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  • Writer's pictureEmily Lipinski

4 Reasons Why Going Gluten Free Needs to be a Consideration if you have Autoimmune Hypothyroidism

I honestly believe going gluten free was one of the key dietary changes that helped me reach thyroid balance. Although I am no longer 100% gluten free (more like 98% gluten free) I was strictly gluten free for 4 years. During this period of time, my levels of TPO antibodies dropped significantly and my energy slowly began coming back. Even though I made many other lifestyle changes that contributed to my success, the research is now reporting that ditching the gluten may seriously help thyroid disease suffers.

Gluten is a protein particle found in all forms of wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is also found in wheat additives, the most common additive used in American food products.

Sources of Gluten Include:

  • Wheat

  • Barley

  • Rye

  • Triticale

  • Bulgur

  • Farina

  • Graham flour

  • Kamut

  • Semolina

  • Spelt

  • Beer

Removing gluten from the diet has certainly become a hot topic over the past few years due to many people speaking out regarding the benefits they have experienced once they eliminate gluten from their diet.

Individuals with celiac disease have a condition where they become very ill upon eating wheat and gluten products. New research shows that these people are actually 4 times more likely than the general population to have autoimmune thyroid disease!

Many people report that even if they do not have celiac disease they are intolerant or sensitive to gluten and wheat. These individuals report beneficial results from the removal of gluten and wheat such as: reduced bloating, improved energy, weight loss and better bowel movements.

In fact, a recent study reports that Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) can cause symptoms of IBS and inflammation in individuals who are not celiac and may be caused by other proteins found in wheat besides gluten.

Although going gluten free isn’t necessary for everyone, if you have thyroid disease, especially autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease, I believe it should definitely be a consideration.

Here’s why:

1. Several studies show a strong link between autoimmune thyroid disease (both Hashimoto’s and Graves’) and gluten intolerance.

2. Individuals with these thyroid conditions may be more likely to be intolerant to gluten.

3. In most patients who strictly followed a 1-year GFD, there was a normalization of subclinical hypothyroidism, suggesting that in distinct cases, gluten withdrawal may single-handedly reverse the abnormality!

4. Additionally, some literature data have suggested that microbial imbalance in the gut could affect thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. It has been suggested that so called “bad gut bacteria” could even change thyroid hormones, thus affecting serum levels of these hormones in the body.

If you are curious about removing gluten from your diet, I definitely recommend working with a professional to ensure you are still incorporating enough carbohydrates and B vitamins into your diet. There are many delicious gluten free grains and carbohydrates to choose from if you do make a switch to a gluten free lifestyle.

Gluten Free Options Include:

  • Amaranth

  • Arrowroot

  • Beans

  • Buckwheat

  • Corn (non-GMO)

  • Flax

  • Gluten-free flours (bean, coconut, buckwheat, sorghum, nut flour, rice, soy, corn, potato, quinoa, teff etc)

  • Millet

  • Quinoa

  • Rice (brown, rice, purple, wild etc)

  • Sorghum

  • Soy (non-GMO)

  • Tapioca

  • Teff

Many people find it difficult to navigate the grocery store when trying to change their lifestyle. To simplify your life, I've made a Thyroid Truths Grocery List with my non-negotiable grocery food items! Download the printable PDF here - It's perfect to keep on the fridge!

Have you noticed benefits from removing gluten from you diet? Do you have any favorite go-to gluten free recipes? I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

Dr. Emily

Catassi C, Bai JC, Bonaz B, et al. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: The New Frontier of Gluten Related Disorders. Nutrients. 2013;5(10):3839-3853. doi:10.3390/nu5103839.

Collin P, Salmi J, Hällström O, Reunala T, Pasternack A. Autoimmune thyroid disorders and coeliac disease. Eur J Endocrinol 1994;130:137–40. ISSN 0804–4643.

Ackay et al. The presence of anti glidan antibodies in autoimmune thyroid disease. Hepatogastroenterology. 2003 Dec;50 Suppl 2

Bruno M et al. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998 Nov;10(11):927-31.

Streider et al. Risk Factorsfor prevelance of thyroid disease in a cross sectional study among healthy female relatives of patients with autoimmune thyroid disease Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2003 Sep;59(3):396-401

Hakenen. Clinical and Subclinical thyroid disease in patients with celiac disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2001 Dec;46(12):2631-5

Lerner A, Jeremias P, Matthias T. Gut-thyroid axis and celiac disease. Endocrine Connections. 2017

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