What is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is thought to be the most common cause of hypothyroidism but usually goes undetected. About 1 in 1,000 people will be diagnosed with this autoimmune condition, but it is much more common. Of this group, women are significantly more likely to have Hashimoto’s, and it is most common between the ages of 45 and 65.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that involves the production of thyroid antibodies that attack thyroid gland proteins resulting in inflammation, damage to the thyroid, and reduced hormone production. Eventually, if untreated, the thyroid can become too damaged to produce appropriate hormone levels resulting in severe hypothyroidism.
Early-stage Hashimoto’s may present little to no symptoms. However, as the thyroid continues to be destroyed, symptoms can escalate. It is common for Hashimoto’s patients to alternate between hypothyroid and hyperthyroid states, causing a wide range of symptoms. Common symptoms include: fatigue, anxiety, depression, PMS, and goiter or swelling of the thyroid. Because of the vague nature of the symptoms, Hashimoto’s is frequently misdiagnosed as depression, bipolar disorder, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia, or an anxiety disorder.
Hashimoto’s and Inflammation
Because Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition, people with this condition frequently deal with chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s immune response. It is part of the body’s healing process and is a way of fighting off infections, toxins, and injuries. However, the immune system can sometimes be triggered for the wrong reasons as is the case with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which can cause systemic problems. Chronic inflammation results in the damage of healthy cells, tissues, and organs.
Hashimoto’s and Gut Health
Studies have shown a strong correlation between thyroid and gut health. Low thyroid hormones have been linked to leaky gut syndrome and poor gut health can suppress thyroid function.
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the intestinal lining becomes inflamed and porous, allowing toxins and particles to “leak,” through the lining of the small intestine into the sterile environment of the bloodstream. This triggers an immune response, which creates inflammation throughout the body.
Studies have shown that leaky gut can play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. As gut health becomes more compromised, autoimmune diseases can become more severe.
Thus, not only may Hashimoto’s patients deal with chronic inflammation, but this condition may also be worsened by gastrointestinal problems such as leaky gut syndrome.
Healing Your Gut
Studies have also shown a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance. In fact, one study found that 87% of patients with celiac disease and intestinal permeability were able to restore their gut health and return to “normalcy” after following a gluten-free diet for over a year. Therefore, when dealing with chronic health conditions that impact your gut such as Hashimoto’s, improving your diet is essential.
Eliminate any known foods that cause sensitivities such as:
- Processed foods
- Processed vegetable oils
It is also worth getting a food sensitivity test to understand what specific foods may be triggers for you and your digestive tract.
When dealing with inflammation in the gut, it is also important to incorporate foods into your diet that will help heal the gut lining such as:
- Coconut oil
- Wild-caught salmon
- Fresh fruits
- Chia seeds
An important part of managing an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is to repair the health of your gut. If you are having vague symptoms or digestive issues, it might be time to speak with your doctor about your gut.
At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to properly diagnose and treat your thyroid condition, optimize your health, and improve your quality of life. If you have been diagnosed with thyroid or gut dysfunction but aren’t getting the treatment you need, contact us to see how we can help you!