hypothyroidism and the gut

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common autoimmune disorder that causes significant morbidity.

One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism in developed countries is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune endocrine disorder that causes inflammation in the thyroid gland.

In the case of Hashimoto’s, as with all autoimmune conditions, the problem lies with the immune system rather than the thyroid. In most Hashimoto’s cases, the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing it to work harder to produce enough thyroid hormone. This causes inflammation throughout the body, leading to various health problems.
Nutrient depletion may trigger autoimmunity, while increased thyroid cell turnover may also result in nutrient depletion.
Certain nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy thyroid, while others play a role in supporting the immune system, liver, gut, and adrenal function. A deficiency in these nutrients can directly or indirectly impact thyroid function. On the other hand, an overabundance of certain nutrients can contribute to autoimmune thyroid issues.
Research shows that people with autoimmunity have lower levels of beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidus, and higher levels of harmful bacteria, like E. coli and Proteus.
Research conducted in 2020 revealed that individuals who have hypothyroidism are more likely to experience gut dysbiosis and bacterial overgrowth. This imbalance is characterised by significantly lower levels of Lactobacillaceae and Bifidobacterium, which reduces the absorption of essential nutrients such as iodine, iron, copper, selenium, and zinc.
It is worth noting that people with autoimmune thyroid disease are often deficient in these micronutrients.

Blastocystis Hominis and the Thyroid

Blastocystis Hominis is the most common intestinal parasite infecting humans. It can often cause parasitic thyroid nodules and is more prevalent in developing countries than in developed countries.

The prevalence of this parasite in developing countries can be around 60%,
while in developed countries, it varies from 1.6% to 16 %.

It was previously believed that the presence of this parasite did not indicate infection and was not harmful to most healthy individuals. However, recent research has shown that this parasite can cause immune dysfunction, activating specific immune cells and resulting in inflammation. Ultimately, this inflammation can trigger autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s.

Blastocystis hominis is a microscopic single-cell organism (protozoan) that commonly lives in the digestive tract. It is most commonly contracted through contaminated food or water sources. While many protozoans typically live in the gastrointestinal tract and are harmless or helpful, others can cause disease.

Symptoms of Blastocystis hominis can include:
Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, food sensitivities, variable bowel habits, hives, and fatigue.
This pathogen is notorious for causing multiple food sensitivities. A true food sensitivity, like celiac disease, usually results in a resolution of symptoms once the triggering food is removed, but people with Blasto infections will have multiple food sensitivities and will keep getting more. 

Interestingly, the Blastocystis Research Foundation reports that people with Blasto often find that they are sensitive to gluten, dairy, soy, sugars, starches, grains, caffeine, fruit, and carbonated beverages,
and removing these foods can keep symptoms at bay.

If you suspect you may have a Blasto infection, please get in touch, as we can consider ordering a non-invasive functional medicine stool test for you.

Call us: (08) 9298 8332

Recommended foods for a hypothyroidism diet to help start the healing process of an underactive thyroid

Wild-caught fish is an excellent omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA source, essential for hormone balance and thyroid function. 

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids such as caprylic, lauric, and capric acid, which can support a healthy metabolism, boost energy levels, and combat fatigue.
Edible seaweeds, such as kombu and wakame, are natural sources of iodine and can prevent deficiencies that disrupt thyroid function.
Probiotic-rich foods are great for thyroid function and include kefir (a fermented dairy product), organic goat’s milk yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, natto, sauerkraut, and other fermented veggies.
Sprouted seeds are also essential for proper hormonal balance and thyroid function. Flax, hemp, and chia seeds provide ALA, a type of omega-3 fat critical for this purpose.

People with hypothyroidism are advised to consume high-fibre foods. They may experience digestive issues and are recommended to aim for 30-40 grams of fibre daily. A diet rich in fibre not only improves digestive health but also promotes heart health, balances blood sugar levels, and helps maintain a healthy weight by keeping you feeling full.

Bone broth is rich in amino acids such as L-proline and L-glycine, whether made from beef or chicken bones. These amino acids can help in the repair of the digestive lining and can also improve hypothyroidism. 
Fruits and vegetables are essential sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are necessary for fighting against free radical damage and reducing inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that they can be helpful in treating hypothyroidism. They are nutrient-dense foods that should make up a significant portion of a healthy diet since they support digestive health, brain function, heart health, hormone balance and a healthy weight.
Following an anti-inflammatory and immune-friendly diet that promotes gut healing, hormone balancing, and inflammation reduction is an excellent starting point for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
However, in addition to this, taking herbal adaptogens and supplements can help to regulate the body’s response to stress, reduce cortisol levels, and balance hormone levels.
Please book an appointment with our team, who have invaluable experience in this area and can tailor a plan for you. Call us: (08) 9298 8332

Like & Share Us

If this has been helpful to you please feel free to like and share this information with your friends and family.

You can keep up to date with us on our Facebook or Instagram page.