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The Gut Thyroid Connection?

  • February 21, 2019

Most of you have heard the term going around, leaky gut! It is a hot topic in the fitness & weight loss industry…

But what is leaky gut and why does it matter to your thyroid health? 

To put it simply… leaky gut is defined as damage that occurs to your intestinal lining which can let bad things to enter the blood stream & prevent good things from being absorbed. 

Damage to the intestinal lining results in the absorption of pro-inflammatory cytokines which interact with your brain and skin causing all sorts of havoc for your immune system and thyroid function. 

If you suspect or know you have thyroid issues there is a HUGE probability that you may have some intestinal damage. To this day, I focus on both my own and clients gut health.. to ensure proper thyroid functioning!

Symptoms of leaky gut include:

  • History of autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, celiac disease)
  • Known thyroid dysfunction (diagnosis of hypothyroidism) or other hormone imbalances (estrogen dominance, low progesterone)
  • History of depression
  • Poor immune system or history of frequent illness
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
  • Brain fog, trouble concentrating or anxiety
  • Dermatitis, rashes, eczema or rosacea
  • Food cravings for sugar/carbs or unhealthy foods

Why is it important to treat your gut with thyroid problems?

What leaky gut does to your thyroid: 

  • Gut dysfunction reduces thyroid conversion and directly LOWERS free T3 levels. Around 20% of T4 in your body is converted in the gut meaning it’s an important source for thyroid conversion
  • Leaky gut may reduce thyroid hormone ABSORPTION making your thyroid hormone less effective. 
  • Leaky gut causes multiple nutrient deficiencies (iron, zinc & selenium) which all help thyroid optimization. 
  • Leaky gut may increase thyroid autoantibodies, worsening thyroid function long term. 
  • Symptoms of leaky gut may mimic symptoms of hypothyroidism which may confuse the picture & make treating thyroid more complicated. 

How Do You Treat Leaky Gut?

Add/Remove foods from your diet. 

The first step is to change or alter your diet. Certain foods can be very damaging to your intestinal tract just like some foods can be very nourishing. 

REMOVE the following foods:

  • Refined sugars
  • Grains/gluten
  • Processed additives in foods
  • Xenoestrogens/Endocrine disruptors
  • Hormones from foods

ADD the following foods: 

  • Fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut
  • Coconut oil (healthy saturated fats)
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Bone broth

Take probiotics. 

Probiotics can help heal the intestinal lining and reverse the symptoms of leaky gut. They help by increasing the growth of healthy & beneficial bacteria while limiting the growth of negative bacteria. 

One of the best things about using probiotics for leaky gut is that they work fairly quickly (most of my clients notice a difference within 1 week). 

The key here is getting the best & most high quality probiotics. What you want to look for is the following:

– Probiotics that are multi strain & multi species. 
– High dose probiotics (greater than 50 billion CFU per serving)
– Probiotics that contain both bifidobacteria & lactobacilli species

Use supplements to nourish & repair your intestinal lining. 

In addition to using probiotics there are also other supplements that can be used to increase healing & reduce the symptoms of leaky gut. 

Other supplements that can help heal leaky gut include:  

– L-glutamine: Helps heal the intestinal lining and nourishes the GI tract. 
– Digestive enzymes: Helps increase nutrient absorption
– Quercetin: Very powerful anti-inflammatory agent that also helps boost immune function

If you are finding that your weight-loss efforts have come to a stand still, even though your thyroid panel is “normal”… treating your gut might just be the answer to your frustration!

If you are wanting to learn more or work 1-to-1, then send me a message! I would be happy to get your gut back on track!