For 90 percent of Americans, hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid disease. Considering most of the immune system is situated in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, poor gut health may play a significant role in triggering and exacerbating autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
GI or Gut Flora and Thyroid Hormones
Our digestive tracts contain an array of good bacteria that contribute to our overall health in a number of ways. One way is in the production of active thyroid hormones. A staggering 20 percent of thyroid function depends on a sufficient supply of healthy gut bacteria to convert inactive T4 to active T3 hormone.
Poor diet, antibiotics, non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antacids, and other drugs can initiate dysbiosis, an overabundance of bad bacteria. This bad bacteria will crowd out the beneficial or “good” bacteria, hampering the production of active thyroid hormone.
Studies show that bacterial gut infections reduce thyroid hormone levels, dull thyroid hormone receptor sites, increase the amount of inactive T3 hormone, decrease thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and promote autoimmune thyroid disorders. Maintaining healthy gut flora and addressing bacterial overgrowth is an important component of good thyroid function.
Being tested for gluten intolerance and or avoiding gluten can be helpful (see past blog), so can taking probiotics on a daily basis.
Or bodies and systems really are connected and this is why you can’t treat one part of the body (system) and ignore the rest of the body. A holistic approach is always best.