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Today I have a book review I have been wanting to share for some time. As most of you know, I suffer from Hashimoto’s disease, and although this blog is not thyroid-specific, I know a lot of you who suffer from it as well – Hashimoto’s is the most common autoimmune disease and often accompanies other autoimmune diseases (I also have Celiac). Because of its unfortunate prevalence, many books have been written about the healing of Hashimoto’s. Dr. Kharrazian revolutionized the functional treatment of Hashimoto’s disease when he released his excellent book, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Work Is Normal? Besides this book, many have been written about certain aspects of healing from Hashimoto’s – diet, medication choices, patient advocacy, supplements, and the like, but I find many of them lacking because they make the mistake of zeroing in on only one aspect of healing while ignoring countless others.
This is where Izabella Wentz’s book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating The Root Cause comes in. Instead of highlighting the one piece of the puzzle that helped her overcome her autoimmune thyroid condition, she has written a book that compiles all of her research about the different angles a person could go about healing. In this book, Wentz has done a good job of not placing too much weight on any of the parts, and instead given an overview of all of them and how a thorough examination of all aspects has the best chance of success. I love this approach, and it greatly lines up with my own experience with this condition. Instead of copying what has worked for others, I continued to delve deeper into my potential triggers for autoimmunity, eventually peeling back the layers and uncovering better health. In observing others, I have noticed the same approach being successful, although the puzzle pieces may be different. This is such a radical departure from the one-size-fits-all approach that people are looking for when researching how they can better help themselves with autoimmunity, but one I feel is extremely important.
After the introduction detailing her personal journey and philosophy, Wentz gives a short overview of Hashimoto’s disease, for those of us who may not know the basics – what it is, how the different hormones work, what tests are used for diagnosis, and so on. Next, she goes over all of the different types of medications for restoring hormone levels. This is where Wentz’s experience as a pharmacist is very useful – she gives her readers lots of details about the different types of medication, including conventional, natural desiccated, and compounded preparations. I come across a lot of people who want to try healing naturally before starting medication, but I agree with Dr. Wentz’s advice that the first step is to move towards optimizing hormone levels. It is true that with diet change and other natural interventions, people end up needing less medication – but as a hormone that every cell in your body has a receptor to, I believe that it is crucial to the healing process to have enough – even if this means that a person gets on medication, and then decreases as they work on other aspects of their journey.
After the section on medication, Wentz gives an overview of autoimmune disease and leaky gut. I think it is very important that those with Hashimoto’s treat it not as a thyroid disorder, but an autoimmune disease. Wentz does a great job here explaining the basics of autoimmunity, leaky gut and how to help the body recover from it. This piece is so important, and one that I believe a lot of books out there on Hashimoto’s miss.
Part 2 of the book covers what Wentz calls “finding the root cause”. She uses an acronym, DIG AT IT to remember the different topics that should be addressed for someone with Hashimoto’s. It stands for:
Iodine, Inflammation, Infection, Immune Imbalance
Adrenals, Alkaline Phosphatase
While I find the acronym kind of clunky, I think that it is an excellent list of things that should be addressed for everyone with Hashimoto’s. I would definitely simplify it, especially where digestion is concerned – gut health, food allergies/intolerances, depletions and triggers could all be considered one category. All of the topics have their own chapter in the book, explaining at length the reasons why they are of importance for those with Hashimoto’s as well as what can be done to restore balance. Most (if not all) of them are not given any weight in the conventional treatment of the disease, which is part of the reason why most people do not feel better. It isn’t surprising to me that my own road to health has included dealing with all of the items Wentz outlines in her book.
My only complaint with the book, is that it could be better organized. I found similar information peppered throughout, instead of all together in one section. I found flipping through the book to find something I had read was difficult – for instance it was hard to remember if the section on elimination diets was with digestion, gut health, triggers, intolerances or toxins (it was with toxins). Even given this, I was amazed at how many different aspects of gut health she covers in the book, and wholeheartedly agree with her ideas and approach.
In conclusion, I think this is an excellent book for those with Hashimoto’s and believe that anyone with the disease would find a plethora of useful information to get started on their healing journey. One of my favorite things about the book, is that instead of only presenting information and approaches that worked for her, she does an excellent job bringing all of the knowledge to the table that is a result of her extensive research on the topic. This makes the book a little overwhelming to those who are looking for someone to give them “the answer” – but for those who are looking to pinpoint their “root cause” it is an excellent choice.
Do you have Dr. Wentz’s book? What did you think?