When I was first creating the Stop the Thyroid Madness website, plus the books, it was all to empower you in both the doctor’s office and without.
And it never even dawned on me or others to look at gut health. It’s probably because I never had any obvious signs of a gastrointestinal problem. But many others do!
Over the years, though, it’s become a hot topic, and rightly so!
What is gut health?
Gut Health is a catchy phrase referring to all the right things that should go on within your gastrointestinal tract. The latter refers to all those organs which are involved in digestion–the breakdown of what you consume! They include your…
3) Small intestine
4) Large intestine
7) Pancreas and more
Why is digestion so important?
Healthy digestion is the process your body goes through to break down the food, liquids and supplements you put in your mouth so your body can use what is contained within for its health and energy–i.e. nutrients.
Your digestion also helps you move out waste products in a timely manner. Healthy digestion helps proteins you consume break down into amino acids, helps any carbs you eat break down into simply sugars, helps fats break down to important fatty acids.
What can be obvious symptoms that I have a gut health problem?
- Bloating (especially due to excess bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract)
- Excess Gas (some gas is very normal throughout the day–this is about far too much)
- Constipation (very common with undiagnosed or poorly treated hypothyroid)
- Diarrhea (no gall bladder, intolerance to raw products, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, etc)
- Chronic Inflammation (symptoms can include that spare tire, or any of the above; gluten intolerance)
- Heartburn (can be related to low stomach acid or a damaged gut lining)
- Sugar cravings (candida/excessive yeast, possible nutrition deficiencies, etc)
- Bad breath (acid reflux, ulcers due to a stomach bacteria, poor dental hygiene, etc)
- Food allergies/sensitivities (overreactive immune response; possibly GMO products; genetics)
- Depression or being moody (which could also be hypothyroid symptoms)
- Skin problems like eczema (due to poorly performing gastrointestinal tract)
- Diabetes, mostly including Type 2, but also those with Type 1 (inability of insulin to control sugar levels)
- Autoimmune diseases (leaky gut, genetics)
- Immune suppression (having frequent illnesses)
What I even discovered about me and good bacteria
I have never tended to have gastrointestinal problems. But some are silent, as I found out about me! I did the 23andme.com genetic testing and found out that because of mutations, I never have enough of the bifada good bacteria in my system.
We all need good bacteria in our gut. That bacteria helps fight disease. It helps neutralize some of the toxins released by digestion, and can reduce harmful substances. The right amount also discourages the build up of bad bacteria and yeast.
OOPS. I’ve also recently discovered that I need to stop licking the bowl after making cake mix, because the raw ingredients do not sit well with my gastrointestinal tract. Darn. lol.
Where can I read more to find answers?
Here is a great article that though it can focus on Hashimoto’s disease patients especially, you don’t have to have Hashi’s to greatly benefit: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/10-gut-health-questions/
Here is a compilation of issues to read about from Dr. Axe: https://draxe.com/category/health-concerns/gut-health/
Here’s an article with great pictures and easy to understand from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works
This video is kinda cool, taking a camera through your gastrointestinal tract!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1aZj6v6dxc
We would love to hear from you about your own gastrointestinal issues as a thyroid patient and how you have treated them. I am not an expert on them, so you may not see me comment. Hopefully others who have gained knowledge can reply.
Need a gut group? This is one I know about. Note that mentioning it means I’m making no guarantees about any group mentioned on here and you take full responsibility for outcomes in using any group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FTPOGluten/ It’s now a privately run Gut Group.
DO YOU HAVE NIGHTTIME SLEEP WAKE UPS? I have always been a total NDT user. For the last few months, I had to switch to mostly T3 with a smaller amount of NDT to counter high RT3 due to chronic inflammation (which is now fixed). But during that time, I would wakeup too easily in the middle of the night, and I knew I didn’t have adrenal problems, which also causes this problem. Well guess what? I tried to take a small amount of T3 right at bedtime (in addition to what I was already taking during the day). It was perhaps a third of a 25 mcg tablet. And guess what? I SLEPT BETTER!!
Write a new comment below
14 Responses to “Gut Health — One more part of your health and well-being as thyroid patients”
I need to get my stomach better. Have been on iberoghast and L glutamine for quite some time, however, when i try and take things like betaine hcl it burns my stomach. I tried to take holy basil and it burned my stomach and I got real weak and shaky all over. Something is happening with my glucose i think even if my blood work is normal for diabetes as I am not diabetic. I need to take certain supps for my joints and some of the b vitamins and the betaine but they all bother my stomach. I tried apple cider vinegar about 6 months ago and it hurt my stomach and made me a little dizzy which has been my biggest problem all along. Does anybody have any suggestions? I have managed to get down boswellia for the autoimmune, and dhea and lglutamine. I have also tried zinc carsonine-still hurting my stomach as well as chinese herbs. Please help as I think I have a little inflammation in my stomach or low or high stomach acidl. It is just not working 100%. I also get very lightheaded after I eat and all the gi doctors said it was not my stomach. Please help if you have any insight………………Melanie
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s on July 2017 (although I’ve had it for al leat 10 years). I started to take medication then (T4) and it did help a lot with my fatigue, but the hair loss got worse, the mind fog got a lot worse, the joint pain didn’t go away and the weight did not shed. I went Paleo in Mars 2018 (I wanted to do the Autoinmune Protocol, but I decided it would be too difficult). Since then I have lost about 15 kilos (I do not weight myself, but I’ve gone down 4 pant sizes), the joint pain is gone, the mind fog is gone and my hair no longer falls! I’ve discovered I’m intolerant to dairy, nightshades and some tree nuts. carbs give me flu-like syntoms, too. I never thought I had gut problems but now I realize I was just used to being in pain. When I “cheat”, try to introduce some food or I eat in a restaurant something that’s contaminated, my sintoms come right up and sometimes take up to 2 weeks to go away. Gut health is definitively a big issue for me. Oh, and doctors think I’m crazy, by the way.
I found that by taking the Levothyroxine or Armour at night (bedtime) a lot of symptoms disappeared. My mind felt clearer but I also had to learn the Art of breathing (4-7-8) which seemed to clear up the brain fog completely, relieved stress pains in my shoulders and just felt better overall. I do the breathing exercises throughout the day and just before I fall asleep. The combination of all of this works well for me so I just thought I would pass if forward. With breathing practice this will become part of a routine and can be done quietly during the day if you’re in a business place. I would go to the bathroom during the day to practice because during stress there is shallow breathing so this exercise has helped me for a variety of symptoms and helped them to even disappear. I felt immediate results the first day after frequent practice–I wanted to see immediate results and got more than I expected.
Andrew Weil 4-7-8-breathing techique
Jennifer M. James
Seems my recent post was magically disappeared. I’ll try again. It’s about long-term antidepressant use and the depletion of essential nutrients, especially iron. A recent blood test showed my iron to be 6.3 and it should be in the mid-20s for Canadian range. Ferritin in the 40s and I know where it should be. No wonder I was nearly on my hands and knees. This latest sh*t storm in my health has taken me back to STTM and also to other useful and helpful online sites. Finally after years of struggle I can see the goal posts. I have been tapering two antidepressants, one for 2 years now and the other just started. I now realize that the crippling anxiety leading to periodic bouts of severe depression are almost certainly a result of chronic low iron and therefore my inability to get my NDT up to optimum levels.
I have taken iron supplements for 2 and a half weeks while eating liver daily and amaranth cooked cereal. Although I am still very tired, my brain fog is beginning to clear, my mood is elevating and the anxiety is abating.
I think the stars are aligning this time. I no longer listen to my medical practitioner (NP) (We have a severe doctor storage in our province) who tells me that having a 6.6 iron reading is fine because it is “in the range”. I do give her some credit though. She is willing to re-run the test in 6 weeks. She is a T4 only medical person as are nearly 99% of all medically trained practitioners and she herself is on synthroid.
I realize that when I am finally free of antidepressants sometime later this summer I will still have a recovery road ahead. For the first time in decades, I feel that stable health is in sight. Once my iron levels are restored and stable, I can then address my adrenal health which I’m certain is shaky. After these two problems are resolved then on to optimizing my NDT.
I am finding that the Canadian Thyroid Patients’ Support group on FB is providing me with the handholding I need at this time. Without the courage and tenacity of people like you Janie, I really don’t know where I’d be. Thank you.
I’ve been having gut problems (intermittent diarrhea) for the last 6 months, so I took this parasite test from MyMedLabs: DNA Stool MAP + Zonulin (Diagnostic Solutions). The results showed I had a number of parasites, so I scheduled an expert consultation for $35 through MyMedLab. Here are the expert’s recommendations. After 4 weeks, I am amazingly better. FYI, I got the most expensive item, Pectasol-C, from Vitacost and the rest through her account at Wellevate.com
“Diet: enjoy plenty of apricots and raw pumpkin seeds (parasites do not like them). Enjoy raw coconut oil, avocado oil, and avocados to help boost your immune system. Lifestyle: to prevent reinfection change your toothbrush, do not share bites of food or drinks with others, wash areas that are touched regularly such as switch plates and door knobs with warm soapy water, change your bed linen, and wash your water bottles regularly. Your CO2 was high – practice deep meditative breathing daily (breath in through your nose for a 4 count, hold for 3 sec, breath out through your mouth for a 6 count for 10 to 15 min). Work with your doctor to reduce your thyroid medication a small amount (your TSH was really low and FT3 high). Stop the Sacchromyces supplement and other GI support supplements. Consider ordering the Alletess IgG food Ab panel to rule out food sensitivities. 60 day gut dysbiosis protocol (start with one supplement at a time and at a lower dose, work up to full dose over a 2 week period – once to full dose take for a full 60 days): Designs for Health GI Revive powder (1 scoop, 2 X day mixed with water, take first thing in morning and at bedtime), Klaire Labs Biospora (1 cap, 2 X day with a meal), PectaSol-C Lime Infusion (1 scoop mixed with water 30 min prior to lunch and dinner), Biodidin LSF (3 pumps, hold for 30 sec under the tongue before swallowing, take right after taking the lunch time PectaSol). Two week after completing the protocol repeat the DNA Stool Map test.”
This is awesome info. I’ve been struggling with dysbiosis, IBS-D, SIBO?, Weightloss despite being hypothyroid, GERD, etc. for years and I believe it’s one of the biggest barriers to getting my thyroid levels normalized. I’ve switched from T4 only to T/4 & T/3 combo, to NDT (Armour) and still can’t get it right (conversion issues). Can you tell me how much you paid for your stool tests? The recommendation that your received is worth a lot of money and I’m impressed that you only had to pay $35 for the consultation. I will definitely be doing that as it costs ALOT more from a functional doc. Thanks in advance for the info. :-0)
Diane, the reason you can’t get it right is probably right on this page: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me
A major reason gut health is so very important is because it is the home of your ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM, which is far larger than the central nervous system. Among its many duties, the enteric nervous system runs your heart, which is why you do not want to be taking antacids and other medications that interfere with digestion. Oddly enough “health” care personnel learn about the enteric nervous system’s existence but totally ignore it and the health of the gut.
It is important to eat raw food for its many enzymes, and fermented foods. If you eat sauerkraut, buy it raw and do not heat it before eating. Do not eat yogurt with sugar in it; only eat actual yogurt not products that should not even be labeled yogurt. I am fortunate in that I had good nutrition for about the first ten years of my life and then resumed good nutrition when I left home. I drink raw milk and I bake long-fermented artisanal sourdough wheat bread which my gluten-sensitive husband has no problem digesting (this may be why people can eat bread when visiting Europe). Sustainable Food UK says it is not the wheat that is the problem, it is the short rising time of most bread. It takes about 40 hours for the bread I bake (it is really very easy and requires no kneading) and I would happily share the recipe with anyone interested (I adapted the Sustainable Food UK recipe to American measurements, etc).
Would love for you to post that recipe here?? Sounds so interesting!
The major thing you’ll need is some live starter — I got mine from King Arthur Flour (they have recipes for artisanal bread but theirs are complicated), plus I got a crock to keep it in. Do follow their instructions when you first get the starter, but once you’ve got it going follow my recipe.
In the evening, mix your starter with about 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. You’ll get a feel for how you like it — I don’t like mine too thick. I keep it in the crock and put the lid on askew so it can ferment.
In the morning, save half your starter in the crock and return it to the refrigerator while it will normally live. Put the other half in a good-sized mixing bowl. Add 2 cups water (I like to use vegetable cooking water, potato water is the best) and mix a bit, then add 1 tablespoon salt. If you want bread with some whole wheat in it, add 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour. If you want rye bread, I’ve found 1 cup rye flour is best (plus we love caraway so I add a handful of seeds). Now you start adding white all-purpose flour (not bleached or bromated) until the dough is thick and shaggy. Cover bowl with damp towel and leave for however long you like in cool place (not refrigerator, just on the counter), up to six or seven hours.
After dough has fermented, sprinkle with flour and begin to FOLD. Fold the dough, turn the bowl one-quarter turn, fold a second time, another quarter-turn, fold a third time, another quarter-turn, fold a fourth time. Cover bowl again with damp towel and let sit 15 minutes. You will repeat this process a total of four times. Do not knead the dough.
After the fourth fold, let the dough rest 15 minutes. I use a mixing bowl (some people use the fancy French baskets for this step), line it with a linen towel, sprinkle the towel with flour, and put your dough in it, same side up as in your original bowl. Sprinkle top with flour, cover with damp towel and let sit one hour. Now refrigerate your dough for up to 18 hours, though it can be as little as six.
When you’re ready to bake, put an empty 9×13 pan on the lower rack of your oven, and place a pizza stone on the upper rack. Sprinkle the stone with cornmeal or semolina and preheat the oven to 425 degrees while you boil some water. When the oven is hot, take out the stone, lift your dough by the lining towel and turn onto the stone. I like cross hatches which I make with a razor blade, literally an X on top of the bread. Some people make a cut that looks like a square on top. If you don’t make cuts the bread will pop out somewhere willy-nilly. Put stone in oven, stand back, and fill your 9×13 pan with hot water.
Set timer for 40 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, and bake another 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
King Arthur Flour advises freshening your starter every time. I see this as a waste of flour and do not find it necessary. When you feel your starter needs freshening — maybe your bread isn’t rising very much — start in the morning, add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water to your starter, let it set all day, then in the evening — when you normally would be starting starter for bread — remove half the starter (great for your compost pile or septic system!), and resume the normal process.
This makes the best bread I’ve ever made! And it stays fresh for days unlike even the very good bread made locally. I don’t know why it stays fresh when it has no fat in it, but it does. Truly artisanal bread, just starter, water, flour, and salt.
Along with every symptom listed – my digestive issues have been lifelong! So frustrating. Eating only organic and non gmo no grains or lactose -and still my food list gets smaller. Thyroid tests are ‘ normal’ even tho low. Drs just don’t see it and keep sending me to specialists for procedures that reveal nothing . So tired of it all.
Just in case, note that lab results are not about just falling anywhere in the normal range. It’s about “where” they fall. Compare them to this page: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values
since i ve been on 100% organic only diet [and organic eggs butter raw milk cheese chicken lamb etc and vegetables and most fruit from local organic very small farms ]
my digestive problems have gone away ! had much trouble for many years . it was the gmos and chemicals that were ruining my stomach , amazing the difference now no more lactaid tablets or beano for me[ switched to say yes for dairy and say yes to beans after a while but dont need that either since
eating all organic ] i eat bread too is just that everything is organic now . ive heard others say travellimg to europe they can eat the bread but not here in the u s . most people who are ‘ lactose intolerant ‘ can drink raw milk with no problem though organic only otherwise fed GMO feed . so glad you mentioned gmos jamie. we really need to ban gmos and glyphosate and everyone stop using roundup on lawns!
Gut Health is the key to everything! (which I have known since 2014. I did an ALCAT test for 200 common food allergies. Some foods I considered “healthy” were not healthy for me. I really didn’t have many symptoms except loose stools. I struggled to balance my thyroid and I think I am finally getting my thyroid in balance, which I have NEVER been able to do since 1997, when first diagnosed. TPO has come down VERY slowly but now just under the maxium and hopefully cholesterol levels back in line. (I had NEVER had cholesterol problems until 2014) Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD has two books worth reading on Gut Health, one which is “Put Your Heart in Your Mouth” a must read! We each have a unique road map to follow, and the GUT is the biggest KEY.