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Did your doctor consider this? [Part 1: Gut-Thyroid Dysfunction]

Posted Dec 03 2012 12:24pm

Most of the patients I consult with have a few things in common:

1. They were diagnosed with hypothyroidism at some point in their lives.
2. They take some form of thyroid hormone replacement.
3. They continue to experience some degree of thyroid symptoms despite conventional treatment.

That third factor is important because the patients that respond well to hormone replacement don't continue to search for answers. Why would you pursue further treatment if simply taking a pill seems to take care of the problem?

Actually there is the rare patient that understands that getting to root causes and taking a functional approach is important and those patients are a pleasure to work with. So if you fall into that category don't check out yet.

The subject of this and future series of posts is going to be: "Did they consider this …."

When I consult with a patient with ongoing thyroid symptoms I see a world of possibilities. There are so many things that can go wrong that could be creating the problem. I know I must start searching and begin putting the pieces together if I am going to help that person.

Sadly I think conventional medicine views most thyroid patients the same way. They see a patient with thyroid symptoms and prescribe thyroid hormones.

Problem solved! (except the patient still doesn't feel good, and they still have no real understanding of what went wrong in the patient)

Taking some form of thyroid replacement is just the first step. But did they consider other possible mechanisms that could be contributing to your problem? Probably not.

Since no one has taken the reigns and helped you understand all of this I will teach you about some  of these mechanisms so you can take some action on them or find somebody who will help you.

So here goes part 1.  Did they consider that stomach and GI abnormalities can affect your thyroid in many ways?

It is uncommon for me to encounter a hypothyroid patient that doesn't also have to stomach problems. Gut infections and a condition called dysbiosis, where there is an abnormal balance of normal flora in your gut, have the potential to release lipopolysaccharides (LPS).

These gut microorganisms can affect thyroid function at all levels including:

  1. Thyroid receptor site resistance - where your hormone can't actually bind to your receptors. This creates a classic presentation of ongoing thyroid symptoms despite being able to see normal amounts of hormone in the blood stream.
  2. Decreased T3 production
  3. Increased reverse T3
  4. Decreased TSH secretion from your pituitary

All of that from your stomach. Though you just had a thyroid problem didn't you?

If you ever experience bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea and you also have thyroid symptoms then you have to consider the impact that gut microorganisms are affecting your thyroid. Dealing with the gut issue is a necessity if you want to feel good again.

References:

1. Ritig MG. Smooth and rough lipopolysaccarides phenotype of Brucella induce different intracellular trafficking and cytokine/chemokine release in human monocytes. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2004; 5(4):196-200.

2. Van der Poll T, Endert E, Coyle SM, Agosti JM, Lowry SF. Neutralization of TNF does not influence endotoxin induced changes in thyroid hormone metabolism in humans. Am J Physiology. 1999; 276:357-62.

3. Van der Poll T, Van Zee KJ, Endert E, et al. Interleukin-1 receptor blockade does not affect endotoxin-induced changes in plasma thyroid hormone and thyrotropin concentrations in man. J Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism. 1995; 80(4):1341-1346.

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