Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Will Strengthening My Immune System Help Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?

Monday, 19 July 2010 03:56 PM

Question: I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Will it help if I strengthen my immune system?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

I believe our immune system is probably one of the most important systems in our bodies. It contains the keys for treating and preventing both infectious and malignant disease, as well as the same keys that induce disability through auto-immune disease.

Understanding this system is likely the key to longevity, and it is certainly the key to the popular evolving field of "anti-aging" medicine. Look for the next series of Nobel prizes in medicine to come from revolutionary developments in this area.

There are no known "immune stimulant" medications that have been proven safe or effective for general use by the FDA. The Internet and businesses marketing these products are falsely advertising. They suggest a very simplistic and non-scientific view of immunity that is outdated and inaccurate.

Remember that your condition has generated thyroid auto-antibodies, that is, antibodies directed against your own thyroid cells, and has destroyed enough thyroid for you to seek attention. Immune suppression is the usual direction needed by patients with severe Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, so immune stimulation would not have a role here.

Strengthening your cellular immunity naturally with exercise, adequate sleep, and good nutrition will definitely not worsen autoimmune conditions. Paradoxically, victims of autoimmune disease actually do better when their general immunity is maintained and not excessively stressed. There is, however, no role for immune stimulation by supplementation. Vaccines have no effect on flares in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis.

© HealthDay

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