If you’re looking for natural ways to treat your thyroid condition AND your hives, the secret may be hidden in an unexpected place: your gut. That’s because there’s a strong connection between your chronic hives, thyroid, and gut health.
How do I know?
Aside from countless scientific publications and articles on the topic, I’ve noticed a lot of my urticaria clients, and many more inside my hive-free Facebook group, struggling with autoimmune diseases, specifically thyroid conditions.
So…what’s the connection between hypothyroidism, chronic hives, and autoimmune disease? And how is healing your gut the key to reversing all three?
Before we dive into the relationship between thyroid and gut health, we need to start with the basics. What is an autoimmune disease, and why do you have one?
What is autoimmune disease?
The role of your immune system is to identify and attack foreign invaders to keep your body safe. Autoimmune diseases like Hashimotos and urticaria are the result of an overactive immune response.
Instead of targeting viruses and bacteria, the immune system starts attacking the body’s own cells, confusing them for harmful pathogens. This creates systemic inflammation, disrupts bodily function, and can eventually manifest as an autoimmune condition.
But why does this happen in the first place?
The autoimmune disease and gut health connection
You may not realize this, but 70% of your immune system lives in your gut. That’s why intestinal permeability plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll develop an autoimmune disease.
Before nutrients are absorbed by your cells, they have to pass through your intestinal tract. On the other side of that tract is your immune system, waiting to attack foreign invaders that slip through the cracks.
Think of this barrier like a castle wall; the more invaders that slip through, the more overwhelmed your immune system becomes.
As your intestinal permeability gets compromised by things like diet, stress, and environmental toxins, it starts allowing more and more invaders through the castle wall. Over time, this invasion becomes too much for the immune system, and the body starts attacking healthy cells by mistake.
But if autoimmunity starts in the gut…
Why do we develop certain autoimmune conditions?
Somewhere along the line, you’ve probably been told your autoimmune condition is genetic, and there’s nothing you can do but treat it with medication.
That’s only HALF true…
We’re all born with a unique genetic code that predisposes us to certain conditions.
That’s why autoimmunity is expressed differently from person to person. I struggled with urticaria for over 15 years, while other people develop Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s, or Fibromyalgia.
The root cause originates in the same place (an overactive immune system), but the symptoms are expressed differently (a rash, joint pain, weight gain, etc).
Factors like your environment, diet, stress levels, and experiences all influence gene expression. This determines whether or not that gene will get ‘switched’ on, and you develop symptoms of the disease.
The gut-thyroid connection
Remember earlier when I said a significant amount of my urticaria clients suffer with some kind of thyroid condition?
Your thyroid hormones consist of two separate hormones: thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3). They’re responsible for managing key bodily functions like metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, and protein synthesis.
T4 is produced by the thyroid, and then converted in the liver into T3 so it can perform the functions mentioned above.
Converting T4 into T3 is heavily nutrient dependent. If your body’s lacking the nutrients it needs to activate your thyroid hormones, you’ll start to experience hypothyroid symptoms like low energy, brain fog, hair loss, sensitivity to cold, constipation, and weight gain.
Here’s where your gut enters the picture:
When you have a leaky or inflamed gut, your body is less likely to absorb the nutrients from your food.
This can interfere with the conversion of T4 to T3, leading to hypothyroidism.
Over time, if these imbalances are not addressed, the immune system can become overwhelmed and start to attack its own thyroid tissue. This is the autoimmune response in Hashimoto’s.
By putting these various pieces together, you can see how supporting your gut and digestion directly supports thyroid function, and vice versa.
But what’s my thyroid got to do with my chronic hives?
As thyroid function slows down, it affects not only the digestive system but also various other bodily functions, including histamine clearance.
And if you’ve had hives for any amount of time, you know that controlling histamine levels is big when it comes to your chronic hives.
When histamine isn’t adequately broken down, it can accumulate, leading to an excess histamine “bucket” that eventually overflows, triggering your flares.
By supporting your thyroid, you can gain control of your histamine levels by promoting healthy digestion, and potentially reverse your chronic hives naturally.
Now that you understand the connection between your thyroid, chronic hives, and the gut, let’s talk solutions. The easiest place to start?
Support your thyroid by optimizing digestion
You may not realize this, but digesting your food takes a lot of effort. When your body is struggling with low energy from an underactive thyroid, your digestive system is one of the first places to shut down.
This leads to poor nutrient absorption, which can impact intestinal permeability, further activate your immune system, and interfere with that T4 to T3 conversion process.
By optimizing your digestion, you take some of the heavy lifting off your digestive tract, which improves nutrient absorption, supports your immune system, and lessens your chance of a flare up.
Here is my process for helping my clients optimize their digestion that I teach in my Heal your Gut program:
- Remove food sensitivities and toxins
The first step is to remove anything that’s burdening the body like toxins and food sensitivities. Food sensitivities, particularly gluten, not only inflame the gut, but are often a leading cause of hypothyroidism. Consequently, many of my clients eliminate gluten, dairy, and other inflammatory foods from their diets and see great improvement in their hives.
If you’re unsure how to remove food sensitivities, start with a food elimination plan like my free 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge.
- Improve nutrient absorption
After you’ve removed what’s burdening the body, and have improved your nutrition, it’s time to
address nutrient deficiencies by adding in as many nutrients as possible.
Common nutrient deficiencies related to hypothyroidism are:
However, many clients struggle to digest and assimilate these nutrients properly, even with supplementation.
During this phase, we must address the most common reasons for a breakdown in digestive function like poor stomach acid or digestive enzyme production.
Which leads me to my next point…
- Optimize digestive secretions
This phase is about so much more than taking a digestive enzyme. These supplements can help support healthy digestion, but they do not address the underlying causes of digestive dysfunction.
I work with my clients to help them understand what affects digestive secretions and how they can rebuild this, so they can begin absorbing their nutrients properly. This work is best done with the support of a functional medicine practitioner, who can provide the education and resources you need to get it right.
- Chew your food
Sounds simple…but it works! To aid in nutrient absorption, it’s really important that you’re chewing your food to completion. The moment you start thinking about food, your body secretes salivary enzymes that help break down carbohydrates. But in your rush to enjoy your food, it’s easy to forget to chew!
Aim for between 30- 50 chews per bite so that when your food arrives in your stomach, it doesn’t have to work so hard to break it down.
- Repair the gut lining
Once you’ve removed food sensitivities, optimized digestion, and have started to properly absorb your food, you can move on to healing the gut lining. I help my clients do this by incorporating gut-healing foods and introducing high-quality gut rebuilding supplements.
If you follow these steps to support your digestion, you will begin to balance your thyroid, support your gut health, and finally see improvements in your hives.
But the reality is, gut healing is a complicated and nuanced process. As such, it takes the support of a functional medicine practitioner to get right.
That’s exactly why I created my free masterclass GLOW. I share the exact gut-healing strategy that’s helped my clients reverse their hives, get off medications, improve their energy, and even reverse their autoimmune conditions.
This class will help you learn how to optimize your digestion the RIGHT way in the RIGHT order, and save you so much time from Googling your way to healing your gut.
Get instant access to the class now, and finally take your health back into your own hands.