Many people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease have an increased appetite, while some people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis also experience this problem. With hyperthyroid conditions, the increased metabolism is often responsible for the increased appetite. In fact, when I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, a voracious appetite was one of my main symptoms, and one of the last ones to disappear.
But a big reason behind an increased appetite is due to problems with digestion. This obviously doesn’t just pertain to people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions, but people in general, as many people have problems with their digestive system. So if you are hungry all of the time, then you might need to focus on restoring your digestive health.
Take A Close Look At Your Stool
While you no doubt want to be aware of any digestive symptoms you might be experiencing (bloating, gas, etc.), your stool can also be a great indicator of your overall digestive health. A “healthy” stool should have the following characteristics: it should be medium brown, shouldn’t float (although it shouldn’t sink rapidly either), should have no odor, and it should be eliminated without having to strain.
If your stool doesn’t match these characteristics I just listed, then chances are you have some digestive problems. Perhaps one day I’ll write a separate post focusing on the characteristics of stool (I’m sure you can’t wait!), but for now just realize that if it is a different color than medium brown, has an odor, is accompanied by gas, and/or is difficult to eliminate, then you probably have digestive problems.
What Can You Do To Correct The Malabsorption Problem?
If malabsorption is the reason for your increased appetite, then there are a few things you can do to correct this issue:
1. Eat well. This goes without saying, but if you aren’t eating well, then now’s a great time to start. If you’re eating a lot of junk food, including fast food for many of your major meals, then this without question will lead to digestive issues. Now truth to be told, if you go to a fast food restaurant once or twice each month then it probably won’t be a big deal if you eat healthy the rest of the time. But of course this usually isn’t the case, as most people who eat at fast food restaurants do so a few times per week, and some of course make it a daily habit to eat at such places.
As you already know if you have been reading my articles and posts for awhile, you should be eating mostly whole foods, minimize your consumption of refined foods and sugars, and drink purified water. Doing this alone might not completely restore your digestive health, but it definitely is an important first step.
2. Eliminate common allergens. Food allergies can also contribute to digestive problems, and thus lead to malabsorption issues. For example, someone who has a gluten sensitivity problem, but who constantly eats gluten-based foods, will probably have issues absorbing these foods. Other allergens can have a similar effect. Food allergy testing is definitely something to consider, although I don’t find the tests to be 100% accurate, which is why I usually just recommend for people to initially avoid the most common allergens.
3. Take digestive enzymes and/or probiotics. Taking digestive enzymes and/or probiotics can help greatly with digestion. Since many people have problems digesting their food, most can benefit from taking a digestive enzyme before each meal. Many people also have low stomach acidity, and so it also might be a good idea to take a digestive enzyme with betaine HCL. If someone has stomach burning then they probably will want to refrain from taking the betaine HCL, but should still be able to take digestive enzymes. Probiotics can also be beneficial, as they can help to replenish the healthy bacteria of the gut. Having a deficiency of the healthy bacteria can lead to digestive issues.
4. Detoxification Program. Just about everyone can benefit from following a detoxification program. Many people I consult with change their eating habits, but never clean out their system, specifically their liver. This would be analogous to never changing your oil in your car, but just putting in new oil every 3,000 miles. Okay, maybe this is a poor analogy, but hopefully you get the point. There are plenty of different detoxification programs available, although you need to be cautious, as not all of them do what they claim to do. For someone’s very first detoxification I usually recommend for them to consult with a healthcare professional, rather than do it on their own. Then once they have gone through the first one they usually can do it on their own in the future, as I recommend going through a detoxification at least once a year, and twice would be even better.
5. Gut Dysbiosis Protocol. Sometimes I put patients on a gut flora protocol to help with digestive issues. This essentially involves eating well, along with taking a few select supplements to help restore the healthy bacteria in the gut. While taking probiotics can help to some extent, just doing this usually isn’t sufficient to restore one’s digestive health. This protocol will last at least 6 to 8 weeks, and will help to restore the person’s digestive health by cleaning the lower GI tract, helping to improve nutrient absorption, and of course promoting a healthy intestinal flora.
6. Test for parasites. Parasites can also cause digestive issues, and so as a last resort you might want to test for parasites. Why as a last resort? After all, doesn’t it make sense to test for parasites first? Well, one reason why I don’t test everyone for parasites is because the tests aren’t completely reliable. In other words, just because someone tests negative doesn’t mean they don’t have parasites. Plus, if someone follows the first five steps I recommended then it usually will eliminate the parasites, especially following a gut flora balance protocol. And if incorporating the first five factors I listed still doesn’t restore the person’s digestive health, then I’ll look to do additional testing. If someone has symptoms that makes it seem obvious that they have parasites, then I will do some testing initially.
In summary, if you have a constant feeling of hunger, while it very well may be attributed to the thyroid gland if you have hyperthyroidism, in many cases a poorly functioning digestive system is the culprit. And when this is the case, in order to overcome this health issue you need to restore the health of the digestive system, and in most cases you can accomplish this by following the advice I have just given.