When people begin a natural thyroid treatment protocol, one of the main goals is to restore their digestive health. Most people have unhealthy digestive systems, and it frequently shows in the form of symptoms such as bloating, gas, and indigestion. But even those who don’t have such symptoms usually have a less than optimal functioning digestive system. And as I have stated in other articles and posts, if one doesn’t have a properly functioning digestive system, they won’t be able to properly utilize the minerals and nutrients from the foods they eat and any nutritional supplements they take.
So while the ultimate goal is to restore the health of the person’s digestive system, some people do need some additional digestive support on a temporary basis. Then once they have a healthy digestive system they can usually wean off of these supplements.
1. Digestive Enzymes. Taking quality digestive enzymes can help to properly digest the food you eat and any nutritional supplements you take. When someone has problems with their digestive system it probably will take at least a few months to completely heal the digestive system to the point where it can properly digest the food they eat and the supplements they take on its own. So if your digestive system isn’t functioning properly then you probably will need to take digestive enzymes for awhile. Some people continue to take digestive enzymes on a maintenance basis to further help with the digestive process.
2. Probiotics. Many people take probiotics to help replenish the healthy bacteria of the gut. It is especially important to take probiotics if one is on antibiotics, as these drugs kill both the harmful bacteria, as well as the good bacteria. In addition to there being probiotic supplements, certain foods such as yogurt contain these healthy bacteria as well. So if you eat yogurt then this will also supply you with some probiotics. Of course if you’re avoiding dairy then you just might want to stick with taking some supplements. Plus, many people eat flavored yogurt, which usually has a high sugar content, and thus can potentially do more harm than good.
3. Betaine Hydrochloride(HCL). Although millions of people take acid-stopping medication to reduce the production of acid in the stomach, the fact remains that many people have insufficient stomach acid. When this is the problem, taking Betain HCL with pepsin can help with this. You want to take this with food to avoid stomach burning. If someone has an overproduction of stomach acid then taking this will exacerbate your digestive issues, and probably will cause burning. This is why it’s important to begin with a lower dosage, and caution should be taken if you already have symptoms such as stomach burning.
Standard Process has a digestive supplement called Zypan, which actually contains a combination of Betaine hydrochloride and digestive enzymes, including pepsin and pancreatin (which in turn contains amylase, lipase, and protease). If someone is experiencing stomach burning then they should not take this supplement. In fact, if someone is having severe digestive issues then it’s a good idea to consult with a competent holistic doctor before taking any of the supplements I have discussed here.
When Can You Stop Taking Nutritional Supplements For Digestion?
As I mentioned earlier, it will take at least a few months to heal the digestive system. This process usually takes a minimum of three to six months, and can take longer in some people. In order to heal the digestive system one needs to eat a diet consisting mostly of whole foods, and cut out the refined foods and sugars. Certain allergens such as gluten should also be eliminated during the healing process. And needless to say, one should be drinking purified water and avoid drinking soda, coffee, etc. In addition to taking nutritional supplements to help with the digestive process, other supplements may need to be taken as well in order to address certain nutritional deficiencies one may have.
Once someone’s digestive health has been restored then they can begin weaning off these supplements. Once again, some people do choose to take some of these supplements on a maintenance basis, especially the enzymes and probiotics. Whether you want to do this is of course completely up to you.
In summary, these are some of the nutritional supplements which can help with digestion. Although many people will take these supplements and continue to eat unhealthy foods, the obvious goal should be to do what it takes to restore your digestive health back to normal. So one really should try to eat well. To be honest, when it comes to restoring the health of your digestive system, a lot of this you can do on your own, although some people can benefit from food allergy testing, a detoxification program, as well as other factors to help improve their digestive health. So while you can and should do some of the basics on your own, for optimal results consult with a competent holistic doctor.
I am very hyperthyroid-just had to get off of Methimazole because after two weeks I had extreme reaction to it-horrible itching and rash. This is my fourth day off of it and I am still suffering terribly despite taking prednisone. Can barely get anything done. My doctor wants me to have the radioactive iodine treatment and destroy my thyroid gland. But I agree completely with you that there is still the underlying cause which made me develop an autoimmune disease. I am unfortunately in a remote town in SW Virginia and there are no holistic doctors nearby. I am willing to travel a reasonable distance. Do you have any recommendations?
Dr. Eric says
Even though the ultimate goal is to get to the underlying cause of the condition, it’s definitely important to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms. Some who are allergic to Methimazole do better with PTU. Some are allergic to both. There are also natural herbs which can help with symptom management, such as Bugleweed and Motherwort, but I would highly suggest speaking with a holistic doctor, rather than self-treating your condition…even if it means driving a few hours, or speaking with someone remotely over the phone.