The Connection Between Leaky Gut and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Leaky Gut and Hashimoto's ThyroiditsHashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a common autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, leading to a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and mood disturbances. While its exact cause remains unclear, recent research has shed light on the link between Hashimoto’s and a condition known as “leaky gut.” In this article, we’ll explore what leaky gut is, its potential role in the development of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and how managing gut health may help individuals with this autoimmune thyroid disorder.

Understanding Leaky Gut

Leaky gut, scientifically known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition that occurs when the lining of the small intestine becomes compromised, allowing substances that should stay in the digestive tract to leak into the bloodstream. The gut lining, primarily composed of tight junctions, acts as a barrier to regulate the passage of nutrients and prevent harmful substances from entering the body.

However, various factors can damage these tight junctions, including:

  • Poor diet: Consuming a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and artificial additives can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and weaken the gut lining.
  • Chronic stress: Prolonged stress can lead to inflammation in the gut, contributing to increased permeability.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antibiotics, may affect gut health.
  • Environmental toxins: Exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants can have adverse effects on the gut lining.

The Link Between Leaky Gut and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Researchers have found a potential connection between leaky gut and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. While the exact mechanism is still being investigated, several factors suggest how these two conditions may be related:

  • Immune system dysfunction: Leaky gut can trigger an immune system response as foreign substances leak into the bloodstream. This constant activation of the immune system may lead to an autoimmune response, where the body mistakenly attacks its thyroid gland, as seen in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
  • Molecular mimicry: Some substances that enter the bloodstream due to leaky gut might resemble thyroid tissue. This similarity can confuse the immune system and lead it to attack both the invading substances and the thyroid gland.
  • Inflammation: Leaky gut is associated with chronic inflammation, which can contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.
  • Nutrient absorption: A compromised gut lining can impair the absorption of essential nutrients, including selenium and zinc, which are crucial for thyroid function. Deficiencies in these nutrients may exacerbate Hashimoto’s symptoms.

Managing Leaky Gut to Support Thyroid Health

If you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and suspect that you may also have leaky gut or want to prevent it, consider the following strategies:

  • Dietary changes: Adopt a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Minimize or eliminate processed foods, gluten, and dairy, as they can contribute to gut inflammation.
  • Gut-friendly supplements: Probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes may help restore gut health and balance the gut microbiome.
  • Stress management: Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to lower stress levels and minimize gut inflammation.
  • Identify and treat underlying conditions: Address any food sensitivities, allergies, or infections that may be contributing to leaky gut.
  • Medication management: Consult with a healthcare provider to evaluate whether any medications you are taking could be affecting your gut health and discuss potential alternatives.

While the connection between leaky gut and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is still a subject of ongoing research, there is evidence to suggest that gut health plays a role in autoimmune thyroid disorders. By taking steps to support a healthy gut, individuals with Hashimoto’s may find relief from their symptoms and potentially slow the progression of the disease. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on managing your thyroid health and gut issues.

Dinner Out

dinnerOUTSo, for the first time in quite a while, the hubby and I went out to dinner. We split some potato chip nachos for an appetizer and then I had a very yummy sandwich, full of turkey, pickles, and cheese. I paid for it. I had acid reflux for most of the weekend. Blaugh.

And today, I’m feeling pretty horrible. Allergies. Or a cold. I’m not sure which. Since I wasn’t able to take a zyrtec in the morning, as usual, I suspect allergies. And I have more acid reflux. It occurred to me that maybe some of my acid reflux is caused, or at least exacerbated, by allergies. A quick search online and I find that others are complaining about some sort of perceived link between allergies and acid reflux. So, I will definitely be researching that.

For now, I’m going to go deal with my headache. I’m pretty sure that’s tied to my allergies too. UGH!

Day Four of the “No Prilosec” Experiment…

heartburn…and I wish I could say I feel great, but to be perfectly honest, I hit a bump. I’m definitely having some acid reflux and heartburn issues today. I had to take a Prilosec before dinner. Also, I think the culprit is probably dairy… dammit! I love dairy. I’ve never had a problem with dairy before. Ugh. I’m going to experiment to see how my body reacts to dairy. If it is indeed a problem, I’ll have to cut way back. I’m not going promise to get rid of dairy altogether because I love the occasional ice cream and cheese, but I need to not be in pain all the time. So, sacrifices will have to be made.

Clearly, I┬áhave a lot of work left to do on my digestive issues, but I’m not giving up. I’m making changes slowly so I’m not overwhelmed. The hardest thing for me is to remember all the supplements to take, the foods to avoid, and foods to eat more of. It’s a lot to keep track of when my memory is so horrible from the Hashimoto’s in the first place. I’m going to have to get organized, take notes, and stay focused. I’ll let you know how that goes…

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Heartburn

indigestionI took a 2-3 hour nap this evening and when I woke up, I was in serious pain. I knew it was heartburn as I’ve had it before, but some of the symptoms are eerily similar to a heart attack. There was a pain in my chest, pain right between my shoulder blades, pain in my throat, neck, jaw, and radiating down my arm. I took some baking soda in water and that seemed to help, and of course, I got relief once I started burping. Probably only a temporary fix, but it was so painful, I had to do it.

For the longest time, I assumed, because of my gastroenterologist, that my acid reflux was due to too much stomach acid. But doing a little research this week, I find that it may actually be due to too little stomach acid. I’ve tried a few days here and there of not taking my Prilosec and I did as well or better than days that I took it. In addition, proton pump inhibitors can cause problems absorbing vitamins like iron and B-12. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis sufferers already have problems with iron and B-12 deficiency. I definitely have.

I suspect that my acid reflux may be more a problem with pressure on my abdomen than any problem with acid. So, I’m really going to push myself harder than ever before to drop weight and get all these problems under control. Tonight, I started by going on a walk with my husband after dinner. Later this week, I’m going to go shopping for an exercise bike.

I’m still in pain from the heartburn and it may be a long night, but I’m hopeful that I can beat this by educating myself, making better choices about the food I eat, and pushing myself to exercise even though I’m so exhausted. It would be lovely to remove one more medication from my long list of medications I have to take.

For more information about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Heartburn/Acid Reflux:

Protein Digestion and Hashimoto’s

Is There A Thyroid and Acid Reflux Connection?