Plain language summary
Thyroid and gut disease often coexist together. This literature review highlights the strong interplay between gut, microbiota and thyroid disease. In autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) gut bacteria imbalances, bacterial overgrowth, Coeliac's disease or non-coeliacs wheat sensitivity, increased gut permeability and resulting deficiency of thyroid nutrients are not uncommon. Inflammation and intestinal wall damage that lead to increased permeability are thought to be one of the driving factors for autoimmune activity. Allergens, certain drugs, impaired gut flora and nutrient deficiencies are some of the contributors to heightened intestinal permeability. Furthermore, the gut walls host deiodinase enzymes that convert thyroid hormone to its active form. The gut microbiota however influence thyroid function in their own rights. The bacteria are crucial for nutrient synthesis, absorption and availability, including those essential for thyroid health. Gut bacteria and their metabolites also play a significant role in the regulation, development and training of immune cells, relevant to AITD. After all, the gut also houses a large proportion of the immune system known as gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). Besides, some bacteria species seem to be capable of balancing fluctuating thyroid hormone levels in the blood. The writings further elaborate on thyroid-essential nutrients and the gut such as iodine, iron, zinc, selenium and Vitamin D. And the impact of bariatric surgery on thyroid function and the presence of certain gut bacteria in thyroid cancers. In summary, the authors concluded that the thyroid-gut axis seems to exhibit a strong connection. Limited evidence from human studies showed promising results of probiotics and synbiotics on thyroid function and targeting the microbiota as a novel strategies for the management of thyroid disease is encouraged to be explored further. This article may be of interest to those looking for an informative summary on the many ways in which the gut influences thyroid function in health and disease.