Site Information

Free Domestic Shipping with a $75.00 or more purchase

Blog

Are You Digesting Your Food Properly? Little-Known Facts About How Thyroid Controls Digestion

Posted by Dr. Stephen and Janet Lewis on

In this post, you'll learn about:

  • What the thyroid gland is and why it affects so many of the systems in your body.
  • How the thyroid contributes to the proper regulation of your digestive system.
  • What symptoms you can expect when something goes wrong.
  • What to do about it and how to learn more.

Did you know that the thyroid gland has a significant impact on your body's digestive process?

In fact, digestive problems tend to be among the first signs of hyperthyroidism.

Most of us have heard about thyroid problems before, but for many people these complications are a bit mysterious - even if you're experiencing thyroid related symptoms yourself.

The thyroid is a gland responsible for producing hormones in your body, specifically the ones that regulate your metabolism. Metabolism is a bit of a blanket term that has some degree of mystery surrounding it as well, so let's clarify what it actually means.

(Fun fact: the idea of slim people having a "fast metabolism" and larger people having a "slow metabolism" is more or less an old wives’ tale. It is quite possible for an overweight person to have a "fast" metabolism and vice versa.)

The term metabolism actually describes two different processes within the body: anabolism and catabolism. Catabolism is responsible for breaking down chemicals to provide the body with energy (this is what happens when you eat food). Anabolism is the process by which we grow new cells, which happens all the time, not just when you're growing as a young person.

Since the thyroid is responsible for both of these metabolic processes in the body, you now probably have a much better understanding of why it's so important.

Let's take a moment to explore a few little-known facts about how your thyroid gland can impact your digestive system.

Digestion Can Be Affected if the Thyroid Produces Too Many or Too Few Hormones

You've probably heard of hyperthyroidism. It's a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. This can lead to symptoms like:

  • Unexpected and/or unwanted weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Esophageal spasms
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Heart palpitations and/or increased heart rate
  • And more

Similarly, there's also a condition called hypothyroidism, which is the opposite case in which the thyroid produces too few hormones. Patients with hypothyroidism typically experience symptoms which may include:

  • Constipation
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Higher cholesterol readings
  • General fatigue
  • Depression
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Dry skin
  • And more

Did you notice that some of these symptoms overlap? It's important to understand what kind of thyroid issue you may have, since the treatments for each are different.

What You Eat Can Affect Your Thyroid

Nutrition plays a substantial role in the function of the thyroid gland. It's understood that individuals with hypothyroidism should avoid foods like gluten, cruciferous vegetables, excess fiber, and more. People with hyperthyroidism should generally avoid caffeine, sugars, red meat, and other fatty or sweet foods.

But is there any validity to the notion that what you eat when your thyroid is functioning normally could cause it to veer off course?

In some cases, yes. However, since glandular function is highly variable from one person to another, often the best course of action is to follow the advice of your nutritionist or physician.

Next Steps & Final Considerations

If any of the symptoms we discussed earlier seemed familiar to you, it's possible that you're experiencing the early stages of thyroid malfunction. The best course of action will be to see a physician so that you can be evaluated. The thyroid gland is still not entirely understood, but the medical community has made significant advances in understanding that make a thyroid condition manageable.

Thyroid Hormones Reduce Serum Cholesterol Levels

The effect of thyroid status on serum cholesterol levels has been known since the '30s. The publication of Ancel Keys' cardiovascular lipid hypothesis in the '50s marked a turning point in how scientists and clinicians view cholesterol. The association between cardiovascular disease and hypothyroidism increased the urgency of cholesterol research and led to thousands of studies elaborating the link between [...]

Read More »


How Thyroid Controls Skin Conditions Through Several Mechanisms

The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, controls the metabolism of the body. The thyroid gland produces a hormone called thyroid hormone (TH). TH is kept at a certain level by feedback mechanisms. However, in disease states the thyroid can produce either too much, or too little hormone. The abundance of thyroid hormone, or the [...]

Read More »


What Are the Long-Term Effects of Hypothyroidism?

If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you already know some of the ways that it affects your health every single day: you have trouble concentrating or remembering things, you suffer from fatigue, mood swings, and even your hair, nails, and skin feel dry and brittle. With proper treatment, the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be controlled and improve your [...]

Read More »


How the Thyroid Affects Digestion

The thyroid is a small gland that has big impact on the body. Not the least of which is on the digestive system. Study after study, as well as everyday human experiences, show a strong relationship between the gut and the thyroid gland. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism play their negative roles in the workings of digestion.To begin, let’s talk [...]

Read More »


Risks and Long Term Effects of Hypothyroidism

When under active thyroid function goes undetected what are the long-term consequences? Risks associated with long-term untreated hypothyroidism. Damage to heart, brain, fertility and immune system associated with long-term untreated hypothyroidism are treatable but when left untreated the effects are extensive.Symptoms associated with an under active thyroid are very important to get it checked by your physician. The sluggish feeling [...]

Read More »


How Your Thyroid Causes Hormone Imbalances

The thyroid, whose name originally came from the Greek word meaning shield, is a ductless gland in your neck that secretes hormones. Your body's metabolism -- the chemical process necessary to break down food and convert it to energy -- is ultimately controlled by your thyroid hormones. It's important that these hormones remain balanced, so they don't disrupt the normal [...]

Read More »


Thyroid & Memory Problems

I wanted to share with you about how the thyroid controls memory problems but I forgot where I put my notes. All kidding aside, though, if you often feel that you are living life in a fog, sometimes irritable and often sleepless, and have memory problems, thyroid dysfunction may be the cause. There are nearly 15 million people affected by [...]

Read More »


Natural Ways That You Can Reverse Memory Loss From Hypothyrodism

How thyroid controls Memory ProblemsAre you suffering from memory loss that you can't understand or which seems to be coming at much too early of an age? There's a chance that you may be suffering from hypothyroidism. This serious condition can affect your mental health in a variety of ways and even cause severe problems, like dementia.Thankfully it is possible to [...]

Read More »


Thyroid Controls Fatigue & Stamina

Is slowing down a "done deal" as the average human approaches middle-age? As people hit their forties and fifties it seems that no matter hard they try, their bodies just keep slipping gears, going slower and slower. Skin texture changes. More hair is left behind in the shower. Curves, bulges and paunches begin to appear regardless of how many [...]

Read More »