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It is estimated that over 20 million Americans have thyroid disorders. With statistics showing that one in eight women will develop thyroid disease within their lifetime, making them 5-8 times more likely to develop thyroid conditions over men.
Thyroid disease is usually a case of an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and can severely affect quality of life as every organ system in the body is affected by our thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is the most common and typically presents with constipation, stubborn weight gain, brittle hair, hair loss, dry skin and feeling unusually cold and/or fatigued. A poor functioning thyroid can also cause menstrual cycle, metabolism and mood disturbances. Left undiagnosed or without proper management, women are at risk for infertility, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
In the US, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune condition where the thyroid gland is being attacked by antibodies. Eventually this causes destruction of the thyroid gland, resulting in an inability to make thyroid hormones. The role the microbiome plays in the development of autoimmune conditions, like Hashimoto’s has been a hot topic in recent research. And when we think about the fact that 70-80% of our immune system exists in our gut, it’s easy to see the connection here.
The gut is responsible for digesting and absorbing all the nutrients we get from our food and is the main site where our immune system recognizes what is safe versus what is a threat. If our microbiome is out of balance, or dysbiotic, the whole system of checks and balances can get thrown off, making us more susceptible to autoimmune conditions.
You’ve likely heard about a condition called leaky gut, aka intestinal permeability. This is where the cells that line the intestinal wall are no longer tightly held together and allow things to “leak” into circulation that should not otherwise be there. When our immune system recognizes these “non-self” intruders, it triggers an inflammatory immune response. Sometimes mistakes happen and “self-proteins” get tagged as foreign, creating an immune response to our own tissues. We now have great research demonstrating how leaky gut leads to autoimmune conditions, like Hashimoto’s, in this way.
Another less common type of autoimmune thyroid disease is a Grave’s Disease. This can cause an overactive thyroid gland, or hyperthyroidism. A study looking at the difference between the gut microbiome of Grave’s patients versus healthy individuals found lowered microbial diversity in the Grave’s population. This research further demonstrates the connection between the microbiome and autoimmune thyroid disease.
Autoimmune thyroid disease, like Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease, are on the rise. The gut microbiome is a fascinating area of research uncovering an increasingly high correlation between autoimmune disease and thyroid dysfunction. Interventions beyond prescribing thyroid hormones should be implemented to address the root cause and gain maximal improvement in symptoms for those with thyroid disease. A comprehensive treatment plan that looks at optimizing the diversity of the gut microbiome and healing leaky gut should always be considered.
It’s fascinating to me that doctors still don’t understand the role of heavy metal/chemical toxicity when considering “autoimmune”. I would argue that there really isn’t any dis-ease that isn’t related to toxicity. I would also argue all day long that it wasn’t until I started using a detox binder that I finally saw a significant improvement in gut health, “leaky gut”, and my thyroid antibodies returned to normal “simply” by removing heavy metals. I use the Trinity, by Root, and everyone in the world truly serious about healing their body, looking for something that actually works to treat root cause, in a world full of symptom management, should give it a try, see what it can do for you: therootbrands.com/lorikayeLori