What’s the Thyroid and Gut Connection?
Thyroid and gut connection
There is an important gland in the body, which is most widely known for managing our metabolic rate. We’re referring to the thyroid, and this butterfly-shaped gland assists many of our vital organs like the heart, brain and lungs.
There are many illnesses that can affect the thyroid and disrupt normal bodily functions.
Medication, and in rare occurrences, surgery may be used for treatment. But to supplement medical treatments it’s important to maintain proper nutrition. For starters, you want to eat foods that can maintain thyroid activity.
Many studies as of late have been showing a strong connection between the gut and other parts of the body. One such connection is the gut-mind connection, which reveals how emotions and stress can trigger health problems in our gut. Recent studies have revealed a connection between the thyroid and the gut.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that assists many bodily functions. The gut – or the gastrointestinal tract – is a long tube that moves food from our mouths through the digestive system. Because the thyroid is responsible for hormones and regulating parts of the body, there is a link between the two.
Link between thyroid gland and digestion
A common form of thyroiditis – inflammation of the thyroid – is Hashimoto’s disease. In this form of thyroiditis, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing hypothyroidism. When this occurs, the amount of hormones released by the thyroid gland is reduced and growth and mental development slows. Poor digestion can trigger Hashimoto’s disease.
Problems with the gut may occur when the lining becomes permeable. This allows for food waste to enter the body instead of, well, into the toilet. When this foreign material enters the body, the immune response is to attack it.
The thyroid plays a role as it produces the hormones that protect the gut. T3 and T4 are thyroid hormones that work to make the gut strong, for example, they can work to prevent stress-induced ulcers. In endoscopic examinations of ulcers, researchers found low levels of T3 and T4, meaning without them the gut becomes weaker.
The gut relies on the thyroid for protection and the thyroid needs the gut to stay strong and fight off illness.
6 natural ways to keep the thyroid-gut connection strong
If you want to ensure you maintain a healthy thyroid-gut connection, it’s important to take necessary steps to keep both happy and healthy. Below are natural ways to encourage a healthy thyroid-gut connection:
- Manage stress and blood sugar
- Recognize any food intolerances – common food intolerances are dairy, wheat and gluten
- Consume fiber
- Stay hydrated
- Eat foods that contain gut-friendly bacteria – yogurt, kefir, pickles, miso etc.
These tips can help improve the health of your gut and thyroid alike. If you feel that you may have a thyroid or digestion problem, speak with your doctor. Living well is the easiest way to boost the thyroid-gut connection and prevent a serious disorder from developing.