Case study: Fatigue in a thyroid patient

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Susanna was a 42-year-old Lebanese lady who came to see me for help with exhaustion. She had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis a year ago and was taking 75 mcg of thyroxine.

Susanna suffered with extremely low energy, and the thyroid hormone medication didn’t help to increase her energy at all. Her hormone levels now looked good on paper when she went to have blood tests, yet she still barely had enough energy to get through the day.

Susanna also had some joint pain and muscle pain. She experienced it in several locations: her hips, elbows, knees, ankles, calves and shoulders, but not all at the same time. The pain came and went.

Her weight was not a problem, but she did suffer with a lot of fluid retention. There were days she could not take her rings off, and in the mornings her face and eyes were quite puffy, making it difficult to apply her makeup. Susanna often felt uncomfortable in her stomach. She had mild cramps and often had loose bowel motions. Therefore she didn’t enjoy eating because she always felt unwell afterwards and the fatigue she felt was always much worse after meals.

I had the chance to see Susanna’s blood test results for the last year, which her doctor had ordered. Susanna had mildly raised liver enzymes, low vitamin D, low white blood cells and she was positive for rheumatoid factor. Her doctor suggested that she was heading towards developing another autoimmune disease; possibly lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.

My recommendations for my patient

  • As with all my autoimmune patients, I asked Susanna to begin a gluten and dairy free diet immediately. This is the bare minimum for anyone suffering with autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I explained to Susanna that it would be best if she avoided all grains and based her diet on vegetables and protein, such as seafood, poultry, grass fed meat and eggs, along with healthy fats. These foods are usually most appropriate for people with digestive and immune system problems. Susanna did not have coeliac disease. She had been tested years ago because of her history of digestive discomfort. Low white blood cells can be caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies or chronic infections, but can also be caused by autoimmune disease and it’s a common finding among my patients.
  • We needed to raise Susanna’s blood vitamin D level. I asked her to take Thyroid Health capsules, which contain vitamin D, along with selenium, iodine and zinc, to support a healthy thyroid gland.
  • To settle her digestive system, I suggested Susanna sips on warm apple cider vinegar drinks. I asked her to dissolve one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in half a mug of warm water and drink it before lunch and dinner. I also put Susanna on my protocol for healing leaky gut, which included Gut Health powder at a dose of 1 teaspoon three times daily away from meals.
  • Susanna often experienced cramps in her calves at night, and this led to chronically sore calf muscles throughout the day. To help reduce cramps I gave Susanna some Magnesium Ultra Potent powder and asked her to take one teaspoon with dinner.
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