Functional Medicine* & Wellness Programs

Take or Share our Online Initial History & Patient Registration Form.  We also have convenient Printable Versions.  Call Us Today: 915-850-0900


Functional Medicine®

🔴 Notice: As part of our Acute Injury Treatment Practice, we now offer Functional Medicine Integrative Assessments and Treatments* within our clinical scope for chronic degenerative disorders.  Learn More* Call Us Today: 915-850-0900

Functional Medicine Explained

Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases Associated with Infections | Wellness Clinic


Autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroid disease and Graves’ disease, are several of the most prevalent causes behind thyroid gland dysfunction. Autoimmune thyroid diseases, or AITDs, occur when the human body’s own immune system attacks and damages a healthy thyroid gland. It’s this autoimmune assault on the thyroid which can, over time, lead to the overactive or the underactive function of the buttefly-shaped gland in our neck.

What other factors can cause autoimmune thyroid diseases?

According to numerous research studies, autoimmune thyroid diseases can be caused due to a variety of factors. Environmental factors like iodine intake and selenium deficiency can alter the balanced metabolism of chemicals in the human body necessary for the proper function of the thyroid gland. Additionally, environmental factors such as exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins have been linked to the interference of efficient thyroid hormone secretion.

Autoimmune Thyroid Disease & Infection

One autoimmune thyroid disease trigger, however, is often overlooked by healthcare professionals; infection. Researchers today still do not fully understand how infections trigger autoimmune diseases, however because our immune systems are so complicated and every disease is unique, it’s very likely that there are a number of variables. Recent studies have identified three theories which explain the links between infections and AITDs.

Molecular Mimicry

Autoimmune thyroid diseases triggered by molecular mimicry are virtually hypothesized to occur when the infection is structurally similar to that of the thyroid gland. Therefore, once the network of defense cells, tissues and organs activates, the immune system proceeds to strike the infection and attacks your thyroid gland.

Bystander Activation

In this circumstance, the immune system activates when a virus or bacteria invades the thyroid gland and sends cells into your thyroid to destroy the infection. While these cells are currently all attacking the bacteria or virus, it injures the thyroid gland. More cells are signaled by the inflammation to the thyroid gland where they often continue to attack.

Cryptic Antigens

You can think about this as the “hijacking theory” where an infection (usually due to a virus) hijacks the thyroid cells’ DNA to hide from your immune system. The immune system is intelligent enough to detect the virus anyway, and strikes the virus as well as the thyroid cells it is hiding in.

AITDs as a Response to Infection

In certain individuals, autoimmunity is the price to be paid for the eradication of an infectious agent. Infections are implicated in the pathogenesis of endocrine, and nonendocrine diseases. Either fungal or viral diseases may represent a risk factor for the evolution of AITDs. Viruses have long been suspected as etiological agents in a variety of health disorders, uncluding autoimmune thyroid disease; furthermore, a trigger of AITDs, infecting the thyroid or immune cells, was demonstrated in an avian model. This potential remains unproven although viruses may be agents in AITDs.

An increased frequency of antibodies to the influenza B virus has been observed in a group of patients with thyrotoxicosis. Virus-like particles have been discovered in the thyroid of chickens together with similar particles. Serological evidence of staphylococcal and streptococcal disorders were described in a few patients with AITDs.

Some of the strongest evidence linking infectious agents to AITDs’ induction has been the institution of Yersinia enterocolitica disease with thyroid disorder. This Gram-negative coccobacillus commonly causes diarrhea along with a number of abnormalities that indicate disorder, including arthritis, arthralgias, erythema nodosum, carditis, glomerulonephritis, and iritis. Weiss et al. demonstrated that Y. enterocolitica needed a saturable, hormone-specific binding site for its mammalian TSH that resembled the receptor for TSH from the human thyroid gland.

An immune response against a viral antigen that shares homology with the TSHR might be the inductive event that ultimately leads to autoimmunity. A substantial association between AITDs and hepatitis C has also been found. Antibody titers are shown to increase in patients with the hepatitis C virus, and these patients were more susceptible to AITDs than were hepatitis B sufferers. These patients must be screened for autoimmune thyroid disease.

Infection might induce an autoimmune response by various mechanisms, such as polyclonal T cell activation by microbial superantigens mimicry, and thyroid expression of human leukocyte antigens. Inflammation can alter cell signaling pathways and influence T cell activity and cytokine secretion profiles.

In conclusion, research studies have shown that autoimmune thyroid diseases may also be the response of environmental factors such as infections. Infections can lead to AITDs when the human body’s own immune system attacks and damages the thyroid gland cells in addition to those of bacteria and viruses. Ultimately, treating bacterial and viral infections can be an essential way to prevent autoimmune thyroid disease or complications.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

Additional Topics: Wellness

Overall health and wellness are essential towards maintaining the proper mental and physical balance in the body. From eating a balanced nutrition as well as exercising and participating in physical activities, to sleeping a healthy amount of time on a regular basis, following the best health and wellness tips can ultimately help maintain overall well-being. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can go a long way towards helping people become healthy.


Published by

Recent Posts

Myofascial Chains, Body Instability, and Chiropractic Manipulation

The body is made up of muscles and fascia that can be thought of as… Read More

October 29, 2020

Chiropractic Alignment Can Help With Acid Reflux and Digestive Problems

Acid reflux is a common digestive problem. It happens when the stomach acid flows back… Read More

October 28, 2020

Smoking Destroys The Spine and Can Cause Chronic Back Pain

Smoking negatively impacts an individual's health, as most know about its effect on the lungs.… Read More

October 27, 2020

Chiropractic and High-Blood Pressure Management

The heart never stops working. The efficiency of the heart and how it operates depends… Read More

October 26, 2020

Sciatica Fitness and Chiropractic A Win-Win!

Because sciatica is an inflammatory condition, with the sciatic nerve specifically being the target, sciatica… Read More

October 23, 2020

Chiropractic Hip Realignment for Imbalanced Hips

The number of individuals experiencing hip along with back pain is increasing and could benefit… Read More

October 22, 2020
New Patient Registration
Call us Today 🔘