Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid, resulting in inflammation and an inability to produce thyroid hormones. This lack of thyroid hormones, known as hypothyroidism, can cause a number of health concerns - including gut health issues.
If you suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, you’re likely already aware of the gut health issues associated with hypothyroidism. But if you’re new to the condition, it’s important to understand the connection between hypothyroidism and your gut — and what you can do about it. Here are seven ways hypothyroidism affects gut health, and how you can improve the gut-thyroid connection.
1. How Food Moves Through Your Body
Intestinal motility is the process by which food moves through our intestines, and it relies on thyroid hormones to work properly. When the thyroid is low, food can struggle to move through the gut, leading to constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues.
2. How Your Gallbladder Functions
Thyroid hormones have a significant impact on gallbladder contraction, so when your thyroid is low, gallbladder function can suffer. This can lead to gallstones or biliary dyskinesia, which can cause abdominal pain and other issues.
3. How Your Body Accepts Food
Oral tolerance is when your body is able to recognize and accept food particles that come into contact with your intestines, so that your immune system doesn’t react to them. But a low functioning thyroid can impair oral tolerance, leading to food allergies, sensitivities, and other issues.
4. How Your Blood Flows to Your Gut
Thyroid hormones can also affect the blood flow to the gut, meaning it can be harder for the digestive organs to get the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. This can lead to malabsorption and other issues.
5. How Your Body Filters Toxins
Leaky gut is when the tight junctions in your intestines become weakened, allowing toxins and other substances to pass into the bloodstream. This can lead to inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, and other issues. A low functioning thyroid can contribute to the development of leaky gut.
6. How Your Metabolism Runs
Thyroid hormones are important for gut metabolic activity, as they are involved in regulating digestion, absorption, and cell metabolism. A low functioning thyroid can impair this activity, leading to malabsorption and other issues.
7. How Your Gut Microbiome Functions
The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms in the digestive system, and thyroid hormones can affect the balance of bacteria in the gut. When the thyroid is low, the microbiome can become imbalanced, leading to digestive issues and other health issues.
Getting out of the vicious cycle of low thyroid activity and poor gut health isn’t easy, but it is possible. The first step is to get proper testing. Traditional medical testing revolves around checking your TSH levels. However, there are a variety of other markers that indicate what state your thyroid is in that should be checked. That’s why I’m a big advocate of comprehensive testing to help my clients get conclusive answers. Far too many people go undiagnosed and suffer in silence because of it. It’s also important to assess your gut health and identify any underlying issues. Do you have food sensitivities? Food allergies? Gaining clarity on exactly what you’re dealing with is the first step to finding relief and improving your health.
If you have Hashimoto’s, taking steps to improve the gut-thyroid connection is essential for keeping your gut healthy. With the right care and support, you can improve both your thyroid and gut health. This includes eating a strategic diet, reducing stress levels, taking proper supplements, eliminating trigger foods, and reducing toxins.
If you’re interested in learning more about comprehensive testing and my nutrition and lifestyle program specifically designed for individuals struggling with Hypothyroidism and gut health issues, click here.