Hypothyroidism vs Hashimoto’s – what’s the difference?

I hear this a lot! So many clients come to me with hypothyroidism, confused as to whether they have hashimoto’s or even what it is!

So what’s the difference between hypothyroidism and hashimoto’s?

Hypothyroidism is where your thyroid fails to produce sufficient thyroid hormones to supply the body’s needs. There are various causes of this:

  • congenital thyroid conditions
  • crucial nutrient deficiencies
  • toxin exposure
  • disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland.

These however only account for a small percentage of cases.

Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroidism! In fact upto 90% of hypothyroidism cases are actually caused by an autoimmune condition.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition. The immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against the thyroid gland. Resulting in it being attacked and eventually destroyed if the attack is not stopped.

In Hashimoto’s antibodies produced by the body’s own immune system attacking the thyroid gland.

The end result of this attack is a lack of thyroid hormone.

Yet many with hypothyroidism are never even tested for Hashimoto’s. Or if they are its years after their initial hypothyroid diagnosis.

Which is absolutely crazy considering that the autoimmune response can be stopped in its tracks with simple diet and lifestyle changes. Medication may even be avoided if its caught early enough.

So why aren’t doctors testing for it?

The simple answer is that it doesn’t change how they treat you so many don’t see the point.

Even if you are tested and diagnosed with Hashimoto’s the autoimmune component of the disease will not be treated just the hypothyroidism.

Instead they’ll wait for your thyroid to become so damaged that it can’t function effectively. Then a thyroid hormone replacement such as levothyroxine will be prescribed. This simply replaces the thyroid hormone your body can no longer produce.

My first TSH test was done way back in 2004. It was abnormal. It was repeated 6 weeks later and all looked fine. No further testing was done until 2012! Despite a laundry list full of symptoms and repeated trips to the doctors!!

TSH testing is not enough on its own!

Had I been tested for Hashimoto’s back in 2004 I would likely have caught it early enough to avoid medication all together!

And I certainly wouldn’t have lived for years on end feeling like death warmed up!!

Want to know which tests you need?

If you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and haven’t managed to get your symptoms under control despite medication. Then maybe its time you were tested for Hashimoto’s.

Thats why I’m putting together a free essential thyroid testing checklist. To help you get the testing you need. So that you don’t have to struggle like I did.

If you’d like to be put on the waiting list for my free Essential Thyroid Testing Checklist, then you can drop me an email at helen@helenmallburn.com

Recovery from Hashimoto’s is possible! You don’t have to live with the brain fog, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, mood swings, etc.

Find out how I can help you live symptom free HERE!

You can also find me in my Facebook group – Hashimoto’s Nutrition and Health! Its full of like-minded women (and a few men). In the group I share my own experience, my expertise, tips, advice to get you started on your own road to recovery!

Organic food: more bang for your buck!

Organic food can have great benefits for Hashimoto’s symptoms. Since starting the AIP protocol nearly 5 years ago, I have made a huge effort to eat Organic food wherever possible. I seem to be extremely sensitive to chemicals. Both in my beauty products and in what I eat. So for me its definitely worth it. Plus its something I recommend my clients try and follow if they can.

I often hear that organic food is too costly and that there is no noticeable benefit.

Organic food has great benefits for hahsimoto’s symptoms. Homegrown tomatoes & sage

But there are various benefits of buying organic food, especially when it comes to improving Hashimoto’s symptoms. Not only the lack of chemicals from pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in the meat we eat. But also the environmental impact, the animal welfare and the nutritional value.

Still not convinced? I’ve explored some of the research specifically in the area of nutrition and have discussed it briefly below.

Nutritional Value:

2 recent studies conducted by the University of Newcastle show that Organic food has huge benefits when it comes to Nutrition.

The study below compared organic crops to non-organic crops and showed that organic crops are upto 69% higher in a number of key antioxidants than non-organic crops. Organic foods provide additonal antioxidants which are equivalent to eating 1 to 2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day! There was also a significant increase in minerals and vitamins in organic crops compared to non-organic crops.


Another study compared organic milk and meat vs non-organic milk and meat. It showed that Organic Milk & Meat contained 50% more Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Plus it showed a clear difference in the concentrations of essential minerals and antioxidants.


Why are antioxidants so important? They help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease and certain cancers.

Organic, homegrown blackcurrants, packed full of antioxidants

And Omega 3 Fatty Acids? They help reduce inflammation which drives autoimmunity. So lowering inflammation can only be a good thing when it comes to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Are pesticides really that bad for us?

The health of our gut bacteria directly influences the health of our immune system. So the healthier your gut bacteria the less severe your Hashimoto’s symptoms are likely to be. Pesticides can affect the delicate balance of our gut bacteria, leading to dysfunction and overgrowth of “bad” bacteria. Causing inflammation, leading to leaky gut, food intolerances and an over taxed immune system. Which makes you more susceptible to developing autoimmune diseases. Or makes your autoimmune disease symptoms worse.


Whats the end result?

Our liver has to work hard to detox all of these chemicals. But has less antioxidants, vitamins and minerals with which to do it. This can have a huge impact on Hashimoto’s as a large proportion of our T4 hormone is converted to T3 hormone in the liver. The liver prioritises detoxing over hormone conversion. So less T3 will be produced. Which leaves us with all the classic hypothyroid symptoms – fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, dry & itchy skin, weight gain, feeling cold, etc.

So is it really worth it?

YES! For me organic food is worth every penny!

Wild caught salmon with a thai coconut broth packed full of vegetables, spices & herbs, not to mention omega 3 fats. Variety is key to healthy gut microbiome!

Where to start when buying organic

If you can’t stretch to organic for everything, make sure your meat is organic. Or at least grass fed and finished. Go for wild caught fish or organic, as pesticides are heavily used in farmed fishing. After that you can avoid the fruit, vegetables and grains that are most heavily treated with pesticides. And buy non organic for those products that have the least amount of pesticide traces detectable. The EWG in the USA and Pan-Uk both have a great list called the dirty dozen. It lists the most heavily pesticide treated fruits and vegetables. So you know which ones to definitely buy organic.



The EWG also have a clean fifteen list of the fruits and veg with the least amount of pesticide traces detected. So you know you can buy these non-organic without too many worries.


Do you already eat organic? Has this article tempted you to give it a try? I’d love to hear your thoughts on organic food, drop me a comment and let me know what you think.


Check out my recipe for AIP Ginger & lemongrass green vegetable soup.

Ready to take back control of your health? Then get in touch!