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Women’s Health

What are the Root Causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid. The condition causes chronic inflammation, and it is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid.

The first things you may notice are symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and even depression – long before the diagnosis. But what causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? In this blog, I want to take a closer look at six of the root causes of this disease.

  • Gut Health 1: Gluten Sensitivity
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Stress
  • Gut Health 2: H. pylori
  • Gut Health 3: SIBO
  • Nutrient Deficiencies

Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity is not the same as celiac disease where your body can’t break down gluten at all, but you may have similar symptoms. Those symptoms can be connected to your thyroid. Reducing your gluten intake allows you to see whether your symptoms clear up as well.

It’s simple: if gluten is causing inflammation in your body, it may also cause an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s to flare up.

 

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

Most of us remember EBV as the cause of the common childhood illness mononucleosis or mono. It’s a type of herpes virus, and experts estimate that 80% of adults carry the virus in its dormant form.

However, if it is reactivated by food, illness, or another stressor, it can lead to other problems. You may not notice it, but you may be carrying a low-level EBV infection, making you more likely to develop an autoimmune condition.

 

Stress

It’s impossible to talk about thyroid conditions without talking about stress. We have become so used to being stressed that we’re almost considering stress to be normal. But remember stress affects us physiologically, too. Consider rushing through traffic to pick up your kids when you’re already late. Or maybe getting up and speaking in front of people, even if it is remotely like on a Facebook Live. Or a stressful family situation. All of those cause an acute stress reaction. The more time you spend this stressed, the more likely you may be to develop an autoimmune condition.

 

Gut Health: H. pylori

Have you heard of helicobacter pylori? It’s a bacterial infection that can cause gastric ulcers. Not only are those painful, but they affect the functioning of your stomach. You start struggling to absorb foods and nutrients, so no matter how good your diet is, your body can’t take advantage.

As a bacterial infection, it often needs to be treated with antibiotics. Before they take hold, the infection may have triggered Hashimoto’s.

 

Gut Health 3: SIBO

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is hard to diagnose. Symptoms include general malaise, constipation, and bloating, among others.

While the condition itself is treatable, it may cause Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune diseases. As you can see, there is a theme here: gut health is closely related to autoimmune conditions and thyroid problems.

 

Nutrient Deficiencies

The thyroid can’t produce its hormone when you are lacking nutrients. Selenium, zinc, and magnesium are hugely important. I have also seen a connection between deficiencies in asparagine, ferritin, and iodine in people with thyroid conditions.

If you are suffering from Hashimoto’s or you think you may have a thyroid condition, it’s important to understand your nutrient status and perhaps improve it to address your symptoms.

To find out more about the connections between these reasons and autoimmune reactions, keep on reading. Nutrition can go a long way to help resolve your thyroid symptoms.

How to Work Out When You Have a Thyroid Problem

Is getting fit on your list of New Year’s resolutions? How is it going so far? When you have a thyroid problem, working out is not easy. If your condition is well controlled, you are likely feeling full of energy and just getting on with your days. However, chances are you’re reading this blog because all is not so well, and you’re experiencing a range of thyroid-related symptoms. Here is my advice on how to incorporate workouts and exercise into your routine.

Choose Your Favorite Type of Movement

First of all, if you’ve decided that this is the year to get in shape, I applaud you. Humans were designed to move. Our bodies work better when we are active.

However, if you are suffering from thyroid problems, you need to consider the type of exercise you choose and how it affects you. Your thyroid issues may have caused you to gain weight, or perhaps your body is resisting weight loss? Conventional wisdom would tell you to exercise more and eat less. However, for thyroid patients, that’s not always the right answer.

Intense exercise stresses your body. Don’t get me wrong – I love high-intensity workouts. Crossfit, anyone? Or how about exercise boot camps? I love the adrenaline rush you get when you’re reaching your workout goals.

The trouble is, by exercising intensely, you may be making your thyroid symptoms worse. Tough exercise causes your body physiological stress. If that stress is prolonged, for example, if you are in the gym doing two or three classes in a row, it can cause your thyroid to regulate down even more. As a result, your metabolism slows further.

Also, if you are on full replacement medication, this hardcore exercise may not work for you. Keeping your heart rate up for this long, stressing muscles and joints may leave you feeling worse.

Remember that slower classes like yoga, stretching, or pilates are just as beneficial.

How About Restorative Exercise?

If you are well optimized and your thyroid condition is under control – go ahead and exercise to your heart’s content. On the other hand, if you struggle with fatigue, sleep quality, or your diet is not that great, it’s worth rethinking your approach.

Restorative types of exercise like Pilates or yoga are great alternatives to get you moving and build up strength. How about going for a walk? Depending on where you live, now may not feel like the best time to head out, but bundle up and try a short walk. Exposing yourself to the cold may help lower your body temperature and contribute to healing. Once you are feeling stronger, take it up a notch with yoga workouts.

Love spin classes? Look at the intensity. If you are in a class, it’s really hard to resist the instructor’s cheers and sit out the intense bit, but perhaps an exercise bike at home is a solution?

Making it Work for You

Avoid getting stuck on prescriptive exercise programs and never be afraid to adjust a training routine. Plus, remember resistance training is at least as beneficial as cardiovascular exercise when it comes to burning calories. High-intensity interval training may work well for you, too.

Most importantly, check-in with yourself. How is your exercise making you feel? If it’s leaving you more fatigued, adjust it to work better for you. No two people are the same, so why should exercise regimes be?