Thyroid Disorders Community
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"Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests are Normal" by Datis Kharrazian

An open discussion of the book...

Let me preface this by saying that this book has had a lot of recent exposure on this forum.  Many of us have read it due to the recommendation of another member.  Some of us found it severely lacking in fact and scientific backup.  I found it to be little more than an infomercial promoting a shaky theory and a network of “trained practitioners” around the country.  It also pushes a line of products available “only through the author”.  The book claims to explain the cause of Hashi’s and suggests that the protocol can “cure” (eliminate thyroid antibodies) Hashi’s.

So, I’d like to open up a discussion.  Anyone is welcome to ask questions that the book generated, and anyone is welcome to answer those questions…even if you haven’t read the book, if you have any insight that will help explain some of the inconsistencies, I’d love to hear from you.

I have so many questions that it’s difficult to know where to start, so let me start by examining K’s theory on the cause of Hashi’s:

K’s theory is that gluten is the cause of Hashi’s.  Anti-gluten (gliadin) antibodies spill out of a “leaky gut” into the bloodstream.  Once out of the gut, these antibodies attack thyroid “tissue” because it has a “similar” molecular structure to gluten.  According to K, this is how Hashi’s arises.

My first question:  Since gluten antibodies are only present in full-blown autoimmune celiac disease, how does this apply to those of us without celiac?  What causes Hashi’s in those of us without anti-gluten antibodies?

I suspect we will have a lot more questions than answers on this thread.  I hope those question will help members decide whether it’s worth buying this book and will help them read it in an appropriately critical manner if they do buy it.      
82 Responses
649848 tn?1534637300
If it's the anti-gluten antibodies that attack the thyroid, where do the thyroid peroxidase antibodies and thyroglobulin antibodies come in? and why are they the ones used to diagnose Hashimoto's, rather than the anti-gluten antibodies?  According to everything I've ever read/researched, the antibodies are very particular about what they attack i.e. thyroid antibodies only attack the thyroid, RA antibodies attack the joints/muscles, etc.  

According to the theory that it's the gluten antibodies that attack the thyroid, I, then, should not have Hashimoto's since I don't have those antibodies.  

The only autoimmune that I know of, in which antibodies attack all organs is lupus.  
Avatar universal
I'm doing some extensive research on any connection between hashimotos and gluten "specifically"

I"m still researching but wanted to chime in on Barbs question of "not having anti-gluten antibodies" because i actually JUST read this, I've found this "statement" so far.. not saying it is a scientific fact or that i agree with it, and i haven't found any information YET to discount or otherwise "prove" this but, this is the reason they give for your specific question of not having anti-gluten antibodies but still have gluten intolerance..

**** In Th1-dominant conditions, the Th2 system is suppressed. The Th2 system is the part of the immune system responsible for producing antibodies. When the Th2 system is severely depressed, the body’s ability to produce antibodies is impaired. The levels may be so low that they won’t show up on a test. So, even if you have gluten intolerance, your test for gluten antibodies may be falsely negative if you have Th1-dominant Hashimoto’s*****

649848 tn?1534637300
But I have neither gluten antibodies, nor gluten intolerance.  Besides, that wasn't my question.

My question was - since I don't have gluten antibodies, why would I have Hashi's, if it's gluten antibodies that cause it?  Why do we even need to test for TPOab and TGab?  
Avatar universal
Thank you for being the first to make any attempt to start a dialogue on this subject.  It's a breath of fresh air that I need right about now.

You bring up a very good point...it's extremely important when discussing this subject to distinguish between full-blown, autoimmune celiac and non-celiac gluten intolerance (no antibodies).  Celiac and gluten intolerance used to be used interchangably, but with the recent popularity of g/f diets, they have become quite distinct conditions.

You are correct about testing.  A positive antibody test is confirmation of celiac, but a negative antibody test does not rule it out.  Small intestine biopsy is the only way to rule out celiac completely.

Is your quote from the book (page #?), some other source, paraphrasing?  Some terminology aside that I'd prefer not to use, I follow the quote until the last sentence, "So, even if you have gluten intolerance, your test for gluten antibodies may be falsely negative if you have Th1-dominant Hashimoto’s."  The sentence should read, "So, even if you have CELIAC, your test for gluten antibodies may be falsely negative."   By definition, celiac comes with antibodies, non-celiac gluten intolerance does not.  There is no test (except elimintion/challenge, and that has its own deficiencies) for non-celiac gluten intolerance.  Also, the antibodies may be falsely negative regardless of your Hashi's status.  
Avatar universal
From what i've read so far "and i'm just posting as i go"

It's possible to have gluten intolerance and it not show up on a test, some of  the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance is Excessive fatigue, depression and weight gain.. Which obviously have a close resemblence to hypothyroid symptoms and also these symptoms that persist even with treatment and "in range lab values" I'm not stateing that you have it, i'm just stateing this because i definitely question my own susceptibility to this and in my opinion for myself is worth further investigation.

I didn't read "so far" that gluten antibodies cause hashimotos. What i have read on Page 28 is "quote - Although no hard and fast rules exist in regard to what triggers an autoimmune disease, there do seem to be certain physiological conditions that can set the stage for Hashimoto’s. These include gluten intolerance, estrogen surges, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, vitamin D deficiency, environmental toxicity, chronic infections and inflammation, and genetic susceptibility to the condition - unquote"
It further goes to state and i'm just paraphrasing here that the molecular struction of gluten closely resembles the thyroid gland "i by no means am a molecular biologist" sounds like an interesting job however :) I can't even begin to discount or credit that statement, i can tell you i'll definitely tear it apart, break it down piece by piece as far as i have to in order to find out if in fact "gluten has the same molecular structure as the thyroid gland"
with that said, and i'm paraphrasing again, i read that gluten doesn't CAUSE Hashimotos but because it closely resembles the thyroid gland then our "already autoimmune disease Hashimotos attacks the "gut leaked" gluten mistaking it for "thyroid tissue" creating inflammation similar to the attack of our thyroid.

My interpretation is that gluten acts like a thyroid tissue in the system and the autoimmune system attacks it just as it does thyroid tissue.

Avatar universal
"Gluten intolerance" NEVER shows up on a test.  Only full-blown autoimmune celiac disease shows up on a test.

I totally support "further investigation", in depth, of anything you suspect might be an issue for you.

I think the operative phrase in your quote is "...no hard and fast rules exist in regard to what triggers an autoimmune disease...", i.e. the cause(s) and precipitating factor(s) are unknown.

Yes, one of my big questions concerns gluten having similar molecular structure to the thyroid gland.  However, I have to ask that if anti-gluten antibodies somehow "morph" into thyroid antibodies (TPOab and TGab), then which has a similar structure to gluten, TPO or TG?  It's an important point since some of us with Hashi's are TPOab positive, some TGab positive, and some both.  Does this only apply to some of us???  

"gluten doesn't CAUSE Hashimotos but because it closely resembles the thyroid gland then our "already autoimmune disease Hashimotos attacks the "gut leaked" gluten mistaking it for "thyroid tissue" creating inflammation similar to the attack of our thyroid. "  I think you misread...K's theory is that it's the other way round...the anti-gluten antibodies leak out of the gut, and because thyroid "tissue" is "similar" to gluten, the anti-gluten antibodies somehow "become "either TPOab or TGab (or both...how's that possible since TPO and TG have much different molecular structures???).  Anyway, this is a very important point...K says that the anti-gluten antibodies that :leak" out of the gut attack thyroid "tissue", not vice versa.  

Avatar universal
Page 29 “Quote” Every time undigested gluten mistakenly slips into the bloodstream, the immune system responds by destroying it for removal. That’s because gluten doesn’t belong in the bloodstream but gets there through overly permeable intestinal walls, or a “leaky gut” “unquote”

My interpretation of this statement is that, undigested gluten mistakenly slips into the blood stream, “the immune system” responds by destroying “it” (undigested gluten) for removal.. a reaction of the immune system because it sees “gluten” as the offender.. not gluten morphing and attacking thyroid tissue but rather the immune system attacking the gluten…

798555 tn?1292791151
This is kind of off the subject matter. I have not read the book. On the subject of 'leaky gut', there is an actual test for this not acknowledged by medical docs, but aimed at holistic docs.

***Does the book even mention a leaky gut test, or just make the assumption that you have it, if gluten makes you ill?***

My point is leaky gut is more rare than gluten intolerance and even full blown Celiac. It was though in the past to be many times completely separate of Celiac. As in its more common to have one or the other than both.

And just so readers know the difference between Celiac - actual sharp digestive pain from gluten antibodies designating the intestine and Gluten Intolerance, which there is no test for but creates digestive discomfort from Gluten and low energy levels.
Avatar universal
But the book says on p. 26 that a serum antibody test will confirm Hashi's, and that TPO ab is the most important.  Sometimes a TG ab test is also necessary.  So Hashi's is identified by those two tests and symptoms.

The book does say on p. 29 that undigested gluten gets into the bloodstream through a "leaky gut" and infers that even people with only gluten intolerance have an autoimmune system reaction, resulting in antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, and that "the problem may be one of mistaken identity".  I have a big question as to what these gluten antibodies are supposed to be?  

The autoimmune system is not producing TPO ab and TG ab to destroy gluten, so what is this undefined antibody that is supposed to be attacking gluten and then mistakenly attacking the thyroid tissue that is supposedly so similar in molecular structure?
Avatar universal
No, I 'm not saying K says gluten "morphs".  K, in some way, thinks that the antibodies that attack gluten (gluten antibodies...and they DO attack the gluten, IF and only IFyou have autoimmune celiac, not just non-celiac gluten intolerance) somehow also attack thyroid tissue because it is "similar" to gluten.  What K does not connect is how these gluten antibodies that "get confused" (a big case of anthropomorphism) cause Hashi's.  Hashi's is caused by TPOab and TGab.  So, how do these anti-gluten antibodies "morph" into TPOab and/or TGab???   And which molecule is similar to gluten?  TPO or TG?  These are major holes in his theory...I don't really expect you to answer this question since he hasn't answered it, just throwing out food for thought here.
Avatar universal
I guess i should be more educated on TPO and TG antibodies "i definitely don't know much about it"

I was merely stateing my interpretations of what little i read..

so is TPO and TG antibodies what is responsible for attacking my thyroid?

If so, i guess what i was interpreting from what i read is that whatever it is that is attacking my thyroid gland is also responsible for attacking the gluten?? is that TPO and TG? can that attack "leaked gluten"? I don't know anything about gluten anti-bodies? i didn't think there was such a thing unless you have celiac disease?  
Avatar universal
If you have Hashi's, TPOab and/or TGab are what ae attacking your thyroid.  TPOab and TGab cannot attack gluten, leaked or otherwise...TPOab attack TPO only, and TGab attack TG only, they don't even attack each other  If you have celiac disease, another kind of antibody, anti-gluten antibodies, attack the gluten and also destroy the little hairs in the small intestine that absorb nutrients, etc..

You are absolutely right...it's only if you have celiac disease that you have anti-gluten antibodies.  This is why it does not make sense to apply K's theory to people who are non-celiac gluten intolerant, because they have no antibodies...this is exactly where K's theory loses it.
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