Drs. John Robinson and Cristina Romero-Bosch, Guests
Thyroid Nation

Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto’s Discovery

Hashimoto’s. That damn Hashimoto’s. This poor guy never knew his name would be cursed as much as it has been since this brilliant doctor first discovered autoimmune thyroid disease back in 1912, giving a name to a very difficult disease. Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, a Japanese physician, discovered a type of goiter, or enlarged thyroid, that when biopsied presented with lymphocyte (white blood cell) infiltration, fibrosis, and eventual gland atrophy (shrinkage) due to destruction of the gland. He coined the term “Hashimoto’s thyroiditis” or lymphocytic thyroiditis. And now for over a century, more and more people are suffering from this autoimmune condition, with most conventional approaches saying there is nothing you can do about it. But, there is hope…LDN


What is Hashimoto’s?

The autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis presents with an array of symptoms including the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroid): fatigue, weight gain, depression, constipation, hair loss, brittle nails, menstrual difficulties, and muscle and joint pain. You also tend to have additional symptoms with Hashimoto’s like a swollen thyroid, difficulty swallowing, a swollen tongue, thyroid nodules, and random exacerbations of your symptoms known as “Hashimoto’s Flares.” But the main measurable issue is the presence of thyroid autoantibodies such as Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (AKA Anti-TPO) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (Anti-TG) found on a basic blood test. This is usually the main hallmark that establishes the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. Beyond the Anti-TPO and Anti-TG, inflammatory changes are seen on an ultrasound and/or a Thermogram will also help to establish the diagnosis and the extent of the problem.


What Does ‘Autoimmune’ Mean?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition. This means that the immune system has been triggered in such a way that it has launched an attack against itself (auto). It can attack almost any tissue, but in the case of Hashimoto’s, the immune system has attacked the thyroid tissue, leading to necrosis (destruction) of thyroid tissue, which ultimately leads to hypothyroidism (low thyroid). But, depending on genetics and other factors, the autoimmune condition could tend towards hyperthyroidism (high thyroid), also known as Graves’ disease. But Hashimoto’s is far more common than Graves’ disease. So, how do we control the autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s?

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

Naltrexone is a medication for opioid addiction, FDA-approved at 50 mg daily. In the 1980s, it was discovered that when naltrexone was given in very low doses, it had the curious effect of improving immune function and autoimmune conditions. The most common doses are around 3 to 6 mg, with 4.5 mg being the most commonly used dose and the one that we typically use with our patients with Hashimoto’s.

But overall, we did see a positive change in the antibodies. Click To Tweet

LDN is an amazing medication to prescribe. It has many benefits including modulating the immune system, aiding in weight loss, mood balancing and improving a sense of well being, and even helping neurological issues like autism. The list of what LDN can help with is vast and doctors and scientists from all over the world are studying its potential. It is relatively inexpensive and the side effect profile is very low, with possible nausea and vivid dreams being the only real complaints. And the vivid dreams are handled by simply taking it in the morning versus before bed in the evening. For the level of benefit, we visually see no significant downside to its proper use.

Real Results With LDN


Dr. Robinson presented at the 2017 LDN Research Trust Conference in Portland, Oregon on the results we have seen using LDN with our patients diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. One of the issues with LDN and its use in Hashimoto’s is there is not a lot of specific research that demonstrates an overall lowering of thyroid autoantibodies. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence, but no specific examples of data. We attempted to provide some preliminary data with LDN and its effects on thyroid autoantibodies.

The chart below shows the results of an observational study we performed at our medical practice on LDN and Hashimoto’s. We took all the patients we have with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s based on elevated antibodies, prescribed them 4.5 mg of LDN and measured the overall change in the Hashimoto’s antibodies, Anti-TPO and Anti-TG. We also compared those patients who were prescribed LDN as well as those diagnosed with some form of gut compromise such as food allergies with gut permeability (AKA Leaky Gut).

We had many patients improve their antibody counts, while some did not.  But overall, we did see a positive change in the antibodies, particularly Anti-TPO, which, as you can see by the chart below, was an average change of 65%.


Total # of Patients

Avg Length of Treatment

Avg Starting Antibody Count

Change in


Change in


4.5 mg LDN

34 Female

5 Male

Avg Age: 47

13 months Anti TPO: 462.1

Anti TG: 144.51

65% Decrease 36% Decrease

4.5 mg LDN & Gut Repair

13 Female

1 Male

Avg Age: 42

10 month Anti TPO: 446.26

Anti TG: 409.59

8% Decrease 20% Decrease


These changes in thyroid antibodies are very significant, in a relatively short period of time. This significant but relatively small sample size is a starting point, letting all practitioners and prescribers of LDN for Hashimoto’s continue to track thyroid autoantibodies and present and/or publish their results. We are asking for more hard data. We also hope this inspires the Hashimoto’s patient to explore the option of LDN.

Strictly clinically speaking, anyone who has either been personally diagnosed with or has treated, Hashimoto’s knows that it is not that easy to lower these thyroid antibodies. The conventional perspective is that there is not anything you can do about it. This is just not true.

Over the years, even before we started prescribing LDN with regularity, we have been able to help control these thyroid antibodies, but not in the same way now that we have been prescribing LDN. It has been a game-changer as physicians committed to providing our patients with the best possible care for their thyroid. If you suffer from Hashimoto’s, or any autoimmune condition, we encourage you to find an alternative practitioner who prescribes LDN and can treat your thyroid condition in a comprehensive fashion. The results can be profound…and real.


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