Alcohol use and the thyroid. Episode 21.

The first step to thriving with Hashimoto’s is to make a decision to thrive

How does alcohol affect the thyroid

Alcohol affects T4 to T3 conversion

It can stimulate one part of the immune system, the TH2 cell production putting the immune system out of balance and weakening the immune system in general. 

It plays a factor in increasing leaky gut or intestinal permeability

It will contribute to feeding candida overgrowth as it is a favorite of candida to keep growing. 

    • symptoms of candida overgrowth can be quite similar to hypothyroid symptoms with things like fatigue, brain fog/spacy feeling, and cold hands and feet

    • it is quite opportunistic meaning it will take advantage of your situation to help itself grow and stay strong

    • it also contributes to leaky gut

    • a good diet of veggies and proteins can be helpful. A whole show could be dedicated to this topic. I will work on that for you guys. 

It will make handling stress harder or if you use it to deal with stress, you might want to think about working on that. 

It will take a toll on your blood sugar balancing, keeping you on the blood sugar roller coaster, and affect your sleep. Both of these will affect your thyroid in general as far as it functioning properly goes because your adrenal glands will be hard at work which will lead to adrenal fatigue or HPA axis dysfunction. 

If you are hoping to recover your health and your thyroid at all, blood sugar management should really be a top priority for you. Personally, I do not tolerate a lot of starchy carbs very well after years of mismanaged blood sugar, adrenal fatigue, poor sleep and a major sugar addiciton. Alcohol was never something I drank a lot of after I had kids so that didn’t contribute too much to my problems. I enjoyed a good party before kids quite often though but that was while my body was able to deal with it without being at the point of breaking down- or I guess it lead to the eventual breakdown of my metabolism maybe. Who knows. Anyway, blood sugar imbalances are a stress on the adrenals which will be a stress on the thyroid. It is all connected. 

The liver becomes back logged or congested when we consume alcohol and really from all the toxins we take in on a daily basis. It has a big job to do and when we consume alcohol, it stops all other things to process alcohol because it is essentially a poison to our system. 

Many of you maybe just want to enjoy a glass of wine here and there and all I can say is that decision is up to you. alcohol is not allowed on an elimination diet because of all the reasons mentioned. 

Regular consumption of alcohol will deplete your body of B vitamins and particularly thiamine which is B1. It will also cause depletions of glutathione (a major antioxidant in the body), minerals (remember how important selenium and zinc are to thyroid health), Vitamin C, the good or beneficial bacteria in your gut. I’m sure there are more as well because all the systems of the body are affected when one system isn’t working right.

I found a study called Impact of Alcohol Use on Thyroid Function and I will link it for you so you can take a look if you want. 

The study says that alcohol has been thought to suppress the thyroid gland function by making the cells toxic and indirectly affecting thyroid by stopping thyrotropin releasing hormone. This is the hormone released by the hypothalamus to tell the pituitary to release TSH. I hope I am getting that right. I have so much biochemistry in my brain right now there is no room for anything else.  The study also says that if you consume alcohol chronically or are in withdrawl from alcohol use the peripheral thyroid hormones will be affected by not being produced as much. 

Peripheral in a medical definition means relating to, forming or located near a surface. In this case I would say that they are talking about the forming of thyroid hormones which would mean you might present as hypothyroid. 

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines heavy drinking as binge drinking of 5-7 days of the week with binge drinking defined as “a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.”

Just know that one drink, one glass of wine, one beer, one whatever will affect your thyroid health in some way. Regular use will mean you may not be able to fix some of your thyroid symptoms. 

The study appears to be a review of other studies on the subject and they have compiled the information for us. I love those kinds of studies. 

The study does also show there may be some benefit in being protective against developing a goiter for the occasional drinker but not for the chronic drinker. 

I think the bottom line here is that alcohol consumption really affects the liver, adrenals and blood sugar more than the thyroid itself but those three things are very important to ensuring good thyroid function. 

I hope this helps. It would be fun to dive much deeper in to this subject sometime. I’m barely keeping my head above water this week so I just can’t dig around the research right now. 

That is it for me. Thanks for the question. If you have a question about your health you want answered please go to the contact form at and I will work hard to get you a researched answer that will hopefully have some science behind it. 

Join the Help For Hashimoto’s facebook support group. It is a closed group so your presence is private and so are your questions. It is small but growing and I would like you all to have a positive place to support one another. So many of the groups on facebook for thyroid that I have found are largely full of folks who are looking for a quick fix and I will tell you over and over again, there is no quick fix for anything. 

You can also find me at Out of The Woods Nutrition on facebook and my favorite social media place, Instagram at @stephanieewalsntp. 

Head on over to to get your free ebook, Five Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Hypothyroidism and if you would be so kind as to leave a review on Itunes, I would be really grateful. The more ratings and reviews we get, the more people can be helped. 

Remember that The first step to getting your life back is believing that you can.

Have a wonderful and healthful week.