Link: Presence Of Antibodies
Antibodies are present in people with celiac disease and thyroid conditions, which may help explain the connection between them. About 20 percent of people with celiac disease have type 1 diabetes and/or thyroid antibodies. Moreover, approximately 98 percent of celiac patients have tTG IgA antibodies in their blood.
In autoimmune thyroid disease, on the other hand, about 4 percent and 8 percent of adults and children respectively have tTG IgA antibodies in their blood. That translates to 2-5 percent in the general population.
Celiac Disease And Hashimoto’s
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that occurs in genetically predisposed people where ingesting gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine, damaging the villi, meant to promote nutrient absorption.
In one study, adults with celiac disease were three times as likely to have hypothyroidism as people without celiac disease. In people with both hypothyroidism and celiac disease, strict adherence to a gluten-free diet reversed subclinical hypothyroidism. It follows that some percentage of people with Hashimoto’s and other forms of hypothyroidism may also have celiac disease and will benefit from a gluten-free diet. â
Another study showed that 2-5% of people with autoimmune thyroid disease, like Hashimoto’s, also had celiac disease. Scientists believe that a gluten-free diet can reduce the complications of their thyroid disease and improve the quality and, perhaps, length of life in patients with both Hashimoto’s and CD.
Gluten Foods To Avoid For Hashimoto’s
This author has been verfied for credibility and expertise
Individuals with Hashimoto’s disease may need to avoid gluten foods because, just like celiac disease, Hashimoto’s is a chronic autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues in the case of Hashimoto’s, the thyroid gland is affected. Gluten foods are not the cause of the disorder, but for some people they trigger an immune system response that results in tissue inflammation and destruction.
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One Theory From A Doctor
Dr Myers, who specialises in womens health issues, gut health, thyroid dysfunction, and autoimmunity, is also the founder and medical director of Austin UltraHealth, a clinic based in the Texas, USA.
Its her medical opinion that there are five underlying causes of autoimmune thyroid diseases including Hashimotos thyroiditis. It’s important to note that these causes are not fully accepted by the entire medical community around the world.
1. A leaky gut
The gut is the gateway to health, it houses 80 per cent of your immune system, and you cant have a healthy immune system without a healthy gut, she says.
We now know that if you have an autoimmune disease your gut has become leaky, meaning the tight junctions that typically hold your gut lining together have become loose, allowing undigested food particles, microbes, toxins, and more to escape your gut and enter your bloodstream.
She explains that all of these particles are recognised by your immune system as foreign invaders, sending your immune system into high alert and triggering a huge rise in inflammation. This continual strain on your immune system eventually causes it to go haywire, and it ends up attacking your own tissues by mistake.
Dr Myers explains that for some people, gluten can be the primary cause of leaky gut because gluten triggers the release of zonulin in your intestines, a chemical that tells your gut lining to open up.
When You Reintroduce Foods You Need To Be On The Lookout For Various Symptoms Which May Return
Your reactions may be delayed by as long as 72 hours. And, symptoms are not limited to the digestive system.
Pay close attention to the following symptoms which may indicate you are gluten intolerant.
And, if severe enough, warrants special follow up with your physician for additional testing.
- diarrhea and constipation
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Can A Gluten Free Diet Help With Thyroid Disease
A lot of patient-run websites insist that eliminating gluten is essential for treating thyroid disease. What’s the evidence to support this advice?
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism several months ago. There are many websites, blogs, and Facebook groups for people with hypothyroidism that insist that you have to go gluten-free. Is this true?
Hashimotos thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Its an auto-immune condition in which the bodys immune system gradually destroys the thyroid gland. As a result, the amount of circulating thyroid hormone in your body is too low. This can lead to everything from weight gain to hair loss to heart trouble.
If your doctor diagnoses you with Hashimotos, he or she will likely tell you its not that a big deal. Theyll write you a prescription for replacement thyroid hormone and send you on your way. If you ask about whether theres anything you should be doing in terms of diet or lifestyle, they will probably tell you there isnt.
Celiac Disease And Hashimotos Disease
Celiac disease is a small inflammatory disease in the intestine with autoimmune features that are triggered and maintained by the ingestion of the storage proteins like Gluten of wheat, barley, and rye.
It has been shown that people with celiac disease have high chances of Hashimotos disease also.
Sharing a common genetic background can largely explain the close relationship between celiac disease and glandular autoimmunity.
Further, between 10-30% of patients with celiac disease are thyroid and/or type1 diabetes antibody positive.
Also, about 5-7% of patients with autoimmune thyroid disease have will have celiac disease antibodies like IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody positive.
While gluten ingestion is responsible for the signs and symptoms of celiac disease, it is unknown what factors are associated with the initial onset of the disease.
So, In a study conducted recently aimed to examine whether the timing of gluten exposure in infants was associated with the development of celiac disease autoimmunity .
The study conducted on 1560 children from 1994-2004 at considerably increased risk for celiac disease or type 1 diabetes, the mean follow-up was 4.8 years.
51 children developed Celiac Disease Autoimmunity . Results and Findings showed that children exposed to foods containing barley, wheat, or rye in the first 3 months of life had a 5-fold increased risk of Celiac Disease Autoimmunity compared with children exposed to gluten-containing foods at 4 to 6 months.
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Relationship Between Gluten Selenium And The Thyroid
Selenium is crucial for the following different functions
- It plays a role in the production of active thyroid hormone .
- It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps to regulate immune function.
- It plays a role in blood viscosity .
- It drives the most powerful antioxidant system in the body.
In previous posts we have discussed how going on a gluten free diet can lead to fat loss. This is one of those mechanisms as autoimmune hypothyroid disease is a common manifestation of gluten sensitivity.
Myth : Diet Can Heal Everything So If I Just Eliminate More Foods I Will Be Healed
While some people have had great success through changing their diets, even going into complete remission from Hashimotos, this is not always the case. Dont get me wrong, eating a nutrient dense diet that is free of reactive foods can do wonders, and is one of the first things I recommend. However, if youve been following a specific diet for 3 months and are not seeing results, you likely have a gut infection that is causing inflammation and preventing you from healing.
Gut infections lead to intestinal permeability, which is one of the main triggers of Hashimotos. Eradicating most infections will require targeted treatments such as herbs, antibiotics, antifungals or antiprotozoal agents. If the infection is not treated, a person can become sensitive to more and more foods, further narrowing the list of foods that are tolerated.
If you suspect that you have a gut infection, I recommend one the following tests:
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Myth : I Do Not Need To Get Off Gluten Because Tests Indicated That I Was Not Sensitive
Gluten is a substance found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is a staple of the Standard Western Diet in North America, Europe, and Australia. It is found in bread, cakes, pastries and most processed foods. People with Hashimotos are more likely to have celiac disease compared to others, and eliminating gluten has helped some people dually diagnosed with celiac and Hashimotos shed their Hashimotos diagnosis . However, celiac disease is not the only problem related to gluten. My personal and clinical experience has shown that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is one of the biggest triggers in Hashimotos.
Lab testing can be very helpful in determining if you are sensitive to gluten, but unfortunately, testing technology is not perfect. More often than not, false negatives can be seen for common reactive foods like gluten, dairy, and soy. The best test for figuring out if you are sensitive to gluten is doing an elimination diet, where you avoid gluten for 2-3 weeks, then try it again to see if you react to it.
Studies have shown that gluten induces intestinal permeability in all individuals, regardless of whether or not they have celiac disease. And we know that intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, is almost always a factor with Hashimotos. Therefore, it only makes sense that eliminating a common irritant like gluten will lead to improved gut health and overall wellness for many people with Hashimotos.
Do You Have To Be Gluten
My opinion is that most patients with Hashimoto’s stand to benefit from at least a trial of going gluten-free.
Forget about the research listed above, forget about the strong clinical correlation between celiac disease and Hashimoto’s.
If you stand to benefit from changing your diet, wouldn’t you at least give it an honest effort?
So the bottom line is this:
If you have Hashimoto’s it’s absolutely worth checking for Celiac disease to see if you have elevated antibodies in the blood.
If you are antibody positive then you have your answer.
Assuming you are antibody negative then your next step should be to consider a 3 month trial of 100% going gluten-free.
Most patients who go gluten-free notice at least some improvement in symptoms within 4 weeks.
Some patients notice no difference in symptoms and may be just fine consuming gluten.
Tips for going gluten-free if you have Hashimoto’s:
- Consider a trial of going 100% gluten-free for 3 months
- You should notice an improvement within 4 weeks of going gluten-free but in some cases, it takes up to 3 months
- Gastrointestinal healing may take up to 9 months to completely heal, but you should notice a difference before that
- Take care to exclude gluten
- Make sure to avoid gluten-free foods such as breads, pasta’s, cereals, etc. – exchanging junk food for gluten-free junk food will not help
My clinical experience suggests that while removing gluten may reduce your symptoms, it is usually not enough to bring you back to 100%.
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Ignoring Their Brain Health
The most common form of collateral damage in chronic Hashimotos patients is accelerated brain degeneration. Brain degeneration leads to identical symptoms of hypothyroidism, including fatigue and depression. I strongly suggest all thyroid patients become experts in identifying and supporting their brain health by referring to my second book, Why Isnt My Brain Working?
Other Diets To Try If You Have Hashimoto’s And Gluten
Let’s say you’ve tried going gluten-free and it just isn’t working for you or you’ve noticed some improvement but you want more.
What then can you do?
In some cases, patients need a diet that is specifically tailored to their medical conditions.
There are many other diets that you can consider that may also improve your symptoms.
I have here which you can look at for more detail but I will go over them briefly below:
Autoimmune Paleo Diet
For patients that have multiple autoimmune conditions , going on the autoimmune paleo diet may be a better option than just going gluten-free.
The autoimmune paleo diet mimics the paleo diet, but it is a more strict version of the diet.
This particular diet removes all sources of gluten, nightshades, beans, and nuts.
- Bottom line: Patients who have failed the paleo diet and who have multiple autoimmune conditions should consider the AIP diet.
If weight loss is your primary goal and if you have leptin resistance, then you might benefit from a diet more tailored to helping your body lower leptin levels.
Leptin is a hormone in your body that can change your metabolism , resulting in an increased appetite and weight loss resistance.
Hypothyroid patients are at risk for developing leptin resistance if they have low T3, insulin resistance and if they have metabolic damage from calorie restricted dieting.
Leptin resistance is quite prevalent among hypothyroid patients who have difficulty losing weight .
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Link: Risk Of Other Autoimmune Disorder
Most autoimmune disorders go hand in hand. While the relationship isnât exactly clear, it is highly likely that autoimmune thyroid disease and celiac disease are common together because they are both autoimmune disorders. That doesnât mean that autoimmune disorders cause each other. It means only that they usually occur together.
As a result, people with celiac disease are more likely to develop other autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes, autoimmune hepatitis, SjÃ¶grenâs syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Addisonâs disease, Graveâs disease, and Hashimotoâs disease. This relational risk usually increases the older you get.
And this has been confirmed by several clinical studies. For instance, in one 2016 study published in the journalAutoimmunity Reviews, scientists found that a large portion of individuals with autoimmune thyroid disorder also had other autoimmune disorders, especially celiac disease.
Get The Facts On Gluten And Hashimotos Disease
Many physicians do not discuss the connection between gluten and Hashimotos disease with their patients but instead put them on a regimen of thyroid medications. But medications do not deal with the autoimmune response that damages the thyroid. A functional medicine perspective is that a practitioner must find out what triggers the immune system to attack the thyroid, and work with the patient to develop strategies to avoid those triggers.
To get a comprehensive overview of the connection between gluten and Hashimotos disease, as well as other triggers of autoimmune attacks that lead to hypothyroidism, read The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide by functional medicine practitioner Dr. Nikolas R. Hedberg.
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Interactions Between Thyroid And Gluten
Studies show that celiac disease and/or gluten may affect how your thyroid functions. For instance:
- The tTG antibodies found in celiac disease may contribute to thyroid dysfunction by binding to thyroid cells.
- If you have celiac disease along with a mild form of hypothyroidism called subclinical hypothyroidism, following a strict gluten-free diet for a year may bring your thyroid hormone levels back to normal.