If you are suffering from low thyroid or even suspect that low thyroid may be causing symptoms such as
- weight gain
- cold hands and feet
you may be making matters worse with these five common medications.
Most people with low thyroid are knowingly or unknowingly also suffering from leaky gut, aka intestinal permeability!
Leaky gut is a condition in which damage has occurred to the intestinal lining of the digestive tract, leading to immune dysfunction and inflammation. There are a series of triggers that can cause intestinal permeability including
- inflammatory foods (i.e., gluten, sugar, dairy, and alcohol)
- chronic stress
- environmental toxins
However, common over-the-counter medications are extremely dangerous for gut health, and therefore thyroid function.
You will not find a warning label for leaky gut on the following five medications, but research is clear that these five medications are damaging your gut and may be sabotaging your thyroid health!
Nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil and Motrin are linked to an increased risk of intestinal permeability. In one study, all NSAIDs caused higher intestinal permeability and increased inflammation in many cases. Follow-up tests revealed significant malabsorption problems for the participants in this study.
Steroids are often prescribed to reduce inflammation in individuals with autoimmunity. While this may be effective in reducing symptoms, it can exacerbate the progression of a disease by hindering immune function (especially in the gut) and contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
3. Proton-Pump Inhibitors (Prilosec, Nexium, etc.)
PPIs are generally meant to be taken for less than 6 weeks, although 25–75% of patients take them inappropriately. These medications reduce stomach acid which has a dual purpose of digesting proteins and killing pathogens. Using PPIs is associated with an increased risk of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Clostridium difficile infection (C. diff), and decreased microbiota diversity. Each of these conditions results in inflammation and leaky gut.
4. Birth Control
Birth control has been indicated as a factor in gut dysbiosis and reduced vitamin and mineral levels. Vital nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and magnesium, which support the gut, immune system, and thyroid health have also all been indicated. Birth control is also connected to poor estrogen metabolism, an increased risk of depression, and impaired hormone regulation.
Antibiotics aim to kill a bacterial infection, but in the process, they can wipe out the healthy bacteria charged with maintaining a healthy gut. Antibiotic use has been shown to alter the microbiome and induce metabolic changes such as endotoxemia, weight gain, poor blood sugar control, and mass fat gain in animal models.
If you have unknowingly been taking any of the medications above, consider finding a skilled functional medicine practitioner to help you assess your risk of intestinal permeability and thyroid function. With the right individualized therapies, you can heal your gut, balance your immune system, and restore healthy functioning to your thyroid.