As described by the Mayo Clinic, Hashimoto’s Disease “is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities.”
Yup, I have that. I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome – what exact type – doctors have not been able to figure out yet (could be SIBO, but still not sure). So when you see me talking about gluten-free foods, I eat that way for Hashimoto’s (read more below). The Low Fodmap Diet is NOT gluten-free, it’s a wheat-free diet.
“Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).”
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Fatigue and sluggishness
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Pale, dry skin
- A puffy face
- Hoarse voice
- Unexplained weight gain — occurring infrequently and rarely exceeding 10 to 20 pounds, most of which is fluid
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in your shoulders and hips
- Pain and stiffness in your joints and swelling in your knees or the small joints in your hands and feet
- Muscle weakness, especially in your lower extremities
- Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
Yes, I have those! How wonderful!
But I have decided to not let Hashimoto’s rule my life. It can be difficult at times when I feel so ill, or literally dizzy and emotional, but I truly believe the mind is much more powerful. So, I use it in the best way I can. Aside from meditating, thinking good thoughts and not feeling bad for myself, I also eat a gluten-free diet. Why? Because my doctors tell me so. Because dozens of scientific researchers online say so.
The Link Between Gluten and the Thyroid
“The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland.” Chris Kesser, licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine. “When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have AITD and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid.”
“Much like the side effects from a drug differ in different individuals, side effects from gluten exposure in people can also differ greatly. There are over 200 conditions linked to gluten to date in the medical literature. How does gluten contribute to thyroid disease
- It plays a role in the production of active thyroid hormone (see chart below).
- It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps to regulate immune function.
- It plays a role in blood viscosity (reduces excessive clotting of the blood).
- It drives the most powerful antioxidant system in the body.” RE: Gluten Free Society.
Is eating mostly gluten-free a pain? Yes at times, especially if people ask “do you have celiac?” and I say no I have “Hashimoto’s” and they say “hashi-what?” Most people who have been learning from the media about gluten-free foods and the gluten-free “craze” for those who don’t actually NEED to be gluten-free, don’t know that people with an auto-immune disease like Hashimoto’s also need to be gluten-free. It can be a pain when I am out to dinner with people I don’t know very well (my husband’s client dinners, meeting new people) and I am looking for gluten-free items on the menu -and it’s suddenly become a conversation at the table. Honestly, it’s becoming LESS AND LESS of a big deal for me – and I just do my best NOT to share my personal details with anyone that are not my close family and friends. It’s really none of their business, but mostly, it’s a pain talking about all the dull details 🙂
Stay tuned for blog posts about Hashimoto’s. If you have a personal story to share, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below.