Book Review – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is considered an autoimmune disease, is the leading cause of hypothyroidism. However, the very simplistic approach taken by the current medical ideology is to use only one form of relatively inactive thyroid, thyroxine (T4), for treatment, and to rely on a problematic single test, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), to guide treatment. This approach falls extremely short of providing adequate treatment to those who suffer the consequences of Hashimoto’s disease.
Izabella Wentz has put together a remarkable book that documents her own journey, in part, and shares the information and resources that she gained along the way. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause she details her approach to finding the real reasons this disease develops and then identifies steps to remove the causes and/or rebuild the body’s own resources.
The amount of information in this book is astonishing. Wentz uses readable language to explain complicated issues such as the development of “autoimmunity” and what it means with regard to immune system function, inflammation, allergies, and infection.
One particularly interesting and eye-opening section discusses a common laboratory test called alkaline phosphatase. This test is included on standard liver function tests; elevations can indicate liver dysfunction or an infection. Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that removes a phosphate group from a number of different molecules. This enzyme can help control infection by essentially neutralizing bacteria.
Most practitioners only pay attention to elevated levels, and do not consider the implications of low levels. However, in her quest for her own wellness, Wentz obtained copies of her lab results and noticed low levels of alkaline phosphatase, wondering what that might signify. Not being content with being told that everything was “fine,” she dug into the research and found that low levels of alkaline phosphatase were associated with bone reabsorption and malnutrition, especially deficiencies of B6, B12, folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc.
Wentz also noted that people with celiac disease have diminished alkaline phosphatase activity in their intestinal mucosa, which can be an indicator of the amount of damage caused by gluten. Levels of alkaline phosphatase normalize with a gluten-free diet, along with improvement to the intestinal mucosa.
Low alkaline phosphatase is also associated with hypothyroidism and with Hashimoto’s disease. Restoring thyroid hormones can increase alkaline phosphatase levels. Thus, having discovered that a low level of alkaline phosphatase was indeed significant in her case, Wentz realized that the health of her gastrointestinal tract was a significant underpinning of Hashimoto’s disease, which led to more tangible information that was helpful in her recovery.
Wentz compiled lists of “dos and don’ts” to help restore this enzyme and to help improve overall health. For example, excessive use of sodas and artificial sweeteners will diminish alkaline phosphatase. She brings together lots of valuable resources that anyone hoping to restore or simply improve their health can access. This book is well-referenced and is a gem for people looking to dig in and improve their ability to recover from the devastation of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.