Many people think of heart disease risk in terms of cholesterol, smoking, and blood pressure. But your heart health is also highly dependent on your gut health. Digestive problems, multiple food sensitivities, and chronic pain and inflammation, are signs your gut health is endangering your heart. Poor gut health is linked with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid and failing to manage these factors can raise your risk of heart disease.
Digestive problems, chronic pain or inflammation, multiple food intolerances, or an autoimmune disease mean you likely have leaky gut. Leaky gut is a common foundation to autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
Leaky gut is also called intestinal permeability. It happens when the small intestine becomes inflamed, damaged, and too porous, allowing undigested food, bacteria, mold, yeast, and other pathogens into the bloodstream. The immune system views them as hostile and attacks them, causing inflammation. This ongoing inflammation sets the path for many autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid, and also plays a role in artery blockages and heart disease.
Inflammation from leaky gut clogs arteries
Inflammation from leaky gut may be a fundamental factor in arterial plaque and blockages. Patients with heart disease show higher incidences of leaky gut compared to control groups. Likewise, patients with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid show a higher incidence of leaky gut.
This is because the inflammation from leaky gut creates lesions on arterial walls. The body patches them up with cholesterol, which eventually becomes plaque in a process called atherosclerosis
Inflammation not only promotes plaque, it also weakens the stability of plaque in the arteries. Stable plaque is important to prevent heart attacks. If the plaque ruptures it comes loose and can block the artery, starving the heart of blood and causing a heart attack.
Leaky gut is a primary factor in chronic inflammation that not only can clog your arteries, but also inflame your joints, cause skin issues, and beat up the brain with symptoms of brain fog, depression, or memory loss. It also triggers autoimmunity such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid. Inflammation affects each person differently depending on our genetics and environment.
Pathogens from leaky gut damage arteries
Leaky gut also promotes arterial plaque and heart disease by allowing infectious bacteria and other pathogens into the bloodstream.
Our guts house several pounds of gut bacteria, called our microbiome, which produce vital nutrients, activate anti-oxidant plant compounds, regulate metabolism and immune function, and influence brain health.
Americans have the unhealthiest microbiomes studied. Our gut bacteria lacks diversity and has too much inflammatory bad bacteria. This helps explain exploding rates of autoimmunity such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
Gut bacteria are also linked to obesity, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels. People with healthy blood lipid levels also have healthier and more diverse gut bacteria.
A frequent contributor to poor stomach health and infection is h. pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. H. pylori has been linked with irregular heart rhythms (atrial fibrillation), which increases the risk of heart failure. H.pylori infections are also common along with leaky gut.
Don’t let your gut affect your heart. Ask my office how we can help you improve the health of both with functional medicine strategies.
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.