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Thyroid Support Ireland

News, information and support for people with Thyroid conditions who live in Ireland

What is Hashimoto's Disease?
 By Purr Jones


Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, causing tissue damage and inflammation. Hashimoto's is caused by an over-reaction of antibodies to proteins in the thyroid gland.  

This immune system over-reaction can cause the gradual destruction of the thyroid gland itself, and can leave  it unable to produce thyroid hormones.  

Antibodies are made by white blood cells to help us fight germs and infections. However, people with Hashimoto’s instead produce auto-antibodies. These are made by white blood cells. They appear in the bloodstream and attack the normal, healthy tissue of the thyroid gland.

 Why Toxins are important

A cumulative toxic burden on the body triggers all autoimmune symptoms. Toxic burden can include:  viruses, surgery, stress, heavy metals, food additives, injuries, chemicals, plastics, food allergies, refined and processed foods.This toxic build-up creates an ideal environment in the gut  where opportunistic organisms like bad bacteria and parasites to thrive. These bad bacteria can affect and inhibit the growth of the good bacteria that is meant to colonize the lining of the small intestine. Since a large percentage of our immune-producing cells are manufactured in this lining, this means that what we call our “immune system” is significantly weakened and so yeast and fungus can overgrow it.

The result of this is a filtering of immune cells into thethyroid gland. These  cells damage the thyroid tissue, causing  the gland to reduce its production  of hormones,(T3 T4, T2 and T1). The usual result is an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

This can lead to intestinal hyperpermeability. The precious lining of the intestine creates holes so that toxins and undigested proteins leak through into the bloodstream. When this happens, it causes an autoimmune reaction where auto-antibodies start to attack and inflame healthy tissue like the bladder, joints, the arteries, and the thyroid = HASHIMOTO'S.....

People with an autoimmune response such as this, always have a toxic body. 

These are some of the most common symptoms of an immune system gone awry:

muscle and joint pain
general muscle weakness
greater susceptibility to, and more frequent infections
intolerance to cold, or sensitivity to heat
rashes and skin conditions
low-grade fever
swollen nymph nodes/glands
night sweats
numbness and tingling in hands and feet
low blood pressure

tremors and seizures
dry eyes
weight loss
hair loss
dry mouth
shortness of breath
heart palpitations
abdominal cramping and tenderness
concentration and memory problems
swollen legs

Known causes of Hashimoto’s: 

-Environmental toxins such as Mercury and Pesticides

-Drinking tap water which contains Flouride and Chlorine

-The Food Borne Bacteria Yersinia Enterocolitica  or E-Coli

-Too little or too much supplemental Iodine

-Exposure to radiation

-Soy Overconsumption 

-Family History of Thyroid Disease


Healing Strategies to restore balance.

One must detoxify, replenish the  good bacteria, top up any vitamins and minerals

Symptoms of Hashimoto's:

-muscle and joint pain
-general muscle weakness
-greater susceptibility to, and more frequent infections
-intolerance to cold, or sensitivity to heat
-rashes and skin conditions
-low-grade fever
-swollen nymph nodes/glands
-night sweats
-numbness and tingling in hands and feet
-low blood pressure
-tremors and seizures
-dry eyes
-weight loss
-hair loss
-dry mouth
-shortness of breath
-heart palpitations
-abdominal pain, cramping and tenderness
-dizziness and vertigo
-concentration and memory problems

 Thanks to Purr for explaining all about  Hashi's.



Bromine has many negative health effects, including damage to thyroid health

Bromine exposure depletes the body’s iodine by competing with iodine receptors. Iodine is crucial for thyroid function. Without iodine, your thyroid gland would be completely unable to produce thyroid hormone.

Even the names of the different forms of thyroid hormone reflect the number of iodine molecules attached -- T4 has four attached iodine molecules, and T3 (the biologically active form of the hormone) has three--showing what an important part iodine plays in thyroid biochemistry.

Hypothyroidism is far more prevalent than once thought The latest estimates are that in the U.S.13 million Americans have hypothyroidism, but the actual numbers are probably higher.

Some experts claim that 10 to 40 percent of Americans have sub-optimal thyroid function.

Many of these folks may actually have nothing wrong with their thyroid gland at all -- they may just be suffering from iodine deficiency.

Seven Tips for Avoiding Bromine and Optimizing Iodine

Trying to avoid bromine is like trying to avoid air pollution -- all you can do is minimize your exposure. That said, here are a few things you can do to minimize your risk:

  1. Eat organic as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly. This will minimize your pesticide exposure.

  2. Avoid eating or drinking from (or storing food and water in) plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels.

  3. Look for organic whole-grain breads and flour. Grind you own grain, if possible. Look for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” label on commercial baked goods.

  4. Avoid sodas. Drink natural, filtered water instead.

  5. If you own a hot tub, look into an ozone purification system. Such systems make it possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemical treatments.

  6. Look for personal care products that are as chemical-free as possible. Remember -- anything going on you, goes in you.

  7. When in a car or a building, open windows as often as possible, preferably on opposing sides of the space for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the air. Chemical pollutants are much higher inside buildings (and cars) than outside.

Avoid Unfermented Soy

Another major contributor to thyroid dysfunction that I did not discuss above is unfermented soy. Soy isoflavones can wreak havoc on your thyroid.

Kaayla Daniel's groundbreaking book, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food is a powerful exposé that reveals the truth about the soy myths that have infiltrated our culture.

It's ironic that soy has become so accepted as a health food when, as Dr. Daniel states, thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid- and hormonal dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility--even cancer and heart disease.

So if you want to keep your thyroid healthy, you’ll definitely want to avoid unfermented soy products of all kinds, including soy milk.


Hashimoto's - everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Over the next few months,TSI is going to focus on Hashimoto's Treatment in Ireland and we will also look at how it  differs in other places.  So Tell us what you would really like to know about Hashis and we will try to find you some answers.

When her doctor diagnosed Sarah Downing with Hashimoto’s  (an underactive thyroid caused by an autoimmune disorder), back in 2010,  she felt both relieved and sad – relieved because she finally had an explanation for the  myriad of weird symptoms that had afflicted her for ages, and sad because she wished she had known earlier.

 The following  is an extract from her blog  Butterflies and, which is here


My Hashi's diagnosis explained why my weight was gradually piling on; why I had to spend most of my days in bed and why I suffered from skin irritations and bloating.

What made it worse was that my mother and grandmother had both had the disease for years, but my mother was only told that Hashi's can be genetic shortly before my diagnosis.

My diagnosis brought  home to me how unaware we are of thyroid illness, so i started reading. One of patient advocate Mary Shomon’s websites told me that around 59 million Americans have thyroid problems, yet most remain undiagnosed. Why on earth is this and what can we do to change it?

The more I read and  talked to others, the more I realised how  often thyroid diseases are trivialised and mocked.

One friend’s reaction to my diagnosis was “I didn’t think it was that serious”. Well mate, a disease that will chronically affect your whole body for the rest of your life, in ways you  don’t even want to imagine, is anything but trivial.

Incidentally, that friend’s mother also suffers from thyroid disease. Another friend thought that downing a Red Bull energy drink would help me feel less tired – well, I wish it were that simple! Another remarked that society deems the stereotypical thyroid patient to be a fat, depressed woman. Sure, we get fat. Sure, we get depressed, but this disease is about so much more.


Hashis Symptoms inlcude hair loss, skin issues,tiredness, obesity, blood pressure issues, infertility, dry mucus membranes (including your lady bits!) This is not a pretty disease and not one some people like talking or hearing about, but it’s certainly one that the general public needs to know more about when you consider how very prevalent yet underdiagnosed it is.


There are still way too many people suffering despite being on medication. Members of the medical community think that one little pill is a panacea and time and again I talk to patients who were repeatedly misdiagnosed with other illnesses, very often depression, before being given the correct diagnosis.

To make matters worse, many doctors rely too heavily on blood work and less on how the patient actually feels. It also seems to be a frequent occurrence that thyroid patients who continue to complain of weight gain get sent home and told to “lay off the beer” or “stop using your thyroid disease as an excuse”. When your hormones are out of whack, you can literally lead as healthy a lifestyle as you like, but you may still suffer from weight gain and problems losing weight. That is why we have to be our own advocates – a good doctor can help us get well, but they can’t do it for us.

Explaining thyroid disease (or any disease for that matter) to your friends and family is no mean feat and I’d like to share my experiences with you in the hope that you will feel able to share yours too.

Since my diagnosis, I have done lots of research which I am always happy to share with many family members as links to articles or in my own words (particularly as thyroid disease runs in myfamily).

Most of my  family are diagnosed, but  live with unsatisfactory treatment.most  are very happy to discuss the disease with me and listen to what I have researched, realizing that it may benefit them in the long run.

It is also important to note that there are tactful ways of suggesting to your family that they get tested without getting too personal about certain symptoms such as weight gain, but who am I telling? Most of us know exactly how it is to be on the receiving end of tactless comments about our weight.

I find it much more of a challenge to explain to friends what is going on with me – why I haven’t been my usual sociable self for months and why I have to concentrate on what is best for me right now and whatever helps me to get well. I hate seeming selfish, but this is the way it is when you are recovering from a chronic illness. Perhaps recovery is the wrong word. It won’t ever go away as it’s chronic, but I am determined to get it under control. I have decided to be very honest about my disease, which does take guts because you have to be prepared for a whole myriad of reactions …

A few people have been very supportive and understanding, offering help and comfort. Those who have been most supportive tend to be those who are familiar with medicine or illness, because they are the ones who have often experienced it first-hand and know where I am coming from.

I have realised over the past few years that not everybody is capable of empathy and I can’t expect everybody to empathise with me or I’ll just end up disappointed. I tend to find it less stressful to spend the majority of my time with those who understand and care about what I am going through.

With chronic illness, it’s vital to avoid stressful situations. If I feel that certain friends are more stressful than supportive, I will consider seeing less of them for my own good.

 One friend warned me not to become too involved as the “disease would then become my life” and she even referred to campaigners who talk about nothing but what they are campaigning for. But I see it differently. I refuse to be ashamed of my disease. This is part of who I am and if I can raise awareness and learn more about it, this will help me and others to control it and stop it from consuming us. I am trying to turn something negative into something positive.


And positive really is the magic word here. I think we have to make a concerted effort to be positive when talking to others about our disease. Of course, we can bitch to those we truly feel comfortable with, but when talking to friends they will often be more receptive if our message is perceived as informative rather than whiny.

Some people view Internet research with skepticism. It scares the shit out of them. Others  would rather not dwell on the symptoms for fear that focusing on them will make them become real. Others still have a fear of doctors and some have referred to my research as a “dangerous half-knowledge” (a translation from the German).

The question I pose to you  in parting is this: is it more dangerous to know something or to know nothing at all? 


 Is there a single  test which can tell Doctors whether someone has hashimoto's or not?










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