Hi Dr. Rutherford, today we’re gonna talk about, “How to treat Hashimoto’s.” (chuckles) There’re about a few hundred hours online on this, but still we get an awful lot of people that says, “Well, how do you treat Hashimoto’s?” (laughs) So, let me see if I can answer that question, like in a succinct manner.
And this has been a question literally that we have struggled with since the day we started treating Hashimoto’s which was a long time ago. We were probably one of the first ones in the pool doing it as far as functional medicine went. And people would come in back then and they say, “Hi, you know, I have Hashimoto’s and I’m taking these tests,” oh no sorry, “Taking these medications and nothing is happening.” And so I would start to explain to them about the gut and there’s the diet and all these types of things.
I mean, that is like 20 years ago or 12 years ago or 14. It was a long time ago. People started glazing over their eyes and glazing over and they’d go, “I just wanna know if you are like an ABBA botanical who treat Hashimoto’s.” (laughs) And they would be totally crushed. Like, okay, they don’t get it.
And it was pretty understanding at that point in time that people didn’t get that.
And the problem is, we have this model, okay? And it’s a pathological model. And the model is, I have lupus and they give me, you know, suppressants.
I have a bacteria infection and they give me antibiotics.
I have a heart problem and they do a heart bypass on me.
So we have this very linear one-to-one idea of treatment, which is a big part of the reason that we’re in the predicament that we’re in, in this country right now.
With frankly, an explosion of sick people.
And this video for future posterity of people who are watching this is being done at the time of COVID-19. And I don’t think it’s understating the stress that also comes from that, plus it’ll be interesting to see in the future what happens with this but there’s a hugely divisive presidential election going on. You put those two things together and there’s a lot of stress out there.
And so, these things are along with so many other things, the food supplies and right now we’re in the process of this humongous fires in California.
Where we know, haven’t seen this you know, blue sky like in weeks, actually we saw it this morning but it’s supposed to be gone by this afternoon. And there’s chemicals in there.
So we’re in a position where literally our physiology is being overwhelmed with toxins and food diets and all this type of stuff. We have a new patient population and that patient population is not well, it is declining. It is declining in health, more drugs, more sickness, more autoimmunity more chronic disease and more Hashimoto’s (laughs) Okay? And that’s kind of my lead in, how do you treat Hashimoto’s? Look, you’re looking for the Cliff Notes, how do I treat Hashimoto’s? Whether you realize it or not that’s what you’re looking for.
You’re looking for the aggregated version of it.
Because, as I’ve talked about many times there’s a hierarchy to how you treat it, in the past year or two I’ve been talking about, the fact that there’s 39 triggers. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune problem.
So it is a problem where your immune system is flaring off and to varying degrees, depending on the person, is attacking either the enzymes that are making your thyroid hormone or the actual tissues of the thyroid or both.
And so in the end, the battle is, calm down the immune system, calm down the immune system and put it into remission. For autoimmunity in and of itself, to evaluate an autoimmune case from a non-pathological, non-medical perspective.
You are looking for all of the aspects of that person’s life that is triggering inflammatory responses in their system. And that goes from poor sleep. I mean, we’re always looking for the exotic, oh, it’s Epstein-Barr virus, it’s not all Epstein-Barr virus. It’s not even close to Epstein- Barr virus. Okay? But Epstein-Barr virus is one of 39 triggers for Hashimoto’s.
Hashimoto’s is a subset of autoimmunity.
There’s even more triggers for general autoimmunity and to go over ’em all, it would be very difficult.
So the bottom line is, is you have to look at all those triggers and they’re not all exotic, they’re not all like Epstein-Barr virus or heavy metals or it’s all parasites, which it’s not all parasites. It’s like sleep, it’s like exercise. Are you getting enough or are you getting too much? Are you doing too much exercise and it’s crushing it down? Stress, stress, huge stress. Where do you live? What are your genetics? Then you get into food sensitivities and that is a whole can of worms. It’s like, it’s made to be like, oh, just check your food. But in fact, most people still don’t know that food sensitivities are a big problem. They know their food allergies but they don’t know food sensitivities. Then you can get into chemicals and there’s a zillion chemicals out there but there’s about 25 that are specific to flaring up autoimmune problems. And then there’s the pathogens, and there’s all kinds of pathogens and they rank from the Lyme disease which supposedly causes everything, which doesn’t. To the Epstein-Barr viruses, to the Cytomegalovirus to the scrubs, to the molds.
And all of these things can play into exacerbating your immune system and thus exacerbating the response against your thyroid. So from that perspective, the global picture is you need to have a screening process that allows you to figure out which of all of the potential triggers that can be there, are there for you. No small task. I’ve used those for there for a long time and we have questionnaires that have been developed, you have to use labs and you have to use a lot of different, a lot of different tools. Either you may use a lot of different labs, you may use a couple of different labs but you need to use the tools that are indicated in that person’s case by their history to try to figure out before you start, to try to figure out, okay, which of the triggers are here for this particular patient? And then, you know, to take it one step further, there’s actually a hierarchy to care. For a long time it was the gut, for a long time it was like you know, treat the gut and you’ll fix everything. Leaky gut, fix the leaky gut and you’ll fix everything. That kind of defined functional medicine. But it’s way more than that. It’s way more than that. Is that part of it? Yes. Is that high on the hierarchy? Yes. Are there things higher on the hierarchy as far as what to start with? Then that yes (laughs) So you gotta know what they are.
So you have to evaluate all that and then you have to treat it.
Now treatment, maybe there’s some of you who are asking, “How do you treat it?” Oh, maybe you’re like my patients, you know, 15 years ago or whatever it was, maybe you’re looking for an ABBA botanical, okay? That fixes it, there is not one. But the medical approach for Hashimoto’s is to monitor your TSH, your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone because most Hashimoto’s patients, but not all (laughs) have hypothyroid.
So most patients have Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis, “itis” means inflammation, but not all of you have inflammation yet. And so there’s that aspect to it. And so the medical community will give you a thyroid medication for your hypothyroid symptoms, your hypothyroid numbers, your TSH, to get your TSH normal. And that may or may not help, a little bit, a lot, not at all.
And then their approach is to give you a drug for all every other symptom that Hashimoto’s patients come in here with, which is constipation, diarrhea, they can’t sleep, you’re cold, heart arrhythmias, insomnia, and so the person comes in here frequently with a thyroid hormone and a drug for every one of those symptoms.
That’s one way you treat it (laughs) From an alternative perspective, the way you treat it is you do the assessment that I talked about, and believe me, it’s lifestyle, it’s diet, it’s nutrition. And it’s understanding, which of those and this is where you start, in this understanding which of those are there in that particular case. And maybe you have to retrain somebody, or maybe they got like this poor circadian rhythm where they go to bed at one o’clock at night and they get up at like 11 o’clock in the morning. That’s not good. Okay? You need a proper circadian rhythm, has a lot to do with your brain, it affects blood sugar, affects stress hormones, affects your gut, affects everything. That might be one thing that you actually have to do to get that person’s inflammatory responses under control. And that’s just one of like a hundred things I can talk about. Alright? So you have to look at all the lifestyle potential triggers. You have to look at stress, you have to look at their relationships either with their family or with their boss. You have to look at all those things and see what are the things that are flaring up. Then comes the diet, the blood sugar then comes the diet, then comes the glutens and all like things. Which ones are for you? Which ones are not for you? Then after all of that, generally last night I just had a case where the gentleman’s been exposed to a lot of chemicals. He’s worked in the field where he’s been exposed to a lot of chemicals and so, he has symptoms that would indicate that those chemicals might be involved. So in addition to all that, you’re certainly gonna look to detox him of chemicals, but is chemicals on everybody? No, it’s not. And then after that, you start looking at all the pathogens. I mean, cause everybody’s looking at the pathogens first, not everybody but there was a point where everybody was looking for, it was heavy metals, it was parasites, those types of things. That’s what it is, it’s Lyme disease. That’s what it is. Well, that’s proven to be false, but each of those can be involved in specific cases.
And so, you know, I usually don’t see those right up front.
Those are usually not as involved.
So I mean, it’s a lot of data about how you treat it, is you find out, is the person over exercising? You’re gonna have to stop exercising too much (chuckles) Is the person, you know, having a knockdown drag out fight with their spouse over a potential divorce? That’s gonna be a hard case to take care of because their stress responses are so high. If they’re not on a medication or if they’re not on some sort of natural supplements to get that stress under control, you’re not gonna get their immune system under control, no matter what else you do. Then you look at all these other issues.
And this person has food sensitivities that are mild, this person has food sensitivities that are medium, and this person has three sensitivities that are insane. I just looked at a lab where the person has like 200 food sensitivities. How do you handle that? I’m not gonna tell you right now (laughs) But this is what you’re looking at, okay? So there’s no simple answer.
And as a conversation I had right before I came in here with the producer Kevin, sitting on the other side of this thing. As he said, “You don’t really treat the thyroid, do you?” And the answer is, you do, maybe.
But you treat all of these other things first and frequently the thyroid just starts functioning. So I have a friend who’s been a functional medicine practitioner down in San Diego and does nothing but Hashimoto’s, for like the last 20 years. And he says, “I almost never treated thyroid.” Now, I have hard time believing that but I get what he’s saying.
I get what he’s saying as far as the fact that, so many times once you get all the other inflammatory processes under control, you get the pressure off the thyroid, the thyroid just you know, the thyroid starts working again. I find for me, I find most of my patients, I’d say a good percentage of my patients need some thyroid support but we don’t know how much or what, you don’t even know and I’m a medical doctor. You didn’t even know what drug to use until you start getting all this stuff under control, cause different drugs, as many of you know, you’ve taken drugs, many of you have taken drugs and gotten a lot worse. There’s a lot of reasons for that. That reduces as time goes on.
And so you usually wanna treat everything else first. Now, some of you have watched my video that says, see if you can get your TSH to normal with some medication in the beginning and that’s actually fine if you wanna do that. But it’s a real crapshoot at that point, because it’s a matter of trial and error. If you’re lucky out and you take the right drug first and your TSH gets normal and you don’t have any side effects from the drug, that actually helps me out. The problem I run into is it might take a year or two for that person and their doctor to figure out (laughs) what the right medication is for them, because of variety of different things, so. But I say that not to muddy the water, but show you that is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis treatment. It is kind of a muddy water that you have to clear up by doing really a thorough history and a thorough evaluation and the proper testing and make a game plan.
And then you intervene by doing what I just said. You intervene by figuring out, what are all the triggers for that person? Comes down to that, so it comes down to, what are all triggers for that person? What order are you attacking ’em in? And then you attack.
And can I do it always with dietary and lifestyle changes and herbs and botanicals and nutraceuticals? No.
Sometimes people do need certain medications. If they’ve had it, you know, they’ve had it a long time, where certain organs have broke down. If they’re a person that comes out in here, their tonsils are gone, or appendix is gone and her uterus is gone, the gallbladder is gone. That’s gonna be a little tougher case.
They might need some help because some of their organs, some of their metabolic pathways may not reestablish themselves. Duh, you know? So it’s complex. It’s really one of the reasons, it’s most of what I do because it’s enough to do that. If you did nothing else, we do more than Hashimoto’s here, but in the end the Hashimoto’s would be enough to do because it takes some time to work these cases up because you’re looking for all that data and then you put it together and then you execute. The time it takes to put it together is worth it because then that’s gonna make the whole case smooth along the way. But what most people are doing here is the linear stuff. Well, I’m on Dr. Google and I did the (indistinct) thing and it worked for two weeks, but now it’s not working. And I had, you know, oh yeah, I got autoimmune gastritis and I took the antacids and that made me worse.
And you know, it’s not like that, but that’s what most of you are exposed to, whether using drugs or whether using some botanicals.
So I mean ,there’s not really a cool, satisfactory, succinct answer to that question.
But yet we get that question an awful lot.
So for those of you who are looking for, like, can you tell me, are you holding back on me? You’re not telling me like how I treat it. Just tell me how I treat it so I can just do it at home and I don’t have to talk to you or anybody else. It doesn’t exist. Unless you have a huge background, believe me, it has taken a long time to learn all this stuff. And a lot of experience and a lot of getting kicked in the teeth by cases that maybe didn’t go as well as you wanted them to go and then you learn stuff for the next one. It’s just hard to do it, if you don’t have that type of a background. So that’s why, that’s another reason it’s such a health problem. Because first place you go is your doctor and your doctor is gonna give you thyroid hormone which frequently doesn’t do anything for Hashimoto’s and sometimes it does. And then they’re gonna give you drugs for all the other symptoms. So it’s a problem.
It’s a big, big, difficult condition for most people.
And so I can offer hours on this, okay? But I think that kinda gets the point across that I’m trying to get across, is that there’s no easy solution.
There’s that easy case that comes in like once a year. But for the most part, there’s a lot of investigation goes into it, there’s a lot of moving pieces to it, there’s a lot of triggers and so that’s why you can’t get that answer off of the internet from me. Well or anybody else. Anybody else who tells you they got the cure for Hashimoto’s online, don’t do it (laughs) Don’t do it. It’s gonna be a waste of your money. It’s gonna be a waste of your time. So that’s the answer to, “How do I treat Hashimoto’s?” And probably the answer is you probably don’t, but that’s the answer.
How to Treat Hashimoto’s