Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck. It's responsible for releasing hormones that determine many important functions in your body, such as how your body uses energy, produces heat, and consumes oxygen, according to Hormone Health Network. It is also responsible for regulating metabolism, growth and development, and plays a major role in how the nervous system works. The two major hormones released by the thyroid are T3 and T4. Your T3 thyroid hormone affects almost every organ in the body by controlling cell function. There are many types of thyroid disorders that develop when the gland releases too many or too few hormones, leading to a vast range of health problems.
You might not suspect it, but the health of your thyroid is directly related to the health of your gut and immune system. Poor gut health can lead to suppressed thyroid function, which can lead to hypothyroid and an auto-immune condition known as Hashimoto's disease. Adversely, low thyroid function can lead to an inflamed gut lining and cause leaky-gut syndrome. Your thyroid function is extremely vulnerable to external and internal stressors, and it is essential to keep the body healthy in order to maintain gut and thyroid health.
What are the different types of thyroid disorders?
Thyroid disorders develop when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, which is known as hyperthyroidism, or too little, which is hypothyroidism. While there are numerous types of thyroid disorders, Healthline writes about two of the most common:
- Hashimoto's disease: This is the most common type of hypothyroidism in the country. While it can develop at any age, it's most commonly found in middle-aged women. It's official name is chronic lymphatic thyroiditis and occurs when the body's immune system attacks and slowly destroys the thyroid gland by mistake. This destruction creates an inability to produce certain hormones from the gland. This autoimmune disorder is problematic, because many people don't show obvious symptoms, or they are confused for other illnesses. Though there is no known cure, hormone-replacing medication is often prescribed by physicians. The symptoms can also be managed in many ways, one of which is through the GAPS Diet.
- Graves' disease: This autoimmune disorder is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and also occurs when the body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland. As a result, the gland may overproduce the hormone responsible for maintaining metabolism. The Department of Health and Human Services finds that the disease is hereditary and most commonly affects women in their 20s and 30s. There is also no known cure or treatment to stop this disease, though the symptoms can be managed in a variety of ways, such as with the GAPS DIET.
How can the GAPS Diet benefit people suffering from thyroid disorders?
When your intestinal lining becomes permeable, known as leaky gut, protein molecules leak into your bloodstream. These partially digested proteins mimic foreign invaders and initiates your body's immune response. Many experts say these immune "attacks" play a critical role in the eventual development of auto-immune disorders like Hashimoto's and Grave's.
To naturally repair your gut's poor lining, many people find relief making dietary and supplement changes that eliminate foods that are difficult to digest and even damaging to our gut and replacing them with nutrient-rich foods, like those on the GAPS Diet. Homemade meat stock and bone broths provide essential vitamins, minerals, bioavailable amino acids, and nourishing collagen to support the gut wall. Temporarily supplementing with Iodine and seaweed may be beneficial to support thyroid function. Leaders in the field of health, like Chris Kresser, support the use of the GAPS Nutritional Protocol to support thyroid health.
For additional information about the GAPS Diet and how to get started, you can consult with a Certified GAPS Practitioner and visit our website today!