Dr. Jason Shumard, D.C.
If you suffer from low thyroid, chances are you have gut damage. While conventional doctors overlook this contribution to the thyroid, the research is clear that over 90% of low thyroid sufferers have the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s.
Autoimmunity goes hand in hand with gut damage, causing undigested proteins access to circulation, which inflames the immune system.
This ignored aspect of the disease is one major reason why so many people cannot fully recover. Healing digestion from the ground up is a critical part of overcoming low thyroid symptoms for good. Here are the six most powerful ways to mend your thyroid by healing your gut.
1. Go Gluten-Free
Gluten causes leaky gut, which means inflammation and increased food allergies. In concert, undigested gluten proteins slide by the intestinal barrier and into circulation and mimic thyroid gland proteins, so the immune system is triggered to attack not only undigested gluten but the thyroid gland as well. It’s best to totally avoid gluten when healing Hashimoto’s.
2. Avoid Allergens
Gluten isn’t the only undigested proteins gaining access to circulation, any food protein can get in and trigger the immune system. These “invaders” cause the immune system to go into overdrive, meaning you feel symptoms like fatigue, pain, digestive problems, skin irritation, and the like. It’s best to get a comprehensive food sensitivity test with a functional medicine doctor so that you can avoid foods that perpetuate inflammation.
3. Low Carb
It’s true that the low-carb diet can be helpful for many health conditions, but people with Hashimoto’s can suffer if they reduce carbohydrates too much. Having Hashimoto’s means your body is already struggling to generate energy, and carbs are needed for fuel and required for the production of thyroid hormones. Instead of cutting carbs, choose nutrient-dense carbs that don’t increase inflammation. Try sweet potatoes, berries, nuts, seeds, veggies, plantains, cassava, and tapioca. These foods will pump you up with vitamins and minerals without causing more irritation or gut damage.
4. High-fiber/prebiotic foods
Balancing the microbes that live in your gut is essential for healing. This means choosing foods that feed your healthy microbes and keep your unhealthy microbes under control.
Cut out refined grains and sugars, which feed unhealthy microbes and increase high-fiber and prebiotic foods.
Fiber is the main fuel for healthy bacteria. These specialized fibers give bacteria a boost: chicory root, bananas, onions, raw garlic, raw leeks, and Jerusalem asparagus.
5. Probiotic foods
Unlike prebiotics, probiotics don’t feed healthy bacteria–they ARE healthy bacteria, and if you have Hashimoto’s, your bugs need all the help they can get. By including probiotics in your diet, you’re sending support staff to the bugs that need it. Try high-quality probiotic supplements and probiotic foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, kefir, cultured vegetables, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, tempeh, salted gherkin pickles, and brine-cured olives, as they can all give your system a boost.
6. Glutamine/bone broth
Glutamine is an amino acid, and while it can be produced naturally in the body, when you have gut damage or chronic disease, your body has a higher demand. That’s because glutamine fuels intestinal cells, helping them to heal. Glutamine is known to support the immune system and prevent metabolic stress that’s linked to autoimmunity. Glutamine is also a building block for glutathione, one of your body’s most powerful antioxidants. The best sources of glutamine are eggs, beef, tofu, and bone broth. Sipping on bone broth is a great way to support your immune system and gut health all day.
Healing Hashimoto’s goes hand in hand with a healthy gut. This process can be overwhelming, so don’t do it alone. Find a functional medicine doctor who is trained to find the root cause of your symptoms and create a tailored treatment plan to get your health back on track.