I find that 40-50% of my fibromyalga and CFS patients are suffering with low thyroid function. Many of these patients are plagued with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Gluten sensitivity has been implicated in contributing to Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. Several studies now show the link between gluten sensitivity and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Gluten sensitivity (also known as “gluten intolerance”) (GS) belongs to a spectrum of disorders in which gluten has an adverse effect on the body. It can be defined as a non-allergic and non-autoimmune condition in which the consumption of gluten can lead to symptoms similar to those observed in celiac disease.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea; or it may present with a variety of symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, autism and schizophrenia, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is named after the first doctor who described this condition, Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, in 1912. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a condition caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body inappropriately attacks the thyroid gland–as if it was foreign tissue.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include anxiety, depression, fatigue, high cholesterol, weight gain, poor immune function, hair loss, cold hands and feet, and constipation.
According thyroid specialist, Dr. Datis Kharrazian, author of “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?” it’s rare to find a person with Hashimoto’s who doesn’t have some degree of gluten sensitivity or full-blown celiac disease.
Celiac disease is defined generally as an autoimmune response to intestinal tissues upon gluten exposure, as well as overall activation of the immune system.
The list of inflammation-induced symptoms brought on by a gluten sensitivity goes on and depends upon the person’s genetic makeup. Needless to say such systemic inflammation also flares up an autoimmune condition.
Experience shows a gluten-free diet is a must
Dr. Kharrazian writes that “Hashimoto’s patients fall somewhere between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Nevertheless, almost all patients with Hashimoto’s improve on a strict gluten-free diet, even if they do not fit the established criteria of celiac disease. By strict I mean you are 100 percent gluten-free.”
Regular Gluten Testing is Often Inaccurate
Part of the problem with negative gluten antibody tests is improper testing. The general gluten antibody test conducted by most labs today is only testing a small portion of the gluten protein, alpha-gliadin.
In reality, an individual can have an immune response to various parts of the gluten protein, including omega-gliadin, gamma-gliadin, wheat germ agglutinin, and deamidated gliadin.
Both the scientific and clinical evidence linking gluten with Hashimoto’s and autoimmune disease in general is too powerful and abundant to ignore. A strict gluten-free diet is the first and most important step to managing your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.