An autoimmune disease diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but it also marks the start of a healing journey. With the right guidance, identifying the roots of imbalance and eliminating trigger issues will hopefully leave you feeling better than ever before. 

Drawing from deep research and personal experience, author and holistic nutritionist, Elissa Goodman, has mapped out a few great places to start once you are first diagnosed with the increasingly common thyroid condition, Hashimoto’s. We love Elissa’s powerful yet approachable advice on everything from daily detox to vitamin deficiency. Over the next few weeks check back for our full series with Elissa.

When I received my Hashimoto’s diagnosis it was extremely overwhelming. On one hand, I was scared and confused, not knowing what to expect when it came to treating and managing the disease. But on the other hand, I was somewhat relieved. I had been dealing with a mix of symptoms ranging from depression and anxiety, to infertility. Most of the doctors I had been seeing treated each symptom individually, but I had a feeling they were all part of something bigger. That’s why when my doctor diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, it was a relief to hear that my symptoms were all interconnected, and I wasn’t –– as some people had suggested –– crazy.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I want to help you sort through the emotions, and find the next steps. I spent nearly 21 years on medication and never felt like I was on a true path to healing until just a few years ago when I got serious about healing holistically. Now that I’ve got a handle on my healing, I want to share some tips with those who have been recently diagnosed, so you can skip the waiting period and start feeling better as soon as possible.

Here are the first five things you can do to start your journey to acceptance and healing:

The First 5 Steps

One: Know that you’re not alone | There’s a chance that you may never have even heard of Hashimoto’s at the time of your diagnosis –– it’s an epidemic that people are finally talking about. Hashimoto’s is the most common and fastest growing autoimmune disease, affecting mostly women between the ages of 40-60. It’s a disease in which the immune system attacks cells in the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s can be triggered, in part, by high amounts of stress driven and fast-paced lifestyles, infections, toxins that enter our body through the food we eat and the air we breathe. And though the disease affects your thyroid, it is largely tied to your gut health.

Hashimoto’s can cause a range of symptoms, from weight gain and brain fog to mood disorders and hair loss, to name a few.

While a Hashimoto’s diagnosis can feel pretty isolating, know that you’re not alone in your struggle, and there are other people out there who understand and sympathize with what you’re going through.

Two: Accept that you may have to take medication… initially| While I’m so proud of the fact that I healed myself, it took time for that to happen! Medication can be important in the beginning to help you reset your thyroid and hormones, so you can start your healing journey on the right foot. Doctors usually prescribe Synthroid, a synthetic drug that only contains the thyroid hormone T4. T4 must be converted into T3 in order to be used by the body, and in some people this conversion process does not work properly. That’s why I recommend a medication that has a T3/T4 combination, such as Armour, WP Thryoid or Nature-Thyroid. You might be reluctant to take medication, I know I was. Don’t beat yourself up about it. This is just the first step to healing, and even though the doctor might say so, you don’t need to be on these meds forever.

Remember that lifestyle and diet changes, as well as supplements, can help you wean your way off of medication eventually and support your body in healing itself.

Three: Remember that this is not your destiny | Getting your Hashimoto’s diagnosis can feel almost like a life sentence. At the time of my own diagnosis, doctors told me that I would never live without medication –– and it was crushing to hear. But many of the medications they were giving me were only treating the symptoms and not getting to the root cause. So I decided there needed to be a change.

And here I am 21 years later, having cured myself naturally of this autoimmune disease. It’s important to keep in mind that Hashimoto’s is not your destiny. Don’t let the doctors scare you or tell you this is something that you’ll have to live with forever. Find a team of people, not only friends and family, but doctors too –– I recommend searching for a functional MD who is well-versed in autoimmune diseases. They take a more holistic, full-body approach to helping you heal. I found a great team in experts like Dr. Isabella Wentz, Dr. Aviva Romm and the Medical Medium, Anthony Willam . It might take you a little while to find yours, but don’t stop until you do.

Four: Get in touch with your gut | Autoimmune diseases can cause “leaky gut,” or damage to the lining of your small intestine, which may allow undigested food, bacteria and other toxins to slip through the walls of the intestine and make their way into your bloodstream. This contributes to inflammation and a host of other problems that can make Hashimoto’s symptoms worse.

In order to heal your gut and give it a fresh start, you must rid of the bad bacteria and rebuild the good ones. For killing the unhealthy bacteria and lowering viral loads in the gut, I recommend supplementing with a high-quality bioactive silver in the morning. Then, at night, to rebuild the good bacteria, supplement with probiotics (50 billion and up), l-glutamine (3 grams) and aloe vera.

Cut out processed foods, sugar, gluten and dairy, and add more of the foods that are going to benefit your gut like kefir, kimchi, tempeh, saurkraut and kombucha. Also, add more food that will improve your overall health, like leafy greens, wild-caught salmon and foods high in healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, ghee, nuts etc.).

Five: Make lifestyle changes | Add supplements, remove stress & emotional trauma. Changes to your lifestyle can make a world of difference when it comes to healing from Hashimoto’s. I always put a strong emphasis on the importance of lowering stress levels, since stress plays a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. I found an intense sense of calm in energy healing, but yours could be anything –– meditation, reiki and yoga are great for making you feel calmer, and they can also contribute to improved immunity and lowered blood pressure. Recovering from emotional trauma is also crucial for the ability to heal completely. Talking out your issues with a therapist, healer or a friend is great for this purpose and can can really help you get in touch with yourself. Make sure you’re adding this essential “me time” to your schedule, even if it’s just for 20 minutes to take an epsom salt bath or do some breathing exercises.

As far as supplements go, I recommend adding:

+ Zinc Sulfate | Zinc can help to control T4 to T3 conversion, decrease inflammation and improve immune function.

+ Selenium | Selenium is extremely important in regulating normal thyroid functions and can help stimulate thyroid hormone production. CHECK OUT

+ Ashwagandha | This adaptogen can provide adrenal support and help your body create a better response to stress. CHECK OUT

+ Vitamin B12 | (B12 with methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalmin.) People with Hashimoto’s are more likely to be deficient in B12, so this is an important supplement to take — especially if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet. CHECK OUT

+ Ester-C | Most people know that vitamin C plays an important role in immunity, but it can also be extremely helpful when it comes to lowering your viral loads. CHECK OUT

The bottom line is: You shouldn’t let Hashimoto’s control your life. These are just a few of the first steps that can help you on your way to healing and feeling like your best self again. In this series, we’ll address the root causes and lifestyle interventions –– like dealing with past traumas or emotional baggage that is getting in the way of your healing. Also, learning to lower your viral, heavy metal and toxin loads — as well as detoxing your organs — will not only help to alleviate the symptoms, but also reverse the disease, like I was able to, and help you on your way to living your healthiest and happiest life!

Do you have Hashimoto’s or have you healed from it? Share with us in the comments.
Check out our full series on ‘The First Five Steps‘ for a variety of conditions here. 

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 

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  1. I see this quite frequently but Ashwagandha should NOT be recommended for those with autoimmune issues unless someone knows they are able to tolerate. It is in the Solanales order/family along with eggplant, chili, tomato, potato and others which many know to actually avoid on the aip protocol, although the intention to help balance the adrenals is good, it’s possible this would create an inflammatory response in some.

    radiantlight | 02.15.2018 | Reply
    • I agree… I didn’t feel well with Ashwagandha. And I don’t always
      feel well after eating fermented vegetables.

      Sunshine | 03.31.2018 | Reply
  2. I absolutely agree that lifestyle changes can make a big impact on Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases. But I think it’s irresponsible to tell people they won’t need medication forever. Some might not, but autoimmunity is really tricky, and Hashimoto’s in particular can be a real balancing act. It’s critical to find the right meds, and I am very much in favor of making lifestyle modifications to mitigate the need for increasing dosages, or more meds. But all the diet and lifestyle changes in the world won’t heal everyone. Also agree with the above commenter about Ashwaganda. I am very sensitive to nightshades, and the inflammation they cause really exacerbates my autoimmune response. There are other adaptogens like Tulsi (holy basil) that may be better for those people who have a nightshade sensitivity.

    MarciaMarciaMarcia | 02.16.2018 | Reply
  3. How does one know they have cured themselves? Were you testing your blood every month without taking medication to see if the levels reverted back to normal? And did you take each of these supplements every single day, how frequently per day (what time of the day), can they be taken together, and for how long until you were cured? Thank you.

    Bianca | 02.17.2018 | Reply
  4. Also people need to be careful with fermented foods! I know it’s all the rage at the moment but they can be super harmful to people with a histamine intolerance. Ashwaghanda and reishi helped me so much initially

    Adeline | 02.17.2018 | Reply
  5. Potatoes are the worst for me

    Gitte | 02.18.2018 | Reply
  6. nice interesting information,

  7. My daughter was just diagnosed she is 13…how does that differ for her..

    Kat Parra | 02.20.2018 | Reply
  8. Be very careful in stating that you healed yourself and you no longer need medications. Everyone is VERY different and while some people MAY be “healed” I’m quite skeptical that this is the case for most people. Like the person above asked, how do you know you were healed and do you get frequent tests to make sure that is still the case? I foolishly stopped taking my thyroid medicine because someone I knew claimed to have healed their thyroid with diet and they could tell when their levels were off and would supplement with vitamins, etc. My system went completely out of whack when I tried this and it’s taken almost a year to get back into alignment. Like I said, every person is different and no one should try to self medicate or stop taking medications without physician supervision.

    Sherry | 02.22.2018 | Reply
  9. I have been taking medication for Graves’ disease for 2 years and decided to give up aspartame 10 weeks ago. I feel so much better and my first set of test results since giving aspartame up showed a positive result. My goitre has definitely reduced in size as well.

  10. I was diagnosed wih Graves n Hashimoto’s…had my Thyroid radiated. Sick, sick, sick…can I follow this advice to feel better or am I doomed?

    Gabby | 03.30.2018 | Reply
    • I’m in the same boat as you. Did the radio-iodine treatment years ago when I didn’t know any better, just did what the doctor told me to do…….now I’m wondering if the thyroid gland can ever recover from this treatment

      Rebecca | 06.02.2018 | Reply
  11. I love this site. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease eleven years ago. I had a lobectomy to remove my my left lobe. I have taken 75 mcg Synthroid, every morning on an empty stomach, since that time. I did notice after the surgery that certain things aggravated my throat like the sugar substitutes, chewing gum, potassium perchlorate (Fumes from fireworks and emergency flares), eating processed meats. Two and a half years ago I gave up all meat and most dairy products except cheese and (Amish)butter. I have noticed the difference.

    SHIRLEY KEY | 11.13.2018 | Reply

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