Hashimoto’s disease can wreak a lot of problems throughout the body, but it is the gall bladder and the liver where its influence is most felt. This article will talk about these relationships and will discuss why having a healthy liver is extremely important for the treatment of Hashimoto’s disease.
The Thyroid and Liver Affect Each Other in Several Areas Because Of Hashimoto’s
Like the earth, our body is made up of a group of ecosystems interacting with each other, communicating with one another and affecting each other in both negative and positive ways. A perfect example of this is the thyroid and liver. The following is a short list of how they interact:
• The way that cholesterol and other lipids are synthesized and broken down is the result of the influence of the thyroid hormone. These processes all occur in the liver. With Hashimoto’s (and with hypothyroidism), they are usually slowed down resulting in high cholesterol and other lipids such as triglycerides and LDL.
• In the liver, sixty percent of thyroid hormone is converted from T4 to T3. The liver is also where T3 and T4 are glucoronidated and sulfated.
• With regards to the autoimmune system, studies reveal a connection between autoimmune liver and autoimmune thyroid diseases.
• Thyroid hormone influences insulin growth factor, detoxification channels in the liver, and cytochrome P450 enzymes that metabolize various environmental toxins and drugs. Toxin build up in the body occurs, when this slows down.
• Extremely high amounts of T3 (thyroid hormone) can elevate bilirubin levels which can be dangerously toxic to the liver since high bilirubin levels can destroy mitochondria.
The Gall bladder’s Role in All of This
The liver has numerous channels/ pathways through which it cleans the blood, filters toxins, and metabolizes hormones. The derivatives go to the gall bladder which removes them from the body.
A poorly functioning thyroid retards the entire process, causing the gall bladder and the liver to function sluggishly, leading to congestion, which in turn leads to the creation of gallstones.
X-rays of the hypothyroid patients’ gall bladder can reveal a bloated gall bladder that sluggishly contracts impairing the flow of bile that in turn can result in a slow breakdown of cholesterol and fats and other toxins that the liver breaks down. This process can also cause the development of gall stones. A lot of Hashimoto’s disease patients suffer from gall bladder problems.
How Does the Liver Convert Thyroid Hormones?
The liver is the place where 60% of thyroid hormones are converted into their usable form. Thus, you begin to understand how low thyroid function can result in a vicious cycle.
The function of the liver is severely affected by hypothyroidism causing fewer and fewer thyroid hormones to become active. This goes on until the typical symptoms of too little thyroid hormone become manifest: depression, weight gain, hair loss, joint pain, brain fog, and fatigue, among many others.
Thyroid Hormone is Mainly Converted Via a Couple of Processes:
1. Glucoronidation – This is a crucial process for the conversion of thyroid hormone. This pathway is supported by glysine, magnesium, and B vitamins are needed to support this pathway.
2. Sulfation – This process involves binding sulfur containing compounds to things partially broken down in the liver. It is one of the major detoxification channels for hormones (such as thyroid hormones, toxins, and neurotransmitters.
Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are essential for the metabolism of sulfur amino acid, as are sulfur-containing foods such as: legumes, nuts, poultry, meat, cheese, and eggs..
It’s important to buy organic animals products whenever possible due to the fact that organic foods have far fewer toxins like pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics that can all cause health issues of their own.
One other relevant point about sulfating is that it needs sulfate that the digestive system typically absorbs poorly, more so by individuals stricken with Hashimoto’s disease who usually have leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability problems. Sulfate is the inorganic, oxidized form of sulfur created through an oxidation step named sulfoxidation (obviously).
This process can only occur when an enzyme known as sulfite oxidase is present. This enzyme utilizes the essential mineral molybdenum.
Issues with sulfoxidation are evidenced in people sensitive to foods containing preservatives (used in salad bars to keep vegetables looking fresh), food additives (in dried herbs and fruit), and sulfites (garlic).
After eating asparagus, these people may have an abnormally strong odor in their urine. They need to consider taking organic sulfates such as magnesium sulfate or sodium or molybdenum supplementation.
The Emotions of the Gall Bladder & Liver
Practitioners and followers of Chinese medicine consider interactions in the body from the aspects of spirit, mind, and body. This approach can really be helpful in that they can explain how physical problems can affect you psychologically and emotionally.
Authors of the book, Between Heaven and Earth, Efrem Korngold, L.Ac and Harriet Beinfeld, L.Ac., describe the liver as analogous to a military commander in the body. It plans strategies and tactics, moving qi or energy and blood all over the body.
The endocrine system partly consists of the thyroid which is considered as qi and which is obtained from the kidneys’ yang energy. Ancient Chinese medicine physicians knew about this relationship and how absolutely essential one is for the other. To do its job, the liver requires qi, and if it is blocked or clogged it can’t help the movement of that qi all over the body.
Symptoms of Liver Issues
– A short temper
A clogged or stuck liver results in anger, which is the most common emotion that people experience. This anger can be directed inwardly and lead to a feeling of low self-esteem or self-hatred and depression. It can also be directed outwardly at people you know (oftentimes, people closest to you: friends, co-workers, family). From time to time, you may have a combination of the two.
In Chinese medicine, it is interesting to note that the nervous system, eyes, ligaments, and tendons are believed to be parts of the liver’s sphere of influence. Hence people with Hashimoto’s also tend to have problems in all of these areas: cognitive issues affecting the brain, eye problems, and tendon issues.
When You Have Issues with Your Gall Bladder, You’re Unable to Make Decisions
Bile is stored and secreted in the Gall Bladder. The bile stimulates flow through the abdomen and intestines and helps us absorb and remove different foods as well as different concepts and ideas.
Hence, when bile production in flow is normal, it also results in good decision making, clear thinking, and proper judgment. Any issues in the Gall Bladder/Liver issues can cause us to get stuck, make decisions and not following through on them, make us unable to decide what to do, or cause us to take actions without thinking them through.
Helping the Gall Bladder, Liver, and the Thyroid
The following are herbs that can significantly help the gall bladder and liver.
Dandelion: This ubiquitous weed has a root that helps promote bile production and its delivery to the gall bladder. Dandelion root can cause the release of bile by inducing the contraction of the gall bladder.
Ginger: This universally-used spice or herb possesses chemicals known to help spike bile secretion and decrease the levels of cholesterol through the regulation of an enzyme responsible for the manufacture of bile acid (cholesterol-7-alpha-hydorxylase).
Panax ginseng: In numerous studies this herb causes varied impacts, all positive, on the function of the liver. It can be used to in cleaning toxins out of the liver and reverse fatty liver. It also benefits the immune system by promoting specialized immune cells located in the liver known as Kupffer cells and in balancing the immune system by elevating key proteins similar to it.
Milk Thistle: This herb enhances the solubility of bile and has proven to reduce cholesterol concentrations in the gall bladder significantly. It also functions as an anti-oxidant that supports detoxification and helps prevent glutathione depletion in the liver, which is usually depleted in Hashimoto’s disease patients. Milk thistle also boosts protein synthesis to replace liver cells that have been damaged and possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Laminaria Kun Bu, Herba sargassi: Both are seaweeds that have important detoxification qualities. They can be used to address metabolic toxicosis with psoriasis, dermatitis, rheumatism, and arthritis. Both Laminaria Kun Bu and Herba sargassi are safe to use since they have very few side effects. Moreover, they are high in trace minerals, which is very good to alleviate swelling, especially in the lymphatic glands.
One important thing to note about seaweeds is that they are rich in iodine which can be an issue for some Hashimoto’s patients.
Rhubarb Root: This herb has laxative properties that can be utilized to treat acute pancreatic and gall bladder infections. Rhubarb Root also has strong anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.
When using Rhubarb Root, dosage is critical. An excess dose can result in diarrhea and gastric pain. It is contraindicated for people with oxalic acid stones, hemorrhoids, or gout and for pregnant and lactating women.. Talk to a qualified herbalist prior to using this herb.
Fructus Gardeniae: A seed pod of the gardenia plant, this herb possesses powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and can be used to reduce gall bladder and liver infections and congestion.
One important thing to note is that if you have Liver infection or any form of liver disease like hepatitis, consult with a doctor since liver disease can be quite serious.
Herbs Helpful for Irritability and Anger
In Chinese medicine, one very powerful herb for irritability and anger is Rambling Powder. Its name is derived from the title the first chapter of the book, “Rambling Without a Destination” written by Zhuang Zi. This book has stories about freely wandering with an open mind. This refers to how an herbal formula can help a person feel less stressed, happy, and less emotionally constrained.
The formula can have a number of permutations and may contain various herbs that significantly benefit the liver. They can include atractylodes buplerum, mint, and many more. Aside from anger and irritability, the formula can also be used to successfully treat depression, anemia, hepatitis, high blood pressure, and eye issues.
A Multi-Prong Approach is Needed to Treat Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s affects so many systems of the body and has so many moving parts that one really needs to have a plan of treatment that takes into account all these different areas and provides answers to all of them.
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