There have never been any studies on leaky gut and Hashimoto’s disease but now we have a new study on this connection. Leaky gut was something rejected by conventional medicine despite the fact that papers on leaky gut date back to the 1970s. For many years functional medicine practitioners have been testing for it and treating it which has helped many patients overcome their chronic illnesses. There are currently over 500 published scientific papers on leaky gut so there is no doubt it exists.
There is a new exciting paper on the connection between eradicating the intestinal parasite Blasctocystis hominis and improving Hashimoto’s disease. I previously reported this infection connection in a case study which revealed an individual with Hashimoto’s disease getting better after eradicating Blastocystis hominis. Case studies aren’t the strongest scientific proof of a particular therapy but now we have an excellent paper with three research groups including a much-needed control group.
The connection between iodine and Hashimoto’s disease has been one of the most requested topics that I cover, so I’d like to present the research on this topic, so we can set the record straight. Please be aware that none of this is my opinion but rather a detailed analysis of what the scientific literature currently presents.
Your body has about 15 to 20 mg of iodine and 70 to 80% of it resides in the thyroid gland. Iodine is transported into the thyroid gland through the sodium-iodine symporter or NIS. The thyroid peroxidase enzyme oxidizes iodine which is then integrated into thyroglobulin resulting in the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) regulates this process.
Your thyroid only needs 150 to 250 micrograms a day of iodine to function properly. Once iodine intake exceeds this range, hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disease may occur in some individuals.
TSH is the current gold standard for diagnosis of hypothyroidism but are the current TSH levels optimal and how do they relate to Hashimoto’s disease? An excellent paper out of China entitled, “Using Hashimoto thyroiditis as gold standard to determine the upper limit value of thyroid stimulating hormone in a Chinese cohort” has shed some light on this important question which looked at the upper limit of TSH levels in relation to Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism.
The authors begin by stating that subclinical hypothyroidism is characterized by “normal” T4, T3, Free T4, and Free T3 with an elevated TSH. And these patients have an increased risk of cholesterol abnormalities, heart disease, mental illness, and pregnancy complications even though their symptoms are relatively mild.
Your gut microbiota has an intimate connection with your thyroid including connections with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease and Graves’ disease. In this research review I’d like to cover a recent paper entitled, “Microbiota and Thyroid Interaction in Health and Disease” published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism by Eleonare Frohlich and Richard Wahl.
The authors begin by stating that the gut microbiota can act on thyroid function due to the region of where someones lives, their diet including iodine intake, obesity, age, sex hormones, and how autoimmunity can impact the microbiota. I was impressed to see them state that the gut microbiota is linked to autoimmune disease, estrogen, iodine, and obesity. Estrogen can be a key factor in Hashimoto’s disease and a healthy gut is required for optimal estrogen metabolism and excretion through the feces.
They also mention the connection between the gut and the liver in relation to thyroid hormone metabolism in both these organ systems. Your gut is key to properly absorbing and utilizing the thyroid medication that you’re taking and they mention this as well.
Ashwagandha is one of my favorite supplements for Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism and we have some excellent studies to support using it for these conditions.
The main study I’ll cover in this research review is entitled, “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial” published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. We’re already off to a good start just by reading the title which indicates that it is a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study so we know it is of the highest standard.
We finally have a study specifically looking at the efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, also known as the Autoimmune Paleo Diet or AIP, and Hashimoto’s disease. The exact title of the paper is, “Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet as Part of a Multi-disciplinary, Supported Lifestyle Intervention for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis” by Abbott et al. Published in April of 2019 in the journal Cureus. I break down the study details below so you can better understand if this diet actually works for Hashimoto’s disease.
Is there a connection among Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroidism, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth also known as SIBO? Does Hashimoto’s disease cause SIBO or does SIBO cause Hashimoto’s? I’ll answer these questions in my latest research review below.
There isn’t a lot of research, only two papers actually, on the specific connection between Hashimoto’s disease and SIBO which I’ll cover in this article. There are more papers on the connection between hypothyroidism and SIBO without mention of Hashimoto’s and the basic conclusion of those papers is that hypothyroidism is connected to SIBO because gastric motility is decreased in hypothyroidism. Decreased gastric motility basically means the food you eat is moving through the bowels to slowly so bacteria can build-up in the small intestine.
Our discussion today revolves around a microscopic parasite called Blastocystis hominis, a case of hives and Hashimoto’s disease!
The case report was published in 2015 in The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. The report was entitled, “Eradication of Blastocystis hominis prevents the development of symptomatic Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a case report. The case involved a singular subject who was suffering from chronic urticaria (hives), angioedema (skin swelling) and overly soft stools who also showed signs of Hashimoto’s disease.
But before we delve into more details, let me provide you with some basic background information.
Are you doing everything right for your Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism but still experiencing fatigue? A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link and the b-vitamin thiamine is an important link in thyroid function and energy production that could improve Hashimoto’s disease-related fatigue. Restrictive diets like the Autoimmune Paleo Diet, gluten-free diet, and ketogenic diet can possibly lead to a thiamine deficiency if there isn’t enough variety in the diet. Once this important vitamin becomes deficient, a number symptoms can appear as well as sluggish thyroid function.