025 // Covid, your thyroid, and Hashimoto’s

Health with Hashimoto’s is your free weekly podcast to discover true, simple, and sustainable tips to improve your energy and health.

Does Covid impact your thyroid function? Does it impact an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? The answer to both of these questions is YES. So what now? That’s what we’re going to cover in this episode. You’ll learn the filter I look at options through as an RN and discover how to take your next step on the path to wellness.

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Show Notes:



013 // Can a virus cause Hashimoto’s or thyroid problems? Apple Podcasts or Spotify podcasts

Triggers discussed in episodes 7 and 8 (stress,) 9 (vitamin D,) 10 (blood sugar,) and 23 (sleep.)

Genetic predisposition discussed in episode 15


Impact of Covid-19 disease on thyroid function: longitudinal study

FLCCC Long Covid Treatment

Mitochondrial and Oxidative Stress products (see “what is activation” and “activation products”)

Honey study

Esther Yunkin smiling at camera with head resting on hand

Hashimoto’s Health Session

Discover the one thing you can start with to optimize your own health journey even when you have Hashimoto’s.

Read the Transcript:

This transcript is auto-generated by OtterAI. It may have slight errors.

Covid and Hashimoto’s

Today on the Health with Hashimotos podcast, we’re going to talk about COVID. I would like to say we’re gonna talk about all things COVID, but that’s not true because it is a huge topic.

Just the word COVID tends to make me feel tired. There’s so much to think about and talk about to ponder. So today we’re going to narrow that down, and I am going to talk to you so that we can answer a couple of questions. One, does COVID impact your thyroid gland? And does it impact an autoimmune condition like Hashimotos? That’s question number one. Question number two is, do I have long haul COVID? Or do I have a triggered Hashimotos? That’d be question two. And then the third question kind of goes along with both of the parts of question two, and that is what now what next?

As you know, on this podcast on the Health with Hashimotos podcast, I help exhausted women with Hashimotos (or maybe you’re have thyroid symptoms) I help you discover a true, simple, and sustainable path to Whole Health.

True Information

I really strive to present true information and with COVID, that is very hard. COVID has become very politicized and you can say something now that is proven in research but if you said the exact same thing, you know, four months ago as you’re saying now, it would be slapped with a misinformation label. So it’s really hard to sift through all of the politicized stuff to get true, get to the truth. And in this podcast, I always strive to give you true information. So I want to preface it with that, and then also just my experience, first of all, I’m a very common sense person. So I’m going to look to common sense but also the research as a nerdy RN.

I always want to know what the research tells us and what things have proven. For example, when COVID first came on the scene, I did a livestream and I talked about respiratory viruses and I talked about what you could do that had been proven in the research to help with respiratory viruses. Now we are almost three years into COVID and what I said that first week is now accepted as “oh, these things will help.” A year ago I could not say those things without getting labeled as providing misinformation.

Vitamin D

Like vitamin D, we know that vitamin D is crucial for respiratory health. We know that it has had an impact on respiratory viruses for decades, and we know that it impacts your immune system. But if I was going to talk to you about vitamin D a year or two ago, I would be slapped with misinformation. And yet from the research looking at the pathology of you know, just your respiratory system and inflammation and your immune system, we knew that vitamin D was good. So I’m going to come to you today with that filter. What do we know?

My other big filter: Risk vs Benefit

And then also, this huge filter that I look at all medicine through and that is risk versus benefit. I’ve always been taught this in nursing school and especially in the emergency department. I’ve always been taught to look at risk versus benefit. It was drilled into me as an emergency room nurse that we do things based on risk versus benefit. If we think that something is going to help we want to pursue that; if we think that it’s going to have more risk more harm than benefit, then we need to look closer at that and reevaluate that. So I always look at risk versus benefit.

And that is the filter that I see pretty much all medicine through. I see it through a filter of truth. I see it through a filter of research, and I see it through a filter of historicity. Can I use that word? One of my sons told me just the other day that I use too many big words. Historicity is kind of a big word. But anyway, I look at things you know has it played out through history to provide benefits? Alright, so enough of my preface, I get a little worried quite honestly, when I talk about COVID because it’s been such a contentious topic, but just because it’s contentious doesn’t mean I can shy away from it.

Diana’s Story

When I mentioned on the last podcast that I would talk about COVID on this podcast, I got a note from a listener Diana.

Diana, thank you so much for sharing your experience and your situation with me and giving me permission to share it with all of the listeners. This is what she said.

I was diagnosed with Hashimotos about 10 years ago, I managed with medication and major lifestyle changes fairly well until long COVID Now I’m left holding the carnage and wondering how to read my body have this ongoing inflammation with half the energy to do so. Every time I get a glimmer of wellness, some new or old symptom pops up.

Diana thank you so much for sharing that and I am sorry that you are going through that. And you as a listener, if you are going through these same things that Diana is I am sorry for what you’re going through, and hopefully in the next few minutes. I can share some tips and some a path to health. That’s always the goal.

Viruses and your immune system

And the first thing which isn’t really even a question is viruses absolutely impact your thyroid and your immune function. If you listened to Episode 13 of this podcast, it was all about viruses and how viruses can be a trigger for Hashimotos. So that’s a given. I’ve already discussed that. And COVID of course, is a virus. So how does COVID impact your thyroid and how does COVID impact your immune function and an autoimmune disease?

Research presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology

in May of 2022, there was a presentation at the European Congress of Endocrinology, endocrinology is the study of hormones. This research paper was honestly frustrating and fascinating because it seemed to say both things. On one side it was saying that thyroid dysfunction during COVID is mild and transient. And then on the other side, it was saying that people still have problems a year later.

When I looked deep at the study, I found that after one year 50% of the people who had COVID and who were eligible to enter this study 50% still had some thyroid dysfunction. To me, that’s pretty impactful if one out of every two people is going to have their thyroid impacted. I’d want to know about that!

Initially COVID In this study, they found that it triggered inflammation of the thyroid, and that was 28% of the people when they ultrasounded their thyroid. That’s what they found. So initially, it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. 28% I mean still that’s one in four but then a year later, it was impacted in their thyroid. So yes, COVID impacts your thyroid based on the research that we have.

And of course, it makes sense because we know that viruses play a role in triggering auto-immune Hashimoto’s but this study was not looking at Hashimoto’s it was not looking at autoimmune problems. It was looking just at the thyroid, and so 50% of the people who enter that study which–they will try to get in every study, you have a huge group of people who they want to admit them to the study and then not all of those people are going to fit the criteria. So I think it was over 160 people who wanted to come into the study, and not all of them made it so it wasn’t 1000s of people, but it was still a well-run research study and it still gives us information about how COVID impacts the thyroid.

Long-Haul Covid

So then we get to answer the question What about long-haul COVID? And what about worsening Hashimotos where was the difference? And how do I know? And can I know? Well, I honestly don’t know. A lot of the symptoms overlap. For example, people talk about long-haul COVID and fatigue. And people talk about having Hashimotos and hypothyroidism and fatigue.

Discernment is key

So there’s a bit of discernment that you get to do as your own health advocate as your own health CEO. When you look at your own information, you get to discern that and you get to ask the people on your team to help you, your health care provider a wellness coach, whoever it is your chiropractor, you get to look at the big picture for you and figure out what is the next best step. So let’s talk about long-haul COVID First, some of the symptoms for long haul COVID And this is per the frontline COVID doctors they describe a long haul COVID as

characterized by prolonged malaise, headaches, generalized fatigue, sleep, sleep difficulties, hair loss, smell disorder, decreased appetite, painful joints dyspnea (that means hard time breathing,) chest pain and cognitive dysfunction.

That’s a lot of things and if you are dealing with these, my heart goes out to you. I’m sorry that you are still dealing with these things. It’s a lot and it is hard. Like Diana said in part of the email that I didn’t read. She’s part of this group on Facebook and a lot of the people are just like, “Huh? What’s going on now? What what do I do?” They feel lost, they feel abandoned. Like they have no direction. But thankfully there are some resources.


I really do like the frontline doctors, because everything is research-based. I can click on their protocols and I can see exactly the research that they pulled it from and I can hear testimonials from them. And here you know, it’s working, the things that they’re using are working.

So you can go to the FLCCC (that stands for front line COVID Critical Care Alliance,) and you can see all of their treatment protocols there. What I really appreciate about their site, in addition to all that is research-based is that you can find a medical provider on there. You can look at their treatment protocols, but a lot of the treatment protocols include medications that need to be prescribed. So you need a prescribing provider and they have a list of providers who use their treating treatment protocols. When you’re on their website, you go up to the top of COVID resources. And under there, there’s a drop-down menu with find a provider. A lot of the providers do telemedicine, so you can find one that treats people in your state and that can do telemedicine, some of them list their prices and some of them don’t. But almost all of them provide, obviously, a website so that you can contact them and on the website you can often find the price.

The protocol itself for long COVID treatment is on the FLCC website you can take a look at it. It has many different facets, and with your provider you get to work through which ones are going to be most beneficial for you.

My Own Process

And this is personally how I work through something like this okay, I know that I have XYZ going on long COVID Or maybe long COVID. And then I look at the treatment protocol. And I figure out is there anything that I can start right now, even before I see a provider? For example, COVID impacts the mitochondria of your cells as the energy production, the energy production part of your cells. The mitochondria is also impacted by your thyroid. So if I know right now that I needed to nurture a healthy environment for my mitochondria, and I need to work on mitochondrial health well I know that I can do that by activating the NRF1 pathway in my body. And I have a resource for that. I have it in my kitchen. I take Protandim NRF1 every single day to help my mitochondria be healthy. So that’s one thing that I can do right now, even before I need to see a provider.

Also oxidative stress, we know that inflammation and being sick increases that so again, I look at that Protandim NRF2 activator. Like oh well research shows that it decreases my oxidative stress (that’s the trash, the pollution in my cells) it decreases that by 40% in 30 days, so I can do that right now.

I looked at another thing on the FLCC and they have nutrition things and I saw honey Alright, so here is where I’m filtering it through this risk versus benefit. Honey is sugar. Sugar leads to more inflammation. The study on honey was very fascinating. And I have honey in my kitchen.

Garlic Fermented Honey

I also have garlic fermented honey. So super easy. I don’t know if you’ve ever made it. Go ahead and make yourself a batch today. Super, super simple. You throw some garlic cloves peeled into a jar and cover it with raw honey. That’s it. You can tip it every day or two. I found it fascinating. It’s kind of like a snow globe. And so I tipped it probably two or three times a day. And also make sure to burp it because it’s going to ferment and when things ferment they give off gas you do not want honey and garlic exploding in your kitchen.

So I have this garlic fermented honey. And I see in the study that honey can be beneficial to viruses. So my risk eating a little bit of honey, is there a risk? Well eating a little bit not really. Is there a benefit? There could be is it guaranteed? No, it’s not. Does the research show that it could be beneficial? Yes. So I look at that risk versus benefit and before I recorded this podcast, I went and had a spoonful of garlic fermented honey, because the risk-benefit ratio said it’s not going to hurt anything. Not really. I had some protein with it so that I decreased the glycemic load. I had talked about that on a different podcast episode. And so who knows maybe it’s doing something good in my body, maybe not, but it’s not going to hurt. So garlic fermented honey is something that I’m going to do every day. However, I am not going to do the full dose that’s recommended on the FLCC because I would need I think two tablespoons of that a day. And I don’t feel like I should be eating that much honey. So I’m not going to do that much. It’s up to you to make these decisions and to evaluate what is going to be beneficial for you and what is not.

Alright, so now you know that there is a treatment protocol for long haul COVID And you know where to find providers, one that can specifically treat you in your state.

Worsening Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

But then what happens if you feel like this is not long haul COVID? That this is your Hashimoto’s got worse the virus triggered it because again, the symptoms of hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s: anxiety, depression, altered metabolism, digestion issues, body temperature, and fatigue. There are a lot of things that go along with hypothyroid we’ve been talking about that for 25 episodes now.

What to do then?

So what happens if it’s that? Then you get to go back to the beginning. Anytime you are dealing with your immune system. We go back to what we know. We know that with an autoimmune condition.


There are three things there’s a genetic component. Okay, so how are you using nutrigenomics? How are you using foods and herbs to help your genes turn on and off?


Number two, there’s a gut component. All right. How are you doing for your gut? Are you hoping at least once a day? If not, there’s something to look at. If you have other gut sensitivities, food sensitivities, then there’s some healing to do in your gut. Take a look at the activated collagen, because collagen helps your gut. And activated collagen means that it’s activating your own body to produce your own collagen, which is far superior to anything anybody can sell or make your body is fantastic at it. We just have to tell it to start producing it again.


Then the third thing with any autoimmune problem is a trigger. And of course, you had a trigger you had COVID But are you dealing with other triggers? How’s your stress level? How’s your sleep? How is your vitamin D level? What about environmental chemicals and toxins in your house and in your personal care products in a new cleaning? What about blood sugar? How are you doing at eating? Are you spiking your blood sugar or is it dropping? Are you having really low episodes of blood sugar? You’re gonna find the episodes on this podcast about several of these triggers. So look at those.

Back to the beginning

When it comes to your immune system, we get to go back to the basics. Whenever there’s something going on. We go back to the basics, and we really look at what’s working, what’s not, what do I know? What do I need to know?

You are Unique

You are an individual, you are unique. There’s not a single person like you and all of history. And that means your path to health is also going to be unique, of course work with a healthcare provider work with somebody to help you figure out what your next step would be.

But there’s nobody like you. So you get to look at everything, your genes, and then your nutrigenomics you get to look at your gut health. You get to look at the triggers, and you’ll get to evaluate what will be best today. what would be best tomorrow? What is ideal for you? For your path forward to optimal Whole Health? I wish that there was something specific I could say do this thing and you will be well, But you’re a unique individual so I can’t give you a magic answer. But I can help you through this episode and through all of my others. I can help you figure out a true, simple, and sustainable path to health.

Images used in media for this episode are from Unsplash: Tim Mossholder,  Zohre Nemati