The Gut-Thyroid Axis
The thyroid is a gland in our bodies about which we don’t pay much attention, except when it’s not working.
This butterfly-shaped organ laying along the base of your neck regulates many vital bodily functions including your weight, heart rate, breathing, menstrual cycles, cholesterol levels and a whole lot more.
As a critical part of the endocrine system, the thyroid produces and releases hormones (triiodothyronine or T3 and thyroxine or T4) that travel through your bloodstream and touch nearly every cell of your body.
You’ll notice health problems when the thyroid doesn’t release enough of these hormones (hypothyroidism) with signs of fatigue, concentration issues and frequent, heavy periods or too much (hyperthyroidism) leading to anxiety, sensitivity to high temperatures and trembling hands.
Did you know your gut bacteria may influence how your thyroid works or doesn’t?
Let’s take a look…
Gut health imbalances and thyroid problems
Although medical science has recognized the coexistence of thyroid and gut-related issues such as celiac disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for more than 70 years, a more recent and growing body of evidence has found a connection between poor gut health and thyroid disease.
That link may begin with a very simple imbalance/dysbiosis in your gut microbiome. Recognizing the connections between thyroid issues and the gut, Chinese researchers compared the balance of bacteria in 40 healthy patients to 52 patients with hypothyroidism. according to a recent study appearing in Clinical Science.
Through blood tests and fecal samples, scientists identified four gut bacteria strains (Veillonella, Paraprevotella, Neisseria and Rheinheimera) that could very accurately predict (higher than 80 percent) whether someone suffered from untreated primary hypothyroidism or not.
Among hypothyroid patients, levels of Veillonella and Paraprevotella were significantly reduced, while Neisseria and Rheinheimera were greatly elevated. The ability of hypothyroid patients to produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SFCAs) that provide nourishment for the gut decreased too.
Similar problems with primary hypothyroidism persisted even after fecal samples taken from hypothyroid patients were transplanted into mice.
Fortunately, a healthy solution for both problems is also a very familiar one…
To the rescue!
A pair of studies appearing in Nutrients and Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism point to the advantages of probiotics as a safe option that treat symptoms behind the scenes.
Not only do probiotics support the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, these beneficial microbes have been beneficial in the treatment of some thyroid diseases.
How? Probiotics have a positive influence on trace minerals (selenium, copper, iodine, iron and zinc) in the human body. What’s more, the health of your gut also influences how efficiently those minerals that affect how your thyroid works are absorbed.
While the framework for the gut-thyroid axis appears very solid, there’s still lots of work to be done in laboratories all over the world before there’s real consensus on a protocol.
Until that happens, the best thing you could do to maintain the healthy balance of microbes in your gut and give your thyroid some extra support is taking a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.