If you often find yourself bloated regardless of how well you eat, then it might be time to consider getting your thyroid checked. Thyroid dysfunction. prevalent in women more so than men, may be at the root cause of your uncomfortable bloating. I routinely receive emails from women who, despite their intense training and strict diet, find themselves starting the day with a flat stomach to only end it at night with painful bloating.
Why does this occur in athletic and fit women? The answer may lie in your thyroid. Simply a small gland toward the bottom of your neck, your thyroid makes thyroid hormone which controls numerous functions in your body including your caloric burn, how fast your heart beats and your immune function. The two main thyroid symptoms are either a hyperthyroid (your thyroid hormone produces too much) or hypothyroid (your body doesn’t produce enough).
Your Thyroid and Your Gut Function.
Upwards of 30% of your thyroid hormone is created in your gut. It goes to reason that if your gut is negatively impacted by stress, lifestyle choices or poor nutrition that your thyroid hormone will be less than optimal. With a thyroid hormone that either produces too much or too little of the active T3 hormone, your gut motility (movement of your intestinal tract) will be compromised and you will either have increased or decreased gastric emptying.
Both will cause you to be bloated.
1) Diet Fixes
Before we even touch the thyroid I think it’s important to discuss overall diet considerations. While your thyroid may be the root cause, no approach will lead to results without an improved diet. The main suggestion often seen online is to go gluten free and I do agree with that.
I do not think you have to go immediately gluten free right away however. Rather aim to limit your gluten consumption during the week. For the diet Jimmy recommends, click here.
It goes without saying but actively try to stay away from foods that you know upset your stomach, sugar and refund carbohydrates.
Caffeine should also be limited as I’ve seen more and more cases of individuals having weak gut health due to their caffeine consumption. Limiting caffeine seems to help.
2) Blood work
Now is the proper time to get some blood work done. Traditional blood work will look at T3 (the inactive form of thyroid hormone) and TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone.
If the ratio of T3 to TSH is low then you then a “slow” or hypothyroid. If the ratio is high then you have a hyperthyroid. Your body is making too much, usually in response to stress.
Doctors will keep testing TSH to assess the health of your thyroid but there’s so much they are missing.
T4 is the actual active thyroid hormone in your body and there’s also RT3 which is how much thyroid hormone that is “not used” by your body.
We also have free T3 and free T4 which measure the amount of available thyroid hormone.
So there’s a lot left to be desired from traditional blood work but it’s a start. For a full thyroid panel, email Jimmy here.
3) Self Assessments
Since the entire topic of this article is bloating, that should be a hint at your first sign.
How constipated do you get? Not just after a meal, in general.
Your blood pressure is another gauge. Do you often get dizzy standing up?
Menstrual cycles are also heavily impacted by thyroid health. Irregular, light or heavy menstrual cycles can all be linked to thyroid insufficiency.
4) Your other hormones.
No hormone issues happen in isolation. Going back to your diet, a Physique Formula diet approach will lead to improvements in the stability of your insulin and cortisol levels which will themselves improve your thyroid.
If you’ve previously had issues with other hormones or weight gain then it’s a good idea to focus on getting those other hormones in check as well.
To Do List
Alright, let’s get to some solutions
1) The most effective and efficient way to get to the bottom of your thyroid hormones is to work with Jimmy directly. This concierge level coaching will guide you through the world of blood work, supplementation and correct training
2) Improve your stomach acid.
We tend to think of stomach acid as a bad thing but there is “good” stomach acid as well. Betaine hydrochloride is a supportive acid that helps to break down the nutrients from the food you eat. Through stress, age and poor lifestyle habits, your levels of betaine decrease. This increases the chances of infection, nutrient malabsorption and bloating.
The Physique Formula Performance Enzyme is a multi spectrum digestive enzymes to increase nutrient break down, reduce inflammation and decrease bloating.
3) Modify your lifestyle choices.
The big two that we are going to focus on here are your sleep and workouts. Without quality sleep patterns your thyroid hormone can never recover and heal.
Workout wise, many individuals train too often and too hard. Exercise is a stressor. Anything that stresses your system depletes your hormones. I’m not telling you NOT to train. You just need to modify what you’re doing.
4) Optimize your adrenals.
Adrenal insufficiency, as commonly seen in overly stressed individuals, can contribute to reduced thyroid function as well as increased cortisol. Sleep management and proper training patterns can improve adrenal health as well.
The Physique Formula Adrenal Support combines multiple research proven nutrients to reduce stress and cortisol as well as thyroid health.
Ultimately yes, if you are getting bloated then you need to check your hyperthyroidism. Pay attention to the daily clues and begin to self assess but know that the issue requires multiple approaches to heal.