Dr. Carissa Doherty, Natural Care Clinic
Thyroid Nation


 Dr. Doherty discusses thyroid function and the organs that need to be assessed if you want natural thyroid support.



You may have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition 20 years ago or 2 years ago. The thyroid might have gone off just after you had a child, experienced a stress; or it may have just randomly appeared on a blood test your doctor ran for you. It is important to take into consideration the series of events that may have led up to your thyroid diagnosis. Most likely your thyroid was not functioning in the optimum range and some sort of trigger sent it into a diagnosable state. The thyroid does not stand alone; there are many organs that help to regulate and support thyroid function. These organs should also be assessed if you want natural thyroid support.

First things first. What is the name of your thyroid condition?  If you answered hypothyroid, then you should know that 90% of those with hypothyroidism actually have Hashimoto’s disease. This thyroid condition looks like hypothyroidism but is actually an autoimmune thyroid disease.

Thyroid antibodies should always be done to rule out an autoimmune thyroid disease, before you get a diagnosis of hypothyroid. These blood tests are:

  • Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies
  • Anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies
  • TSH receptor antibodies (TRAbs)

RootCauseA thyroid ultrasound is a good idea because some times the thyroid can be like Vegas. What happens in Vegas…stays in Vegas. Meaning that there is a problem with thyroid function that can’t be tested on a blood test. Thyroid nodules or a goiter would be an example of thyroid tissue changing but potentially not being represented in a blood test.

So once you know what you actually have…hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, or Graves’ Disease. The following organ systems need to be assessed to make sure they are working in tip-top order.

The liver is required to detoxify thyroid hormones and thyroid conditions are always associated with high cholesterol because the liver is eventually likely to get overloaded and generate high cholesterol. An abdominal ultrasound may be required to check on the liver to make sure there is no fatty liver disease developing, a condition that is associated with poor liver function NOT fat.

The adrenal glands and the thyroid have a close relationship. The adrenal glands have to be working well for the thyroid to be working well and if they aren’t, the thyroid will fall more and more out of balance.

The digestive system must be stable for a healthy thyroid. Hashimoto’s and celiac are very much related (for some) and most people with autoimmune thyroid disease have food allergies, either IgG delayed allergies or IgE acute allergies.

Hormone Imbalances can include estrogen and progesterone imbalance that can be quickly identified if there is a history of not optimal menstrual cycle. or an imbalance in the hypothalamus:Pituitary: Adrenal axis.

Genetics can potentially explain everything (a lot of things);  but more and more health issues are becoming epidemic and the cause is actually that our genes are being impacted by toxic load. We inherited certain strengths and weaknesses, but these weaknesses can be made even worse with toxicity. For example, methylation pathways are being impacted and autoimmune diseases are flourishing, so the rise of autoimmune diseases and autism are very much linked through the genetics of the methylation pathway.

Toxicity very much includes mercury and lead toxicity as thyroid conditions, especially Hashimoto’s has been linked for many to high mercury intake in fish and tooth amalgams. Immune system problems can affect the thyroid. Autoimmune reactions and chronic low level viral, bacterial or fungal (yeast) infections can damage the thyroid.

Environmental pollution is so big and overwhelming and is the main cause of the rise of thyroid conditions. So toxicants have to be removed from a person’s lifestyle and treatment has to be done for the specific family of toxin.

Some concerns concerning food and the thyroid:

Please do not take iodine unless you know for sure you do NOT have an autoimmune thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s or Grave’s. Iodine can cause irreversible damage and is not helpful with autoimmune thyroid diseases.

Please cook your brassica family foods. Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussles sprouts and many more in the family.

Soy has been researched to be helpful and harmful in thyroid conditions. If soy is to be ingested in a healthy way, it should be not genetically modified and be eaten in a fermented form such as miso, tempeh, and tofu.

Grains and dairy have been known to adversely affect many with thyroid conditions, either through testable means or just anecdotally.

Key vitamins and minerals include:

  • Tyrosine
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Methyl-B12
  • Methyl-folate
  • NAC or n-acetylcysteine
  • Magnesium
  • B6
  • B5
  • And sometimes molybdenum

Best of luck with the thyroid support. It is a process that is worth pursuing. When the thyroid works better, we have less inflammation, less cardiovascular disease, less bone density issues and increased quality and length of life.

**This article originally featured in**

About the Author

carissaDr Carissa Doherty, Naturopathic Doctor has been practicing in Burlington since 2005. The Natural Care Clinic is the culmination of over 8 years of training and a dream to bring Naturopathic Medicine to her patients and to Burlington. After seeing huge changes in her health with alternative treatments, she was committed to becoming a Naturopath. Dr. Carissa Doherty completed her premedical studies at the University of Guelph where she obtained her Specialized Honours degree in Bio-Medical Toxicology in 1998. During her undergraduate years, Carissa was fortunate enough to be one of the first people in Canada to work in product development with inulin, a complex carbohydrate, now used widely in the supplement industry as a pleasant tasting fibre. In 2002 Dr. Doherty received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. The education encompassed basic medical sciences, naturopathic principles, and therapeutics plus 1500 hours of internship. While at the Naturopathic College, Carissa was selected to be a Naturopathic intern at the Anne Johnson Health Station, a Naturopathic outreach clinic specializing in Gerontology, MS and Spinal Injuries. While caring for her patients, Carissa found the experience of bringing Naturopathic Medicine to the community extremely rewarding.

Questions or anything to ask Dr. Doherty about your thyroid? We want your thoughts in the comments section–Please! 

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