How to Improve Digestion Naturally

Digestion

“All disease begins in the gut.” –Hippocrates

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.

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How Inflammation Causes Hypothyroidism

How Inflammation Causes Hypothyroidism

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.

In this article I’ll be referencing a paper entitled, “IL-6 promotes nonthyroidal illness syndrome by blocking thyroxine activation while promoting thyroid hormone inactivation in human cells.”

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What are Optimal TSH Levels in Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism?

Hashimoto's Disease

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.

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How Your Gut Microbiota Affects Your Thyroid

How Your Gut Microbiota Affects Your Thyroid

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.

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Ashwagandha, Hashimoto’s Disease, and Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Ashwagandha, Hashimoto's Disease, and Subclinical Hypothyroidism

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.

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Autoimmune Paleo Diet and Hashimoto’s Disease

Autoimmune Paleo Diet and Hashimoto's Disease

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.

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The Hashimoto’s Disease and SIBO Connection

Hashimoto's Disease SIBO Connection

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.

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Can Blastocystis Hominis Cause Hashimoto’s Disease?

Blastocystis Hominis Hashimoto's Disease

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.

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Can Thiamine Improve Hashimoto’s Disease-Related Fatigue?

Can Thiamine Improve Hashimoto's Disease-Related Fatigue?

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.

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Healing Hashimoto’s Disease with Andrea Nakayama

Andrea Nakayama Hashimoto's Disease
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.

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