Thyroid & Digestive Health: Common Issues & Solutions
Having issues with your thyroid or digestive health can be a frustrating and trying experience as your body may be telling you something about its’ overall health. Thyroid and digestive health share an intimate relationship, as anything that affects one can often have an unavoidable affect on the other. It is important to understand the different common issues that can occur and the possible solutions that can help you regain your health and peace of mind.
The thyroid is a gland in the neck responsible for regulating metabolism and certain hormones. Some common issues that arise with the thyroid include Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s (Autoimmune) Thyroiditis, Hyperthyroidism and Goiter. Hypothyroidism occurs when thyroid hormones are too weak and the metabolism is slow, usually caused by an innate condition or inflammation like Hashimoto’s. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite, the thyroid glands work too hard and the metabolism is too high. Goiter occurs from an enlargement in the thyroid, and can be triggered by iodine deficiencies or also an auto-immune condition.
Solutions for Hypothyroidism
Nutritional Support: Eating a well balanced, nutrient-rich diet is essential to heal from Hypothyroidism. Foods like nuts and seeds, raw vegetables, and fresh fruits are known to help the thyroid regain its balance, while items like soy, processed grains and certain vegetables should be avoided as they can weaken the thyroid.
Herbal therapies: Herbal treatments like ashwagandha and guggul are helpful in improving thyroid hormone production. Teas like nettle and oatstraw can also be beneficial, as are seaweeds like kelp.
Supplements: Adding in certain supplements can be beneficial, like vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, selenium, zinc and iron if needed.
When it comes to digestive issues, top contenders are IBS, Crohn’s Disease, SIBO, Leaky Gut Syndrome and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). With IBS, the digestion process is disrupted and causes pain, bloating and urge to defecate. Crohn’s Disease is another auto-immune disorder that affects the digestive tract. SIBO is more bacterial in nature and is an overgrowth of bacteria within the small intestine leading to discomfort and diarrhea. Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) use to be a controversial topic, however this is a prevalent condition from an imbalance in the microbiome, causing inflammation and allowing toxins to enter the body. GERD is often caused from excess acidity in the stomach becoming inflamed or acidic.
Solutions for Digestive issues
Elimination Diet: Eliminating or rotating food is crucial for gut health, as some foods can exacerbate symptoms depending on the individual and the issue. This diet is aimed to identify what food triggers are creating havoc in the body and having a nutritionally rich diet while eliminating them until more of a balance is achieved.
Herbal Therapies: Herbal treatments can help improve digestive complaints and ease many of the symptoms associated with each issue. Licorice root, slippery elm and marshmallow root are good choices, while ginger and peppermint help reduce inflammation and pain.
Supplementation: Enhancing your body with certain supplements can be hugely beneficial including probiotics, digestive bitters, enzymes and l-glutamine.
Getting the Help you need
Understanding and maintaining your thyroid-digestive health is a must for your overall health. Thankfully, there are many options for you to consider to help improve your situation. The important thing is to not go at this alone – meet with a nutritionist, herbalist or functional practitioner to review your problem, lifestyle and diet in order to explore the discernment of all the possible solutions that may meet your need.
The next step is to take action and set a plan of action that is tailored towards your individual need. Once you have understood what the cause for your problem is, and what the best solution is for you, the rest will just be implementation and being consistent with your plan.