Hashimoto’s – Can giving up gluten help? | What's With Wheat

Hashimoto’s can be seriously debilitating. Some feel like they are doing everything they can do in order to lose weight or to gain vitality, though nothing is working and they continue to feel sluggish, tired, unmotivated and uncomfortable in their skin.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, where your immune system attacks the thyroid gland and impairs the normal production of thyroid hormones. However, did you know just one little exposure to gluten, even once every 6 months may reduce your chances of getting well even if you’re doing everything else right?

Consuming gluten is one of the biggest causes of autoimmune diseases. In fact, gluten has been linked to over 50 or more autoimmune diseases; therefore it is crucial to eliminate gluten in most circumstances if you have or do not want to get an autoimmune disease.

Some symptoms of Hashimoto’s:

  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mood issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Cold intolerance
  • Digestive issues
  • Fluid retention
  • Puffy face.

How do you know if you have Hashimoto’s?

If you are experiencing some of the above symptoms, then it is worthwhile seeking further testing. To confirm whether you have a thyroid problem, you must organise a full thyroid analysis with your preferred practitioner. The following tests are recommended:  thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Peroxidase Antibodies, Thyroglobulin Antibodies, Ferritin, Vitamin D3, Selenium, zinc, magnesium and vitamin A.

I have included nutrient tests because if there is a thyroid problem detected, then balancing these nutrients can certainly assist in reducing your symptoms.

What can cause Hashimoto’s?

Intestinal permeability has been proven to be a huge contribution towards the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease. We know that gluten directly causes intestinal permeability which is discussed in depth in this previous blog post – it is evident that gluten must be eliminated from the diet to reduce symptoms of Hashimoto’s and all other autoimmune diseases.

Although gluten is a major contributor to Hashimoto’s, there are many other potential causes and some of these include:

  • The consumption of gluten
  • Deficiencies in selenium
  • Deficiencies in iodine (you can also have too much iodine)
  • Gut issues (infection, low stomach acid, constipation, diarrhoea etc)
  • Toxins
  • High exposure to halogens (eg fluoride, chloride, bromide)
  • Adrenal fatigue/impaired adrenal function
  • High stress
  • The consumption of inflammatory foods according to the individual (eg eggs, dairy, nuts). For a full list of inflammatory foods and inflammatory fighting foods click here and here. 

Foods to support the thyroid:

  • Activated brazil nuts as they are rich in selenium
  • Seaweed such as kelp noodles and dulse as they are rich in iodine
  • Grass fed, preferably organic liver as they are rich in B vitamins, iron and zinc
  • Leafy greens to cleanse and provide a large array of micronutrients
  • Fermented foods that suit your gut after you perform a stool test if possible
  • Filtered water
  • Lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar in your water to enhance your stomachs hydrochloric acid
  • Foods high in omega 3’s including Inca Inchi Oil, fatty fish and hemp seed oil.

Don’t forget your lifestyle! Sleep, movement, sunshine and connecting with nature is just as crucial as the elimination of gluten and fixing nutrient deficiencies. Make all these elements your priority!

To begin your journey to improve thyroid health or to lessen your chances of getting an autoimmune disease, it is imperative that you remove all gluten from your diet. Once this is achieved, focus on other elements that will support your thyroid health. When you regain your thyroid health, you will experience more clarity, energy, weight loss, more vibrant skin and stronger hair. It is worth it!

What have you done to improve your thyroid health? Have you eliminated gluten completely and experienced benefits? We would love to hear from you.

Sheridan Williamson
Nutritionist & GAPS Practitioner