Gluten is made up of the proteins gliadin and glutenin and is found predominantly in wheat, barley and rye. Some grains that are gluten free are rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat and oats. However, you should always check as these grains may be contaminated with gluten when they are being processed.
The most common form of gluten intolerance in people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is coeliac disease. According to ‘Coeliac Australia’ this disease affects about 1 in 70 Australians with 80% of these people being undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.
What is coeliac disease?
An immune response is triggered when gluten is consumed damaging the intestines of someone with coeliac disease, thus preventing them from absorbing nutrients. This then leads to poor nutrition, inflammation and the malabsorption of nutrients.
The only way to treat coeliac disease is to go on a gluten free diet. This means avoiding the foods containing gluten such as the grains listed before. Packaged foods should say if they do or do not contain gluten so go off that.
A study conducted by Valentino et al. (1999) showed the prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with thyroid autoimmunity (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). The study was comprised of 150 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease in which 3.3% of the subjects with autoimmune thyroid disease have coeliac disease.
A study conducted by Rosella et al. (2002) showed that a significant proportion of people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (43%) have signs of ‘potential’ coeliac disease. The study was comprised of 14 patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in which underwent a jejunal biopsy to determine if they had the ‘potential’ for coeliac.
A study conducted by Sharma et al. (2016) showed that the prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). The study was comprised of 280 subjects in which 8.6% tested positive for coeliac disease.
Valentino, R, Savastano, S, Maglio, M, Paparo, F, Ferrara, F, Dorato, M, Lombardi, G, & Troncone, R 2002, ‘Markers of potential coeliac disease in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis’, European Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 146, no. 4, p. 479
Sharma, BR, Joshi, AS, Varthakavi, PK, Chadha, MD, Bhagwat, NM, & Pawal, PS 2016, ‘Celiac autoimmunity in autoimmune thyroid disease is highly prevalent with a questionable impact’, Indian Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 97-100. Available from: 10.4103/2230-8210.172241. [7 February 2017].
Valentino, R, Savastano, S, Tommaselli, AP, Dorato, M, Scarpitta, MT, Gigante, M, Micillo, M, Paparo, F, Petrone, E, Lombardi, G, & Troncone, R 1999, ‘Prevalence of Coeliac Disease in Patients with Thyroid Autoimmunity’, Hormone Research, vol. 51, no. 3, p. 124. Available from: 10.1159/000023344. [7 February 2017].