Dr. Tina's Blog

Do You Suffer with Gluten and Thyroid Disease?

Hashimoto thyroiditis is a condition where the body makes antibodies (attacker cells) to its own thyroid, causing it to function improperly.

According to research reported on in the medical journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences, a significant number of patients with autoimmune thyroid disease also have celiac disease. Celiac disease is a disorder that causes the intestines to react abnormally to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut, and other related grains.

Celiac disease, which is sometimes referred to as celiac sprue, sprue, or gluten intolerance, makes it difficult for the body to properly absorb nutrients from foods.

Symptoms include:

  • various intestinal difficulties
  • recurring abdominal bloating and pain
  • nausea
  • anemia
  • gas
  • tingling numbness in the legs
  • sores inside the mouth
  • painful skin rash on elbows, knees, and buttocks
  • cramping
  • hives
  • joint/muscle pains and aches
  • diarrhea
  • constipation

Untreated, celiac disease raises risks of contracting certain stomach cancers by more than double. Of perhaps greatest importance to thyroid patients, the researchers found that the various antibodies that indicate celiac disease – organ-specific autoantibodies (i.e., thyroid antibodies) — will disappear after 3 to 6 months of a gluten-free diet.

The only real treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet for life. Following a gluten-free diet can prevent almost all complications caused by the disease. A gluten-free diet means avoiding anything that contain wheat, rye and barley, or any of their by-products.

Foods which can be eaten on in a gluten-free diet include:glutenfree

  • fresh meats, fish and poultry
  • milk and unprocessed cheeses
  • dried beans
  • fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • corn
  • rice

Foods prohibited on a gluten-free diet include any bread, cereal or other food made with:

  • wheat
  • rye
  • barley
  • oat flours

….or ingredients and byproducts made from those grains.

AND, processed foods containing wheat, gluten-derivatives, or thickeners.

These foods include:

  • hot dogs
  • ice cream
  • salad dressings
  • canned soups
  • dried soup mixes
  • non-dairy creamers
  • processed cheeses
  • cream sauces
  • and hundreds of other common foods

What is the moral of that story?

If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or even Graves Disease, you MUST eliminate gluten from your diet. I have gotten people off thyroid medication over time with very strict elimination of gluten. Do this even if you do NOT have Celiac disease. You can still have a terrible intolerance to gluten and not test positive for Celiac.

I love all the fabulous gluten-free products that are so readily available everywhere now. Check out all of the various websites for lots of fun and important tips on how to live a gluten free lifestyle.

It is NOT impossible, and your health depends upon it!

Resources: 

www.glutenfree.org

www.RudisGlutenFree.com 

Source: 

Digestive Diseases and Sciences, February 2000;45:403-406