entirely replace the constant and tight regulation of our body by continuously adjusting metabolism and function to different conditions in a few seconds.

Hence, it is imperative to do what is needed to maintain any residual gland function that allows the body to adapt metabolically to these changes.

We have seen through our experience that even when the thyroid gland is under-activated by up to 80%, this percentage can be substituted by hormonal treatment. The remaining 20% of the gland’s function is sufficient for most routine metabolism adjustments to the needs of everyday life, required for a good quality of life.

Why does Hashimoto thyroiditis occur?

What are the reasons that the immune system does not recognize the thyroid gland as its organ and starts attacking it?

Through our clinical experience and the application of Metabolomics on patients with Hashimoto’s disease, we have seen that four central causative factors are contributing to the onset of this disease.

What can be done

Restoring body deficiencies in vitamins and other elements, balancing metabolism and regulating weight at normal levels can radically improve the development of Hashimoto’s disease and ameliorate the quality of life of patients.

To Your Health!


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