I have Hashimoto's and have been on a gluten free diet for many years. While I honestly can not say it made any difference to my thyroid condition, it certainly helped in other ways. It does seem that many with Hashi's will have an intolerance to wheat/gluten product. More than likely due to the antibodies produced from the Hashimoto's. I think the body gets a little confused and thinks it needs to attack pretty much everything!
Being on a gluten free diet is actually a sensible thing. Too many people ( I was one of them) eat foods that are quick and easy to prepare. Pasta, sandwiches, bread rolls, cereals. I actually lost a ton of weight too, when I gave up eating pizza! LOL!
I would suggest she does try the gluten free diet for a time and I am sure she will feel better in herself. It needs to be trialed for at least 3 months. Advise her to keep a food journal too, which lists any symptoms from foods.
I've only started the diet recently so haven't noticed specific improvement yet, but everything I've read and heard is that it's the only way to actually slow/stop Hashi's. I confess that I cheat once in a while on the diet so I know I need to stop if I really want to feel better. Eating gluten while having even a subclinical intolerance of it is supposedly the trigger that causes Hashi's to start in the first place. The number of months I heard that it takes to notice improvement (and have the antibodies drop to normal levels) was 4-6 months, I think. Tell your mom that it will take about a week or two to get past having any cravings for gluten products (especially bread). But once you get past it, it's really easy. I like the way I feel digestively so much better! To help get thru the cravings, just tell her to eat more of healthy things like fruits and veggies and drink alot of water. Also I found that cutting out refined sugar helped me adapt more quickly to the diet. Good luck to your mom! Hope we all can get rid of Hashi's completely with this diet change!
I have Hashi's, and I went g/f for about ten months last year. I did this for some very mild, but annoying GI symptoms, not for thyroid reasons. I saw no difference in my Hashi's whatsoever. A long story, but the g/f diet caused me to have different and worse digestive issues. I ultimately had to have some GI surgery at the beginning of this year, which, in retrospect, I feel might have been unnecessary if I hadn't been on the g/f diet (of course, I can't prove that). I have now returned to eating gluten (I was never a big gluten eater) and feel much more my "old self".
You don't say how old your mom is, but I think as we get older, "upsetting the applecart" might not be as easy on us as it once might have been. Also, a g/f diet may have some benefit in the very, very early stages of the disease (before most of us are diagnosed since routine screening for thyroid has never been recommended). I don't know how long ago your mom was diagnosed, but I believe the g/f diet has diminishing returns as the disease progresses.
Being on a g/f diet can be a sensible thing...anything that improves your eating habits is going to be beneficial to your whole body. However, g/f is only one of many ways to achieve this. I think you first have to ask yourself if your (Mom's) current diet is a healthy one. If she's a junk food junkie (not Mom!), then, yes, eat healthier. However, if she basically has a well-balanced, diversified diet and her only "sin" is eating gluten, then the benefits of giving it up are going to be fewer.
Many of us with Hashi's have not found it necessary to change any of our eating habits due to the disease. My approach has been to stabilize the Hashi's with meds (this is a given anyway) first. Once those are adjusted properly, if you still don't feel well, then it might be time to explore more esoteric options.
I also don't believe a g/f diet has the capability of slowing or stopping the disease, except to the extent that it improves general health. If you improve general health (metabolism), for example, you are likely to improve conversion of T4 to T3, which is a meabolic process, not a thyroid process. However, the effect of the antibodies on the thyroid remains unchanged. What triggers Hashi's (or any autoimmune disease) in the first place is unknown...there are theories out there, but that's exactly what they are...theories.
If anyone FEELS better on a g/f diet, by all means, continue it. However, I wouldn't expect it to get rid of Hashi's. There's a lot of hype about g/f at the moment...it's all the rage. Anything that achieves fad status makes me very skeptical.
Once you have been gluten free (or free of any other food group) for a while, you have made yourself gluten intolerant. If you binge or return permanently to eating gluten you are going to feel some symptoms at first. It's like drinking (alcohol). If you stop for a while, one little glass of wine will send you for a loop. You have to re-introduce gluten slowly.
My best advice to anyone new to Hashi's is to read Michael Pollen's books. He's the sanest voice in nutrition at the moment as far as I'm concerned. In a nutshell...don't eat anything prepackaged or preprocessed, eat real food, don't eat anything your great-grandmother (or someone's great-grandmother, somwhere in the world) wouldn't recognize as food, eat a well-diversified diet (mostly plants), etc. Simple rules.
I think a healthy diet is extremely important, I'm simply not convinced that g/f is the way to achieve that for all of us, or even many of us. It's what works for you, and nothing more.
I totally agree with everything goolarra said; if one is not allergic to gluten or intolerant, then giving it up isn't going to do any good.
A good diet is essential to all of us for good health - the closer our food is to raw (less processed), the better.........fruits, veggies, lean meats, low/no fat dairy, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc -- the exceptions would be if one has a true allergic reaction or intolerance.
I, too, take my med(s) on a daily basis; and though I'm not completely stabilized yet, I do find that taking certain vitamins/minerals help some to control the effects of the antibodies. Some find relief, some don't........
There is no "cure" for Hashimoto's; and there are no "cut and dried" treatments. We mostly need to adjust meds to alleviate symptoms; the antibodies will calm down when there's no more thyroid tissue to attack.
I Have read a couple of books talking about gluten free diets and how they are supposed to help when hashi's is involved. There is a simple blood panel which include 3 test to determine if you are indeed allergic or intolerant to gluten.
I have digestive issues and when I go in for labs again I am gonna have them test me for Celiacs.
Just because it is in a book doesn't mean that it has been peer reviewed and accepted as valid within the medical community. And to this point I'd say that there needs to be a lot more testing and validation of the basic concepts. Sure we are all aware of Celiac Disease, but that isn't the supposed problem here. By eating gluten that we have all been eating our whole lives, how does this somehow causes our autoimmune systems to produce antibodies to counteract the gluten, and these antibodies then also supposedly attack the thyroid glands because of similar molecular structure to gluten? Since we know that there are two different antibodies (TPO ab and TG ab) that are usually tested when Hashi's is suspect, does gluten supposedly cause the autoimmune system to produce two different types of antibodies? This discrepancy was not addressed. Also, since Grave's is also an autoimmune related problem, why wouldn't gluten be a culprit here as well? Not addressed in the book.
From reading this book that proposes that going gluten free can avoid the need for taking thyroid meds, I see that a lot of testing is involved in determining the status of the autoimmune system. I also see that a lot of supplements are recommended, which have been developed by the author. I see a lot of additional business for practitioners of this treatment protocol. I also noticed the mention that by applying these principles doctors can "supercharge your practice by offering genuine relief to a neglected patient population".
I also noticed that the fall back position when patients don't respond, is that the thyroid glands were already damaged too much. The disclaimer on page ix is also very interesting. It states that "The information in this presentation should not be construed as a claim or representation that any procedure or product mentioned constitutes a specific cure, palliative, or ameliorative. Procedures and nutritional compounds described should be considered as adjunctive to other accepted conventional procedures deemed necessary by the attending licensed doctor." On page vii the book states "The content of this book is intended for information purposes only. The medical information in this book is intended as general information only and should not be used an any way to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." Why is all this hedging necessary?
For the sake of trying to not write a book here, I have not mentioned numerous examples of things that I found to be factually incorrect in the book. One of the things I do want to point out is that Forum members have always tried to be alert to information from people whose main interest is self promotion. When I follow the money trail here, it sets off alarm bells.
I am aware that there are members who have tried some of the ideas in the book, and will disagree and say there was benefit to going gluten free. I'm not trying to argue with those opinions. I do think the questions of how much actual benefit and what may have contributed to that benefit still require a lot of longer term monitoring and understanding and verification before we promote these ideas to all our members as a cure-all for Hashi's.
I'm sorry that i seem to have pushed a wrong button for you. I was ONLY saying that I have read in books how a gluten free diet can help reduce the amount of thyroid medication. I never said I believe or practice this. I also don't believe everything the book says. I read books and do my own research and talk to people with similar issues only to form my own opinion on the situation..
My apologies to you. I didn't intend to target you at all. When you said that you read in books how gluten free diets were supposed to help Hashi's, you didn't seem to be qualifying your statement in any way. Since we always have a lot of people who participate or read this Forum and depend on the members for advice/recommendations, I think we all have to be extra careful about what we post, because members sometimes read between the lines of what is said here, and draw their own conclusions.
Your post just happened to be the one that caused me to finally respond to the many posts that I've seen that seem to be promoting gluten free. Before all this gets any farther down the road I think it needs a lot of review and discussion by our many experienced and well read members. If there is merit, hopefully a calm discussion will will bring it out. Or vice- versa. Either way I think we can all benefit from a good, lively, and open discussion of this subject.
Thank you. I agree that I think there needs to be some further investigation as to why some with attest that gluten free diets help with hashi's and others on the contrary. Once again, I don't know much about it, have never tried it, and don't have strong opinion on it.
Hi Gimel, this is all fascinating to me, as I have just became a member and I have been trying to manage my condition on my own.
I find it interesting that you say that we have to be careful regarding what we post. I am sure we all get better at this as time goes by. But I actually do like reading between the lines and making my own conclusions. i hope this is what makes a good forum, actually what does happen to the bad post!!. However and this is a big HOWEVER
I did really enjoy your response and the logic of it was amazing to hear, as I have been dabbling with it myself not through any book which dealt with Hashi's directly but diets in general.
Sorry, but I'm going to throw a lot of questions at you ----
Can you tell us exactly what your "condition" is? Have you been diagnosed with a thyroid disease? If so, which one? And why are you trying to manage it on your own? What are you doing to manage it?
I have to say that I've also read several books, as well as numerous posts from various members, in regards to going gluten free.
I have to totally agree with everything gimel said. There are so many of us who have not gone g/f and still do very well. The whole idea of g/f needs a lot more research because I've not seen anything from really credible sources that say this is necessary.
When you look at the statements in books that insist that going g/f is absolutely necessary, there are always the "disclaimers", as gimel mentioned, that tell us this isn't intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease -- makes me wonder; if their research is all that "credible" why can't they stand by it without the disclaimers?
I talked to my pcp in regards to going g/f and his exact words were: "Why do that, if you aren't allergic? It's not going to help you".......
As gimel said -- follow the money trail.........The doctors who profess to be able to "cure" or "prevent" an autoimmune disease are preying on those people who feel so horrible that they will try anything in an effort to feel better. Then I have to wonder why it's mostly chiropractors that seem to go for this protocol.
I agree that we have to be careful what we post. Someone (it's been attributed to about a dozen people) said, "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true."
If someone says that everything they've read says that a g/f diet can slow the progression of or "cure" Hashi's, the next person reading this thread adds this to their list of "everything" they've read, that person repeats it. You can see where this is going...the snowflake becomes an avalanche, and suddenly we have "truth". Meantime, the person at the beginning of the line was just stating opinion.
This is how urban legend is born. I think we have to site sources when dealing with something that is such an experimental protocol.
I have yet to see a study supporting g/f as a treatment for Hashi's. Furthermore, I have yet to even see anecdotal evidence from a first-hand source.
Goolara, you have heard from a first hand source, but you continue to dismiss my major health improvements since giving up gluten.
Everyone, you may go to my profile people. See my pictures. See how my thyroid goiter has gone down. My antibody attacks have stopped since giving up gluten.
I realize this diet may not be suitable for everyone, but, yes, it has worked wonders for me.
I am taking considerably less thyroid hormone since giving up gluten. I was at the max dose of 150 Synthroid/10 Cytomel in Feb. Now I'm taking 112 Synthroid/5 Cytomel. My FT4 and FT3 numbers prove that I continually go hyper and need to reduce my meds. I have more energy and NO thryoid swelling.
And while we are on this topic, I should also address adrenals. Many endos don't check them with the 24 hour saliva test. This should be standard as many Hashi/hypos will have adrenal issues.
I've seen several studies confirm the gluten/celiac connection to thyroid issues. Here is one of them. Will try to find the others and post them, too.
Gut. 1994 Jun;35(6):844-6.
Coeliac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease.
Counsell CE, Taha A, Ruddell WS., Department of Gastroenterology, Falkirk Royal Infirmary.
Comment in: * Gut. 1995 Sep;37(3):447.
A well defined cohort of coeliac patients was studied prospectively to assess the prevalence of coexisting thyroid disease and positive thyroid autoantibodies. Comparison with epidemiological data on the prevalence of coeliac disease in a neighbouring area suggested that few adult coeliac patients had been missed. Overall, 14% of the coeliac patients had thyroid disease: 10.3% were hypothyroid and 3.7% hyperthyroid, both significantly more than expected. There were significantly more coeliac disease patients with thyroid autoantibodies than expected--11% had thyroglobulin antibodies and 15% had thyroid microsomal antibodies. This association is clinically important. Three patients are described in whom the coexistence of coeliac disease and hypothyroidism led to diagnostic difficulties and delay of treatment.
The science regarding this connection is extensive. Here is another one. I don't want to take up all the space to post all of the studies, but there have been plenty - enough to be able to say that gluten does seem to be the cause of thyroid problems in many people. In myself and my family, I know it is. My mother and sister both have celiac. They are also both borderline hypo and probably Hashi's too, but they choose to keep eating gluten and not go to the doctor. I tested negative for celiac but I always feel a ton better when I don't eat gluten. So I definitely have subclinical gluten intolerance, and I have Hashi's and am hypo. Praying in a few months that I will have as good of results as Tamra and others who have gone this route.
I'm big on researching stuff and getting as much info as possible. I also really like seeing scientific studies to back up what the consensus says. So this definitely does not qualify as a "lie" that's been repeated so often that it became true.
BACKGROUND: Coeliac disease may be associated with a wide variety of diseases of known or suspected immunological aetiology. OBJECTIVE: To screen for both (a) the prevalence of coeliac disease in adults with autoimmune thyroid diseases, and (b) thyroid impairment among adults with coeliac disease, as compared to sex- and age-matched controls. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: University teaching hospital. PATIENTS: A total of 152 consecutive adults with autoimmune thyroid diseases, 185 consecutive coeliac disease patients (53 newly diagnosed and 132 already on a gluten-free diet) and 170 sex- and age-matched controls. METHODS: Screening for coeliac disease was done by means of IgA anti-endomysium antibodies, detected by indirect immunofluorescence on monkey oesophagus. Patients with positive sera underwent duodenal biopsy for diagnostic confirmation. Thyroid function was assessed by measuring the levels of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone, free T3, free T4, thyroperoxidase and thyroid microsome antibodies. Autoimmune thyroid diseases were classified according to the American Thyroid Association guidelines. RESULTS: Anti-endomysium antibodies were positive in five of 152 autoimmune thyroid disease patients (3.3%) and coeliac disease was histologically confirmed in all: this prevalence is 10-fold higher than expected. Only one patient presented with gastrointestinal complaints, but iron deficiency was found in three and alterations at bone mineralometry in all. The overall prevalence of autoimmune thyroid diseases was significantly higher (38/185, 20.5%) in coeliac patients than in controls (19/170, 11.2%). The prevalence of both hypo- and hyperthyroidism was not different from that of controls, while the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease with euthyroidism was 13% in patients and 4.7% in controls. CONCLUSIONS: The association of coeliac disease with autoimmune thyroid disease is not surprising as they share common immunopathogenetic mechanisms. It is advisable to screen autoimmune thyroid disease patients for coeliac disease as there is an increased risk for gluten intolerance. In contrast, thyroid function assessment in coeliac disease patients is probably less justified, although the need for a strict clinical follow-up of those patients with euthyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disease, who could develop overt thyroid impairment, remains an open question.
There's a lot of discussion in previous threads on this subject, so some of this may not make sense to people who haven't been involved previously.
I'm in no way disputing the fact that once you have one autoimmune disease, you are more apt to get another than the general population. So, logically, since both Hashi's and celiac are autoimmune, you would expect that those of us with Hashi's would have a higher incidence of celiac.
The claim that has been made is that giving up gluten (for celiacs, non-celiac gluten intolerants, and even people with no gluten intolerant symptoms) will in some way send Hashi's antibodies into remission. The "lie" was part of a quote...I don't think anyone is lying. The point of the quote is that if you repeat something that has not been proven often enough, it takes on a life of its own, and becomes "truth" (conventional wisdom). I believe that's what's happening on this forum, and it's becoming very deceptive. It's also how Hitler got the Germans to turn a blind eye while he murdered 6,000,000 people. And I'm not comparing anyone to Hitler...once again, just an analogy that illustrates my point on repetition.
So, the study I want to see is the one that proves that thyroid antibodies actually go to zero on a g/f diet, and I still have not seen it. It's actually an easy study to take on given the higher incidence of Hashi's among celiacs. Celiacs, adhering to a strict g/f diet, which can be monitored for compliance by bloodwork , should have absolutely no Hashi's.
A g/f diet for celiacs is a no-brainer. If you feel better for any reason on a g/f diet, but all means, do it. But when the implication becomes that you can "cure" your Hashi's by going g/f, prove it.
As I said, some of us commenting on this thread have a lot of background discussing this subject...it may take more reading betwwen the lines than most threads do. Sorry about that.
so what is the real story here..... I went 100% gluten free four years ago, and this year I have been foiund to have an active (growing) multinodular goitre... I fluctuate between hypoT and hyperT.... can't blame it on the fact that I eat foods with gluten in...... so being gluten free has not stopped me from having thyroid issues, and certainly has not helped my thyroid issues either.... does help my bowel tho! YEH!!!!
Going gluten free is NOT going to change the thyroid issues. Never ever full stop. The antibody for gluten can not ever attack a thyroid. BUT going gluten free however can lessen the feeling of being say Hashimoto patient. The symptoms are very similar and it can feel like the thyroid symptoms lessen when in fact it is the gluten symptoms.
There are MANY thyroid patients who are gluten intolerant, the understanding of this is still in the works. It is highly likely that one auto-immune disease can trigger another.
It sure is a good thing to help feel better on the rotten thyroid disease journey.
I am a severe Hashimoto patient, had my thyroid out 3 years ago. Been gluten free for over 10 years and I can tell you when I accidentally eat gluten I can sure tell the difference! Brain fog via gluten is just a little different from a hypo brain fog.
So keep at it. Anything to help fight the battle to good health has to be a good thing, hey?
Check out this article on the connection. It explains why those of us with autoimmune thyroid diseases are sensitive to gluten, and why the thyroid issues continue after a gluten free diet has been established. According to this doctor, even ONE mistake ingestion of gluten products will cause a six month flare up of antibodies, both to gluten and to the thyroid (and any other immune responses you may have).
Everyone has a different reaction, I will just tell you my experience. I was gluten free for 1.5 years during a hashimoto's crisis in which my thyroid decided to become hyper instead of hypo. I ended up having my thyroid removed in August. It didn't help me at all. I heard it can help some, but unless you are intolerant, I don't know that it will be that beneficial. Good Luck.
Question about - "It explains why those of us with autoimmune thyroid diseases are sensitive to gluten."
So you are sensitive to gluten I will presume. I know some actual Celiac sufferers will keel over in pain following gluten, but just what exactly happens to You and others after consuming gluten if your sensitive to it? I always wondered.
After having Hashimoto for possibly 20 years, its very stabilized now and grains do not seem to aggravate anything in me like I see others writing about.
I did however, go gluten free, and sugar free for a few months several years ago to clear up a digestive bacterial imbalance, which worked. I eat grains, but less of them than before, with no obvious problem, reaction, or sensitivity. I feel way better, and digest better and the temporary digestive condition was re-balanced. So I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, but the gluten-autoimmune link is interesting.
Lactose on the other hand, cow milk, is a no no for me. (Almond milk rocks).
I've cut out gluten because I am sensitive to it. For me it causes bloating, gas, makes my sinuses swell, achy joints and causes me to feel more fatigued. I also have TED and notice after eating gluten my eyes flare up. I've never been tested but cut it out on my own. I used to cheat and then I'd notice the next couple days I wouldn't fell well. Thinking about completely cutting out dairy too. I've already switched to almond milk! Yumm....
So after any gluten you feel these symptoms immediately.....?
The gluten sensitivity is such a gray area compared to celiac disease.
After reading so many posts about natural Drs claiming gluten is the cause of autoimmune I find myself over analyzing meals with gluten. I don't feel anything from it.
Back a few years ago I was feeling digestively "off par" right after eating breakfast cereal with dairy milk. I found out it was the dairy milk causing the discomfort. I now enjoy cereal with Almond milk and feel normal after.
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