The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck that is responsible for controlling your metabolic rate; the rate at which food is converted to energy.
It secretes hormones that play an integral roll in almost every system in your body, including digestion, liver and gallbladder function, brain, hormone production, detoxification, etc. When there is inadequate thyroid hormone, a condition known as hypothyroidism, these systems start to break down creating symptoms of disease.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is characterized by low basal body temperature, especially cold hands and feet, slow resting pulse rate, weight gain, slow digestion, poor bowel tone, constipation, high cholesterol, muscles stiffen easily, hair loss, dry skin, orange palms and soles of feet, depression, lethargy, brain fog and the list goes on.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
There are many dietary and environmental causes, including too much or too little protein, vegetable oils, soy, high estrogen, over-exercising, calorie restriction, fluoride, chlorine, pesticides, excess or insufficient iodine, aging and stress. It is a common condition but often goes undetected. While severe hypothyroidism is easy to diagnose, most subclinical hypothyroidism is misdiagnosed or undetected because of its wide variety of symptoms.
Hypothyroidism and Digestion
Of all the organ systems affected by hypothyroidism, digestion is one of the most consequential.
A healthy thyroid gland is key to healthy digestion and healthy digestion is key to a healthy thyroid.
A hypo state in the the thyroid can create an imbalance in gut flora and cause ‘leaky gut’ and inflammation in the digestive track. This in turn, contributes to many symptoms and diseases, including toxic overload, psychological conditions, autoimmunity, and hormonal imbalances that further contribute to hypothyroidism. The toxins produced from a leaky gut bind with the thyroid hormone receptors, blocking the hormone from getting in the cell. It becomes a vicious circle where each contributes further to a state of imbalance.
To restore health in your body it is critical that both gut and thyroid are addressed.
The first step is to restore the integrity of the digestive wall by healing and sealing the gut. It is important to address detoxification and nourish with nutrient-dense, easy to digest foods.
To support thyroid function, avoid particular thyroid suppressing foods and choose foods that promote metabolic rate. Sleep, adequate salt, light, the right amount of protein and enough carbohydrates are also important factors in restoring thyroid function.