Bipolar & Hyperthyroid Vastly Improved by Optimizing Gut Health

Holly’s experience with the Healthy Gut, Healthy You Plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Improving gut health, even just with the right diet, can often dramatically improve thyroid conditions.
  • Poor gut health can prevent thyroid medication absorption.

It might seem odd to imagine that supporting your gut could help withthe symptoms of treating bipolar disorder and with hyperthyroidism management. If that seems strange, I’d like you to meet Holly. When she attended to her gut health, using the guidance from Healthy Gut, Healthy You, she was able to stop her bipolar medication, and reduce her hyperthyroid medication. Here’s her story.

In This Episode…

Holly’s Bipolar-Hyperthyroid Story … 00:01:04
The Gut Health Connection … 00:04:54
Gluten-Free Changes the Game … 00:06:07
Diet Changes That Helped … 00:08:16
Gut Health-Thyroid Health Connection … 00:10:59
Hyperthyroid Symptom Improvement … 00:14:25
Gut Supplements Holly Used … 00:16:43

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Holly’s Hyperthyroid-Bipolar Story

In her early 30s, Holly started experiencing mental illness symptoms like anxiety and depression. She was diagnosed as bipolar, and given medication, but she intuitively didn’t feel like this was the right diagnosis. Over the next several years, her symptoms worsened. By her mid-30s, she was having symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including seizures, a swollen throat, and skin breakouts. Holly was diagnosed by blood tests with hyperthyroidism, and given a methimazole prescription, a standard hyperthyroid treatment.

Holly’s symptoms calmed down for a while, but then she developed joint aches and pains, and was put on daily naproxen.

Due to stress from her job, Holly wasn’t taking great care of herself, and was under a lot of stress. Her seizures continued, and one day she fell in a parking lot during a seizure and fractured her skull. During her recovery, she slept a lot, had severe brain fog, and couldn’t taste or smell well. She also lost her ability to tolerate sunlight, and never felt hungry.


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The Gut Health Connection

While recovering from her head injury, Holly connected with an online group to learn more about her health issues. A friend recommended medical cannabis. She began trying to use it, but found that she couldn’t absorb even high doses of cannabis edibles. She started wondering if maybe her gut was the culprit.

Gluten-Free and Low-FODMAP Diets Changed the Game

In Healthy Gut, Healthy You, the first step of the Great-in-8 Protocol is finding your optimal gut healing diet. The right diet isn’t necessarily an out-of-the-box diet. More often, my patients start with a diet template, but need to customize it to fit what their body is telling them.

In her research, Holly had learned that a gluten-free diet might help her treatment plan. Her doctor allowed it, but didn’t think it would really help. Sadly, the connection between the gut and the brain hasn’t really permeated conventional medicine and that can be really disheartening for those who have neurological symptoms.

Holly tried the gluten-free diet and it helped. She said, “It turns out [that] going gluten free really started to help. And I realized there was a big issue [in my gut].” Some of her symptoms of bipolar disorder began to shift.

She went on to create a customized diet that incorporated ideas from paleo and the low-FODMAP diet. She said, “I don’t worry about how many calories I consume, but I do worry about how much protein versus fat and carbs, and also probably low FODMAP was the big kicker in my elimination diet…”

Holly’s Hyperthyroid and Bipolar Symptoms Improved

Once Holly optimized her diet, and included good bacteria from probiotic supplements and enzymes, her hyperthyroid symptoms, including the joint pain, brain fog, and seizures began to normalize.

There is some preliminary research to suggest that when people improve their gut health, they absorb their thyroid medication more easily. The best data here looks at hypothyroid patients who also have an H. pylori infection. Not everyone with a thyroid problem necessarily has an H. pylori infection, but this is a well-studied model that establishes that if we treat what is causing malabsorption, the amount of thyroid medication needed decreases and symptoms improve at the same time.

Holly shared, “I don’t think I was even absorbing most of my meds because after [the] seizure that caused my skull fracture, my doctors wanted to take me off the antidepressant and I didn’t even go through withdrawal when I stopped taking it. So I really honestly don’t think I was absorbing the meds they were giving me.”

She added, “It’s amazing, that I could do most of this with how I ate and actually enjoy it…It was so frustrating to find out later that I could have probably avoided a lot of this if I had just gotten my gut in check earlier.”

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, even with a complicated symptom picture, supporting gut health can make a huge difference with symptoms, and makes other treatments more effective. In Holly’s case, using the protocol in Healthy Gut, Healthy You helped her overcome hyperthyroid and bipolar symptoms.

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Discussion

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