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Understanding the importance of gluten and Hashimoto’s disease may be the key factor in healing your thyroid.
The Link Between Gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease
Has your doctor talked to you about the link between gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease? Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune condition that causes 90% of all cases of hypothyroidism. Gluten is a combination of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt and many others. Ongoing scientific research indicates that there is a dangerous link between eating foods that contain gluten and Hashimoto’s disease.
The hard truth is that gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease are a destructive combination. If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you need to completely avoid gluten to avoid triggering autoimmune attacks on your thyroid gland. However, you may not have to avoid gluten forever but this depend on a number of factors.
What decides if someone must be gluten-free forever?
Once my patient’s antibody levels are in a healthy range, their thyroid and blood tests look great, and they are feeling great, then we can try a gluten challenge. I always make sure they are eating small quantities from high quality sources such as sourdough bread. Sourdough has much lower concentrations of gluten than normal bread because the leavening process breaks down a lot of the gluten.
I’ll have a patient eat some high quality sourdough bread a few times a week and see how they feel. Sometimes they will know right away that they must completely avoid gluten. In other cases, they will feel fine and when we test their thyroid antibodies and thyroid numbers, they actually look great and have not changed. These individuals can have gluten in moderation.
So as you can see, the answer is not black and white as it is very patient-specific. It would be a tragedy for someone to have to avoid gluten for their entire life unnecessarily. Most people will have to avoid gluten for life but there are always exceptions to this statement.
Why should gluten be avoided if you have Hashimoto’s Disease?
Gluten has been shown in multiple studies to be a contributing factor to not just Hashimoto’s disease, but many autoimmune diseases. Gluten can break down the intestinal barrier leading to “Leaky Gut Syndrome” which can lead to autoimmune disease. Gluten can also be an irritant to Hashimoto’s disease by creating inflammation in the thyroid gland. The process is known as “molecular mimicry” which basically means that your body’s immune system is attacking the gluten, infection or environmental toxin but also attacking it’s own tissue.
Get the Facts on Gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease
Many physicians do not discuss the connection between gluten and Hashimoto’s disease with their patients but instead put them on a regimen of thyroid medications. But medications do not deal with the autoimmune response that damages the thyroid. A functional medicine perspective is that a practitioner must find out what triggers the immune system to attack the thyroid, and work with the patient to develop strategies to avoid those triggers.
To get a comprehensive overview of the connection between gluten and Hashimoto’s disease, as well as other triggers of autoimmune attacks that lead to hypothyroidism, read The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide by functional medicine practitioner Dr. Nikolas R. Hedberg.
The Functional Medicine Approach to Gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease
A functional medicine practitioner like Dr. Hedberg will discuss gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease with you because the functional medicine approach thoroughly investigates underlying causes of dysfunction and targets the unique causes of low thyroid in each person. That means each patient undergoes a comprehensive examination, including health history, environment, diet and nutrition, exercise level, psychological and emotional state, social interactions, hormone levels, and genetics.
Dr. Hedberg has dedicated his life to researching thyroid dysfunction. Since a majority of cases of hypothyroidism are caused by Hashimoto’s he has done a lot of research into the connection between gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease. In addition to The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide you can read his free eBook here ==> Gluten Free eBook
How long can it take to see improvements once you stop eating gluten?
It can take up to 18 months for the inflammation in the intestine to calm down on a gluten-free diet. Many people with Hashimoto’s disease experience quick results in a matter of weeks once coming off of gluten. There are other foods that can contribute to inflammation in the intestine along with gluten such as dairy products, eggs, soy and other food allergens to name a few. It is important to have food sensitivity testing done to identify what foods your body is reacting to in addition to gluten.
Get a Holistic Perspective on Gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease
Blood tests alone are not enough to determine if there is a relationship between your consumption of gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease. If you are ready to partner with a practitioner who will seek the underlying causes of your illness, and then follow a treatment plan that might recommend changes to diet, supplementation, herbal medicine or natural hormones, then make an appointment to consult with Dr. Hedberg either in his office or virtually from anywhere in the world. When you truly understand the connection between gluten and Hashimoto’s disease, then you have the power to change your health and begin renewing your thyroid, and your health, naturally.