How to keep your gut healthy while traveling with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

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Nothing refreshes the mental landscape better than an exciting trip to a foreign land. However, nothing can have you regretting that adventure more than being glued to the toilet with traveler’s diarrhea or vomiting instead of traipsing through temples and markets. 

When you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, your gut may be more sensitive to begin with, so it pays to go prepared. 

With some advance planning and knowledge about gut health, stomach bugs, and supplements that can protect your gut, you may be able to breeze through your trip without days-long sessions in the hotel bathroom.

Nix stomach bugs with hydrochloric acid when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is the acid in the stomach. You can also obtain it in a supplement. Why would you want to take an acid when it seems everyone is taking antacids? Because it’s our first line of defense against stomach bugs and can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea. It is vital to make sure you are sufficient in HCl when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, as Hashimoto’s can cause you to be low in HCl.

It may surprise you to know that many adults are deficient in HCl, especially the ones who suffer from acid reflux and pop antacids. This is because if stomach acid is low, food in the stomach is improperly digested. This lack of acidity also fails to trigger the valves that usher the food into the intestines. As a result, it ferments in the stomach, causing that burning feeling, and then shoots back up into the esophagus, scalding its delicate tissue. Although antacids bring relief, they fail to address the problem of low stomach acid.

HCl is vital to not only digest food, but also to kill bacteria, yeast, and other harmful pathogens. When stomach acid is low, you are more vulnerable to stomach bugs. Throw in strange, new cuisine of questionable hygiene in a developing country and you’ve got yourself an impending date with the porcelain god. Or the hole in the bathroom floor.

The best way to avoid this is to take HCl supplements with your meals. It’s best to begin this regimen before your trip so you can acclimate your digestive system to the change in chemistry and dial in your dose. Keep upping the dose with each meal until you feel burning. Then go back to the previous dose. As your natural acidity improves, you may find you need less over time. However, while traveling, it’s a good idea to take HCl prophylactically to lower the risk of traveler’s diarrhea.

If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, making sure you are sufficient in HCl is the first step to improving your gut health, which in turn will help you better manage your autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Probiotics outwit bad bugs by beefing up the good bugs

Another great digestive force to support is your own colony of beneficial gut bacteria. Recent research has established how vital the three to four pounds of gut bacteria in our intestines are to our mental, immune, and digestive health. This is especially true if you are working to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

It’s hard to say whether popping probiotics only during your travels will prevent traveler’s diarrhea. But if you start beefing up the good bugs several months prior, you’ll head into uncharted culinary territory better fortified.

One of the best ways to nourish your good bacteria is to make vegetables a primary part of every meal, even breakfast. Add cultured foods and drinks to your diet (such as kefir and kimchi), and supplement with probiotics. You may also need an herbal of the harmful bacteria to “weed the inner garden.” Ask my office for advice.

Tending to your inner garden will not only keep you healthier when you travel, but it will also play a big role in helping you better manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. 

Best prevention to traveler’s diarrhea is a healthy gut; vital for managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism too

The best way to lower your risk of traveler’s diarrhea is to start your travels with a healthy intestinal environment. It is also the best way to lay the foundation for managing your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism so that you have the energy and well being to travel in the first place.

This includes making sure you have sufficient stomach acid, repairing leaky gut, cleansing out overgrowths of bad bacteria and yeasts, and eating a whole foods diet that is primarily vegetables while avoiding sweets, processed foods, and restaurant foods. Ask my office for more info on preventing traveler’s diarrhea and managing your autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

July 21, 2015
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