The Impact of Nutrition on Hashimoto Disease

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is considered the most common autoimmune disease. It was first described in 1912 by the Japanese physician Hakaru Hashimoto, from whom it’s named after. It is characterized by the production of autoantibodies against the thyroid gland.

The harmful effects of this “attack” are the invasion of the thyroid by T and B lymphocytes, which swell it, gradually creating a goiter. This goiter is installed slowly, it has an irregular surface and its texture is semi-hard. Furthermore, the autoantibodies which are produced, damage the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is 3-7 times more common in women than in men and it mainly affects middle-aged individuals. It is now accepted that genetic susceptibility, environmental factors and immune disorders contribute to its development.


Symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

This condition can manifest through symptoms such as fatigue, drowsiness, learning difficulties, dry skin, weight gain, chills, dizziness, irregular heart beat, palpitations, nervousness, etc.

One of the main concerns of people with thyroid dysfunction is weight gain and the subsequent desired weight loss. In people with hypothyroidism, a decrease in metabolic rate is associated with the often observed increase in body weight.

The Importance of Diet in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Certain nutrients play a very important role and can help with the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease, while some others should be avoided.

Lack of selenium in the human body worsens the symptoms of the disease, as it is essential for the proper function of the thyroid gland. Numerous studies have shown that people with Hashimoto’s disease benefit from selenium supplements because they improve thyroid function and they help reduce the levels of auto- antibodies. Tuna, nuts, brown bread, lentils, meat, cereals, shellfish and Brazil nuts are foods that contain large amounts of selenium.

Furthermore,  insufficient levels of iron can reduce the metabolism of the thyroid gland. Several studies note that low levels of ferritin and iron are directly linked to hypothyroidism, as it is known that the formation of thyroid hormones by the enzyme peroxidase requires adequate iron. Therefore, frequent consumption of foods rich in iron (legumes, potatoes, nuts, dried fruits) helps a lot in reducing the symptoms of the disease.

Iodine is important for the production of thyroid hormones. However, in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the thyroid gland suffers from a chronic inflammation. Thus, large amounts of iodine can worsen the disease. Iodine-rich foods such as dairy and seafood, should be avoided, .

Other foods that contribute to the proper function of the thyroid gland are those that contain vitamin D, such as cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna, sardines, mushrooms and egg yolk. Magnesium can also help reduce the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is found in large quantities in green leafy vegetables, spinach, arugula, lettuce, peanuts, cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds. In contrast, foods that seem to deregulate thyroid function are spirulina, gluten products, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and soy.

The Modern Medical Treatment of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Patients with hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s disease can lead a normal life, as long as they take the necessary medication(s) and do not neglect the appropriate diagnostic tests. Identifying the causes of Hashimoto’s disease, through specialized tests, allows the doctor to proceed with precise interventions in lifestyle and diet, in order to restore the body as close as possible to its normal function. Biochemical, hormonal or other specialized molecular-level diagnostic tests, can identify cellular dysfunctions and deficiencies.

The proposed therapeutic protocols are determined by clinical-algorithms in relation to laboratory findings, the patient’s medical history and the presence of other chronic or not diseases and they are strictly personalized. Correcting the body’s deficiencies in vitamins and other elements, restoring metabolism, and regulating weight to normal levels can radically change the course of Hashimoto’s disease for the better. Patients do not experience drastic changes in their daily routine. On the contrary, they notice a gradual improvement, along with an overall higher state of physical health and well-being.


Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.

Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).

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