One of the lesser known root causes of thyroid disease is hidden infections, including bacterial and viral infections. This was such an eye-opener to me when I first learned of this years into my hypothyroid health journey and something I feel needs much more attention.
Some infections can trigger an autoimmune response because of molecular mimicry. Molecular mimicry occurs when the shape of a bacteria resembles normal healthy tissue. When an infection occurs the immune system will attack the healthy tissue confusing it for the bacteria. This is the same phenomenon with which gluten mimics thyroid tissue causing an autoimmune attack.
Some infections that have been shown to trigger thyroiditis include:
Many infections such as Epstein Barr and Herpes remain dormant in the body and may never cause you any problems. When there is a trauma or illness however, or an increase in stress, your immune system becomes weakened and the infections may become active again. Chronic inflammation from the active infection can lead to autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s or Graves' disease.
To give your body the best fighting chance against infections, focus on stress-reducing activities and support your immune system. Some simple, yet effective stress relievers include deep breathing, meditation, and gentle movement. Support your immune system so it can keep latent viruses at bay and defend against new invaders. Remember, 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so try to maintain a healthy microbiome and strong gut lining by eating a variety of whole foods and avoiding processed and GMO products. For more information about leaky gut and how to repair it, click here.
If you have tried everything, and are still struggling with thyroid symptoms, hidden infections may be the underlying root cause. All of these infections can be tested either through blood,urine, breath, or stool tests. Treating an infection could be all you need to feel relief from debilitating thyroid symptoms and get your life back!
Please seek out the assistance of a qualified functional medicine doctor who can run the appropriate tests for you and devise a proper treatment plan.
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