Many people who are interested in improving their gut health know that taking probiotics can be helpful. What you may not know is that thyroid function may also be improved with the right probiotics.
According to Dr. Eric Osansky
, most people with an underactive thyroid have a common autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The immune systems of people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis mount an attack on the whole body, which results in the thyroid gland not being able to produce enough thyroid hormone.
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A large part of the body’s immune system resides in the digestive tract or gut, says Body Ecology
. Anything that compromises the health of the gut ultimately can affect the immune system or make it more likely that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis will develop.
Body Ecology summarizes findings of a study from the University of Edinburg that found low thyroid hormone levels result during infections, especially when there is a “leaky gut” or permeable intestinal wall that allows toxins to be released into the bloodstream from unwanted bacteria. For someone with an already underactive thyroid gland due to Hashimoto’s, this condition can be much worse. People who have normal thyroid function may also experience temporary drops in thyroid hormone levels during illness.
Dr. Izabella Wentz says probiotics are “good” gut bacteria
that can improve overall gut health, strengthen the immune system, and relieve symptoms of low thyroid.
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People who have autoimmune diseases usually have low levels of important strains of probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidus. Dr. Wentz’s first recommendation for all patients who suffer from Hashimoto’s is to consume plenty of probiotics.
For most people with poor gut health that affects their thyroid gland, eating fermented vegetables, kefir, and yogurt may not be adequate. The amount of probiotics found in these foods is not enough to impact the nearly 1 trillion bacteria found in the digestive tract.
When taking a probiotic supplement, Osansky says it is important to know that different strains have different functions, so it is helpful to research probiotics that can benefit Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
He also advises looking into the manufacturing and shipping practices of different supplements since some strains cannot survive and be effective if they are not handled properly.
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