Avatar universal

Hashimoto's, Diet and Those Antibodies

Hi all
I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease (yes, I finally and doctor who listened to my symptoms and looked me in the eye and didn't question my sanity). She put me on Synthroid lowest dosage to come back to my endo in 2 months.
Now, i could have done my research BUT my question is pressing and I don't want to lose more time. So thanks in advance for the answers.
my lab numbers are within "normal" to low range for TSH (T3's and T4's are also on the lower end of normal)
I  have really bad hypo symptoms AND my antibody count is way above normal.

I started the synthroid today BUT as im reading more and more I read that GLUTEN FREE and PALEO-ish diets are the way to go for Hashimoto's patients (inflammation and allergies etc) . Now, although i have gained way to much weight (unwarranted)  due to my condition it wouldn't be too bad to go into a diet but gluten free and paleo really seem way out of control strict to me.

I guess my question is this (to narrow down opinions, because there could be many)

As i understand my condition is caused by a high count of antibodies in my body, correct? are there any medical studies out there that prove that eating gluten free and sugar free and grain free and dairy free and lower carb WILL lower ANTIBODIES??
Best Answer
649848 tn?1534633700
In a word... No... There are no scientific studies that show going gluten, dairy, sugar free, low carb, etc will lower your antibody count...

While the antibodies may cause some inflammation/swelling of the thyroid, your main symptoms are actually the result of hypothyroidism, caused by reduced thyroid function, not from the antibodies themselves.

The thyroid controls metabolism, as well as heart rate, body temperature and other body functions, so when thyroid function declines, so does metabolism, which causes weight gain, constipation, GERD/acid reflux, etc.  The heart rate often slows down, one becomes intolerant to cold, and all kinds of odd symptoms develop.  The face may become puffy, feet, legs and hands may begin swelling, muscles and joints may be painful... Different things happen to different people...

While studies have shown that selenium can reduce antibody counts by 20-30%, the biggest advantage with selenium is that it's been shown to help in the conversion of Free T4 to the usable Free T3.

The raw number of antibodies you have doesn't mean that you have a worse case of Hashimoto's than someone with a lower number of antibodies. The important thing is the simple fact that you have Hashimoto's and can expect declining thyroid function until, eventually, your thyroid output is zero.

Many people swear by going gluten and dairy free and if that makes them feel better, then by all means, I say "go for it"... As for sugar free, I can give you a lot of reasons why sugar should be avoided (but should not replaced with artificial sweeteners) - the main reason being, simply that it's not good for you, because too much spikes your blood glucose levels, which in turn spikes insulin levels.  This is related to insulin resistance/pre-diabetes and if left untreated can become full blown type II diabetes.  

Insulin resistance is also related to a condition called Metabolic Syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high trigylcerides, high blood sugar, obesity (excess fat around the middle).  The components of Metabolic Syndrome are often present with hypothyroidism.

Having been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, I can tell you, first hand, that cutting way back on bread/bread products and sugary food will go a long way toward helping you shed weight and controlling certain symptoms.  If you do it to control antibodies, you will be disappointed.  
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Avatar universal
Im going to start the sugar free, lower carb..... see how that makes me feel...
i've always felt lighter by doing Atkins anyway...
Helpful - 0
649848 tn?1534633700
I was on a 1200/day diet... 108 grams of protein, 108 grams of carbohydrate and I don't recall exact amount of fat, but I think it was about 25-30 grams.  My doctor wanted me to do 2 protein shakes/day, plus eat 3 small meals/day, plus an hour of exercise and I really tried, but after a few weeks, I got so sick of those shakes, I couldn't stand the sight of them and I wasn't losing any weight anyway.  

I get most of my protein in the form of meat and dairy now... I still keep my calories in check - around that 1200 mark, though I've stopped actually counting them, but more of them come in the form of fat, which keeps me more satisfied, so I don't need feel like I need as many...
Helpful - 0
1756321 tn?1547095325
Medhelp doesn't like up and down symbols. Let's try again lol...

Very low carb  under 10%
Carbs (grams) for men (2600 kcal diet)  under 65 g
Carbs (grams) for women (2000 kcal diet) under 50 g

* Neurological issues (epilepsy, Alzheimer's etc.)
* Severe blood sugar problems


Low carb 10 - 15%
Carbs (grams) for men (2600 kcal diet)  65 - 100 g
Carbs (grams) for women (2000 kcal diet)  50 - 75 g

* weight loss
* blood sugar regulation
* mood disturbances
* digestive problems


Moderate carb 15 - 30%
Carbs (grams) for men (2600 kcal diet) 100 - 200 g
Carbs (grams) for women (2000 kcal diet) 75 -150 g

*generally healthy
* maintain weight
* adrenal fatigue
* hypothyroidism
* familial hypercholesterolemia


High carb over 30%
Carbs (grams) for men (2600 kcal diet) over 200 g
Carbs (grams) for women (2000 kcal diet)  over 150 g

*athletes and highly active people
*trying to gain weight/muscle
*fast metabolism
Helpful - 0
1756321 tn?1547095325
I haven't eaten table salt in years. Once I discovered rock salt's flavour there was no going back to table salt lol.  Even webMD has eggs as a listed superfood! :)

There is a article from Chris Kresser: The 3-Step Process to Determining Your Ideal Carbohydrate Intake. You have to experiment to see how you feel though.  Here is the table from that article...

Very low carb  <10%
Carbs (grams) for men (2600 kcal diet)  <65 g
Carbs (grams) for women (2000 kcal diet) 30%
Carbs (grams) for men (2600 kcal diet) >200 g
Carbs (grams) for women (2000 kcal diet)  >150 g

*athletes and highly active people
*trying to gain weight/muscle
*fast metabolism
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal

yes more low carb, mod protein high fat type diet ?

I don't know why, but somewhere I read that low carb might cause a thyroid problem in the first place?!
(don't quote me on that) for some reason that comes up in my mind?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
ok wow, congrats on the weight loss!!

i can't wait for myself to start losing the extra 25 pounds i've put on!
Just as background: I used to follow a low carb (atkins) diet for many many years, i maintained that way. My nutritionist changed my plan to the one your doctor put you on.... high carb/moderate protein/lowfat. so fat i've been dropping fat percentages but weight keeps rising (1 pound at a time so to speak) and I was maybe thinking to go back to low carb (not paleo) but certainly lower carb.
I was hoping to wait another two weeks with the nutritionist plan, see where my weight goes and see if the synthroid helps at all (as the endo suggested) then reassess?

what do you think?
Helpful - 0
649848 tn?1534633700
I can't eat table salt, which is one reason I have to really watch processed foods... sodium makes me swell up like a bullfrog and it takes days/weeks for the fluid retention to subside.  I can do very small amounts of Sea salt.

I'll have to print the guidelines and take them to my doctor so he'll get off my back about eating eggs...

I have about 10-12 lbs more I'd like to lose, so I just need to get away from this computer more and start getting more exercise every day!!
Helpful - 0
1756321 tn?1547095325
Nicely done!  I've lost 30.8 lbs myself.  I grew up knowing what the science was wrong about saturated fat and salt intake based on what my Grandfather ate. I was waiting for the day they admitted they got it wrong...and it seems the time has finally arrived. O_O Pigs are a flying lol.

Earth shattering, pigs flying, Hell freezing nutrition...

"On May 8, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) made its official comments on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and recommend dropping saturated fat from nutrients of concern due to the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease."

"The Academy supported the scientific process used by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) in drafting its recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but had somewhat different interpretations:

They supported the DGAC in its decision to drop dietary cholesterol from the nutrients of concern list and recommended that it also drop saturated fat from nutrients of concern, citing a lack of evidence connecting saturated fat with cardiovascular disease;

Expressed concern over blanket sodium (salt) restriction recommendations in light of recent evidence of potential harm to the larger population;

Supported an increased focus on reduction of added sugars as a key public health concern; and

Asserted that enhanced nutrition education is critical to any effective implementation."
Helpful - 0
649848 tn?1534633700
As far as the weight issue is concerned, healthy eating is pretty much what you need to do, but I spent 7 years eating "healthy";  my doctor had me on a high protein, low fat, moderate carb diet, with certain exercises, daily and I was still gaining weight in spite of adequate thyroid hormones.

At the beginning of this year, I, finally, ditched my doctor's diet, cut my bread consumption by about 75-85%, in other words, my maximum is 1 slice of bread/day or if we have pizza, I don't get bread, etc... I haven't used sugar in my food for years, so that's not an issue, but I decreased my fruit intake (fruit has sugar, even if it's "natural").  I went back to full fat dairy, added in other healthy fats, including coconut oil, butter, olive oil, avocados, meat, etc - all in moderate portions and as soon as I made those changes, I lost 10 lbs within a few weeks... I've since lost 12 more, for a total of 22 lbs altogether.  

I'm far from gluten or grain free (oatmeal sweetened with cinnamon and coconut oil is one of my favorites), by any means, but the amount of processed foods, specifically bread products is severely limited.

My doctor was somewhat taken back when I told him what I'd done, but the results don't lie... His diet didn't work, mine did.
Helpful - 0
1756321 tn?1547095325
My mother is in remission for Hashimoto's thyroiditis actually. She had symptoms for years and no longer has any symptoms. It was very good news indeed.

The drug nexium (acid blocker) was the trigger for her Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Getting rid of nexium and increasing stomach acid with betaine HCL with pepsin supplements means she can now absorb her nutrients and notably antioxidants optimally. I believe this has been the key reason why she is in remission.

But to add, she also changed her diet to a sugar free diet and got rid of her wholemeal toast for breakfast (looked 10 years younger in a week and had more energy just getting rid of the toast!) and drinks rainwater or spring water.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Barb 135
Thank you!!

so that makes it easier then, I can just continue eating healthy (i've always been a mindful eater and never ever had a weight problem until now!)  and possibly take selenium supplements.

thanks again! I really don't want to turn to a gluten free and/ paleo diet!
I will ask my doctor to check me for insulin resistance although i don't have high blood pressure...but i will still run it by him!
thanks again, the info was most useful!

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
thank you so much, that's what i was looking for. Im going to look them up.
So in short just by lightly reading the excerpts i can safely assume that selenium would contribute to lowering TPO-Ab levels if at all.

So about diet I just have to keep eating healthy, and not over exercise and I would be as good as I can be with Hashimoto's.

thanks you!!!!!!
Helpful - 0
1756321 tn?1547095325
Human clinical trials :

Germany - 2002 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. This study showed 40% reduction in antibody levels after selenium supplementation with 9 of 36 (25%) patients completely normalizing their antibody levels.

Turkey -  2006 Journal of Endocrinology.  This study showed a 30% decrease in anti-thyroid antibodies after 3 months of 200mcg per day of L-selenomethionine supplementation for in women with Hashimotos Thyroiditis. The starting average TPOAb was 803 and after 3 months the average was 572.  

Crete - 2007 Thyroid Journal.  This study reported a 21% reduction in TPOAb after 1 year of selenomethionine supplements (200 mcg per day).

Greece - October 2010 - Thyroid Journal. In this study, participants who received selenium supplementation for 3 months demonstrated significantly lower TPOAb titers and reported a greater sense of well being and improved mood than those who did not receive selenium.


There is a long term trial (5 years) entitled "Long-Term Follow-Up of Antithyroid Peroxidase Antibodies in Patients with Chronic Autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) Treated with Levothyroxine."  The results showed TPOAb levels decline in most patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis but after a mean of 50 months (just over 2 years).

"The mean decrease after 3 months was 8%, and after 1 year it was 45%. Five years after the first value, TPO-Ab levels were 1456 ± 1219 IU/mL, a decrease of 70%. TPO-Ab levels became negative, < 100 IU/mL, in only six patients, a normalization percentage of 16%."
Helpful - 0
1756321 tn?1547095325
You probably won't find clinical trials on diet and thyroid antibodies levels but you can find trials on selenium supplementation and thyroxine lowering thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb).

Medscape's article Selenium and the Thyroid Gland Clin Endocrinol. 2013;78(2):155-164....

"Most authors attribute the effect of supplementation on the immune system to the regulation of the production of reactive oxygen species and their metabolites.

In patients with Hashimoto's disease and in pregnant women with anti-TPO antibodies, selenium supplementation decreases anti-thyroid antibody levels and improves the ultrasound structure of the thyroid gland. Although clinical applications still need to be defined for Hashimoto's disease, they are very interesting for pregnant women given that supplementation significantly decreases the percentage of postpartum thyroiditis and definitive hypothyroidism."

"The regulation of the production of reactive oxygen species" aka reducing oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress is when there isn't enough anti oxidants to combat free radicals (reactive oxygen species).  My TPOAb skyrocketed when I was hyperthyroid for instance.  

Excerpt from the article: What thyroid patients should know about Oxidative Stress...

"Some Causes of oxidative stress

There are quite a few situations mentioned in articles and studies which can cause your body to be overly stressed from the results of oxidation and all the reactive oxygen species. They include, but are not limited to:

excess endurance exercising
excess weight lifting
lack of key antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Magnesium and other minerals
excess radiation or sunlight
smoking (huge cause of oxidative stress)
excessive drinking or drug use
over-exposure to toxins in our air, water and foods like pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals and more
prescription medications
processed foods with all their artificial dyes, additives or flavorings
excess physical trauma
Graves disease aka hyperthyroidism
excess copper levels from the MTHFR defect"
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649848 tn?1534633700
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