Thyroid Gluten

Thyroid-Gluten Connection

Does this sound like you? Your energy is in the toilet. Your hair is falling out. You haven’t pooped in days. Your skin is dry. You feel anxious AF. You feel like the pounds are piling on. Your doctor says, “everything is normal. Your tests all came back looking A-OK” but you know in your gut that there’s nothing “normal” about feeling like crap. 

Then read on because this blog was written for you!

But first…It’s time to stop DIY-ing your health and get some help. You deserve to thrive, have endless amounts of energy and feel amazing. Ready to fix your hormone? Head here to apply to work with me today! 

The thyroid is often referred to as “the master gland” because it plays such a big role in controlling all of the bodies functions. This is part of the reason that when your thyroid is not performing optimally, the symptoms you experience range from low energy to hair loss. Since the thyroid plays such a big role in overall health and wellbeing, we want to protect it and ensure it’s functioning well. This means looking at the connection between low thyroid performance and gluten consumption. I often hear from people, “I could never give up gluten.” If giving up gluten meant you felt better, would you do it? Maybe the answer is still no, in which case, I’d recommend you look at where your priorities lie. Giving up certain foods and feeling better or not changing your diet because of your preconceived notions about “gluten-free”. 

If you need some inspiration for what to eat to give your thyroid some love, grab my FREE MEAL PLAN!

What is the thyroid gland?

Before diving into the connection between gluten and the thyroid gland, I think it’s important to figure out what you need to look for when it comes to thyroid performance. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the front of your neck. It controls everything from metabolism to nutrients being absorbed. It’s a key part of your endocrine system. 90% of thyroid disease can be characterized as autoimmune thyroiditis. So it’s important to have your antibodies tested and work with a natural healthcare provider to understand what your results mean.

Common symptoms of thyroid issues

  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue & Low Energy 
  • Hair loss
  • Difficulty losing weight 
  • Constipation 
  • Feeling cold more often than not
  • Fertility struggles
  • Muscle and joint aches and weakness
  • Depressed or mood issues
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Heavy or irregular periods

If you struggle with 2-3 or more of these issues, I’d recommend heading to your doctor’s office and asking for a complete thyroid panel including:

  • TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
  • T4 (thyroxine)
  • T3 (triiodothyronine)
  • Reverse T3
  • Thyroid Antibodies

Thyroid-Gluten Connection

Overall health begins in the gut, especially thyroid health. Whether your thyroiditis stems from autoimmune (Hashimotos or Graves) or non-autoimmune.

We can see the connection between gut health and autoimmune disease quite clearly. When the gut, specifically the small intestine becomes permeable or “leaky” it can allow food particles to pass through. Those particles are then targeted by your immune system like foreign invaders and your immune system fights them causing a chain reaction. 

How does gluten play into this picture? I’m so glad you asked! Gluten has a protein in it called Zonulin. Zonulin has been shown to increase the permeability in the intestine leading to “leaky gut”. Leaky gut leads to more immune responses in the body. It also leads to higher levels of inflammation in the body, higher levels of cortisol and creates an environment that is not great for thyroid health. 

Leaky Gut, Gluten, and Thyroid Health

Another problem with leaky gut, is that it also creates gaps in your small intestine for microbes, pathogens, toxins, and other partially digested food to be released into the bloodstream. If you struggle with multiple food sensitivities, leaky gut could be part or the whole issue. Since your immune system is trying to fight off the food particles entering the bloodstream.

But, because your gut is still leaky, your immune system is working on overdrive because the threats just keep coming. This puts your body into a state or chronic inflammation and also puts you on the path to develop an autoimmune disease. Because, your immune system is under so much chronic stress that it begins to attack your own tissue by mistake. Unfortunately, the gluten that caused or was a factor in your gut becoming leaky makes it more likely that you will develop thyroid disease, because gluten is structurally similar to your thyroid tissue. 

Mistaken Identity

Your immune system is one smart cookie. It protects your body from foreign invaders like viruses, pathogens, and toxins. In fact, every time your body is exposed to a dangerous invader, your immune system goes on attack. Better yet, your immune system files that invader into it’s filing system just in case it comes back. Your immune system memorizes its structure, specifically its protein sequence, so that it can develop the perfect defence to that pathogen and recognize it in the future.

But, just like most other things, this system isn’t perfect and sometimes makes mistakes. If the molecule’s structure and protein sequence is similar enough the immune system can be fooled into attacking look-a-like tissues that may actually be your body’s tissue. Unfortunately for the thyroid, this is the case with gluten and casein (in dairy). These two foods have similar structures and sequences to the thyroid tissue. When you have leaky gut and gluten and casein are running rampant in your bloodstream, your body may start attacking thyroid tissue. This scenario happens in both autoimmune cases and non-autoimmune cases of thyroid disease. 


What now?

If you are concerned that you have a thyroid issue that has not been diagnosed, head to your doctor’s office. Get a requisition for the tests that I mentioned above. Take your results to a knowledgeable practitioner to help you understand what they mean. A holistic practitioner will look at optimal ranges instead of conventional or “normal” ranges. 

If you have been diagnosed with any sort of thyroid issue or disease, stay away from dairy and gluten, at least for 30 days. Keep track of how you feel. If you are concerned that you have an undiagnosed, subclinical form of thyroiditis, avoid gluten and dairy and support your gut health. 

Want more one on one help? Tired of throwing gluten-free spaghetti at the wall trying to see what sticks? Fill out the application to work with me so that you can finally live the life of your dreams!

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