All my life, I have had trouble gaining and keeping weight. I am five feet, eight inches tall and at eighteen years old, I weighed only 117 pounds. As a teen, I also suffered from depression and would stick myself with pins. No one knew about this at the time because I was very good at hiding my true thoughts and emotions. Let me just say here that many teenagers are good at this and, even though s/he is getting good grades and is involved in activities, that teen could still be suffering. Anyway, I soon developed a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse, which means that one of my heart valves doesn’t close properly, on top of these other issues. Since these symptoms are often associated with hyperthyroidism, my thyroid hormone levels were checked. They came out pretty normal and that was the end of that for me. I later found other causes for my issues. Little did I know that members of my extended family were suffering from thyroid disorders, though.

A few years ago, my aunt was having a hard time swallowing and talking. She had lost a lot of weight and was having trouble sleeping as well. Her neck felt funny and she went to the doctor to see what was wrong. They did some scans and ran some tests, and they found some nodules on her thyroid. Nodules are often associated with hyperthyroidism. The first few times she went to the doctor, they told her not to worry about it and sent her home with some pills. However, the pills didn’t help and her problems got worse. My mother urged her to see a different doctor and when the new doctor examined her and ran some tests, he came back with some very bad news. He told her she had thyroid cancer and recommended surgery and radiation treatment. There is higher risk of cancer for someone who has hyperthyroidism or Grave’s disease and the first doctor my aunt saw should’ve done further tests to rule that out. It is also possible that the nodules she had were benign and became malignant over the course of the year and a half that she was taking medication.

She did the surgery and the radiation, but the cancer came back and she also developed bone cancer, which often happens when thyroid cancer spreads. She is now in a fight for her life with two types of cancer.

My father is also at increased risk for thyroid cancer because he has developed hypothyroidism. I was a little confused about the differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, so I did some checking. Hyperthyroidism is usually caused by Grave’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder where antibodies to the thyroid stimulate overproduction of thyroid hormones. There are often nodules on the thyroid where these antibodies have attached themselves. Hypothyroidism is usually caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is also an autoimmune disorder. However, in this instance, antibodies attack the thyroid directly, causing inflammation, and interfering with its ability to produce enough thyroid hormone.

My father was feeling tired a lot, even after a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, this may be the only symptom, and many times, people can go for years without knowing that they have Hashimoto’s. I don’t know how long my father was having symptoms before he saw a doctor; he generally doesn’t like doctor visits. It concerns me that both my aunt and my father have developed an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid, my mother has two autoimmune conditions, and my grandmother has an autoimmune condition. I have fibromyalgia, which is not technically an autoimmune condition, but my genes are not in my favor. So what would I do if I developed either hyper or hypothyroidism? Let me just talk about hyperthyroidism, since the natural protocol is similar for all autoimmune disorders.

The natural treatment for hyperthyroidism that I would use first addresses the root of the problem. All autoimmunity begins in the gut. The gut wall should be tight and sealed, allowing only the smallest nutrients to get through—amino acids (protein molecules), lipids (fat molecules), vitamins, minerals, and sugar molecules such as glucose. Autoimmunity happens because the gut wall has been damaged and leaks larger food particles into the blood stream. Because the body doesn’t recognize these large particles as food, the immune system attacks them as if they were invaders. After a while, the immune system learns that the protein sequences in these large particles look very similar to the protein sequences of certain cells in the body itself. Sometimes there is a match between food particles and the cartilage of bone and rheumatoid arthritis develops. Sometimes there is a match between food particles and thyroid tissue and one of the two thyroid diseases develops. Therefore, the most important natural treatment for an autoimmune disease such as hyperthyroidism is to address this leaky gut problem.

It takes the intestinal wall up to a month to fully heal. The body needs a nutrient dense diet free of all irritants. That means that if I were treating myself, I would need to avoid all grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, dairy, processed foods of any kind (including vegetable oils, food chemicals, sugars, and any weird sounding ingredients), nightshade plants (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes), eggs, coffee, and alcohol. It sounds really restrictive, but it only needs to be that restrictive for a month. After that, certain foods can be reintroduced slowly and eaten regularly again if well tolerated.

Autoimmunity is never cured, it only goes into remission since it is not possible to change the protein structure of your cells. It is also not possible to change the fact that protein sequences can be similar across different forms of life. However, we make an impact by using a natural treatment for hyperthyroidism that addresses the cause of the disease and calms the immune system down. Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below.

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