When an organ in your body starts showing signs of damage and/or dysfunction, in holistic wellness, we always search for the root cause which is the reason WHY it is happening. For example, in the case of autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks a certain organ, the problem isn’t the organ itself, the problem is the reason the organ is getting attacked. That’s the root cause. At the onset of thyroid disease, there are usually several root causes.
The Role of the Thyroid in the Body
This butterfly-shaped gland is an organ you can feel in your neck right below your Adam’s Apple. It is responsible, synergistically, with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland (and other organs), for producing thyroid hormones that literally reside in every single cell in our bodies. No cell can function without the hormones it produces. It works in tandem with the liver, gallbladder, gut, brain and adrenal glands and other endocrine organs in what I call synchronized wellness.
The thyroid gland is responsible for:
- regulating our body temperature
- growth and development of our nervous system (which is why you need optimal levels when you’re pregnant)
- aiding in producing other hormones (stress, sex, sleep, female and male hormones)
- helping extract vitamins from food
- obtaining energy from food
- stimulating metabolism
- and many more complex micro-processes
6 Root Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction
As I mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to detect and address your root causes of why your thyroid is malfunctioning. That way when you address that root cause, you heal from the ground up rather than mask symptoms.
Root Cause #1 | Poor Gut Health
The first underlying cause of your thyroid dysfunction is likely your gut health. If you have taken many doses of antibiotics, struggled with chronic stress or trauma, taken NSAIDs or eaten poorly during your lifetime, then your microbiome is likely in disarray.
“Thyroid and intestinal diseases prevalently coexist. This can be commonly explained by the damaged intestinal barrier and the following increase of intestinal permeability allowing antigens to pass more easily and activate the immune system (in the case of Hashimoto’s) or cross-react with extraintestinal tissues.” (1)
Processed food further damages the gut lining and produces a huge burden on the liver (part of digestion) as it has to process and break down the chemicals in these foods. The liver is responsible for thyroid hormone conversion and if it is burdened by toxins, it can’t do its job.
Stress also damages the stomach and intestinal lining increasing intestinal permeability having a negative effect on the gastrointestinal mucosa as well as on the intestinal microbiota. (2) A chronically stressful state also reduces hydrochloric acid in the stomach which is responsible for helping break down the food you eat so you can obtain the nutrients from it.
NSAIDS alter gut microbiota, contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and damage the intestinal lining. They also contribute to increased intestinal permeability. (3)
Alcohol pretty much does the same thing as NSAIDS, except that it contributes to alcoholic liver disease as well. It creates a heavy burden on the detoxification system and also changes the gut microbiome.
Renewing and repairing your gut health is a great place to start to reverse thyroid dysfunction. For exactly what to do to renew your gut take my Gut Renew online course.
Root Cause #2 | Toxin Overload
The second root cause of thyroid dysfunction is when your body is simply overloaded with toxins from physical threats and even emotional threats.
When I talked about gut health above, I touched a bit on how toxins present a heavy burden for the liver (and the thyroid), to deal with, which in turn, negatively affects the thyroid gland, hormone creation and conversion. However, there are more areas that toxins can come from that hinder thyroid hormone conversion, gut health, thyroid gland health, brain health, adrenal function and even fertility.
Toxins come from emotional components like stress and trauma. These create oxidative stress and alter cellular function which affects the thyroid gland. Toxins also come from physical items and can be found in your water, toiletries, cosmetics, home cleaners, EMF’s, air (especially in your home), and even on the food you eat!
For instance, “halogenated organochlorines and pesticides variably affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and disrupt thyroid function” (4)
Chlorine is likely in your water and so are pesticides if you aren’t drinking high-quality filtered water. If you swim in pools, you are of course getting exposed to chlorine as well.
It’s too much to get into all of the various chemicals that reside in your air, cosmetics, shampoos, deodorants, and home cleaners but these toxins are truly a root cause of thyroid dysfunction and must be eliminated as much as possible to allow the body to heal itself the way God designed it to.
I have an entire step-by-step membership program that teaches you methodically to overhaul your lifestyle to get rid of the toxins affecting your thyroid.
Root Cause #3 | Chronic Stress
You might have noticed by now that many of these root causes overlap each other. They are definitely synergistic and what you do to tackle one root cause can certainly positively affect the others. Honestly, all the effort you put to address each root cause stacks up and you will experience profound wellness.
Chronic stress is the kind of stress that doesn’t stop. It’s likely you aren’t carving out time to have a “calm zone” at least once or twice a day to get back into that parasympathetic state. Stress disrupts iodine uptake which is essential for thyroid hormone creation and conversion. (5)
Being in a stressful state also depletes nutrients that are also required for the creation and conversion of thyroid hormones. Further, stress contributes to the degradation of the thyroid gland itself and puts the immune system in an on-guard state which can eventually turn on autoimmune thyroid issues like Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease.
As you learned above, stress alters the balance of the good and bad bacteria in your microbiome as well. This additionally, contributes to thyroid issues.
It’s imperative to get adequate sleep and carve out “calm zones” during your day as a foundational way to reclaim control over your stress response. This is something I teach all of my Wellspring™ members to do in a very purposeful way every day. That way you can avoid adrenal burnout and allow your body to have a fully functioning thyroid gland!
Root Cause #4 | Blood Sugar Imbalance
The fourth area that is a root cause of thyroid dysfunction is blood sugar imbalance. Thyroid hormones synergistically work to keep insulin levels in balance, but also high blood sugar damages cells which interfere with blood sugar balance. It’s a vicious cycle. (6) Chronically high insulin levels not only cause damage to the pancreatic cells but it causes problems with intestinal lining as well as nutrient absorption and the functions of the entire endocrine system, including the thyroid gland.
Interestingly, blood sugar can be affected in three main ways. The first is of course your food choices. If you eat a diet high in refined sugar, refined grains/carbohydrates and processed foods you likely suffer from blood sugar imbalance.
Secondly, chronic stress causes the blood sugar processes to malfunction because the body is in a constant fight or flight state (or sympathetic state). Being in this state directly and negatively affects your adrenal glands, intestines, and pancreas.
Thirdly, lack of high-quality sleep damages your blood sugar balance, and causes great stress in the body via a toxic load since the “trash” isn’t getting taken out during the detox time at night sleeping. Your body constantly runs in a sympathetic state which burdens your blood sugar balance. The consequence of imbalanced blood sugar from these three facets is a dysfunctioning thyroid gland.
Root Cause #5 | Nutrient Deficiencies
I have already mentioned in the root causes already discussed that they all create nutrient deficiencies. The other main cause for creating nutrient deficiencies that directly affect your thyroid gland is eating a poor-quality diet lacking in nutrient-dense food. Additionally, leaky gut, damaged fats and stress contribute to nutrient deficiencies in the body which alter thyroid hormone creation, conversion and utilization.
I teach my Wellspring™ members all about PPND whole food (properly prepared, nutrient-dense) whole food and how to balance minerals, and blood sugar. They also learn about healthy fats, macronutrient ratios (but not counting them or counting calories), adequate hydration, and what kind of water is the best as well as making meals with PPND food. By dialing in on nutrients and high-quality food, along with the 5 other root cause areas shared in this article, the thyroid has a beautiful chance of recovering.
Root Cause #6 | Silent Infections
Clinically and personally, I have noticed a direct connection with women who have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and who also have undealt with systemic and/or silent infections. These can include, Epstein Barr Virus, Mold and Mycotoxin overload, bacterial infection and oral infection. Actually, an oral infection can often be the root of other systemic infections! Dr. Thomas Levy has actually written a book about how oral infections are the root cause of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and chronic illness. It’s excellent and I highly recommend reading it.
It’s really important to remember that when your thyroid is not performing, it is because it is the collateral damage of any of these six root causes. Addressing these six root causes will relieve the burden on your immune system and thyroid ultimately allowing it to regain optimal function. The result is a happy and healthy body and mind! Who doesn’t want that?
Do you need help addressing these root causes?
If so, I’d like to invite you to check out Wellspring™, my monthly membership where you learn step-by-step, the fundamentals of healing the thyroid by addressing the 6 root causes of dysfunction (and more). You also receive ongoing support via live coaching, clinic calls and access to a beautiful community of Christian women who are on a similar journey.
Healing Your Thyroid Issue is Possible
Don’t wait to holistically address these six root causes of poor thyroid health – gut health, toxin overload, chronic stress, blood sugar imbalance, nutrient deficiencies, and silent infections. Your body was majestically created by God to heal itself when the interference is removed. Healing can be yours!