It’s common for doctors to prescribe NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for mild to moderate pain. But this doesn’t mean they’re safe. Taken long term, especially if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, NSAIDS can raise the risks of numerous health disorders. 

Common NSAID brands are ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren) are prescription NSAIDs. Aspirin is an NSAID but doesn’t carry the same heart attack and stroke risks.

Studies have linked NSAIDs to many health risks, including:

  • 40–60 percent increased risk of cardiovascular problems
  • 25 percent increased risk of hearing loss
  • 60 percent increased risk of heart failure
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, bleeding, ulcers, and leaky gut.
  • Increased risk of asthma and eczema in children
  • Causes leaky gut which can trigger and/or exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid

NSAIDs increase risk of heart attack and stroke

Studies have shown a well-founded link between NSAID use and heart attack and stroke. The risk is so established that even the FDA has issued a warning about NSAID use.  Your risk can be higher within a few weeks of taking NSAIDs, but the longer you take them the more your risk goes up. 

Functional medicine, Hashimoto’s low thyroid, NSAIDs and leaky gut

In functional medicine, leaky gut is one of the biggest fallouts we see from NSAID use. In fact, it probably plays a role in all the other health disorders as the gut is the seat of the immune system and so vital to overall health and well being. 

Leaky gut means the lining of the small intestine has become damaged to the point that it becomes too porous and allows undigested food, bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens into the bloodstream. This triggers inflammation system wide, including in the heart and arteries. It also can trigger pain, exactly the reason people turn to NSAIDs in the first place.

Leaky gut is a well known factor in triggering and exacerbating autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid.

Functional medicine alternatives to NSAIDs with Hashimoto’s low thyroid

Of course you want relief from pain so you can enjoy a better quality of life. To avoid the long-term risks of NSAIDs, try a functional medicine approach instead. The majority of people experience not only reduced pain, but also a vastly improved quality of life. 

Here are some functional medicine tips to relieve pain, eliminate the need for NSAIDs, and help you manage your Hashimoto’s low thyroid:

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Remove foods that trigger inflammation — for most people with Hashimoto’s this means gluten and dairy. Other trigger foods include grains, legumes, eggs, sugar, and nightshades. After following the diet strictly for a few months you can tailor it to your immune system as needed. 

Take supplements that combat inflammation and pain. These include vitamin D (some people have a genetic variance that prevents sufficient vitamin D uptake), the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, nutrients that produce the antioxidant glutathione in your body, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Soothe inflammation and pain with natural remedies. Many natural remedies are very successful at reducing pain and inflammation, such as therapeutic doses of liposomal turmeric and resveratrol. These also tame thyroid flares of Hashimoto’s low thyroid. Ask my office for advice.

Balance your blood sugar! Most Americans have blood sugar that is too high, too low, or a mix of both. Balancing blood sugar is vital to reduce inflammation and pain, yet also grossly overlooked.

These are just a few ways functional medicine can address the root causes of inflammation and pain so you can stop using NSAIDs. They are also the foundations to addressing your autoimmune Hashimoto’s low thyroid in a sustainable way. Ask my office for more advice.

How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid

book11Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.

About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine

Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine.  He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.