If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's you will know that even though you are being treated for the condition, you might not actually feel better. That is because, according to a 2015 study done by an avid Thyroid researcher and Pharmacist, Dr. Izabella Wentz, only 44% of patients placed on Synthetic T4 medication (Synthroid, Levothyroxine and others) felt better. (1) I don't know about you, but I don't think that's a very good outcome. Especially for the 56% of people that DON'T feel better!
So, why is it that so many people aren't feeling better despite being given the "treatment"? I believe it is because we aren't looking at the whole picture. We look only at the Thyroid in isolation. As an example... Most people diagnosed with Hypothyroidism or a slow thyroid are not even told whether or not it's Hashimoto's, which is responsible for about 90% of the cases of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition where your body is breaking down it's own Thyroid gland. If we fail to recognize the autoimmune nature of the condition, we fail to treat the REAL cause of the issue.
In order for an autoimmune condition to be present, we must have:
Genetic predisposition (about 30% of the population has this for Hashimoto's)
An Environmental trigger (infection, trauma, hormone surges like in pregnancy)
Intestinal Permeability or "Leaky Gut"
If you remove one of these, it is possible to put the condition into remission. (1). In the case of Intestinal Permeability, or "Leaky Gut', Gluten is almost always a factor. Only about 1% of the population experience a condition called Celiac Disease which is true and lifelong autoimmune condition that leads to the destruction of the intestinal villa or lining of the intestines. This is mediated by the IgA branch of the immune system. Although only 1% of the general population experience this issue, 1.2 - 15% of those with Hashimoto's have been shown to have this issue. (1)
So, even though there may be a higher incidence of Celiac disease in those with Hashimoto's, it's still only a small percentage. Those individuals see tremendous damage to their bodies from eating gluten in any amount. But, what about a non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance (NCGI)? Is is possible not to have Celiac disease, but rather be intolerant to not only Gluten but other foods as well? This situation is called an IgG mediated response from the immune system, which is different from the IgA response that causes Celiac disease, but can still cause a variety of health issues like digestive symptoms, headaches, inflammation, intestinal permeability and others. This type of reaction is not recognized in the Traditional Medical System. This is not a true "allergy" and any testing to help recognize these food triggers are considered experimental. It is very interesting to note, however, that this IgG reaction can be present with foods and also is the same type of reaction that causes the body to break down it's own Thyroid gland.
So, what does this mean? Clinically, it means that most people with an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto's report feeling better when they identify and eliminate foods that they do not tolerate. Gluten is at the very top of this list. In that 2015 study involving 2,232 participants, 88% of them reported feeling better on a gluten free diet! If you recall, only 44% felt better on the most commonly prescribed type of medication. If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's or Hypothyroidism, it is absolutely crucial to find a practitioner who can responsibly help you manage your medications, but most of the time, the root cause is being missed and patients are suffering for it.
Gluten is not the only food trigger that be causing intestinal permeability or other health issues. Sugar, dairy products, corn and soy are also very common triggers. Some foods that are generally healthy can even be causing reactions in some people. This is where some testing may be in order to help you identify what the source of your triggers are.
A gluten free diet can be such a simple step in the right direction for those diagnosed with any type of autoimmune condition. Even just for general health and well-being, I find that most people feel better without gluten in their diets. I wanted to be sure to share this information with you since you are probably not hearing it anywhere else!
If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's or Hypothyroidism or suspect you might have an issue, and want some help navigating this, you can use this link to reach out to me for a FREE discovery call so I can help determine if we are a good fit to work together.
To your health,