Gut-Thyroid Axis & Autoimmune Thyroid Disease | Healing Blends – Healing Blends

Gut-Thyroid Axis & Its Impact On Autoimmune Thyroid Disease (AITD)

The gut-thyroid axis earned a spotlight in research and medicine because of its influence on the development and progression of thyroid diseases. Scientists have discovered that a healthy gut microbiome contributes to balanced immune responses and hormonal regulation, essential for optimal thyroid function. 

Since autoimmune thyroid disease is the most prevalent organ-specific autoimmune disease, this insight opens new doors for treatments targeting the gut microbiome, offering promising strategies for its management and treatment.

Today, we’ll discuss the significance of the gut-thyroid connection and how it can be used to treat and manage AITD. 

What is autoimmune thyroid disease?

Autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) is a disorder where the body's immune system, which typically guards against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly targets and attacks the thyroid gland. 

This small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck helps regulate metabolism, energy generation, and overall hormonal balance. The two most common forms of AITD are Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease. 

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the more common of the two, which has a global prevalence of 10-12%. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a state where the thyroid gland is underactive. 

On the other hand, Graves' disease, affecting 1-1.5% of the population globally, results in hyperthyroidism, characterized by an overactive thyroid.

Symptoms and treatment

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease can manifest quite differently due to their opposing effects on thyroid hormone levels. 

Individuals with Hashimoto's thyroiditis often experience fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, and depression, all resulting from a slowed-down metabolism. It is often characterized by chronic inflammation and antibodies that go against thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (TG).

Conversely, those with Graves' disease may encounter weight loss, increased appetite, heightened anxiety, and an overall sense of restlessness due to an accelerated metabolic rate. It is characterized by autoantibodies going against the thyroid-stimulating receptors (TSHR).

Despite their differences, both conditions can lead to mood swings and the entire metabolism of the body, impacting one’s quality of life. 

Traditional treatment approaches for AITD primarily focus on managing these symptoms. For Hashimoto's, this typically involves hormone replacement therapy with levothyroxine to supplement low thyroid hormone levels. Grave’s disease, on the other hand, often revolves around thyreostatic drugs that slow down thyroid hormone production or radioiodine therapy.

However, traditional treatments often overlook the autoimmune root of the disease, essential for a holistic management approach. The gut-thyroid axis shows a promising effect in this matter. Increasing evidence shows that the gut-thyroid axis modulates these autoimmune diseases. 

Patients often report improved quality of life and thyroid function after switching to a gut-friendly diet. This suggests that interventions aimed at improving gut health could benefit thyroid function and overall disease management. 

The gut-thyroid axis decoded

The gut-thyroid axis is the connection between your digestive system and your thyroid gland. This axis works both ways: the health of your gut can affect how your thyroid works and vice versa. This connection impacts thyroid function through the following:

Immune system regulation

The gut microbiota is the community of microorganisms living in our intestines that shape and regulate our immune system. It helps the immune system distinguish between harmful pathogens and harmless substances, including our body's cells.

When it comes to AITDs, the interaction between the gut microbiota and the immune system becomes especially important. AITDs occur when the immune system mistakenly targets and attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation and dysfunction.

A well-balanced gut microbiota can help prevent this kind of immune dysregulation. It does this by promoting immune tolerance - the process by which the immune system avoids attacking its own body's cells. 

In contrast, an imbalanced gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions by triggering inappropriate immune responses.

Development of gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT)

The GALT, located in the intestines, houses the largest portion of the body’s immune system. It acts as a checkpoint for substances that enter the body as it distinguishes the harmful pathogens that need to be attacked and harmless substances that should be tolerated. 

One of GALT’s major roles is to teach the body to recognize and not attack its own cells and proteins. This is really important for thyroid autoimmune diseases, where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. 

The health of GALT, which is affected by the condition of our gut and the microbes living in it, plays a big role in keeping our immune system in check and preventing AITD.

Production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)

SCFAs, produced by gut bacteria, directly influence immune cell function. They are linked to an increase in regulatory T-cells, which promote immune tolerance, and a decrease in pro-inflammatory Th-17 cells, which are often associated with autoimmune diseases.
Th-17 cells are involved in the body's defense against pathogens, but they can also play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases if their numbers or activity become too high. 
By keeping the levels of Th-17 cells in check, SCFAs can help prevent the excessive inflammation often associated with autoimmune conditions. This function of SCFAs is particularly relevant to AITD, where an overactive immune response can lead to the thyroid being targeted by the body’s immune system. 

Modulation of nutrient absorption

Nutrients like iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron are pivotal for the production and regulation of thyroid hormones. 

Iodine is a key component in the synthesis of thyroid hormones, selenium is involved in the conversion of thyroid hormones into their active forms, zinc plays a role in hormone metabolism, and iron is essential for the creation of thyroid hormone itself. 

The gut microbiota influences the absorption of these nutrients by interacting with the intestinal lining, where nutrient absorption takes place. A healthy microbiome is essential for optimal nutrient absorption.

An imbalanced gut microbiota can lead to a compromised gut lining, resulting in poorer nutrient absorption. This can have a knock-on effect on thyroid health, as inadequate levels of essential nutrients can lead to suboptimal thyroid function. 

Influence on deiodinase activity

Deiodinases are enzymes found in various tissues throughout the body, including the gut, and they play a critical role in the metabolism of thyroid hormones. Specifically, they are responsible for converting thyroxine (T4), the primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland, into its more active form, triiodothyronine (T3), or into reverse T3 (rT3), which is biologically inactive. 

The gut, with its own set of deiodinase enzymes, contributes to this conversion process. This means that the gut can directly influence the balance and availability of active thyroid hormones in the body, which are needed for regulating metabolism, energy levels, and overall hormonal balance.

The gut microbiota can produce and secrete various compounds that either enhance or inhibit deiodinase activity. For example, an imbalance in the gut microbiota might lead to altered deiodinase activity, potentially resulting in suboptimal levels of active T3 or an excess of inactive rT3, contributing to thyroid dysfunctions such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. 

Gut microbiome targeting treatments for AITD

Novel AITD treatments targeting the gut microbiome due to the gut-thyroid axis have been studied. One notable finding is using probiotics (beneficial bacteria) to balance and diversify the gut microbiome. 

Probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains have shown potential in managing AITD. These specific probiotics help balance the gut microbiome, reduce inflammation, and support the immune system.

Additionally, these probiotics can influence the absorption of iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron, which are essential thyroid minerals. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium also help stabilize thyroid hormone levels, potentially reducing the need for external thyroid hormone supplements. 

Other gut-friendly practices for treating AITD

In addition to probiotics, there are several other gut-friendly practices that can be beneficial in the treatment of AITD.

Increasing dietary fiber

A diet high in dietary fiber is crucial for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Fiber serves as a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can help maintain a balanced gut flora, which is essential for proper immune function and can positively impact thyroid health. 

Foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, should be included in the diet. It might be hard to think of ways to incorporate high-fiber foods into your diet, so we crafted this simple guide to help you increase your dietary fiber intake. Download it for FREE now!

Gluten-free diet 

A gluten-free diet is particularly important for individuals with AITD who also suffer from celiac disease (CD) or non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS). Research has revealed a significant connection between AITD and these conditions related to gluten intolerance.

Eliminating gluten from the diet can alleviate gut inflammation, a common issue exacerbated by gluten in individuals with CD or NCWS. This reduction in inflammation can result in enhanced thyroid function and better overall health.

Avoid highly processed foods

Processed and high-sugar foods can disrupt the gut microbiome and increase inflammation. Reducing the intake of these foods can help maintain a healthy gut environment, which is beneficial for thyroid health.

Regular hydration

Staying well-hydrated is important for gut health. Adequate water intake helps maintain a healthy mucosal lining in the gut, which is essential for proper nutrient absorption and immune function.

Stress management

Chronic stress can negatively affect both gut health and thyroid function. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and regular exercise can help manage stress and improve overall gut and thyroid health.

Personalized gut treatment is the way to go

Everyone’s gut microbiome is different, so probiotics or other gut-friendly practices that work well with one might not have the same level of effect to another. This is important to note, especially when managing conditions like AITD. The only way to get the best solution for your gut is to get a personalized treatment. 

Personalized gut treatments start by getting yourself tested (GI-MAP Test) so you know the bacteria in your gut. This step is vital for AITD patients, as differences in the gut microbiome can significantly impact thyroid function. From there, a medical expert will decipher your results and create a healing plan based on your gut’s status. 

Dr. Charlie Ware, a natural medicine physician, offers this exact remedy for people with AITD seeking safe and effective treatments. He employs a holistic methodology that harnesses the gut-thyroid axis to achieve the best possible results for patients.

Dr. Ware begins by thoroughly understanding each patient's medical history and current health condition. Armed with this knowledge, he meticulously crafts a personalized treatment plan targeting the four pillars of health: nutrition, lifestyle, rest, and environmental factors. 

This comprehensive strategy ensures that every aspect of the patient's health is taken into consideration, thereby laying the foundation for a more harmonious gut, enhanced thyroid function, and an overall improvement in well-being.


The gut-thyroid axis holds the potential to revolutionize the way we approach the treatment and control of autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD). The profound link between gut well-being and thyroid function highlights the importance of adopting a comprehensive strategy in addressing AITD.

Incorporating gut-friendly practices such as integrating probiotics, transitioning to a gluten-free diet, and increasing dietary fiber intake presents promising avenues for effectively managing these conditions. However, the true game-changer lies in personalized gut treatment, an area of expertise offered by Dr. Charlie Ware.

Recognizing the uniqueness of each individual's gut microbiome, Dr. Ware's approach provides tailored treatments that specifically target your distinct health requirements. His holistic strategy combines scientific insights with individualized care, unlocking a new level of health and well-being for those grappling with AITD.

Take the first step towards a personalized gut health plan by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Ware today!

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