February 2022

What are the Root Causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid. The condition causes chronic inflammation, and it is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid.

The first things you may notice are symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and even depression – long before the diagnosis. But what causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? In this blog, I want to take a closer look at six of the root causes of this disease.

  • Gut Health 1: Gluten Sensitivity
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Stress
  • Gut Health 2: H. pylori
  • Gut Health 3: SIBO
  • Nutrient Deficiencies

Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity is not the same as celiac disease where your body can’t break down gluten at all, but you may have similar symptoms. Those symptoms can be connected to your thyroid. Reducing your gluten intake allows you to see whether your symptoms clear up as well.

It’s simple: if gluten is causing inflammation in your body, it may also cause an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s to flare up.


Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

Most of us remember EBV as the cause of the common childhood illness mononucleosis or mono. It’s a type of herpes virus, and experts estimate that 80% of adults carry the virus in its dormant form.

However, if it is reactivated by food, illness, or another stressor, it can lead to other problems. You may not notice it, but you may be carrying a low-level EBV infection, making you more likely to develop an autoimmune condition.



It’s impossible to talk about thyroid conditions without talking about stress. We have become so used to being stressed that we’re almost considering stress to be normal. But remember stress affects us physiologically, too. Consider rushing through traffic to pick up your kids when you’re already late. Or maybe getting up and speaking in front of people, even if it is remotely like on a Facebook Live. Or a stressful family situation. All of those cause an acute stress reaction. The more time you spend this stressed, the more likely you may be to develop an autoimmune condition.


Gut Health: H. pylori

Have you heard of helicobacter pylori? It’s a bacterial infection that can cause gastric ulcers. Not only are those painful, but they affect the functioning of your stomach. You start struggling to absorb foods and nutrients, so no matter how good your diet is, your body can’t take advantage.

As a bacterial infection, it often needs to be treated with antibiotics. Before they take hold, the infection may have triggered Hashimoto’s.


Gut Health 3: SIBO

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is hard to diagnose. Symptoms include general malaise, constipation, and bloating, among others.

While the condition itself is treatable, it may cause Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune diseases. As you can see, there is a theme here: gut health is closely related to autoimmune conditions and thyroid problems.


Nutrient Deficiencies

The thyroid can’t produce its hormone when you are lacking nutrients. Selenium, zinc, and magnesium are hugely important. I have also seen a connection between deficiencies in asparagine, ferritin, and iodine in people with thyroid conditions.

If you are suffering from Hashimoto’s or you think you may have a thyroid condition, it’s important to understand your nutrient status and perhaps improve it to address your symptoms.

To find out more about the connections between these reasons and autoimmune reactions, keep on reading. Nutrition can go a long way to help resolve your thyroid symptoms.

Ep 06: How does alcohol affect thyroid function?

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Alcohol and thyroid health – I get asked about this quite a bit and people are really concerned whether they can continue drinking alcohol when they are working with me to get their thyroid health in check. We often hear you can have everything in moderation. Sometimes, that’s just not true, when you are not balanced and struggling with some kind of flare as in autoimmune thyroid conditions.


Alcohol directly affects the hypothalamo-pituitary axis – think serotonin and dopamine – in the brain and is the reason why  in some it can cause dependency. This axis directly affects thyroid function through a series of reactions. But one thing you need to understand about your health is that EVERYTHING is connected. Our bodies don’t work in parts. Conventional wisdom and set up of our medical systems, IMO, have forgotten this part. We have a specialist for everything but it’s often forgotten that a dysfunction in thyroid hormone can potentially affect female hormones…but it’s written off that there are different pathways so one doesn’t affect the other. This is just one example. Ok, back to it.

It’s not 100% conclusive but studies show peripheral thyroid hormone levels – T4 and T3 – are lower when there is chronic alcohol consumption. Abstinence of alcohol for a few weeks gets hormone levels back to normal.

Alcohol is known to have a direct toxic effect on the thyroid gland. Ethanol ablation is actually a treatment option for some thyroid cancers – an example of the toxic effect.

Just like any study, there can be conflicting evidence. Moderate alcohol consumption can actually reduce thyroid cancer risk.

But as I’ve mentioned before, when I work with people, I have to look at the whole picture…what are the complaints, what are the symptoms, what are the primary goals, what is going on in the lifestyle? How bad do you feel?


With that in mind, my main concern is how well the thyroid is optimized. Alcohol has to be processed by the liver. So does our thyroid hormones. The liver is involved in the conversion of T4 to T3 hormone and when we consume alcohol, processing our macronutrients and other body processes are put on hold to get that alcohol (a toxin) out of our system. Alcohol becomes the primary fuel for several hours after consumption.


Then, we need to address our stress and rest in order to give the thyroid underlying support. When we consume alcohol – even occasionally – our sleep is regularly interrupted or at minimum, not restorative and is actually pretty poor.


So, what can you do?

1. Remove it completely to get to the root of your thyroid problems and to help resolve them.

2. Work to improve your liver health with healthy, whole foods, filtered water, lots of plant foods that are full of antioxidants, add turmeric to your foods with good black pepper for better absorption.

3. Do a specific liver detoxification/gut health protocol to clean out your body so you can start from scratch.

4. Experiment with alcohol to add it back and pay attention but take note of your sleep and other factors and how it affects you during the day.

5. Try to use better quality alcohol when possible – organic wines