Was Hippocrates right over 2,000 years ago? I would have to agree with him a majority of the time when it comes to chronic diseases. A healthy digestive system begins with excellent digestion so let’s go over some tips to help you improve your digestion naturally. Firstly, I’d like to briefly cover the reason why your digestion may be out of balance.
What causes bad digestion?
Eating very quickly while on the run and not completely focusing on your meal will result in poor digestion. You must be in a parasympathetic dominant state which is your “rest and digest” branch of your nervous system. Many people are sympathetic dominant when they eat which is the “fight or flight” branch of your nervous system.
Inflammation is at the core of most chronic illnesses including hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. But how exactly does inflammation cause hypothyroidism? Nonthyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS) is the state in which inflammation causes negative changes to thyroid hormone including low T3 and increased reverse T3 (rT3). T3 is the most active form of thyroid hormone and rT3 actually blocks T3 receptors so inflammation can really knock out thyroid function. TSH levels however stay relatively “normal” in NTIS thus leaving many patients with the symptoms of hypothyroidism but no diagnosis since no one is checking their T3 or rT3 levels.
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.
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.
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.
In this episode of The Dr. Hedberg Show, I interviewed Andrea Nakayama in a discussion about strategies for healing Hashimoto’s disease. We talked about her “3 Tiers to Epigenetic Mastery” and how they relate to Hashimoto’s disease and thyroid health. Within the 3 tiers we discussed stress, gut health, infections, micronutrient deficiencies, adverse childhood experiences, SIBO, reproductive hormones, goitrogens, iodine, and all the various diets that people are following these days.
Andrea is a clinician but also a Hashimoto’s patient so it was a real pleasure to get her insight and expertise on healing Hashimoto’s disease.