Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s?
Research has shown that gluten (and dairy) is bad for your thyroid and in this blog I try to explain why. If you have thyroid dysfunction, there’s a good chance that it’s an autoimmune condition. Around 90% of people with Hypothyroidism (caused by too little thyroid hormone) actually have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. But because most doctors don’t test for this (due to treatment being the same as for hypothyroidism) patients are usually unaware that they have it. They take the prescribed medication believing that there is nothing further that can be done to help ease their symptoms
What is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is when your immune system is mistakenly attacking your own thyroid, causing it to affect your levels of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism also often goes undiagnosed because the immune fluctuations caused by Hashimoto’s makes TSH, the lab marker for hypothyroidism, wax, and wane. So that on the day that you go for your test your thyroid levels may actually be in range for a short time but you will be sent away with a negative diagnosis but your symptoms will resurface.
What is Gluten?
One of the first pieces of advice I give my thyroid patients is to cut out gluten and dairy. Gluten is the name for proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten acts as the glue that helps food to maintain their shape. That is why some gluten free products can taste a bit like cardboard.
Why is gluten (and dairy) bad for your thyroid?
The problem with consuming gluten when you have Hashimoto’s is that it contains a protein (gliadin) that resembles an enzyme of your thyroid (transglutaminase).
Your thyroid is at risk of autoimmune attacks because gluten looks so much like thyroid cells. So, if you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, this can cause your immune system to mistakenly attack your thyroid. Over time, these attacks can lead to an underactive thyroid, resulting in many symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Even among non-celiac patients, gluten has been linked to promoting inflammation, producing interactions from the immune system, and being toxic to living cells.
Many people can consume gluten with no acute symptoms. But for others, including those with Celiac disease, non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, or a predisposition to autoimmune disease, gluten can trigger an aggressive immune response.
What causes a gluten sensitivity?
This is largely caused by a leaky gut. In a healthy digestive tract, there are small spaces between the cells that line the intestine. These tight junctions allow the absorption of small, digested particles into the bloodstream. Factors such as alcohol and food sensitivities, certain medications, intestinal dysbiosis, and very importantly, stress, can irritate the gut lining, leading to larger spaces in the intestinal wall and absorption of larger, undigested food particles. Which in turn causes leaky gut.
Once leaky gut is present, gluten (and other larger molecules) enters the bloodstream, is recognised as foreign by the immune system, and triggers an immune response. Immune cells form antibodies against the protein gliadin (which is in gluten) to quickly detect and neutralise it in future exposures. Due to very similar structures in gliadin and an enzyme called transglutaminase, which is heavily concentrated in the thyroid gland, these sensitised gluten antibodies will mistakenly attack the thyroid gland at the same time it attacks gluten protein. When the immune system mounts an autoimmune response due to similarities between foreign and self-proteins is called molecular mimicry.
The dairy connection
On top of this, 50% of people with gluten sensitivity also experience molecular mimicry with casein, a protein found in dairy. This is known as cross-reactivity, where your body reacts to a trigger that resembles the first trigger. Therefore, dairy is the second biggest trigger for people with Hashimoto’s.
So, to recap and ascertain why gluten (and dairy) are bad for your thyroid. Most people diagnosed with Hypothyroidism actually have the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Their body is attacking their thyroid glad which is exacerbated if they eat gluten and secondarily dairy. This is because certain factors, such as stress, may have caused leaky gut, which allows larger molecules, such as gluten, to enter the blood stream. When this happens, the gluten molecules are wrongly identified by the immune system, causing it to attack the thyroid gland where the gluten molecules are mainly residing.
Homeopathy for Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s
When treating a patient’s thyroid condition, it does not matter if you have a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s. Homeopathic remedies do not recognise the diagnosis, only the symptoms. In my experience the main healing is done by the homeopathic remedies. However, if there are actions that you can take to support your thyroid, such as thyroid specific supplements and eliminating harmful foodstuffs, all the better. Hopefully this blog will help you understand why gluten and dairy are bad for your thyroid and are to be avoided for optimum healing of your thyroid.
For more info on how I can help you heal your thyroid with homeopathy in a safe and drug free way, please book in for a free 15-minute chat using this link https://melissaforeman.co.uk/book-now