Avoid Gluten with Hashitmotos & Thyroid Issues- Here’s Why
Test for Gluten Intolerance
if You Have Hashimoto’s
By Elaine Marshall, Functional Health Minute
Numerous studies show a strong link between gluten
intolerance and Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune
disease that attacks the thyroid gland, causing
This is because gluten has a molecular structure that
closely resembles thyroid tissue — gluten sensitivity
triggers an attack on the thyroid gland. Gluten (technically,
the correct term is gliadin), is the protein found in wheat
and wheat-like grains, such as spelt, kamut, rye, barley,
triticale, and oats.
One of the immune system’s primary jobs is to protect the
body from foreign invaders. Sometimes it may recognize a
common food as a dangerous invader.
When that food is eaten throughout each day this can keep
the immune system engaged in constant battle, making it
hyper zealous, overly sensitive, and thus prone towards
food sensitivities and autoimmunity.
Some people also have celiac disease, disease in which gluten triggers an autoimmune attack against the gut, the
skin, or neurological tissue. Gluten sensitivity is more common than celiac disease, however, both show up in higher
numbers in people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
A patient diagnosed with hypothyroidism should first be tested for Hashimoto’s by screening for TPO and TGB
antibodies — the majority of hypothyroidism cases are caused by Hashimoto’s.
She/He should also be screened for gluten intolerance or celiac disease given how common these conditions are in
patients with Hashimoto’s. Likewise, people who discover they are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease should
screen for Hashimoto’s.
It’s important for patients with Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance to give up gluten completely. Cheats and little
bites are not ok as they trigger an immune response that ultimately destroys thyroid tissue. Also, it’s important to
avoid foods that have been contaminated by gluten. These patients should be careful when in a kitchen where
gluten is used, with restaurant food, or with questionable packaged foods.
Cyrex Labs offers testing to identify gluten intolerance. However, sometimes the immune system can be so depleted
that it produces too few antibodies to produce a positive test, even though the patient reacts to gluten. This can be
screened for with a total immunoglobulin test.
However, given the evidence establishing a link between gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s disease, the patient
may be surprised how much better she feels by simply removing gluten from the diet as a start.
Many people have to remove other foods as well, such as dairy, eggs, or other grains. Following the autoimmune
paleo diet for about a month and then reintroducing restricted foods one at a time every 72 hours can help
determine which foods trigger an inflammatory reaction.
Many people are able to put their hypothyroid symptoms into remission simply by following a diet that eliminates
gluten and other trigger foods. Although autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s can be successfully managed
through diet and lifestyle strategies, it’s important to understand they can’t be cured. It’s just a matter of taming the