Acid Reflux, Low Stomach Acid and Hypothyroidism

Stomach acid is needed in the body to break down food and get rid of bad bacteria. It is made as and when you eat, but many hypothyroid patients have low stomach acid, which leads to GORD, GERD, acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, acid regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, chest pain/discomfort, cough and even hoarseness.

Research has found that the older your body gets, the lower your levels of stomach acid can become, but many hypothyroid patients are surprised to learn that their acid reflux can be related to a poorly treated underactive thyroid.

Most common for those on T4-only medication like Levothyroxine or Synthroid, an inadequately treated underactive thyroid and/or Hashimoto’s can be linked to these low stomach acid problems.

It seems that hypothyroidism can lower levels of stomach acid. This could be due to a lowering of parietel cells, lowering their ability to produce gastric acid (hypochlorhydria). Because of this, the absorption of important nutrients is reduced (such as vitamin D, b12, iron etc.), which can lead on to low or deficient levels of certain vitamins. Lowered levels of vitamins and minerals is common with hypothyroid patients and especially those with Hashimoto’s.

You may also find that low levels of stomach acid can cause a sensitivity to milk and/or gluten, too. So by fixing your low levels, you could see improvement in these sensitivities.

Low levels of stomach acid can lead to your doctor diagnosing you with gastritis, which is inflammation of the lining of the stomach.

 Like me, doctors put most thyroid patients with these problems on PPI medications like Omeprazole, which are acid suppressors, when we already have low acid! These mask the symptoms and problem, which just makes things worse, because we’re not treating the cause.

when-you-realise-that-all-your-health-conditions-are-actually-all-because-of-a-poorly-treated-underactive-thyroid-d07b6

So what can you do?

Make sure your thyroid is optimally medicated. Whether you’re on T4-only meds like Levothyroxine or Synthroid, a T3 and T4 combo or NDT, you want to aim for a TSH between 0.5-2, a T4 mid-range or a bit higher and a T3 in the top quarter of the range. Incorrect thyroid levels can cause low stomach acid. I was on Omeprazole for my daily acid reflux, but once I started NDT and corrected my thyroid levels, my acid reflux problems disappeared. It’s the case for a lot of thyroid patients; doctors just keep handing out more and more medications, refusing to acknowledge that it’s all linked, and that by giving meds for acid reflux, it’s not treating the cause – inadequate thyroid levels. You’ll find that getting your thyroid levels right could well correct or improve a whole host of other health conditions you have, too.

Apple cider vinegar is said to help raise low stomach acid. Adding a little to a morning drink is reported to be effective.

Checking for iodine deficiency and restoring any low levels may improve stomach acid production as well. It’s not wise to guess if you have low iodine levels, as supplementing it when you don’t need it, can make your hypothyroid situation worse and it can be dangerous, especially for those with Hashimoto’s, as reported by Dr Kharrazian.

Some people also find that adding a probiotic to their health regime helps, as it can help to balance out the bad bacteria.

You may find cutting out gluten helps, too.

As you correct your low stomach acid, the ability to absorb nutrients and minerals should also improve, as well as relief of acid reflux, heartburn etc. but when coming off medication for acid reflux, heartburn, GERD etc. make sure to do it with a doctor’s guidance, and wean off of them slowly to avoid nasty side effects.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given, but more reading and references can also be found at:

https://www.holtorfmed.com/gerd-and-thyroid-disease-does-your-thyroid-doctor-know/

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/stomach-acid/

http://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/thyroid#2

https://www.hashimotoshealing.com/stomach-acid/

Because I want my blog to remain as transparent as possible, it’s important that you know I have used affiliate links in this post. This means I earn a tiny amount for each product purchased through Amazon from my blog. This doesn’t change that I love these products, it just means that as well as sharing what I love, if I drive any traffic to Amazon through the hard work of my blog, the running costs of my site get supported. Thank you. 

To get notified of all my posts, blogs and articles, like my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheInvisibleHypothyroidism/ 

And follow me on Instagram.

I run a Facebook group, called Thyroid Family: Hypothyroidism Advice & Support Group. This group is for underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism patients only, and not medical professionals or anyone else. If you have any questions on living with hypothyroidism, or want some support, help or advice, please join us. 

I also run a group for the spouses, partners and other halves of hypothyroid patients, called Hypothyroid Patients Other Halves – Support & Advice Group. This is for the other halves only and not patients. 

-Rachel

About Rachel Hill, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

Diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME), as well as having Adrenal Fatigue and experience with Depression and Anxiety Disorder, Rachel Hill blogs at theinvisiblehypothyroidism.com to help others, covering all aspects of what it’s like to have these conditions. Rachel is one of the many faces of thyroid disease and she’s passionate about helping those with hypothyroidism and giving them a voice.
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