Acid Reflux & Hypothyroidism

All too often we get told that our acid reflux is not linked to whatever diagnosis we've been given.

This commonly happened for people with hypothyroidism.

But actually many people with thyroid issues suffer with acid reflux or GORD. the cause for this is thought to be because many with thyroid issues and actually many with autoimmunity suffer with low stomach acid.

This is where people get confused, if you have acid reflux and that burning in your oesophagus, your acid levels must be too high right? Well actually no.

The most common cause, far more common than high stomach acid levels is low stomach acid levels.

This is something we call hypochlorhydria.

With low stomach acid you can get acid reflux, GORD, heartburn, indigestion, uncomfortable swallowing, pain in the chest or a tightness in the chest, even a hoarse voice.

The standard care when you suffer with acid reflux is to put you on PPI medications (something like omeprazole) these suppress acid. The issue then comes about because if you actually have low stomach acid levels, which remember is much more common, you are further dampening the low levels in the stomach. The PPIs mask the symptoms, so while you may feel some relief, you could actually be worsening the overall issue, or at the very least not dealing with the underlying issue.

So how is the thyroid involved?

When you thyroid is not optimal we can see these symptoms in people, the research has shown that people with hypothyroid and especially those with Hashimoto's are likely to have low stomach acid levels, hypochlorhydria.

The science also shows us that hypothyroidism can actually lower this stomach acid level. It is thought this may be due to the link with impaired parietal cells in the stomach, the cells that secrete stomach acid and intrinsic factor.

Many people with thyroid issues suffer with acid reflux and are therefore put on PPIs, which can further damage the healthy gut microbiome and intestinal wall. Creating a cyclic issue of thyroid and gut health issues.

Due to the all of these points we commonly then see that people don't absorb nutrients as well, things such as vitamin D, B12, Iron, all nutrients that we need at optimal levels in our body. These lowered levels of vitamins and minerals have a knock on effect in the body.

So how can you help balance out your body and improve your acid reflux?

Balance your thyroid, get it to optimal health. Don't just look at TSH levels once a year to manage your medication, look at the whole picture, is every aspect of your thyroid pathways working as well as they should be, are the conversion processes happening as well as they should be, have you balanced your underlying autoimmunity and other root causes of your thyroid disease.

Assess your stomach acid levels, you can do this with a practitioner to see if low stomach acid levels are an issue for you. If they are implement factors to improve your levels.

Remember it's important to check first as we wouldn't want to raise stomach acid levels in someone who already has high levels, it's important to assess the case properly first. But then there re some simple steps we can implement through diet and supplements to help raise those levels.

Avoid foods that are known to worsen acid reflux such as gluten, sugar, dairy, fatty foods, fried foods, alcohol and even some 'healthy' foods such as tomatoes.

Start thinking about probiotics and prebiotics either in food or as a supplement.

Assess your gut health, the best way to do this is with a comprehensive stool test, these give us a wealth of information such as assessing your balance of bacteria in the gut (the microbiome), looking at the integrity of your gut wall, looking for viruses, parasites and bacteria's, looking at how you are digesting, looking at your immune function and more.

When you are ready to work on your gut health you can get a Gut Assessment, with a comprehensive stool test included.

Or you can go all in and work with me one-to-one, book your initial Functional Health Assessment now.

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