Your thyroid gland plays a big role in your digestion and your metabolism. But did you know that it goes the other way around too? The health of your gut can actually influence the health of your endocrine system, including your thyroid.
You’ve probably heard of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) but you’d be surprised at one of it’s underlying causes.
What Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
According to Web MD, also called Hashimoto’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease, a disorder in which the immune system turns against the body’s own tissues, leading to inflammation and decreased function of the organ affected.
In people with Hashimoto’s, the immune system attacks the thyroid. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not make enough hormones for the body’s needs.
Poor digestion and diet affect your microbiome, the bacteria in your gut which forms a part of your immune system. In addition, poor digestion can also cause Hashimoto’s disease over time.
How Are The Gut And Thyroid Connected?
The thyroid gland makes hormones that affect your breathing, heart rate, digestion, and body temperature, among other functions (1).
The thyroid also produces hormones that protect the gut. T3 and T4 are thyroid hormones that actually play a role in preventing stomach ulcers by modulating the way your stomach lining responds to stress (2).
Weight And Food Sensitivities
Thyroid problems can change hunger levels, weight and food sensitivities. In patients with hypothyroidism, appetite is usually reduced, but weight gain may reach 10% because of fluid retention (3).
Also, compared to the general population, patients with autoimmune thyroiditis have an almost 5-fold increased risk of developing celiac disease.
More serious symptoms of thyroid dysfunction include constipation, which can cause bacteria overgrowth in the intestines and colon and other serious issues.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Although rare, patients with hypothyroidism are more prone to developing leaky gut syndrome, a condition in which lining becomes permeable and food waste enters the body.
As you can see, the thyroid gland and digestive system are incredibly interconnected.
How To Naturally Improve Thyroid Function
1. Manage your stress and blood sugar: nothing causes chronic inflammation like stress and refined sugar.
2. Recognize food intolerance: these can cause inflammation in your gut and severely affect your endocrine system. Common triggers include dairy, gluten and alcohol.
3. Eat more fruits and veggies: dietary fiber helps absorb toxins and waste within your digestive tract. Natural foods are also full of thyroid-healthy vitamins and nutrients.
4. Stay hydrated: this prevents constipation, toxic overload and poor digestion.
5. Eat probiotic foods: look for whole foods that contain gut-friendly bacteria to replenish and restore your microbiome.
6. Exercise daily: moving is great for digestion and metabolism!
There are a lot of ways ways to keep your thyroid healthy, regardless of what’s affecting it!