Did you know that anemia can cause hypothyroidism? Both anemia and hypothyroidism are on the rise, and not many people realize there is a connection between the two.
Here’s how anemia can cause hypothyroidism:
When you don’t eat in a relaxed state, your stomach doesn’t produce enough stomach acid to break down and utilize the nutrients in your food, like iron, leading to a deficiency. This can happen even if you’re eating plenty of iron-rich foods, because your stomach isn’t breaking down the food in the first place.
The body needs iron to make TPO, which is then used to make a thyroid hormone (FT4). When the body is deficient in iron, FT4 levels can drop, putting the body in a hypothyroid state.
You also need iron to convert FT4 to the active FT3, so low levels of iron can cause a decrease in FT3. This can lead to weight gain, low energy, etc.
Throwing a bunch of iron at the situation with food or supplements won’t solve the problem because the root issue is that the body isn’t able to utilize the iron in your food.
Here are steps you can take to help reverse anemia and hypothyroidism:
1. Train yourself to eat in a relaxed state. Don’t eat on the go, in the car, when stressed, hurried, etc. When you eat in a relaxed state, the brain can send the proper signal to the stomach to produce enough stomach acid so your body can utilize the nutrients in your food. I know this step seems trivial, but it’s incredibly important.
2. Along with step one, I recommend also using apple cider vinegar, bitters, or an HCL supplement to promote stomach acid production.
3. Along with steps one and two, make sure to eat iron rich foods from animal sources daily. Yes, vegetables like spinach contain iron, but they aren’t the most bioavailable form, so it’s best to stick with heme sources of iron such as liver (one of the best sources!), pastured beef, chicken, game meats, oysters, and pastured eggs.
4. If you take all the steps above for sixty days or more and still have low iron levels, then I would talk to a practitioner who is well trained in nutrition about supplementation.
Can you reverse anemia and also bring FT4 back to normal levels?
Yes! In fact, two of my Nutritional Therapy clients had success with this recently!
If you’d like to dive deeper into iron testing and how to measure your iron status, check out this podcast by Chris Masterjohn.
Keep in mind, that hypothyroidism can have multiple root causes (see my in-depth article about hypothyroidism here) but for some it’s as simple as improving digestion so the body can have the raw materials needed to make enough FT4. It’s pretty amazing what the body can do when you give it the proper tools!