Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid and as a result impairs the thyroids ability to produce thyroid hormone causing hypothyroidism.
Over half of all people diagnosed with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s and a growing body of research has identified a commonality with celiac disease and hypothyroidism as well. (1) In one well documented a case a woman’s hypothyroidism resolved when the underlying celiac disease was addressed gluten was removed from her diet. (2)
Getting to the root of what had been aggravating her immune system, when eliminated, allowed for healing to occur. Although this is definitely not the case for every person with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, numerous studies show a correlation and yet an equal amount show that Hashimoto’s and celiac disease are independent of each other. (3)
If you think that the root of your hypothyroidism has not been addressed, it may be worth discussing the potential benefit of an elimination diet with a registered dietitian nutritionist and testing for celiac disease with your physician. (4) However, remember there is no evidence that a person with Hashimoto’s independent of celiac needs a gluten-free diet. In fact going gluten-free may not benefit them in any way.
The origin of thyroid disease is a complex mixture of genetic and environmental factors such as stress, smoking and infections. (5)
A common complaint of thyroid disease is sluggish digestions, constipation, gas and abdominal pain. A comprehensive elimination diet can be used to screen for a variety of food sensitivities and reduce digestive stress. It may last for 1-3 months total, this will allow you time to eliminate allergens and then slowly reintroduce them one at a time to allow for you to observe your body for symptoms. Although an elimination diet will require some adjustments, the benefits can outweigh the cost.
- Barker, J. M., & Liu, E. (2008). Celiac Disease: Pathophysiology, Clinical Manifestations and Associated Autoimmune Conditions. Advances in Pediatrics, 55, 349–365. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.yapd.2008.07.001
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Meloni, Antonella et al. Prevalence of Autoimmune Thyroiditis in Children with Celiac Disease and Effect of Gluten Withdrawal. The Journal of Pediatrics , Volume 155 , Issue 1 , 51 – 55.e1
- Afzal J. Naiyer, Jayesh Shah, Lincoln Hernandez, Soo-Youl Kim, Edward J. Ciaccio, Jianfeng Cheng, Sanil Manavalan, Govind Bhagat, and Peter H.R. Green. Thyroid. November 2008, 18(11): 1171-1178. https://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2008.0110
- Tomer, Y., & Huber, A. (2009). THE ETIOLOGY OF AUTOIMMUNE THYROID DISEASE: A STORY OF GENES AND ENVIRONMENT. Journal of Autoimmunity, 32(3-4), 231–239. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2009.02.007