Follow a Gluten-Free Diet for Hashimoto’s Disease

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Let’s talk about how to follow a gluten-free diet for Hashimoto’s disease. What symptoms lead to a Hashimoto’s disease diagnosis? We’ll explore more here including weightloss due to Hashimoto’s and Thyroiditis.

Until one of our Readers, Sandi, asked for information about Hashimoto’s disease, I really knew very little about it as it has never been an issue within our circle of family or friends. However, as I read about it, I was surprised to learn how prevalent this disease really is. 14 million people in our country alone suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This disease is the most common thyroid disorder in the United States.

Hashimoto’s Disease is one of the many autoimmune diseases which actually is difficult to diagnose without performing a lot of tests. This is true of many of the autoimmune diseases today.

It wasn’t very long ago when a good friend was suffering from an autoimmune disease called Fibromyalgia. At that time, fibromyalgia, and other symptomatic conditions which we now know are autoimmune diseases, were scoffed at and thought of as conditions emanating from one’s imagination. In other words, patients were merely dismissed as being hypochondriacs with no medical assistance being offered. Happily, gone are those days.

Here is a list of 19 out of 100 commonly known autoimmune diseases that you may have heard of:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Grave’s Disease
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Herpes
  • Lupus
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Narcolepsy
  • Psoriasis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Rheumatic Fever
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Vitiligo

I was aware of many of these diseases by name but never realized that they were an autoimmune disease. Did some of them on this list surprise you, too?

Hashimoto's Disease with pillsIt was fascinating reading to learn more about Hashimoto’s Disease and how many people are affected by this condition. But, let me state early on that there is a silver lining: this disease can be controlled and reversed by what you eat, what vitamin deficiencies need to be corrected, and how to reduce your stress.

Isn’t that excellent news? In addition to the many articles written by doctors, pharmacists, and patients of Hashimoto’s Disease, there are many books that go in greater depth with testimonials, scientifically controlled groups and their successes, and diets. For your convenience, I offer links to many of them so keep reading.

It seems from what I have found online that a successful diet to combat Hashimoto’s Disease is a gluten-free diet. Dr. Amy Myers says this in her article called “Is Gluten To Blame For Your Thyroid Dysfunction?”

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is one of the major causes of leaky gut. It produces a chemical called zonulin that causes the tight junctions in the wall of the intestine to open up.2 Leaky gut can also be caused or made worse by stress, gut infections, such as Candida overgrowth, antibiotics and the birth control pill.

Once your gut becomes leaky, larger molecules – food particles, bacteria, viruses, and toxins – enter your bloodstream where your immune system detects them as foreign invaders, attacking them and leading to chronic inflammation.

Many of these “foreign invaders” floating in your bloodstream look very similar to your own body’s cells. Your immune system can get confused and accidentally attack your tissues. This process of mistaken identity is called molecular mimicry and is one of the theories as to how autoimmunity happens. In the case of Hashimoto’s specifically, gluten’s chemical structure is very similar to that of your thyroid tissue. So once gluten has lead to leaky gut and is now floating freely throughout your bloodstream, it can trigger mistaken attacks on your thyroid.”

For more information on Hashimoto’s Disease by Dr. Amy Myers, check out these two books on Amazon:

The Autoimmune Solution   

The Thyroid Connection

That explanation that Dr. Myers wrote gives such a clear understanding of why gluten is so damaging to our bodies and to our overall health. That’s pretty serious stuff going inside us, and to think that we can control that just by eliminating gluten from our diet is very encouraging. That simply means cutting out bread and grains. 

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, the definition of gluten is:

“Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, Graham, KAMUT® Khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.”

Thank goodness that oats are usually exempt from the list of grains to be avoided. For medical reasons, however, patients may be advised to abstain from oats due to the chance of their being grown in close proximity of grains that contain gluten.

This makes me glad because I do like oatmeal for breakfast.

If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease and are taking steps to overcome this condition, take care to read labels of foods as gluten may be lurking in unsuspected places. Foods that contain gluten other than bread are pasta, croutons, crackers, noodles, baked goods, sauces and gravies, flour tortillas, Brewer’s Yeast, and beer. (Sorry, I know that last one may not make some people very happy.)

Also published by the Celiac Disease Foundation is this list of foods that contain gluten that you may never have guessed. This exemplifies why it’s important to read food labels and learn what is hidden in the contents that you may not ever have guessed.

“Foods That May Contain Gluten (must be verified by reading the label or checking with the manufacturer/kitchen staff)

  • Energy bars/granola bars – some bars may contain wheat as an ingredient, and most use oats that are not gluten-free
  • French fries – be careful of batter containing wheat flour or cross-contact from fryers
  • Potato chips – some potato chip seasonings may contain malt vinegar or wheat starch
  • Processed lunch meats
  • Candy and candy bars
  • Soup – pay special attention to cream-based soups, which have flour as a thickener. Many soups also contain barley
  • Multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas that are not entirely corn-based may contain a wheat-based ingredient
  • Salad dressings and marinades – may contain malt vinegar, soy sauce, flour
  • Starch or dextrin if found on a meat or poultry product could be from any grain, including wheat
  • Brown rice syrup – may be made with barley enzymes
  • Meat substitutes made with seitan (wheat gluten) such as vegetarian burgers, vegetarian sausage, imitation bacon, imitation seafood (Note: tofu is gluten-free, but be cautious of soy sauce marinades and cross-contact when eating out, especially when the tofu is fried)
  • Soy sauce (though tamari made without wheat is gluten-free)
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Pre-seasoned meats
  • Cheesecake filling – some recipes include wheat flour
  • Eggs served at restaurants – some restaurants put pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omelets, but on their own, eggs are naturally gluten-free”

Another medical expert in this field who I enjoyed reading is Dr. Izabella Wentz who has authored books and papers about Hashimoto’s Disease. I originally found Dr. Wentz because of her pin on Pinterest which caught my eye.Hashimoto's Disease Dr. Wentz pin

In her article by the same name as the pin, “10 Most helpful DIY Interventions for Hashimoto’s”, Dr. Wentz discusses controlled studies that were done and the successes noted by following certain interventions to manage and to reverse this disease.

Her studies were spurred on due to her own diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Disease. The more she studied and taught herself what to eat and what to do to curb the effects and rid herself of this disease, the more she realized how this can help so many others with the same condition.

Get her books on Amazon here:

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause

Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back

Dr. Izabella Wentz has written many articles on the subject, understandably so since it is or was her private life as well as her professional one. See Autoimmune Paleo Diet  regarding implementing a Paleo diet lifestyle to combat Hashimoto’s Disease. Another excellent article is “Food Sensitivities and Hashimoto’s” wherein certain food sensitivities need to be regarded in some people that others would not have to contend with.

Having to learn what changes are necessary to live with Hashimoto’s Disease is a struggle in the beginning but soon becomes an easier way of life. Read and be encouraged by what other’s have done to cope and to overcome this disease. One day, you might be writing your own testimonial of the successful outcome you have achieved by the helpful information provided here and elsewhere.

 

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