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What if you had a leaky gut?
Would you try to fix it or ignore it? What if you learned that it was the reason that your immune system was attacking your thyroid?
After learning I had a leaky gut, I wanted to know how to heal it. Healing my leaky gut stopped Hashimoto’s thyroiditis from destroying my thyroid gland.
I have said this before, but I will say it again. Check it HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS: LIFESTYLE INTERVENTIONS FOR FINDING AND TREATING THE ROOT CAUSE by Izabella Wentz. This book was pivotal in helping me understand how to heal my thyroid and my leaky gut.
STEP 1: REMOVE GLUTEN FROM MY DIET
This autoimmune thyroid attack is the reason I was having all my symptoms.
My first step was to give up gluten because the gluten protein is extremely hard for a body in a compromised state to digest. In fact, gluten generally plays a large part in developing a leaky gut. You can read more about this in my article in this series, Part 5: A Gluten Free Diet Can Help Hashimoto’s.
Without all the correct enzymes for digestion, the gluten protein cannot be fully broken down and will find its way through the ‘leaking gut’ or ‘intestinal permeability’ and into the bloodstream.
You can read more about what a leaky gut is in Part 6: The Leaky Gut Connection to Hashimoto’s.
Similar things can happen with other proteins when they are not fully broken down. These proteins can leak through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream where the immune system identifies them as foreign objects.
At this point the immune system will attack these foreign objects and then these proteins can develop into food intolerances or sensitivities.
STEP 2: REMOVE FOOD SENSITIVITIES AND INTOLERANCES
The month after giving up gluten, I decided to ask my functional medical doctor to run an IgG food test. There are 5 subclasses of antibodies and IgG is one of the subclasses. Antibodies are a protein that your body uses to attack antigens such as a virus, bacteria or allergen.
The most common test to find allergies is known as an IgE (immunoglobulin E) allergy test. These IgE antibodies produce allergic reactions that are immediate in response and can have quite severe reactions such as choking or asthma.
In comparison, an IgG (immunoglobulin G) food test works differently by measuring the IgG antibodies that your immune system has developed in response to a food sensitivity.
These food sensitivities tend to have less severe reactions and can happen hours or even days after the offending food has been ingested. This IgG food sensitivity test helped me find the foods that were causing specific food sensitivities since it wasn’t easy for me to tell.
It is important to know that the IgG food sensitivity test is only consistent if you have been eating the foods that you are testing for the last 4 weeks.
For example, let’s say you have a known peanut allergy (IgE) and avoid peanuts as daily routine before performing your IgG food test.
This would make the IgG antibodies to peanuts come back as low because you have not been eating this food. Your IgG antibodies would be low because there has not been a recent reaction with your immune system.
The IgG food test was extremely helpful to me in finding my food sensitivities. I have a stomach of steel so I never experienced any kind of stomach pain from my problem foods, even after removing them from my diet for 30 days and adding them back in.
Some say these IgG food tests are unreliable, but I found that mine was on the mark.
If you are unable to work with a functional medicine doctor and would like to find your IgG food sensitivities you can order this food sensitivity test by EverlyWell – At Home Food Sensitivity Test Kit.
After knowing what foods to watch, I could start to see subtle signs that my body didn’t handle them well.
The results of my food allergy tests revealed several foods that I would need to remove from my diet. Whey protein, green beans, peas, and sunflower seeds were all foods I needed to avoid.
Eggs tested positive also, but my doctor told me that she didn’t find the test to be reliable for eggs at times.
I was going to have to try to figure it out on my own. So I removed eggs for two weeks, added them back in, and found no problems.
I probably should have tried for longer (4 weeks is recommended), but life without eggs was hard for me. I was relieved that eggs didn’t seem to be a problem and it was a good sign that my thyroid antibodies continued to drop while including them in my diet.
If you are regularly eating any foods that cause an intolerance or sensitivity then your thyroid antibodies will not continue to go down.
As far as the other items, I found that I could eat cheese because it is casein protein which didn’t cause any problems for me. I was also able to eat butter because it is made from milk fat and contained very little of the milk proteins- thank goodness!
I was not able to handle pasteurized milk, but I found that I could handle raw milk without any reaction. Raw milk contains many enzymes that are helpful for digestion of the milk proteins. I also found that sunflower seed oil didn’t seem to be a problem because the sunflower seed protein was removed.
Very doable considering what I was giving up!
STEP 3: REMOVING INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Along with pasteurized milk, green beans, peas and sunflower seeds I removed a few other known inflammatory foods. I removed all grains, gluten, and legumes to try to heal my leaky gut. The reason for removing legumes is because of the high level of lectins they contain.
Lectins are a plants way of protecting itself and they have been known to cause inflammation within the digestive tract. Since I was trying to remove inflammatory foods, legumes didn’t make the cut.
Sugar also didn’t make the cut due to it’s inflammatory nature during digestion.
STEP 4: HEAL MY LEAKY GUT
Below is a list of foods to focus on to help your gut heal as well as foods to avoid. Obviously, you should leave out anything that you discover causes a food sensitivity for you.
|Healing Foods||Foods to Avoid|
To heal my leaky gut, I made a point to add in foods that were beneficial to for gut health. I included bone broth for the collagen and gelatin- important ingredients that your intestines need to heal.
I had tried using high doses of L-Glutamine for months, but I found that drinking 8oz of bone broth once a day for 3 months did more to help my gut heal in the long run. Here is an Easy Bone Broth Soup Recipe I enjoy using.
I also started drinking raw, fermented kombucha daily and drinking organic green juices when I was able.
Sauerkraut was never my favorite food (always hated the flavor!), but nevertheless I started eating 2 bites of organic, unpasteurized, fermented sauerkraut with each meal. The enzymes in sauerkraut can help your body breakdown your food better- especially meats.
Another book I read that really helped me understand the needs of my digestion is named AUTOIMMUNE: THE CAUSE AND THE CURE by Annesse Brockely and Kristin Urdiales. I also highly recommend reading this book.
The first part of this book is extremely technical and goes through many studies that prove how the body starts to breakdown during autoimmune disease. I found it extremely informative and was very impressed with the ability of the author to link the results of a number of different studies together.
The second part of the book focuses on the healing foods and why they are beneficial for healing your gut.
I found this part of the book the most helpful in realizing how our bodies depend on the enzymes traditional healing foods like unpasteurized sauerkraut, raw milk, cider, kefir and several others. Foods that have fallen out of favor in our modern world.
My husband was beside himself with these changes. However, after 4 weeks of going gluten free and another 4 weeks of our new modified paleo diet he had lost 20 lbs and I had lost 17 lbs. He was no longer complaining..as loudly.
He was encouraged to see me healing and having energy.
HEALING MY LEAKY GUT STOPPED HASHIMOTO’S
I continued eating this way for 4 months before finally adding back in grains and legumes. These days, I find that I don’t eat grains as regularly, but I am not strict about removing them from my diet.
I still have not added back in gluten and I don’t think I will until all my thyroid antibodies are normal. My TPO antibodies are currently 34 IU/mL and still dropping each month. My personal goal is to get them under 9 IU/mL. You can read more about my thyroid lab results in Part 2: What Do You Mean My thyroid is Broken?.
When I do get comfortable enough to add back in gluten, it most certainly will be minimal. I need to feel like my body can breakdown the gluten protein without promoting a new ‘leaky gut’ episode.
Healing my leaky gut stopped Hashimoto’s thyroiditis from destroying my thyroid. It is exciting to see how close I am getting to the finish line! Along with healing my leaky gut, there are 9 Supplements to Heal from Hashimoto’s that I took while on my journey to health. I feel that healing your insides is the most important part, but supplements can help you to replace depleted vitamins and minerals to help your body to regain balance.
Healing my leaky gut was tough, and there were definitely times that I wasn’t perfect. However, the healing process was worth it. Especially since my food allergies are no longer an issue!
Next I started to drop back my medication – more on this in my next post Part 8: How I Quit My Thyroid Medication.
My Thyroid Journey Series
I Refuse To Bribe You.
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