Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gluten Free and Hashimotos

I've had hypothyroidism issues since I was about 19.  I've been told by doctors that it is unusual that it unusual that my levels have varied.  I've only ever taken a low level of medication to treat it.  I've gone years on medications and years off. 

Up until a few years ago I had never heard of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  According to the Mayo Clinic Hashimoto's is an auto-immune condition in which the person's immune system attacks the thyroid.  Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland that's basically on top of your adam's apple.  This gland is part of the endocrine system and it produces hormones that help run your entire body.

Illustration of thyroid gland showing larynx and trachea

Hashimoto's often causes hypothyroidism a condition that causes a drop in the levels of hormones in your body. Since it creates hormones that regulate your entire body it can cause an array of symptoms like :
fatigue, sensitivity to temperature change, digestive issues, dry skin, hair, and brittle nails, a swollen face, weight gain that's mainly fluid, muscle aches, pain and stiffness in joints, muscle weakness, menorrhagia, and depression.

Typical treatment for hypothyroidism is to supplement the thyroid using medication.  However some new studies are pointing to a link between gluten and auto-immune conditions like Hashimoto's. Below are some interesting fact that show a link between gluten and Hashimoto's.
  • A strong link has been made between gliaden exposure and Hashimoto's.  In studies when patients adhered to an elimination diet (specifically eliminating gluten) they've seen a reduction of symptoms and normalization of TSH levels.
  • Digestive health plays an important hand in the development of Hashimoto's.
  • Often auto-immune disorders are progressive meaning that if you have one more than likely in the future you will develop another type of auto-immune disorder.
I would love to see more evidence on this subject, this is a good start. It's interesting to see how many things can be affected by a person's diet.