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Hasmimotos, food allergy, thyroid surgery, thyroid antibodies


I want to bring-up this topic and hear from others here.
I have seen several videos where Hashimoto's is implied to be caused by some type of food intolerance (e.g. Gluten).

I have several questions and I would like some comments from members here:

1) if Hashimoto's is strictly due to some changes in thyroid gland then removing it should provide relief
2) if it is due to food allergy then removal of thyroid gland should not have any impact as such as trigger agent is elsewhere

I would like to get some comments if anyone has had first hand experience in these
4 Responses
649848 tn?1534637300
I can imagine what videos you might have been watching and it's alright to mention them here, if you like, so we're all on the same page.  If they turn out to be from competing sites, etc, that we can't discuss, I'll let you know, because I, too, have been watching a series of videos.

To answer your first question, specifically, Hashimoto's is not due to changes in the thyroid gland...the changes in the thyroid gland are due to Hashimoto's.  

When one has Hashimoto's, the body sees the thyroid as foreign and produces the antibodies to destroy the thyroid. Once the thyroid is removed, there's nothing left for the antibodies to attack.  Thyroid antibodies only attack the thyroid.

You are correct in that, if one is allergic to a food, removing the thyroid is not going to alleviate that allergy.  For instance, if you're allergic to gluten and you remove the thyroid, you're still going to be allergic to gluten - that's because you have celiac disease!!

The thought is that gluten causes leaky gut, allowing the proteins in gluten to circulate in the blood.  I'm not totally on board with any of the videos, but because of more current research and a recent, personal issue, I'm a lot more open minded than I used to be... This is a very controversial subject and because of a huge dispute a few years ago on the forum, I'm going to check with our moderators and see if we can initiate further discussion, once more...

In my humble view, the classical definition of auto-immune disease is that one fine day immune system goes hay wire and starts attacking part of its own body. This is based on a basic premise that immune system has gone bad.

Is there is evidence to prove that immune system has gone bad which can conclusively prove change in immune system before and after the disease onset. If there is one, I would like to read through.

Another interesting study I would like to see where Hashimoto patients' thyroid gland when removed has resulted in reduction in thyroid antibodies.This would rule out diet as the cause of Hashimoto's. In fact, if removing thyroid gland can alleviate the pain that we Hashimoto patients go through then I wonder why this has not become mainstream treatment for patients who do not see any improvements.

It is possible that immune system is just doing its job. It is just that there is something in in the target organ that immune system sees as foreign. For example, even in normal patients (who are not Hashimoto's), there are certain number of thyroid antibodies.

One example is, the recent development in case of Multiple Sclerosis. For a long time, it has been speculated that immune system attacks myelin sheath resulting in loss of neural function. But a few years back, additional theory has been proposed where Multiple Sclerosis is speculated to be due to accumulation of dead RBC cells inside the brain. This is due to lack of blood flow from brain back to heart due to narrowing of veins that carry the blood. The jury is still out whether MS is auto-immune or immune activity is not the cause but just a result of something else like accumulation of waste blood. But one thing is true that auto-immune path has not yielded any results.
649848 tn?1534637300
Nobody is arguing your point that one day the immune system goes awry and starts attacking the body - that's basically, what happens.

I don't think you understood what I said... when one gets an autoimmune condition, it happens because something is going on in the body that activates the immune system.  There are some studies that  point to various bacteria or viruses as causes for the immune system to be activated.

As far as having the thyroid removed and having antibody counts go down to rule out diet as a cause, let's just use myself, even though I haven't had my thyroid removed.  My thyroid is completely destroyed - my endo says it's atrophied - meaning shriveled up and does nothing, which would be the equivalent of being removed.  When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's, my TPOab was almost 400; the last time it was tested, it was 78, which is barely above the reference range. I had not, changed my diet during that time at all.  My antibodies decreased when I had no more thyroid tissue to be destroyed.

Often, when we get a viral or bacterial infection of some kind, the immune system begins doing its job, then something goes wrong and it goes haywire and a disease is triggered... For instance, a strep infection can trigger Type I (also known as Juvenile) diabetes.  Studies have indicated that EBV may trigger Hashimoto's.  I've also recently read that H. Pylori, which is a bacteria in the gut, can trigger Hashimoto's.  This is of particular interest to me, because I've just finished treating an H. Pylori infection and I'm not convinced that it's totally eradicated.

You said " It is just that there is something in in (sic) the target organ that immune system sees as foreign. For example, even in normal patients (who are not Hashimoto's), there are certain number of thyroid antibodies."  It's true that some people that don't have Hashimoto's have a small number of thyroid antibodies; it's also true that a small number of thyroid antibodies can be present in other autoimmune conditions, such as MS, Lupus, Pernicious Anemia, RA, Sjogren's and others... so just because those people don't have hypothyroidism, doesn't mean they don't have Hashimoto's or some other autoimmune condition.  It's very possible that the antibodies simply haven't ramped up enough to get over the reference range, but they will, in time.  We place way too much stock in ranges... If the antibodies are present, some type of immune response is taking place, even if it's very mild at that point.

In the videos I've been watching, by Dr Isabella Wentz, they say that thyroid tissue resembles the proteins in gluten and that's why antibodies are attacking the thyroid.  Some studies agree with this, others don't.  Mainstream medicine does not embrace this philosophy, but they are doing research on it.  

One thing that both, mainstream and functional medicine agrees on is that the gut is one of the most important organs in the body and that our microbiome is very important.

I can't comment on MS to any great extent, because that's not my forte'...

the fact that your thyroid has mostly atrophied is an interesting case to me. I have been asking this for a long time in various forums.

Anyway, can you provide a clarification?
Did you symptoms come down as the antibodies decreased?

I have studies a lot of articles where Hashimoto's and typical Hypothyroid symptoms are quite different and I have also had some of the people I know having hypothyroid symptoms.

Most of these don't have any symptoms at all once they started supplementing with thyroid replacement hormone. They don't have any muscle or joint issues like most of us Hashi patients do. So, with thyroid atrophied and antibodies lowered, I would assume that it is just like typical hypothyroid and I would assume that lot of symptoms would be alleviated.

Looking forward to your response
649848 tn?1534637300
If I do a search for "symptoms of Hashimoto's", this is the list I get:
"Symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Hashimoto's symptoms may be mild at first or take years to develop. The first sign of the disease is often an enlarged thyroid, called a goiter. The goiter may cause the front of your neck to look swollen. A large goiter may make swallowing difficult. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid due to Hashimoto's may include:

    weight gain
    paleness or puffiness of the face
    joint and muscle pain
    inability to get warm
    difficulty getting pregnant
    joint and muscle pain
    hair loss or thinning, brittle hair
    irregular or heavy menstrual periods
    slowed heart rate

Because the symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroid may be similar to those for other medical conditions, it is important to see your doctor for a diagnosis."

If I do a search for "symptoms of hypothyroidism", this is the list I get:  
"Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism may be vague and can often mimic other conditions. They may include:

    Changes in the menstrual cycle
    Dry hair and hair loss
    Dry skin
    Greater sensitivity to cold
    Slow heart rate
    Swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter)
    Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
    Carpal tunnel syndrome"
You'll notice that the 2 lists contain the same symptoms, only listed in different order and worded slightly different.  Of course, we both know there are many more symptoms than these listed for hypothyroidism.

Additional symptoms for Hashimoto's could include swelling, tenderness in the neck, difficulty swallowing and others.

You assume incorrectly about my atrophied thyroid... My symptoms decreased as my thyroid hormone levels increased, but I still have some ongoing symptoms. The reason for this is because my thyroid hormone levels have never been allowed to get high enough to completely alleviate them all.  It's not the antibodies causing the main hypo symptoms, it's the lack of adequate thyroid hormones - specifically, Free T3.  Just because we take thyroid hormones does not mean that symptoms will automatically be alleviated.  

The medication has to be right for us and the dosage has to be adequate to bring our levels up to what we need, not just what some doctor "thinks" we should have.  And still being slightly hypo, I do have muscle/joint aches/pains and other symptoms that you might attribute to Hashimoto's, which, by the way, we have for life, even if antibody counts decline.  

My antibody levels didn't decrease until there was no more healthy tissue left for them to destroy, but that did not alleviate my symptoms.

What symptoms are you attributing to Hashimoto's and what symptoms to hypothyroidism?
muscle pains in the joint are the biggest issues for me. I have tried everything, including dessicated thyroid. The last T3 and T4 levels were really optimal and yet my symptoms have only worsened. I had low Vit D3 and it eventually increased > 100 and yet no change.

I have personally spoken to many hypothyroid patients (including my sister). They don't even know what is body aches. They do feel tired if they don't take hormone.

I have read articles explaining reasons for this difference between symptoms due either a) inflammation that exists due to immune activity b) anti thyroid not only results in thyroid antibodies but other related antibodies that attack collagens that are predominantly in the joint muscles.
"I have read articles explaining reasons for this difference between symptoms due either a) inflammation that exists due to immune activity b) anti thyroid not only results in thyroid antibodies but other related antibodies that attack collagens that are predominantly in the joint muscles."

Yes, inflammation can exist due to immune activity, but that immune activity doesn't necessarily have to be related to thyroid autoimmunity.  Once we have one autoimmune condition, the chances of getting another are much greater and there are a lot of autoimmune conditions that attack connective tissues (aka muscle/joint), that are not thyroid related.

In addition, as we get older, we're more prone to get various forms of arthritis, stiffness and pain in our joints and muscles than we are when we're younger, since we often tend not to be as active.

Considering my own circumstances and some of the research I've been doing, I'm beginning to think that most of the inflammation we deal with does come from things we eat (or don't eat).  This can vary from person to person, so there's no one diet that will serve for everyone, across the board.

Have you watched the videos by Dr Isabella Wentz?  She's a pharmacist who has Hashimoto's, herself, and went in search of a "cure"... I don't agree with the entire concept, nor that there's a cure for Hashimoto's, but there are some good points in her videos.
I have watched some of her videos. I have also watched Dr. Osborne's videos, who says Gluten is not the only root of the issue but all grains. This is true in my case as going Gluten free did nothing for me. In fact, I had a side effect of increasing Triglycerides as I had to eat a lot of Carb based diet to avoid Gluten. I have also seen Dr. Datis Kharrazian's videos. He brings HPA axis dimension to the Hashimoto's disease.

Anyway, I am planning to go to a food allergist. Whatever may be the root cause, blood test for allergy is not going to lie.

Barb, to be frank, after going through many things in the last 2 years, I have definitely lowered my expectations. I don't expect to completely think about Hashimoto's but see if any of my health parameters can be increased. In that course, if Hashimoto's symptoms reduce, it is good.
649848 tn?1534637300
I haven't seen Dr Osborne's videos, but I've read Dr Kharrazian's (better known as "Dr K") book.  A lot of science does not bear out what they say about gluten and the similarity to thyroid tissue, etc.  However, from the research I've been doing and from my own experience, if our microbiome is not balanced i.e. if there becomes more bad organisms than good ones, we can have a lot of trouble.  

I just read an article the other day, that said, H. Pylori has been implicated in Hashimoto's and I've just been treated for an H. Pylori infection.  

I'm not sure I understand why you had to eat such a high carb diet in order to eliminate gluten??  I know you live in India and would have different foods available than I have, here in the U.S.  Can you, please, tell me what foods you ate?  Do you eat any kind of dairy?

In order to eliminate gluten, myself, I would eat fresh/frozen vegetables, which while they do have carbs, they are complex carbs that are not digestible.  They are the carbs that are considered "fiber".  I'd also add more healthy fats, in the form of olive and coconut oil, avocados, etc.  In addition, I eat healthy meat.  I don't eat a lot of fruit, because of the sugar content, since I have pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

I think blood tests "can" miss some food allergies.  Have you tried eliminating any food other than gluten?

I don't think we should ever lower our expectations... we should always aim to feel the best possible and continue searching for whatever is preventing us from achieving that goal.
Last time I saw my endo and complained of being tired, she said "You're getting older; you can't expect to feel like you're 30..."  I said "I'm well aware of my age and I don't expect to feel like I'm 30, but neither do I expect to feel like I'm 80..."   She had no further response!!
Even I have been treated for H Pylori. I don't know if I really had infection then. Probably, doctor ordered it based on symptoms. This was close to 10 years back.

In India, primarily, we have wheat based food or rice based. When I started avoiding wheat, I was left with lot of rice based food. Also, I am a working professional. So, I don't get much time to try many things at home. Many times, I have to live with what is available at Hotels.

I do consume dairy products. Mostly, it is milk & tea (with milk).

I have not tried eliminating any food other than Gluten. That's why I am planning to visit an allergist so that they can guide me.

I too agree that I don't particularly agree with Dr. K's articles fully.
My H. Pylori infection was confirmed via biopsy during a recent endocscopy, after other tests, also for H. Pylori, had come back negative.

Do you have vegetables available and if so, what types? Are they year around or only in certain seasons? What about fruit?  What types of fats do you, typically, eat? I hope you don't mind my asking questions about these things. I know things can be very different in other countries.

I, too, used to have to eat out every day, when I worked and it's not easy when you can't prepare your own food. I, often, tried to take my food with me.

Dr Wentz, Dr K and others insist that dairy is just as bad for us as gluten.  I've almost eliminated dairy, except for a couple of cheeses and yogurt, which don't seem to bother me.  I use coconut milk, most of the time.  

It's odd, because there are some gluten or dairy containing products that I can eat and they don't bother me; then others seem to cause a reaction within a very short period of time.

I wouldn't have thought rice would cause high triglycerides. That's interesting, because high cholesterol and triglycerides are a symptom of hypothyroidism.  My levels fluctuate with my thyroid hormone levels.
I eat mostly Banana, Apple, musk melon, water melon. My sugar is normal but I have stopped things like tea/coffee, cakes, ice cream and high carb foods like bread etc.

I am a living proof that high carb is bad for health. My triglyceride level went to 250 (alarmingly high) when I was mostly taking rice. when I went back to normal diet, it took just 30 days for triglycerides levels to drop to 110 level. I have added good like Ghee, peanut, coconut oil etc. to my diet. Probably, my hypothyroid is also a causal factor for high triglecerides but the fact that on normal diet they came down to normal level to me is a conclusive enough to say that high carb is bad.

Even in India there are regions that consume only rice (south India) and these are the regions that have prevalence of diabetes.

Its too hard for me to eliminate Dairy but I am willing to give it a try if some of the issues can go away.

Anyway, thanks for your inputs and don't worry about the questions. We are here to share and learn
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