Your gut health and thyroid are connected. And in more ways than you ever thought.
It’s not intuitive to consider that your digestive system and your thyroid gland are intimately connected, and that the function of one feeds back on the function of the other. But the thyroid-gut connection runs deeper than you may expect. Rather than a set of linear, isolated systems acting independently of one another, the body is an interconnected web. When one strand of the web is pulled, reverberations are created throughout the body.
Your digestive system is not only the avenue through which you absorb nutrition, the gut: plays roles in the cycling, activation and recycling of hormones; is one of the Big 5 organs of detoxification; houses the immune system and is a key player in defense; holds the microbiome, the colony of beneficial bacteria that does innumerable functions for us; and even impacts our mood.
When discussing the gut-thyroid connection, things get interesting.
One of the most important things to know about thyroid function and the gut is that autoimmune thyroid disease— Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease—is strongly driven, created and exacerbated through gastrointestinal dysfunction. Autoimmune activity arises from unchecked intestinal irritation, leading to increased permeability and a provocation of the immune system. The end game is loss of the immune system’s ability to tolerate food particles, friendly bacteria and your own human cells. In a process known as molecular mimicry, the switch is flipped—your immune system makes antibodies against your thyroid cells and autoimmune thyroid disease manifests. Treatment of autoimmune thyroid disease (and any autoimmune dysfunction) begins in the gut.
Your thyroid hormones are responsible for keeping the small intestine intact. The lining of the small intestine is the interface between the immune system, the foods that you eat, and everything else that comes through the digestive system.
You can read all the ways your gut health and your thyroid are connected here: