If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, you may know about with restricted diets such as the autoimmune protocol (AIP), GAPs, or FODMAPs. These diets can lower inflammation, determine food sensitivities, and address root causes of chronic symptoms. However, some people have little to no benefit and may even go on to get new food intolerances. The cause could be loss of oral tolerance.
Fortunately, you can start bettering your oral tolerance so you can eat more foods and better manage your Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
There are different types of immune tolerance:
- Chemical tolerance means you can appropriately tolerate chemicals without an immune reaction, such as reacting to gas fumes.
- Self-tolerance is the ability of your immune system to respond appropriately to your own body tissue. Loss of self-tolerance leads to autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
- Oral tolerance is the ability to appropriately recognize and tolerate food proteins.
Loss of any of these forms of tolerance can happen when the immune system is out of balance. Loss of tolerance in one area leads to loss of tolerance in other areas since they are based on similar root causes.
An increase in food sensitivities could signal loss of oral tolerance.
Over reactive dendritic cells lead to loss of oral tolerance
Dendritic immune cells are in the small intestine and determine whether you will react to foods.
Dendritic cells become hyper zealous when your food isn’t sufficiently digested, which can lead to loss of oral tolerance. You can improve digestion by taking hydrochloric acid (HCL) and digestive enzymes with your meals.
Another reason for over reactive dendritic cells is low SIgA cells. These are immune cells that defend the gut, the first line of defense in the body and found in the mucosal layer of the gut.
Taking retinol vitamin A (not beta carotene) at 5000 IU a day can help boost SIgA levels. However, the most important approach is to address adrenal fatigue, chronic infection, steroid use, or other factors that chronically stress the immune system.
The role of regulatory T cells in oral tolerance
Regulatory T cells (T reg cells) determine if the immune system will allow or attack food proteins, causing inflammation. You can promote dampening of inflammation from T reg cells by taking plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, supplemental forms of absorbable glutathione, and vitamin D.
Another strategy is to boost endorphins, the feel-good chemicals our bodies produce from exercise, laughter, and other pleasurable activities. This also dampens inflammation and balances the immune system to help manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
Liver detox and oral tolerance
Improving liver detoxification can improve oral tolerance. We have two detox pathways in the liver that make fat-soluble compounds water-soluble so the body can eliminate them:
The phase I pathway changes a compound’s structure so molecules can attach to it in the next step.
Phase II pathway has multiple steps to attach molecules to the compound for safe elimination.
Liver support involves a lot of herbal and nutritional compounds. Ask my office for advice on supplements.
It’s important to choose quality supplements and start slowly to avoid unpleasant side effects.
Diversify gut bacteria for better oral tolerance
One of the best things you can do to improve oral tolerance is to support a rich diversity of gut bacteria. These bacteria produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA), which help dampen inflammation and manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
A limited diet can reduce gut bacteria diversity. To promote diversity, eat a wide variety of produce and consume 7 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Avoid inflammatory blood sugar spikes from too much fruit.
You can also supplement with SCFA.
Other things that can affect oral tolerance
Other things that affect oral tolerance include reacting to histamine, consuming too much salt (excess sodium increases inflammation), hormone imbalances, low thyroid, and more.
Being chronically stressed can also promote oral tolerance. High levels of adrenal hormones lower SIgA cells. High stress also leads to depression, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.
Sources of chronic stress include:
- Food intolerances
- Systemic inflammation
- Emotional conflict and worry
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Chronic pain
- A diet high in sugar and starches
Blood sugar imbalances are one of the most common causes of chronic stress. When your blood sugar spikes high or low, the stress response suppresses SIgA cells and promotes leaky gut and inflammation, leading to loss of oral tolerance. Blood sugar imbalances are at the root of hormonal imbalances and many other metabolic disorders.
Mediate blood sugar imbalances with anti-inflammatory diet low in sugars and carbs, plenty of exercise, and stress management techniques.
Lab testing for oral tolerance
A food sensitivity panel can tell you which foods you should avoid. It can also tell you if your oral tolerance protocol is working.
If you have symptoms of oral tolerance but few to no positive markers, you may have a depressed immune system. Boosting SIgA levels first can give you more accurate results.
You can screen for low SIgA prior to your Cyrex test by ordering a total immunoglobulin (IgG, IgA, and IgM) test.
If you have symptoms of food sensitivities and loss of oral tolerance on your Hashimoto’s low thyroid diet, contact my office for more advice.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.