Ever wondered if your Hashimoto’s could be connected to your gut?
The answer is an astounding YES! The gut plays such a huge role in auto-immune disease, hypothyroidism, and so many other diseases. It’s considered your second brain for a reason. The gut / health cycle is pretty incredible.
What is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck. These attacks lead to hypothyroidism which is the slowing down of thyroid function.
What is SIBO?
SIBO is “Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth”. It is excessive bacteria in the small intestine. We should have bacteria in our intestines however, when bacteria takes over the small intestine, it leads to poor nutrient absorption, symptoms commonly associated with IBS, and may even lead to damage of the stomach lining.
DR. IZABELLA WENTZ shares some answers commonly connected to Hashimotos and SIBO. Let’s take a look and see what she recommends.
Q: I have Hashimoto’s and IBS, but I don’t have SIBO! What else could cause my IBS?
A: An imbalance of gut bacteria (probiotics may help), food sensitivities (especially gluten, dairy, soy, lettuce and other uncooked veggies—so cook your veggies), parasitic infections in the gut, enzyme deficiencies, H. pylori, stress, and deficiencies in nutrients like L-glutamine andzinc.
Q: Should I take antibiotics, herbs or use diet to treat SIBO?
A: Antibiotics, herbs, and the elemental diet are all potential treatment options for SIBO. Surprisingly, each have been clinically tested to have similar efficacy of about 80%! The main differences in the protocols relate to the duration of time, ease of implementation, and side effects. While antibiotics may present with harsher side effects and more destruction on the beneficial gut flora, they do offer a shorter treatment duration of 10-14 days. Herbs are gentler on the gut flora and seem to have fewer side effects, but the treatment duration is usually as long as two months, and herbal remedies may have potential drug interactions, which is always an important point to consider if you’re taking multiple medications. The elemental diet is also an effective option, however, it is more challenging to implement for the average person. The elemental diet focuses on starving the bacteria in your small intestine and only feeding you with a liquid “diet” that contains amino acids, vitamins, fats, and glucose. You are not eating any real food for 2 weeks when doing the elemental diet and only drinking the elemental concoction. Some have reported a worsening of adrenal fatigue with the dietary protocol. Now that you know a little more about each treatment method, I suggest discussing your best option with your healthcare team!
Q: Can anyone start treatment for SIBO without testing? I have all the symptoms!
A: About 50% of the people with hypothyroid were found to have SIBO in one study, so it’s likely that if you have a thyroid condition, you also have SIBO. While I always prefer to test and not guess, some functional medicine clinicians do recommend treatment based on symptoms alone! This can save time and money, however, the drawback of not testing would be treating something that you didn’t need to treat! The herbal protocol is a long process with a lot of supplements to take. If that doesn’t deter you, then I’d suggest at least testing at the end of treatment to ensure that the SIBO is eradicated.
Q: Help! I did the SIBO treatment, but I still have symptoms!
A: It’s possible that you didn’t fully eradicate it or that it “grew back.” I recommend retesting two weeks after your treatment to ensure that it really is gone and not just reduced. In some cases, you may also want to explore prokinetic treatments to prevent SIBO. More in SIBO article!
Q: Can SIBO treatment get my Hashimoto’s into remission?
A: SIBO can be a root cause, consequence, or exacerbating factor of Hashimoto’s. I have seen people with Hashimoto’s resolve symptoms like IBS, restless leg syndrome, low ferritin, and low B12 by treating SIBO, and in some cases, have seen thyroid antibodies reduced—and even go away—with SIBO treatment.
Q: If I have SIBO, yeast, H. pylori, and a parasite, what should I work on first?
A: The way that you want to address infections is by starting with the highest infection in your body first. H. pylori is typically found in the stomach (it can also be in the upper part of the small intestine), so that’s going to be the first infection you want to treat. A lot of times, when you treat H. pylori, the SIBO will go away as well. Next would be the parasite. If, after the H.pylori and parasite protocols you still have SIBO, you would treat it at this time. The yeast would be addressed last, if needed. Sometimes when you use the parasite protocol along with the SIBO protocols, the yeast issue is taken care of as well.