Hashimoto's and gluten

by Teresa Brañas
(Deer Park, IL)

My doctor discovered that I had Hashimoto's disease (Autoinmune Thyroid disease) right before I got pregnant with my fith baby 4 years ago (by the way I have 6 beautiful children, four boys and two girls!). I have never been a heavy person (I am always eating in the "healthy side"), just a little heavier on my midsection but slim on the rest (I am 5 9" and currently weight 133 lbs but my waist is 34" .... I wished it was 30").

A month ago I was at 140 had beeen trying to loose 10 pounds around my waist for the last year with total failure. I tried Weight Watchers/eating less at night/drinking more water/working out...you name it, but my weight did not move from 138 lbs and if one day I was stressed and eating more because of it I would gain 2-3 pounds right back in, frustating.

I started to research on the Internet about Hypothyroidism and gluten this is some of what I found out:

"Several studies show a strong link between AITD (both Hashimoto's and Graves) and gluten intolerance. The link is so well-established that researchers suggest all people with AITD be screened for gluten intolerance, and vice versa.

What explains the connection? It?s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have AITD and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid.

Even worse, the immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it. This explains why it is critical to eliminate gluten completely from your diet if you have AITD. There's no "80/20" rule when it comes to gluten. Being "mostly" gluten-free isn't going to cut it. If you're gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid.

So how do you find out if you're gluten intolerant? Unfortunately, standard lab tests aren't very accurate. They test for antibodies to gluten in the bloodstream. But antibodies in the blood will only be found in cases where the gut has become so permeable that gluten can pass through. This is a relatively advanced stage of disease. Blood tests will miss the many milder cases of gluten intolerance that haven't yet progressed to that stage.
Stool analysis is far more sensitive, because it detects antibodies produced in the digestive tract that aren't yet escaping into the bloodstream. Using this method at Entero Lab, Dr. Kenneth Fine, a pioneer in the field, has found that up to 35% of Americans are gluten intolerant ".

I copyed all this information out of this site: www.thehealthyskeptic.org/the-gluten-thyroid-connection

Also recommend to read Dr Kharrazian "Why do I still have Thyroid sympton? When my lab test are normal."

So, after getting very scared about this, I went gluten free cold turkey, no bread, pasta, cookies, scones, pizza!...zero. I actually decided to be on the "Paleo diet (www.marksdailyapple.com), until I reach my slim waist and my body gets used to not to eat any of these items.

As you say on your site, no bread substitutions because all of them are pure carbohydrates and you will not achieve weight loss when eating them. It was very hard for a week, then you get use to eat like that. Then it was my Birthday and I was pretty good until we attacked the gigantic cheesecake from Costco! I totally cheated on my diet for 2-3 days and it took me another week to get used to not to eat sugar/wheat for a while.

The truth is that I am feeling very well with much more energy than those days that I used to experience high levels of energy due to sugar from my old carbohydrate diet and then crashing later in the day due to low insulin levels.

It is hard being home with my kids eating bread (that is the hardest part by far...ciao my coffe/milk and toast with peanut butter for breakfast!) but eventually you get used not to eat it. Not eating pasta and the likes is not bad at all. You can get pretty satisfied with chicken/meat/fish with vegetables. I am getting very creative with meals cooking differently and I am happy doing it.

At last eating this way, is making me more aware of what my kids eat. I think I have been pretty good at feeding them healthy (salad every day, grilled chicken, meat, fish, rice, pasta, legumes...and a very little amount of junk food at home like mac'ncheese, pizza, breaded fish, mcnuggets, hot dogs... ) in a regular basis. But I have gave in with poptarts, bars, cookies and other sugary treats in a normal basis which is unfortunately pure sugar not too good for your system.

Lately, I have less of this junk at home and they are eating more fruits that they used to. They might have some snacks not so bad (pretzels, crackers, low sugar cereal ...) but very little sugar treats at home....they buy candy when they go with dad to the store!...sometimes.... I am hoping with these changes, my kids will grow up conscious about the way they eat affects their health forever.

Nowadays there is so much information on the Internet that you can find anything you need to stay and be healthy. The information is there, you just need to embrace it and take charge of your health! Thanks for the valuable information of this site!

The obesity epidemic in this country is horrific and in my opinion, we, parents have a huge responsibility not only for our health, but the health of our children.

Excuse me if my writing is not perfect, I am a native from Spain and English is my second language.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

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Sep 13, 2012
This was so useful as I am hypothyroid and wondered why it was worsening
by: Anonymous

I have been "gluten free" for about 6 years now but about a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I do try to live my life in a gluten filled environment, but I was not aware of the dangers of cross contamination. This article has opened my eyes to the danger of being so lax and the effect on my thyroid.

May 28, 2011
thank you
by: Eve

Thank you for posting this information. It is eye opening.

I work out daily and maintain at least an extra 50 lbs and cannot get rid of it. So, you are saying that the gluten is attacking my immune system? I never knew this. I am a very healthy eater. But I too would have coffee and cream. You cannot have that now? And I love toast w/ pb also. You cannot have this either? So, you eat eggs for breakfast? Did you find any cereal that you can have. How about oatmeal? I had my thyroid checked, it was normal too. I have not had a test for gluten allergy yet. But I will find one that can do it like you suggest in the stool.

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