Fermented foods have a rich history in promoting good gut health and to an extent thyroid health. Reduced thyroid function (Hypothyroidism), affects metabolism which in turn affects every system in the body, more so the gut. Similarly, the thyroid is also sensitive to gut changes. A disrupted gut function impairs thyroid function as we’ll note.
The Thyroid and its Function
The Thyroid, is an endocrine gland located just below the Adams apple, and is responsible for the production of thyroid hormones. The thyroid obtains iodine from the food we consume and use it to make the hormones T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Thyroxine). The thyroid cells are highly specialized as they are the only cells in the body that can absorb iodine. T3 and T4 are then secreted (released) into the blood where they serve their functions. Both these hormones have varying “hormone strengths” as T4 is inactive form while t3 is the active form. T3 is also produced in little quantities than T4. T4 therefore has to be converted to its active form for use.
The Gut-Thyroid Connection
About 20% of T4 to T3 conversion takes place in the intestines aided by the “good” bacteria in the gut. Therefore, if the gut de-facto composition is disrupted, detrimental cascading effects soon follow. Since the cells that line our gut transport nutrients into the blood stream for use by our bodies. If the gut structure is affected, usually by disease, nutrient absorption is impaired. Nutrients like iodine and selenium, which are essential in thyroid hormone synthesis (production).
A healthy gut micro-environment is essential and beneficial to the corresponding host. Not only is it directly linked to the immune system but also thyroid functions. It is evident that common intestinal diseases coexist in synergy with thyroid ones. Most notably is the co-occurrence of Celiac Disease with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) or Graves’ disease (GD). The reason behind this feature is that damage within gut wall linings make it permeable. A permeable gut wall lining then results in movement of foreign particles into the body triggering an immune response. Sometimes, these foreign particles can lead to cross-reactions with surrounding tissues. Supplementation with Kefir probiotics has indicated a positive response towards thyroid hormones and its function.
Kefir Probiotics for Gut-Thyroid Axis Health
Kefir is a probiotic drink blend, similar to yoghurt that contains beneficial yeast and bacteria. Kefir is easily made from a starter culture (containing bacteria and yeast) transferred to regular milk (animal or plant variants) and left to ferment. These replenish your beneficial bacteria numbers which help to improve the balance of gut bacteria and fungi. These beneficial microbes help regulate your immune system, hormones, and improve your cognitive abilities.
The Healthy-Gut and Healthy-Thyroid Cycle
The human intestinal (gut) lining and certain group of microbes have been living in a symbiotic relationship for millennia. These microbes are found in the middle and lower parts of the small intestines as well as the large intestines. These gut microbes are crucial in digestion, nutrient absorption and vitamin synthesis aided by thyroid hormones. In addition, they are also responsible for regulating said thyroid hormones and immune responses. Thus we can note the importance of a healthy gut microbial composition in relation to thyroid function.
Did you know? Beneficial bacteria from kefir also maintain gut integrity and promote acidity which prevents pathogenic bacteria from colonizing the gut.
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Research & Useful References :
- US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health:
Thyroid-Gut-Axis: How Does the Microbiota Influence Thyroid Function?https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7353203/
- How Your Thyroid Works https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works
- Gut Microbes and Thyroid: What’s the Connection?https://chriskresser.com/your-gut-microbes-and-your-thyroid-whats-the-connection/
- The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of kefir on the inflammatory status and thyroid function https://innovareacademics.in/journals/index.php/ajpcr/article/view/13122
- Microbiota and Thyroid Interaction in Health and Disease https://www.cell.com/trends/endocrinology-metabolism/fulltext/S1043-2760(19)30107-9
This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Healyourgut.in does not claim any responsibility for this information.