Improving Nutrient Absorption with Hashimoto’s: Essential Strategies

Today, we’re going to talk about nutrient deficiencies and Hashimoto’s, and this is a big topic, so I’m just going to blab out here real quick, okay? Because I want to cover a lot of things. One of the main points to understand is that Hashimoto’s, the hypothyroid aspect of Hashimoto’s, slows everything down, including digestion. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies because the body is not able to absorb and utilize nutrients effectively. For example, Hashimoto’s can cause constipation, which hinders the ability of the stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas to function properly. This can result in a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, leading to difficulty breaking down iron and a potential deficiency in B12. In addition, conditions like small intestinal bacteria overgrowth and oral tolerance can further disrupt the digestive process and contribute to nutrient deficiencies. It’s safe to say that nutrient deficiencies are quite common in individuals who have Hashimoto’s.

Causes of Nutrient Deficiencies in Hashimoto’s

Hypothyroidism and digestion

When it comes to Hashimoto’s, the hypothyroid aspect of the condition can have a significant impact on digestion. The slowed down thyroid function affects the body’s ability to digest food properly, leading to a nutrient deficiency. This is because the digestive process becomes compromised, making it difficult for the body to break down and absorb nutrients effectively.

Effects of active Hashimoto’s

In the active stage of Hashimoto’s, individuals may start experiencing various symptoms, one of which is constipation. However, even before constipation occurs, the active phase of the condition slows down the stomach’s ability to digest food. It also impairs the gallbladder’s ability to produce sufficient bile and the pancreas’ ability to secrete digestive enzymes. This can further hinder the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, contributing to nutrient deficiencies.

Constipation and nutrient absorption

Constipation is a common symptom in the active stage of Hashimoto’s and can exacerbate nutrient deficiencies. When the digestive system is slowed down, the natural process of digestion and absorption is disrupted. This can lead to inadequate nutrient absorption, as the body is unable to effectively extract the necessary vitamins and minerals from food.

Impact on gallbladder and digestive enzymes

Hashimoto’s can have a detrimental effect on the gallbladder, reducing its ability to pump out bile. Bile plays a crucial role in the digestion and absorption of fats. When the gallbladder is compromised, the breakdown of fats is impaired, and the body may struggle to absorb essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.

Additionally, the active stage of Hashimoto’s can hinder the pancreas’ production of digestive enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down starches, sugars, and proteins. Insufficient enzyme production can further contribute to nutrient deficiencies as the body may struggle to fully digest these macronutrients.

Hydrochloric acid deficiency and iron absorption

Another significant cause of nutrient deficiencies in Hashimoto’s is the deficiency in hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Hypothyroidism, which is often present in Hashimoto’s, can reduce hydrochloric acid production. This deficiency can impair the body’s ability to break down and absorb iron properly. Consequently, individuals with Hashimoto’s may develop iron deficiency anemia.

Intrinsic factor dysfunction and B12 absorption

Intrinsic factor dysfunction is commonly associated with Hashimoto’s and can contribute to nutrient deficiencies. The intrinsic factor is a protein produced in the stomach that is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12. When Hashimoto’s disrupts the production or function of intrinsic factor, it becomes challenging for the body to absorb adequate amounts of vitamin B12. This can lead to a deficiency in this crucial nutrient.

Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO)

Many individuals with Hashimoto’s may experience small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO occurs when there is an excessive amount of bacteria in the small intestine, leading to digestive problems. SIBO can further impair nutrient absorption and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

Oral tolerance breakdown

Another factor that can lead to nutrient deficiencies in Hashimoto’s is the breakdown of oral tolerance. Oral tolerance refers to the body’s ability to tolerate and digest food without an immune response. In Hashimoto’s, oral tolerance can become compromised, leading to difficulties in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. This breakdown can contribute to nutrient deficiencies and further exacerbate the symptoms of Hashimoto’s.

Improving Nutrient Absorption with Hashimotos: Essential Strategies

Consequences of Nutrient Deficiencies

Malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies

In individuals with Hashimoto’s, nutrient deficiencies can lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition occurs when the body does not receive an adequate amount of essential nutrients. This can have a profound impact on overall health, energy levels, and organ function.

Connection to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Nutrient deficiencies in individuals with Hashimoto’s can also be associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a condition characterized by digestive discomfort and irregular bowel movements. The inflammation caused by Hashimoto’s can contribute to the development or worsening of IBS symptoms, further impacting nutrient absorption and contributing to deficiencies.

Association with other autoimmune conditions

Hashimoto’s is often not an isolated autoimmune condition, and individuals with this disorder are more likely to develop other autoimmune conditions. The presence of multiple autoimmune conditions can increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies and exacerbate their consequences.

Signs of significant nutrient deficiencies

Significant nutrient deficiencies can be identified through various signs and symptoms. These may include fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, dry skin, weakened immune function, and changes in weight. If you observe any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to assess potential nutrient deficiencies.

Impact on malnourished patients

In severe cases, nutrient deficiencies can lead to malnourishment. Malnourished individuals often experience significant weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and a host of other health complications. Proper management of nutrient deficiencies is crucial in preventing malnutrition and promoting overall health and well-being.

Improving Nutrient Absorption with Hashimotos: Essential Strategies

Strategies to Improve Nutrient Absorption

Optimizing digestion and gut health

Improving digestion and maintaining a healthy gut is fundamental in ensuring proper nutrient absorption. This can be achieved through various lifestyle and dietary interventions, such as consuming a balanced diet, managing stress levels, staying hydrated, and avoiding food sensitivities.

Addressing constipation and improving bowel movements

Constipation can hinder nutrient absorption, so it is important to address it promptly. Strategies to improve bowel movements include increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and incorporating probiotics into your routine.

Supporting gallbladder function

To support the proper functioning of the gallbladder, individuals with Hashimoto’s can follow a diet that focuses on healthy fats and includes foods like olive oil, avocados, and fatty fish. Additionally, consuming bitter herbs, such as dandelion root and artichoke, can stimulate bile production and improve gallbladder function.

Boosting hydrochloric acid production

To overcome hydrochloric acid deficiency, individuals may need to supplement with digestive enzymes or betaine HCl under the guidance of a healthcare professional. These supplements can support the breakdown and absorption of nutrients.

Enhancing intrinsic factor activity

In individuals with intrinsic factor dysfunction, supplementing with vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin can support proper absorption. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and delivery method.

Managing SIBO and oral tolerance breakdown

Treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and addressing the breakdown of oral tolerance is essential. Treatment options may include antibiotic therapy, probiotics, dietary modifications, and lifestyle changes.

Implementing a nutrient-dense diet

Consuming a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet is crucial for individuals with Hashimoto’s to combat nutrient deficiencies. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains can provide the necessary vitamins and minerals the body needs to function optimally.

Consideration of supplementation

In some cases, supplementation may be necessary to address specific nutrient deficiencies associated with Hashimoto’s. Working with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can help identify which supplements are suitable for individual needs.

Seeking professional guidance

Individuals with Hashimoto’s and nutrient deficiencies should seek professional guidance from healthcare providers specializing in autoimmune conditions. They can provide personalized recommendations, monitor nutrient levels, and ensure appropriate management.

Improving Nutrient Absorption with Hashimotos: Essential Strategies


Nutrient deficiencies are a common consequence of Hashimoto’s, and they can have a significant impact on overall health and well-being. Understanding the causes and consequences of these deficiencies is crucial in developing strategies to improve nutrient absorption and prevent malnutrition. By addressing underlying digestive issues, optimizing gut health, and making dietary and lifestyle modifications, individuals with Hashimoto’s can support their body’s nutrient needs and promote better health outcomes. Seeking professional guidance is essential to ensure a comprehensive approach to managing nutrient deficiencies in the context of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

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