March 8

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Why does Hashimoto’s make you clear your throat?

By Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS, LDN

March 8, 2021


Throat clearing or excess mucus production is a common complaint with Hashimoto’s. But many have no clue that it’s a sign of something bigger. And they certainly don’t relate it to Hashimoto’s.

But they’re linked! They’re linked by the foods that you eat and the inflammation caused by Hashimoto’s disease.

In this blog, we’ll chat about the significance of throat clearing or excess mucus production and what you can do to stop it. The first key is to recognize that it’s happening. Because most have no clue that they’re clearing their throat or their sinuses get clogged.

After reading this blog, you’ll feel relieved yet hopeful because you’ll have learned how foods contribute to your throat clearing and what you can do to stop the constant throat clearing and clogged sinuses.

Throat Clearing and Hashimoto’s

If you’ve ever paid attention to what’s happening in your body, you’ve likely discovered that you clear your throa. Or maybe you notice that sometimes you can breathe through your nose like a champ. And other times it feels very clogged.

If you’ve never noticed this happening, it’s not because it’s not happening. You likely didn’t pay close enough attention. These are common reactions and symptoms to food sensitivities or food allergies.

Yes, this can happen due to seasonal allergies. If you’ve had lifelong seasonal allergies and you have Hashimoto’s, you may benefit from this blog. If you have adult onset seasonal allergies or moved and notice your allergies increased, this blog is definitely for you! We don’t develop seasonal allergies just because…there’s always a reason!

Let’s get back to food! It’s important to know that about 70% of your immune system lies inside your digestive tract. It’s there for good reason…to ward off any pathogens or viruses that come into the body in the foods or liquids that we consume. It’s also a primary reason that you developed Hashimoto’s. The foods you consumed created an immune reaction. That immune reaction kicked off an inflammatory cascade that flipped on your autoimmune switch.

But back to throat clearing and mucus…

This is happening because foods you’re eating are kicking off your immune response. That immune response is increasing inflammation. And part of the inflammatory cascade is to activate the histamine in your digestive tract. You have a ton of histamine receptors in your digestive tract and stomach!

(Fun Fact: Antacid medications like Tagamet, Zantac, and Pepcid are histamine blockers in your stomach. Because acid reflux is a histamine response to foods you’re consuming! This is just one reason for reflux…stress is another.)

Inflammation and Histamine

Since you now know that inflammation can cause histamine reactions, let’s break this down a bit more.

Histamine response is a reaction to something happening in your body. It’s an inflammatory reaction that your immune system kicks off to help process allergens. Symptoms of a histamine response include:

  • Skin itching
  • Skin hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Flushing (you know – after that glass of red wine that’s high in amines)
  • Headache
  • Sinus pressure or excess mucus production in the sinuses
  • Throat clearing or throat itching
  • Asthma
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heart beat

This is not an exhaustive list but they are the most common histamine reactions.

When you consume a food that your body doesn’t like, your immune system is activated. This activation always comes with increased inflammation. When inflammation is high, histamine receptors are activated as well. This is why consuming certain foods make you feel extra mucus-y and result in throat clearing.

It’s important to remember that Hashimoto’s has your immune system already on high alert. And because your immune system is always active, your inflammation is always high. This is why you have so many symptoms that are tough to deal with.

Chasing the symptoms usually results is no changes. But chasing the cause – inflammation and your immune system – will change those symptoms.

How to Reduce Your Histamine Response

The one true way to reduce your histamine response is to get to the source. The root cause.

I live in Texas and we notoriously have home foundation issues. About half the year, my doors in the house don’t shut. And we’ll also get some new cracks in the walls. If I repaired those cracks, they’d continue to show up time and again. Or, if I adjusted the doors, they’d shut but then shift again.

But, if I had a foundation company come in and adjust the foundation, the cracks would seal and my doors would shut. This is called fixing the root cause.

The root cause to Hashimoto’s is internal and external stress that activated your gene. An internal stress would be foods that you’re consuming. That’s actually a HUGE internal stress. It is possible to put your Hashimoto’s into remission and flip your autoimmune gene off.

The root cause to histamine that you’re experiencing is food. Below is a list of foods that you can experiment with. These are common inflammatory foods:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Sugar

Never remove more than one food at a time. Because you’ll have a hard time finding out which foods were contributing to your symptoms. And definitely pay attention to how you feel after eating. Check in with your body and listen to what it’s telling you. This is key to your recovery!

Wrap Up

The number 1 thing you can do for excess mucus and throat clearing is to identify your food triggers. These are likely the same triggers that are causing your other Hashimoto’s symptoms as well like:

  • Bloating that comes out of nowhere
  • Uncomfortable or embarrassing constipation or diarrhea
  • Fatigue that leaves you needing 2-3 naps just to get through the day
  • Weird skin issues like eczema, dry skin, rashes, or bumps
  • Weight gain that won’t budge no matter what you do

For Hashimoto’s, food is at the source of all Hashimoto’s symptoms and side-effects.

And since food is at the source of everything, you can start with removing gluten and seeing how your body does with that! If you’ve tried removing gluten and didn’t notice a difference, there’s more to the story there. Gluten can mask other sensitivities. And, there are other sources of transglutaminase (Tg) to think about.

Transglutaminase (Tg) is what causes Hashimoto’s to attack your thyroid. Tgs are the by-product of breaking down gluten (and some other foods) in your digestive tract. When your body doesn’t like gluten, it attacks Tg. We have a large concentration of Tgs in the thyroid gland. And your body will attack those Tgs as well.

If you haven’t taken the gluten leap yet, the below course is for you! It teaches you everything you need to know about gluten and how it affects your Hashimoto’s.

To learn more, click below!

Reference:

Smolinska, S., Jutel, M., Crameri, R., & O’Mahony, L. (2014). Histamine and gut mucosal immune regulation. Allergy69(3), 273–281. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.12330

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