7 Ways Your Thyroid Is Keeping You Fat & How to Fix It

August 21, 2018
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Did you know your thyroid– that little butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your throat– affects virtually every aspect of your health?

It’s true.

In fact, every cell in your body has receptors for your thyroid hormone! That means your thyroid directly affects your brain, heart, gallbladder, liver, digestive system, bone health, red blood cells, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, cholesterol levels, protein metabolism, and body temperature regulation.

Phew! That’s a lot of work for one little organ.

And as you can imagine, when a champion multi-tasker like your thyroid gland is under attack, you see it and feel it all over your body as low energy, poor immunity, and frustrating weight gain.

Today, I want to look at some common thyroid problems, and five at-home solutions for getting your thyroid health back on track.

But first, an important announcement:

As you may know, my newest book Radical Metabolism is scheduled to release in just a few days.

Radical Metabolism reveals an easy step-by-step program designed to help you lose a pound a day, supercharge your metabolism, and restore lost energy.

And one of the secrets of the Radical Metabolism program is showing you exactly how to reboot, recharge, and revitalize a sluggish thyroid.

So if you struggle with thyroid issues that sap your energy and make weight loss feel almost impossible, you’re going to LOVE the cutting edge solutions in Radical Metabolism.

Best of all, when you pre-order Radical Metabolism at this exclusive page you’ll receive instant access to over $107 in free gifts.

But you’ll need to hurry.

Your free gifts are only available for a few more days. So go here now to pre-order your copy of Radical Metabolism and claim your gifts while they’re still available.

Now, let’s look at some common causes of poor thyroid function and what you can do about it.

Is this why you’re still dealing with thyroid problems?

In Hashimoto’s Disease, your body is attacking your thyroid gland, slowly but surely destroying its capacity to produce thyroid hormone, which leads to hypothyroidism.

In Graves’ Disease, your thyroid becomes enlarged and overactive, producing too much thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism. When one of these autoimmune thyroid diseases strikes, it may seem like your body has betrayed you, but the more likely explanation is that it’s fighting an enemy you can’t see.

The Infection Connection

When you have poor nutrition or a suppressed immune system from stress, immunosuppressive medications, antibiotics, or other diseases, and you contract an infection, it becomes an ongoing, low grade drain on your body’s resources, and this paves the way for autoimmunity to set in. Without enough immune response, these infections take up residence in your thyroid gland (and other organs) and basically take it over so the infection can hide and multiply. The classic story is of a person who develops what seems like a normal respiratory infection, but the fatigue and muscle aches don’t go away, and down the road the tests for thyroid are finally done and Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease is found.

There are two main categories of infections that are known to lead to autoimmune thyroid diseases – viruses and gut infections. There are many viruses that once you get them, you have them for life. They create a latent infection that lives in the body dormant until the right conditions reactivate it. And there are gut infections that burrow into the mucosal lining and stay there causing trouble, even after they’ve run their course.

1. Herpes Zoster Virus

The classic example of this is of the person who has chicken pox in childhood and it later reactivates when you are under stress as a painful case of Shingles. Herpes Zoster is the name of that virus, and it is one of the viruses known to trigger thyroid autoimmunity. Other herpes family viruses that are known triggers include Cytomegalovirus (CMV), the common childhood virus HHV-6, and Epstein-Barr Virus.

2. Epstein-Barr Virus

The culprit that has gotten the most attention and study in this area is EBV, the Epstein-Barr virus. Over 90 percent of the adult population in the world has been infected with EBV at some point in their lives. Also known as infectious mononucleosis, or the “kissing disease,” initial symptoms can range from debilitating fatigue, sore throat and fever to being totally asymptomatic. EBV is known to cause not only Hashimoto’s and Graves’ diseases, but also MS, Lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and more.

3. Hepatitis C Virus

This virus that attacks the liver has been made famous by the baby boomer generation, who is now screened routinely because 80 percent of infected adults have never had symptoms. This virus causes an autoimmune reaction in the thyroid, whether it’s been treated or not. The main medical treatment for Hep C is interferon, which by itself is an environmental trigger for autoimmune thyroid disease.

4. Helicobacter Pylori

This bacteria is the most common cause of peptic ulcer disease, and while most people will experience nausea, heartburn and indigestion once infected, there are many who are asymptomatic. H. pylori can be transmitted through kissing or contaminated water, and is a known cause of thyroid autoimmunity. It is most common in people who have insufficient stomach acid production.

5. Yersinia Enterocolitica

This bacteria is most commonly transmitted through eating undercooked pork, and is often mistaken for what we call the “stomach flu.” Once the diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever are gone, the infection can linger and lead to autoimmune thyroid disease.

6. Blastocystis Hominis

This parasite has been dismissed in the past as not being harmful, but recent studies are changing that tune. One study showed complete remission of Hashimoto’s once the parasite was eradicated. While this parasite commonly causes diarrhea, stomach pain, and fatigue, it is often asymptomatic and only discovered through a stool culture.

7. Candida Overgrowth

Anything that suppresses your immune system or disrupts the healthy bacteria balance in your gut can lead to Candida overgrowth. The jury is out on whether Candida overgrowth directly causes thyroid autoimmune disease, or if it’s indirect by increasing inflammation and intestinal permeability.

5 Ways to Fight Infections and Restore Thyroid Health

I believe it’s possible to put your autoimmune thyroid disease into remission, and the studies back me up on this. But, it will take some work – and detective work – on your part, to find your root causes and address them. Here are 5 ways you can fight these stealth infections and restore your thyroid health.

1. Mind Your Minerals

Minerals are essential for thyroid health, and deficiencies of selenium, iodine, magnesium and more can weaken its defenses and open the door to hidden infections and autoimmune disease. UNI KEY Health offers the non-invasive TMA testing (Tissue Mineral Analysis)for minerals and heavy metals. From just a small hair sample sent into the lab, you’ll get a comprehensive report on which minerals are too low or too high, and what this means for your overall health. Bringing these minerals back into balance is essential for the health of all your cells, not just your thyroid, and gives you a strong base to fight disease from.

2. Eat “Forbidden Fats”

In my new book, Radical Metabolism, I go into great detail about how key the healthy essential Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats are for the health of all of our cells. You can’t build a healthy cell without healthy fats. In addition, many of these fats contain compounds that fight infections, from viruses to unfriendly gut bacteria and even parasites. In fact, I wrote this book specifically with autoimmune thyroid disease sufferers in mind, and it works not only to supercharge your metabolism but also to support the health of your thyroid to naturally bring those thyroid hormones back into balance. Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, coconut, wild cold-water fish, grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs, and supplements like GLA and CLA are essential for the health of your thyroid.

3. Clean Up Your Gut

With over 80 percent of your immune system in your gut, it’s critically important to heal your leaky gut to lower your autoimmunity. Once your gut becomes inflamed from stress, poor diet, or infections, it leads not just to food intolerances and allergies, but has a direct connection to autoimmune disease. The first place to start is to eliminate dairy and gluten from your diet, which are known to exacerbate autoimmune thyroid conditions. Next, I recommend My Colon Cleansing Kitfrom UNI KEY Health to clear out unwanted hitchhikers and rebalance the healthy intestinal flora. If you have sugar cravings or known Candida yeast issues, then add Y-C Cleanseto your regimen for at least 30 to 60 days, then as needed for symptoms.

4. Build Better Bile

Evidence is mounting that hypothyroidism is linked to congested bile, the golden liquid your liver produces and your gallbladder releases into your small intestine to break down fats, bind toxins, kill unwanted invaders, and trigger conversion of your thyroid’s T4 hormone into T3, the more active form that activates your metabolism. Having Hashimoto’s also puts you at risk for gallbladder disease, creating a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. The recipe for success in building better bile and restoring gallbladder health comes from having bitter foods and drinks in your diet, and supplementing with UNI KEY Health’s Bile Builder, which I created just for this issue. In fact, healthy bile is so important to your health and metabolism, I’ve devoted a whole chapter to it in my Radical Metabolism book, and it’s a key feature of the plan’s success.

5. Adaptogens for Less Stress

Once you have developed autoimmune thyroid disease, there’s no question your thyroid is under stress. Replacing missing minerals and eating calming essential fats do help reduce inflammation and stress on the thyroid, but it’s also critical to reduce your overall stress load. Your thyroid is part of your HPA Axis, which is responsible for your body’s stress handling. Our modern lifestyles are full of stress, and while we can use everything from deep breathing to yoga and exercise to help us handle stress better, a body with a stressed thyroid needs a little extra help. This is where adaptogenic herbs come in. These herbs help your body adapt to stress and calm your stress response, which in turn calms inflammation and promotes thyroid health.

My favorite adaptogens are Rhodiola, Amla (also a great source of Vitamin C), Holy Basil, Cordyceps, and Eleuthero (be cautious with Graves’ disease). Ashwagandha doesn’t make the list simply because it’s a nightshade, and many people find their inflammation increases with nightshades in their diets. However, if this herb works for you, it’s fine to continue using it.

The other adaptogen that doesn’t make my list of thyroid helpers is Maca. There are some controversial studies that show it negatively affects the thyroid, either with overstimulation or suppressing it, depending on how the herb has been processed. I’ve seen too many clients with thyroid conditions feel worse instead of better using this herb, and it even affects their thyroid labs. Best to avoid this one when you have thyroid disease.

If you have hypothyroidism or autoimmune thyroid disease and can’t lose weight no matter how hard you’ve tried, I encourage you to pre-order my new Radical Metabolism book so you can finally win the battle of the bulge!

And when you pre-order Radical Metabolism now, it’s like you’re getting the book FOR FREE!

That’s because as soon as you pre-order Radical Metabolism at this exclusive page, I’ll send you a $28 gift card to UNI KEY Health Systems — which covers the cost of the book. On top of that, you’ll also receive instant access to three additional free gifts AND an exclusive invitation to my private Facebook group where you’ll get to spend time with me and other health-conscious women.

But you can’t afford to dilly dally….

Because you’re $28 gift card to UNI KEY Health Systems, three additional free gifts, and access to my private Facebook group are available for a very limited time.

So go here now to pre-order your copy of Radical Metabolism and claim all your free gifts while you still can!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Lucy Wilson

    Excellent information about the causes of thyroid problems. I already ordered Radical Metabolism and can’t wait to read it!

  2. Emily

    So informational! Thank you!

  3. Team ALG

    Excellent information about the causes of thyroid problems. We have already ordered our Radical Metabolism books and can’t wait to read them!

  4. Ann Louise Gittleman

    I am so excited my friends, fans, family!!

  5. Liv Rosin

    I’ve read your newest book and started taking healthy Omega 6 and DHA. Six pounds have melted off already! I’m working on the bike renovation next. Thank you for explaining why my post-menopausal body with Hashimoto’s needed more than calorie and sugar/gluten deprivation. My son’s wedding is in 38 days, and I am already envisioning having more energy—and fun—than I did for my daughter’s wedding five years ago!


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