How Gluten Can Affect Your Thyroid
How do you know what happens when you have a gluten intolerance? Well, here is a quick guide to a few of the ways it might be affecting your body – particularly your thyroid. You can read more general information about gluten intolerance here.
What happens in gluten intolerance (1) is:
- The body lacks a particular digestive enzyme, intestinal glutaminase, that can digest gluten products
- Gliadin antibodies are produced as the body’s reaction to the presence of the gluten
- the villi in the bowels become flattened, making them less able to sweep along waste products and filter out toxins
- The bowel, in a state of irritation, becomes more permeable, allowing larger proteins to pass through, which further aggravates the “allergic” response
- The body responds by producing more histamine, seratonin, kinins, prostaglandins, and interleukins — which can trigger or aggravate autoimmune and inflammatory conditions
The incidence of full-scale gluten intolerance has been found to be substantially higher in people with autoimmune thyroid disease. A study reported on in the February 2000 issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences found that undiagnosed celiac disease may be part of the process that triggers an underlying autoimmune disease. In their findings they wrote: “”We believe that undiagnosed celiac disease can cause other disorders by switching on some as yet unknown immunological mechanism. Untreated celiac patients produce organ-specific autoantibodies.”
Of perhaps greatest importance to thyroid patients, those researchers found that the various antibodies that indicate celiac disease – organ-specific autoantibodies (i.e., thyroid antibodies) — disappear after 3 to 6 months of a gluten-free diet.1
- Shomon, Mary, Is Subclinical Gluten Intolerance/Celiac Disease Sabotaging Your Health?
The Celiac Disease/Autoimmune/Thyroid Connection, Sep 08