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Does Gluten in the Diet Cause Autoimmune Thyroid Disease?





When I read recent research articles that stated that there was a connection between Autoimmune Thyroid Disease and gluten I was in shock.


I have been aware of Thyroid Disease all my life. My grandmother (maternal), my mother and later my brother all had Thyroid disease. I have been tested throughout my life because I matched most of the symptoms. The doctors always gave me a pass since my blood tests for Thyroid were always in the normal range. I have studied Thyroid Disease and presented in college on the topic. I have not heard anyone ever talk about diet having any link to the disease until now.


You might ask, "What is Thyroid Disease?" Dr Jaime Cloyd, ND of Seattle, states that an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. The Thyroid gland is located in the neck and its function is to make thyroid hormones. Every cell in the body has receptors for these hormones. Thyroid disease is any condition that interferes with the thyroid gland's ability to maintain balanced levels. There is Hypothyroidism (cannot make enough) and Hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones). Autoimmunity is present in most cases of Thyroid disease resulting in Hashimoto's or Grave's disease.


What do you find in foods that contain gluten? Gluten is a general name for hundreds of storage proteins of: wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. The two main ones are gliadins and glutenins. Gluten stores nutrients supporting germination and seed development. The digestive enzymes in the body (Proteases), are incapable of completely digesting gluten. Therefore, gluten fragments can trigger an immune response.


Gluten triggers thyroid antibodies due to the irritated gut lining, larger spaces in the intestinal wall, and issues from a "leaky gut". Gluten and other large molecules enter the bloodstream and are recognized as foreign by the immune system. These sensitized gluten antibodies will mistakenly attack the thyroid gland. Patients with celiac disease have four times increased prevalence of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease compared to the general population.


Functional Medicine labs to test for Gluten-related Thyroid Disease are:

  1. Comprehensive Thyroid Panel

  2. Gluten Sensitivity Panel

  3. Comprehensive Stool Test

  4. Micronutrient Panel


Functional Medicine Treatments for Gluten-Related Thyroid Disease:

  1. Nutrition: Gluten-Free Diet

  2. Herbs and Supplements: Probiotics, Glutamine, Zinc Carnosine, Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice.


In summary, Dr Jaime Cloyd, ND states lifestyle changes are also important to address physical and emotional stressors that promote a leaky gut. Stress management techniques are recommended: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), meditation, yoga, and biofeedback therapy to improve digestive and thyroid health.


This information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.


Please continue to read my weekly blogs for education and motivation at https://www.garagetrainingrehabgym.com and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.


#Live Inspired,

Karen Baltz Gibbs, PT, DPT, CSCS, LMT, CMP, Owner Garage Training & Rehab Gym




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