Is Your Gut Slowing Your Thyroid Down?
Hello Everyone! A very happy new year! I hope that you are well. A lot of people don’t realize that it is your thyroid gland that has a significant influence on muscle mass, weight, skin, testosterone, hair, mood… and the list goes on.
So, if your new year’s resolutions include prioritizing health, you may want to consider the thyroid-gut connection.
If you want to know how you can improve how you feel, look and burn energy, for instance, and look after your thyroid health, manage your thyroid condition, and improve overall health significantly, this article is for you.
What Does a Healthy Thyroid Do?
The thyroid gland (butterfly-shaped at the front of your neck) is a small but almighty organ. Its function affects the whole body, as every cell in the body depends on thyroid hormones for their metabolism regulation. Its dysfunction is one of the most common chronic endocrine diseases.
Oftentimes, thyroid health can get overlooked, and yet it is one of the most commonly encountered incidental findings, along with chronic inflammation, at the time of autopsy, in cases where there was no apparent cause of death.
You see, chronic inflammation affects the thyroid gland.
An estimated 20 million Americans and one in 20 people in the UK have some form of a thyroid condition. Over half of them are unaware of their thyroid condition. Symptoms of thyroid conditions are often overlooked as something else.
An estimated 40% of the world’s population is at risk of thyroid diseases due to deficiencies.
One in four adults over 65 has thyroid dysfunction, but they go undetected because symptoms can be linked to other age-related issues.
Thyroid diseases, like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves Disease, affect both men and women. Autoimmunity conditions usually affect the thyroid also.
Your thyroid makes the hormones that control a significant amount of essential functions that nearly every organ.
Its good health is imperative to functions like your metabolism, body temperature, lipolysis (fat burning), heartbeat, increased cardiac output, digestion, fatty acid and triglyceride synthesis, glucose generation, and absorption, proteolysis (breaking down protein into smaller amino acids essential for the body), and development and growth of bones in children.
It also has a massive role in the maturation of the central nervous system during fetal development.
How Does a Healthy Thyroid Function?
The primary function of the thyroid is to synthesize thyroid hormones, which are needed to regulate metabolism in every single cell in the body, as I mentioned above.
Triiodothyronine (T3) and Tetraiodothyronine (commonly known as Thyroxine) (T4).
T4 is made from tyrosine, which is an amino acid.
They do this by taking essential nutrients found in foods and converting them in the liver, mostly.
So, when thyroid hormones drop too low, it all starts with the hypothalamus in the brain.
The hypothalamus regulates the pituitary and produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH). Which then signals to the pituitary to release TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
The pituitary gland then releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which tells the thyroid gland to release T3 and T4 into the bloodstream.
This then speeds up the metabolism of the cells in the body, which then does all of its important functions, as mentioned above, generating energy, controlling temperature, burning fat, and so on.
When blood levels contain a certain amount, the pituitary stops producing TSH.
The Best Food for Thyroid Health
The impact of what you eat and how you live majorly affects thyroid health. Dietary micronutrients, as well as an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, play an imperative role in thyroid hormone synthesis.
I know that many varied thyroid diets online give contradictory information, and I would always advise a qualified nutritionist or dietician with credentials that you can check who has studied thyroid health and inflammatory conditions extensively. Check that they have legitimate clients with thyroid disorders that have positive, long-term results.
I also advise that the focus should never be on food alone. Going ‘on a diet’ is restrictive, unsustainable, and unhealthy for both physical and mental health.
Let’s face it: restrictive diets make you miserable!
Restrictive thyroid diets online don’t contain all the essential micronutrients needed for overall good health.
Oftentimes, popular diets have initial results, which is what gains their popularity, but they negatively impact the body and mind further down the line, opening the body up to more health issues.
The best food you can eat when you have any chronic condition must be targeted at gut health. Again, if you search online for gut-health food, you will be met with an array of contradictory information that may negatively impact gut health.
Your gut microbiota helps your thyroid, so it is essential to eat the right gut-healthy food and drinks, with specialized thyroid advice, along with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Some so-called health foods that are promoted extensively increase the likeliness of a thyroid function impairment to escalate to a more serious thyroid condition, for instance.
Certain foods and drinks can particularly affect thyroid hormone levels in the blood by increasing T4 and parathyroid (regulator of blood calcium levels) hormones and lowering T3 and aldosterone (hormone produced in the adrenals that balances water and sodium in the kidneys) levels.
There are additives in foods that directly affect thyroid axis activity through increased inflammation, as I so often talk about.
The ingredients we eat and drink affect the gut microbiota and gastrointestinal barrier integrity and can dysregulate immune response.
They can also hinder the absorption of medication. Medication can also cause gut dysbiosis, too.
What Can Cause Thyroid Disorders?
Gut dysbiosis is a common occurrence in thyroid disorders. This is because of a couple of reasons.
Firstly, an unbalanced microbiota alters the immune response by promoting inflammation and reducing immune tolerance. It damages the intestinal membrane and causes intestinal permeability, exposing the body to antigens and local inflammation.
Inflammation can interfere with the important conversion and functions of thyroid hormones.
What happens also is that gut microbiota influences the absorption of nutrients, and in particular, the minerals that are imperative for thyroid health.
It is also important to note that components like iron are essential for good microbiota composition. Good composition influences iron’s availability, allowing for the utilization of vital nutrients for optimum thyroid health.
You may like to read: Help With Anemia, B12, and Iron Deficiency.
The right balance of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and immune-regulating nutrients all work synergistically together.
A good microbiota composition also provides a reservoir for T3 (one of the hormones the thyroid makes) and can prevent thyroid hormone fluctuation and disorders.
It truly is incredible how it all works.
What Are the Symptoms of Low Thyroid Function?
Symptoms of thyroid issues are shown and felt all over the body, and you will usually have multiple symptoms.
Hypothyroidism affects men and women of any age and occurs when your TSH is high and your T3 and T4 are low.
Symptoms of low thyroid function include:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Heavy or irregular menstruation
- Slow digestive functions
- Slow resting heart rate
- Brain fog
- Slow speech
- Cold intolerance
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Constipation due to slow peristalsis
- Hot flashes
- Hyporeflexia (reduction or absence of normal bodily reflexes – tested with a reflex hammer)
- Water retention
- Facial swelling
Chronic hypothyroidism increases total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein concentrations, which increase cardiovascular diseases. A T3 blood test will confirm a low level of T3 if you have hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your TSH is low, and your T3 and T4 are high.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism include:
- Weight loss
- Decrease in muscle strength
- Eye bulging
- Frequent bowel movements
- Increased heart rate
- Restless legs syndrome
- Low tolerance for heat
A T3 test will show high levels of T3.
Men’s Health: Symptoms of Thyroid Issues
The symptoms for men’s thyroid health issues include most of the above, but I am repeating some, just in case you came here directly. It would be multiple symptoms, not just one or two. I advise having a thyroid test if you have any concerns.
- Decreased muscle mass – no matter what you do, your muscles are not building
- Muscular skeletal symptoms – weakness, cramps and aches
- Elevated testosterone
- Decreased body temperature
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hair changes – baldness, bald spots, thinning, coarse…
- Body composition changes – sudden weight gain
- Skin changes – dry, itchy, pale…
- Constipation – slow peristalsis
- Heart palpitations
Some Causes of Impaired Thyroid Function
- Lifestyle significantly influences thyroid function and the development of thyroid conditions.
- Gut dysbiosis, as mentioned above.
- Stress – causes gut dysbiosis.
- Chronic prolonged stress – undealt with, leads to metabolic stress and a multitude of issues where inflammation rises, and neuro, endocrine, and immune imbalances occur. Chronic inflammatory conditions develop, blood pressure increases, and, of course, thyroid and hormone imbalances.
- Chronic inflammatory conditions – like obesity, for instance. Thyroid cancer risk and impaired thyroid function can occur with obesity.
- Autoimmune conditions – like Hashimoto’s disease, Diabetes, vitiligo, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Sleep duration – too little and too much!
- Lack of nutrition.
- Iron-deficient anemia.
- Allergies – where the immune system becomes hypersensitive and attacks thyroid tissue by mistake.
- Physical activity – too little and too much!
- Drugs and medications, and more!
Members: you will be doing the absolute best for your thyroid health by following this optimum healthy lifestyle and keeping inflammation and stress at bay with the array of motivational stress management strategies on the platform.
If you have a thyroid condition, follow the specialized thyroid healing advice on what to avoid and what to do to optimize thyroid health in the Personalized Advice.
Also, access the Masterclass Lives to access all of the ones that you missed, and look out for the reminders in your inbox!
Detox Your Liver For Thyroid Health
The liver plays a crucial role in thyroid health because the conversion of T4 to T3 mostly takes place there.
A well-functioning liver will assist your thyroid health because it plays a vital role in thyroid hormone activation, inactivation, transport, and metabolism.
A less-than-optimum liver is overtaxed by medication, lifestyle, food, drinks, alcohol, and stress, and it will not perform its duties like lipolysis (fat burning).
Liver diseases are frequently associated with thyroid test abnormalities and dysfunctions, but you can’t always detect thyroid issues yourself.
Indeed, if you have any signs like a lump around the thyroid, get it checked out. They are ubiquitous; only 5 out of 100 lumps are cancerous, and thyroid cancer treatment has a high success rate, so don’t worry, but get it checked out as soon as possible.
So, to give your mind and body a good start to the year, check on your thyroid health and keep an eye on it.
Health can soon go off-kilter without us realizing it. Inflammation rising, sustained, leaves your body vulnerable to diseases and ‘switches on’ genetics. Unbalanced gut microbiota really can slow your thyroid and your whole system down.
How to Improve Thyroid Health
If you are looking for a thyroid ‘diet’ to manage your thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, or hyperthyroidism, alongside your medication, in the very best way, for optimum health, you have landed in the right place but got more than you expected (a complete lifestyle change is essential).
Implementing an inflammation-lowering lifestyle with good nutrition and specialized thyroid advice with motivational guidance daily over a long-term period will ensure your success.
You will have good thyroid health, metabolism, reduced adiposity with balanced gut microbiota, a supported liver, a strong immune system, and improved mental well-being. To say the least!
Investing in your health is always worth it, and aging beautifully without health issues is possible!
Health isn’t something we can outsource, and trusted health education is the most powerful tool.
For long-term adherence, and inspiration, an optimum healthy lifestyle has to be thoroughly enjoyable and not restrictive, nor have you feel guilty when you don’t stick to it 100%. You have to live, and you have to love to live!
It’s all about damage limitation! Not perfection.
For continued motivation, results must be seen and felt early for people to realize its power.
When excellent results continue, and you feel in the best health, you don’t look back.
I hope that you have an amazing new year!