If you have been struggling with fertility problems, your thyroid health may be to blame. Thyroid disorders are quite common and affect one in three people. The consumption of gluten and coffee can be contributing factors to problems with your thyroid and ultimately your fertility.
Thyroid Health and Fertility
One of the main functions of the thyroid gland is to produce the hormones T3, triiodthyronine, and T4, thyroxine. These hormones work to regulate multiple metabolic processes. The thyroid gland is controlled by the TSH, thyroid- stimulating hormone, which is released from the pituitary glands and released into the bloodstream.
If your thyroid is not producing the proper amount of hormones the body requires than it could be an over-active thyroid or an underactive thyroid. This could have a negative impact on female fertility. An imbalance of thyroid hormones can disrupt the production of sex hormones. This could result in irregular menstruation or amenorrhea. Menstrual irregularities or the lack of a period can make conception difficult. Hypothyroidism can make conceiving hard, however, hyperthyroidism tends to have unfortunate effects on pregnancy itself. If you do conceive with poor thyroid health, you may be at risk for miscarriages, preeclampsia, or preterm birth.
The Role that Gluten Can Play
A gluten-free diet can help to normalize thyroid levels, alleviate symptoms, and possibly decrease the necessity of medication for some women. Research shows that 90 % of women who struggle with hypothyroidism, or Hashimoto’s, cases are due to an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland.
A number of studies from different countries show a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten. This is due to the protein structure of gluten. The structure of gluten is very similar to that of the thyroid tissue. When you eat gluten and your immune system begins to react to it, it may mistakenly react to the thyroid tissue as well. This can cause the immune system to destroy the thyroid tissue, when in fact the gluten is the real culprit.
One study found that after one year, 71 % of subjects resolved their hypothyroid symptoms by going on a strict gluten-free diet.
By avoiding gluten, you can help to improve your thyroid health and to avoid any further damage to the organ.
The Role that Coffee Can Play
While coffee is not officially a source of gluten, a non-organic coffee is considered cross reactive. This means that it can cause similar reactions in susceptible persons as gluten. One study showed that coffee produced in a highly processed way, such as ground coffees or instant coffees, has shown to produce the highest cross-reactivity. Whereas, organic whole bean coffee did not. This is because the coffee is contaminated with gluten through normal processing techniques. If you prefer decaf coffee, look for Swiss water process decaf to avoid toxic chemicals used within the decaffeination process.
Non-organic coffee is a crop that is highly sprayed and grown within countries that have a lax pesticide regulation. Around 250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are sprayed every acre of conventionally processed coffee. When someone that is struggling with autoimmune thyroid issues, immunological fertility issues, or a gluten sensitivity consume this type of coffee they are more susceptible to reactions due to an overload of toxic chemicals.
Most coffee contains the toxic immune suppressing mold compound, ochratoxin A. For those in good health, this is not usually an issue. But for those who have been ill, have immunological fertility issues, or have a gluten sensitivity they may have a strong reaction to this mold.
How to Work Towards Better Thyroid Health
If you are struggling with thyroid health and fertility issues, it may be best to avoid gluten and coffee altogether.
But, if you are an avid coffee lover you can still enjoy the occasional cup of coffee. Just make sure to chose your coffee wisely and keep it to a minimum. Make sure to find and research organic whole bean coffees that do not produce a gluten cross-reactivity. When trying to conceive, it is important to watch your coffee and caffeine intake as it may cause issues with fertility for both men and women.
Coffee and caffeine has been shown to to cause a problem with conception when taken in large amounts. It has also been shown to have an effect on the increase of miscarriages and fertility issues.
It is even a good idea to look into herbal coffee alternatives. Most herbal tea is gluten free and still provides a warm cup of deliciousness. Switching to herbal tea or an herbal coffee alternative is one of the best choices you could do when trying to conceive with thyroid health issues.
It is important to keep in mind, that if you have begun a gluten-free diet, but have not switched your coffee to organic whole beans that you may still experience some cross-reactivity that can affect your thyroid. The best way to help work towards improved thyroid health is to make the change to both areas altogether.