top of page

Microbiome and chronic thyroid inflammation

What the bacteria in our gut have to do with Hashimoto

As in ours recent article (Resistant Abdominal Pain and SIBO) mentioned, today we want to explain how SIBO ( small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and leaky gut (leaky gut syndrome) are related to the autoimmune disease Hashimoto's thyroiditis (chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland).

Research has shown that for half of all people who suffer from Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) may be an underlying cause.

First of all, it is important to understand that Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease, which means first and foremost that this is not a problem with the thyroid itself, but with the immune system.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis: When the immune system attacks the thyroid. (3)

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system turns against and attacks the body's own tissues.

In Hashimoto's case, the antibodies (protein molecules made by the immune system to fight pathogens and other foreign substances) produced by the immune system attack the thyroid gland.

As a result, hormones are no longer produced in sufficient quantities, which slows down metabolic processes and leads to symptoms such as tiredness, constipation, hair loss and so-called “brain fog”.

So the thyroid is, quite literally, just a kind of innocent "spectator" caught in the crosshairs of the immune system. The real “culprit” in this case is the immune system.

Why does the immune system attack the thyroid?

Dr Alessio Fasano, a world-renowned gastroenterologist and researcher, found that all autoimmune diseases have three factors in common:

  1. a genetic susceptibility

  2. Antigen exposure (substances to which antibodies bind)

  3. increased intestinal permeability

Increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) means that the tight connections of the intestinal barrier open up. This allows bacteria, toxins, viruses and food particles to enter the bloodstream from the digestive tract.

Leaky gut occurs when the so-called tight junctions in the intestine dissolve. (5)

Because such particles actually have no place in the bloodstream, the immune system identifies them as invaders, causing it to go into attack mode.

A major flare-up of inflammation ensues as the immune system works “overtime,” so to speak, to incapacitate all of these threats.

But CAVE! Because at some point the body's defenses are overwhelmed. She throws her hands in the air from exhaustion because she can no longer cope with the burdens she has been burdened with and now she simply attacks everything.

This is how the thyroid gland comes under attack and triggers, for example, Hashimoto's.

What does SIBO have to do with all this?

SIBO: Colon bacteria out of place in the small intestine. (6)

SIBO occurs when there is an increased number of “wrong” (colon) bacteria in the small intestine or changes in the types of bacteria in the small intestine.

By "wrong" bacteria is meant that the overgrowth is mostly not due to bad bacteria, but actually good bacteria that are just in the wrong place.

If the otherwise good bacteria from the large intestine colonize the small intestine, where they do not belong, a whole range of symptoms and secondary diseases can occur, from bloating and abdominal pain to nutrient deficiencies and food sensitivities.

Worse still, this massive disruption to the ecosystem in the small intestine damages the gut lining, leading to leaky gut and triggering the cycle of chronic inflammation. The immune system is now responding to this as previously explained and Hashimoto is beginning to manifest.

Thyroid hormones play an important role in many bodily processes. (7)

Thyroid hormones play a major role in gut motility (movement of the gut) by regulating the enteric nervous system (our "gut brain") and the migrating motor complex (MMC; permeates the gut between meals to move food along the digestive tract).

So in general, what this means is that thyroid hormones affect the speed at which food is digested and moves through the gut.

However, when Hashimoto's is present and the thyroid hormone levels are low, this whole process slows down, which is why constipation is one of the typical symptoms of Hashimoto's.

Constipation is also typical of Hashimoto's. (8th)

Anything that gets stuck in the small intestine becomes a feast for the bacteria, exacerbating negative bacterial growth.

So, as with any complex, chronic condition, the key to relief is to identify and correct the root causes that triggered the malfunction.

Hashimoto's is currently considered incurable, but improvement in clinical symptoms can lead to discontinuation of chronic medications and improvement in quality of life.

For example, more and more research is showing that gluten intake and the occurrence of Hashimoto's are linked . And not only for celiac disease patients, but also for people with gluten sensitivity. Find out more here: Microbiome and gluten - connection with Hashimoto

Your microbiome appreciates exercise and a healthy diet. (9)

Once again showing how important it is to take good care of our microbiome and digestive system and keep it in good shape through healthy eating and exercise!

Do you already know how it is with the roommates in your own intestine? No? Then test your gut microbiome with myBioma now and get valuable insights and useful information to improve your gut health.

Author Ina

Request more information. First free consultation!

Gabriela De Pasquale

Nutritional Consultation

Estepona, Spain

+34 604398948



Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating


Health Coach

bottom of page