Gut health and the thyroid

In our throats sits a beautiful butterfly like gland called the thyroid. She is responsible for producing hormones that help regulate your body temperature, growth including your hair, skin and nails, your heart rate and metabolism i.e. the speed at which nutrients are broken down and used for energy. 

I am seeing more and more women presenting with thyroid conditions in my clinic, particularly under active thyroid i.e. hypothyroidism. This is where the thyroid struggles to produce and convert enough of those lovely thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and we see those things listed above begin to slow.  We feel the cold more as the body struggles to heat up, our hair begins to fall out and nails break and that metabolism starts to slow resulting in weight gain and poor appetite along with many other symptoms.

In clinic, when it comes to the thyroid I not only focus on the health of our liver and adrenal glands as they both play a major role, but the state of our gut.  While low thyroid function results in poor digestion, poor digestion in turn affects thyroid function. Go figure.

An unhealthy gut can impact our thyroid in many ways:  

Our guts are home to the majority of our immune system.  Intestinal impermeability (i.e. “leaky gut”) have been shown to set off auto antibodies throughout the body as certain substances leak into the bloodstream leading to autoimmune illnesses.

An imbalance of gut bacteria can effect thyroid hormone production. Our bacteria assist in the conversion of hormone T4 to the active version, T3. An overgrowth of bad bacteria can inhibit this critical conversion impacting thyroid function.  

A healthy gut is also important for nutrient absorption, particularly certain minerals such as iodine, iron, zinc and selenium for thyroid health. With an inflamed gut or low stomach acid, many nutrients are not being broken down and absorbed. When we are stressed and our diet is poor this also uses up those vital nutrients.

Low thyroid function can also slow our bowel movements, leading to constipation and further inflammation. Oestrogen is unable to clear efficiently and builds up in our system, suppressing thyroid function.

As you can see, the gut plays a huge role in our thyroid health. A healthy gut for a healthy thyroid and vice versa. When we begin to health the gut through:-

Addressing the way we react to stress as too much can negatively impact our digestion; 

Removing triggers such as food sensitivities i.e. gluten, dairy and others you may have;

Healing the gut lining, removing pathogens and recolonising good bacteria,

…i’ve seen thyroid antibodies reduce within a few months!!

Everyone is unique and the pathway in is usually the pathway out. Find out what’s causing your gut dysfunction.

For individual advice, please contact me for a consultation. 

Sammy xx

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