The Gluten-Thyroid Connection


This article is part of a special report on Thyroid Disorders. To see the other articles in this series, click here.

In the first article in this series, I showed that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease in 90% of cases. In this article we’re going to discuss the connection between autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) and gluten intolerance.

Several studies show a strong link between AITD (both Hashimoto’s and Graves’) and gluten intolerance. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] The link is so well-established that researchers suggest all people with AITD be screened for gluten intolerance, and vice versa.

What explains the connection? It’s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. 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.

Even worse, the immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it. This explains why it is critical to eliminate gluten completely from your diet if you have AITD. There’s no “80/20″ rule when it comes to gluten. Being “mostly” gluten-free isn’t going to cut it. If you’re gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid.

So how do you find out if you’re gluten intolerant? Unfortunately, standard lab tests aren’t very accurate. They test for antibodies to gluten in the bloodstream. But antibodies in the blood will only be found in cases where the gut has become so permeable that gluten can pass through. This is a relatively advanced stage of disease. Blood tests will miss the many milder cases of gluten intolerance that haven’t yet progressed to that stage.

Stool analysis is far more sensitive, because it detects antibodies produced in the digestive tract that aren’t yet escaping into the bloodstream. Using this method at Entero Lab, Dr. Kenneth Fine, a pioneer in the field, has found that up to 35% of Americans are gluten intolerant.

In addition to the stool analysis, Dr. Fine’s lab uses a cheek swab to test for the genes connected with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. People with HLA DQ genes are more likely than the general population to have autoimmune disease, celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Dr. Fine’s research shows that more than 80% of Americans have one of these gene types.

When I first read Dr. Fine’s research, I was astounded by the implications. It suggests that 1 in 3 Americans are gluten intolerant, and that 8 in 10 are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance. This is nothing short of a public health catastrophe in a nation where the #1 source of calories is refined flour. But while most are at least aware of the dangers of sugar, trans-fat and other unhealthy foods, fewer than 1 in 8 people with celiac disease are aware of their condition. I would guess that an even lower proportion of people are aware they are gluten intolerant.

One reason gluten intolerance goes undetected in so many cases is that both doctors and patients mistakenly believe it only causes digestive problems. But gluten intolerance can also present with inflammation in the joints, skin, respiratory tract and brain – without any obvious gut symptoms.

As much improved as Dr. Fine’s methods are, they aren’t perfect. In some patients with autoimmune disease, their immune system is so worn out they can no longer produce many antibodies.

Hashmioto’s, the most common autoimmune thyroid condition, is primarily a Th1 dominant condition. I’ll explain what this means in further detail in a future article. For now, what you need to understand is that in Th1-dominant conditions, the Th2 system is suppressed. The Th2 system is the part of the immune system responsible for producing antibodies. When the Th2 system is severely depressed, the body’s ability to produce antibodies is impaired. The levels may be so low that they won’t show up on a test. So, even if you have gluten intolerance, your test for gluten antibodies may be falsely negative if you have Th1-dominant Hashimoto’s.

This is why I recommend that you avoid gluten if you have AITD, regardless of whether tests show an active antibody response. This is especially true if you have one of the genes (HLA DQ1,2, or 3) that predisposes you to developing gluten intolerance. In my opinion continuing to eat gluten when you have a confirmed autoimmune condition simply isn’t worth risking the immune destruction it could cause.

In fact, the more I learn about gluten and its effects on the body, the more I think we’d all probably be better off not eating it. Mark Sisson has written extensively about the dangers of gluten and gluten-containing grains, so head over there and have a look if this is new to you. The short version: foods that contain gluten (both whole grains and flours) contain substances that inhibit nutrient absorption, damage our intestinal lining, and – as I’ve described in this article – activate a potentially destructive autoimmune response. What’s more, there are no nutrients in gluten-containing foods that you can’t get more easily and efficiently from foods that don’t contain gluten.

The good news is that if you have AITD and are gluten intolerant removing gluten completely from your diet will dramatically improve your health. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Mary says

    Four of 5 references cited in this article regarding the link between gluten and AITD do not support such a link; rather, they suggest that people with AITD may have “low level” celiac as well. Only one of the studies directly addresses the occurrence of gliadin (gluten) antibodies in people with AITD, but it found them in only 5.5% of people with AITD. That is very weak evidence and is probably not statistically significant. I avoid gluten simply because it tends to be wrapped up in a lot of empty calories that I don’t need – instead including moderate amounts of carbohydrates in my diet such as berries, beans, quinoa and so forth along with plenty of protein and vegetables. And fats from olive oil or nut oils.

  2. CJ says

    Anybody here w/Hashi’s feel better when they eat gluten? I totally do.

    For the past 18 months or so, I’ve been eating only cooked veggies, high-quality protein, good fats, rice, sweet potatoes, and lots of water. No gluten, no dairy, no fruit, no sugar. During this time, I have suffered from debilitating insomnia and fatigue, daily dizzy spells, low blood pressure, and major depression, anxiety, and anger,

    Three weeks ago, I went on vacation and ate whatever I wanted, including fruit, pancakes, French toast, ice cream, pizza, and bread. I did not binge on anything; I just ate what I wanted. Lo and behold, my insomnia, fatigue, and dizziness went completely away. My depression subsided, too.

    I am back from vacation and now eating grains, fruit, and dairy, in addition to my usual fare. I feel so much better! No dizzy spells! No fatigue! No insomnia! Am I crazy? I really thought I was doing my body good by going gluten- and dairy-free all those months.

    I recently tuned into a Chris Kresser podcast where he said that many people w/Hashi’s feel better when substantially upping their carbo intake. For them, eating paleo might not be the answer. Everyone has a different reaction, and one size does not fit all.

    Anyone in the same boat?.

    • JG says

      Not I. But I have type O blood, and some research suggests blood type plays a part (and that O does not handle wheat well). Wheat makes me extremely fatigued, like I’d rather crawl onto a dirty restaurant floor and snooze, than continue to talk with my beloved friends during a happy night out. I’m better as a “protein type”, but only recently gave up the occasional restaurant/hospitality cheats of bread or pasta or pastry. I hope giving up the cheats help me lose the 40 lbs I gained these last 10 years!

    • Kelli says


      I agree with you. I was gluten free (and earing super healthy) but suffered tremendous muscle pain that seemed to come out of nowhere about two weeks after giving up gluten. After two months I was so weak and depressed from not being able to function I decided to start eating gluten again. Within 12 hours there was a noticeable decrease in pain and I have been getting better every day since. I have two autoimmune conditions and thought going gluten free was a necessary thing for my health but I no longer believe that to be true.

    • Michele says

      You are the first person to describe my scenario exactly. Two years ago I tried to survive on protein and veggies – no grains, no sugars, no fruit, no dairy, etc. I felt like crap as you described. All of my other friends on the very same diet felt great. I was so confusing. And then after 3 months of feeling that way, in a weak moment, I ate a small piece of pizza crust and ZIG I felt fabulous. That’s all it took. I determined that I must need more carbs than the average person. Recently I tried again but this time I allow myself some fruits to get the carbs I needed. Again, it just wasn’t enough. Once I started allowing myself some dairy and gluten-free grains, I felt great. I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has had this experience.

      • finndian says

        It doesn’t appear this is exactly your scenario at all. Kelli says her body craved and “needed” to have GLUTEN to feel normal. You are talking about carbohydrates and gluten free grains.

  3. Amanda Marsh says

    I have recently discovered this connection with gluten and thyroid I had cut it out partly because how it blocks me up and makes me feel uncomfortable. I am using an oat substitute in moderation of course. I have a good balanced healthy diet of fresh fruit and some vegetables. i am also a science student. particularly keen on genetic field of science and still learning. so this is very interesting to me. I have congenital autoimmune hypothyroidism.

  4. Carrie says

    I remain unconvinced by the gluten intolerance link to Hashimoto’s. CD I can see in the research results. Gluten intolerance doesn’t appear. So while yes, if you are diagnosed with Hashimotos it makes sense to screen for CD, if you do not have CD, there should be no reason to not enjoy foods that contain gluten. We’ve been doing so for thousands of years. Please provide me with some scientific evidence to prove otherwise.

    • Kathy says


      I too was a bit skeptical about Gluten and how it affects us. Over the past 3 years, I have been dealing with Hashimoto’s. I can definitely tell the difference when I eat foods that I love versus the foods that are free from Gluten. My previous endocrinologist told me that I do not have to take Gluten out of my diet and for the past couple of months, I have been dealing with the consequences of eating Gluten. I have done a lot of research on this from many doctor’s that practice functional medicine. It seems that the food industry has added 2 – 3 times the amount of Gluten in products than was put in food 50 years ago. With the amount of junk and fast food American’s eat, it is no wonder there are autoimmune disorders popping up all over the place. One great book you should read is “Why do I still have Thyroid symptoms when my lab tests are normal”. I am in the middle of reading this book and I have learned more about my disorder from this book than I have from the all the doctors that I have seen combined. I highly suggest you do as much research on this subject as you can. The more that I read, the more that I am seeing the same information coming out about Gluten. I believe that if you do not have a disposition for Gluten intolerance or allergy, I believe that if you continually eat Gluten, there are other issues that you can have from it. It may not be an autoimmune disorder but it can be bloating, constipation, weight gain, etc. This is my opinion from what I have seen and read.

      • MR says

        Hey Kathy,

        Very interesting. Didn’t realize there were higher levels of gluten in our foods (not that I’m surprised.) Gotta look into that. I had very similar symptoms as you. Was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and shortly thereafter came to realize I had a gluten allergy. (I’m of course paraphrasing here, it’s not like I woke up and all of a sudden knew I had it. I actually wrote about my personal discovery process in case anyone is interested: )

        In any case, good luck to those who are trying to identify whether or not they have a gluten allergy. From what I’ve read there definitely is some correlation between Hasimotos and gluten intolerance/allergy although I agree, just because you have Hashimoto’s doesn’t mean you automatically have an issue with gluten.

    • SP says

      Thank you!
      I keep being told I’m “harming myself” because I have Hashimotos and I haven’t given up gluten. Nonsense! There is no proof of this. I have no symptoms and my lab work is normal.

      • finndian says

        Curious as to why you are here then? Normal labs, no symptoms but hanging out at self help forums and friends warning you about your health.

        • Heather says

          She’s probably here for the same reason I am – because a friend told her that she has hypothyroid because of gluten. It’s actually very interesting that half or more of the comments here talked about how a gluten free diet made them feel terrible.

  5. Nela says

    If I ingested some gluten in how much time do I have to take a test for antibodies to see if they increased? Thank you.

  6. Susan Brockmann says

    I have had my blood tested for gluten and milk sensitivities and every thing is in the normal range. No food sensitivities were detected. I was told, however, that I have Hashimotos. I also did a food elimination diet to assess symptoms. Nothing bothered me at all including wheat,corn, rye, or milk just to name a few. Do i still need to avoid gluten and dairy if the tests show that they aren’t a problem for me?

  7. Shawne says

    My son and I have hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism. I make organic milled grain (I mill myself) and add gluten to the bread. Ok, maybe a silly question, but….is it ok to eat our bread with the gluten since it is not processed like the store bought? Or, is gluten bad either way? I was told it’s ok to eat gluten when making the organic grain…just don’t buy processed foods with gluten.

    • lee jenkins says

      Whether its organic or you mill it yourself it is still gluten. If you have an autoimmune you should stay away from Gluten. I have Celiac, Hashi and SIBO. :-(

  8. Gia says

    All, I’d really appreciate input re the thyroid uptake test w/radioactive iodine. Doc is pushing it, even though blood work has already pointed out an anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody at >1300. I believe the range is <9?! To me, that would indicate Graves' with almost 100% certainty. And if that's so, why would radioactive scan be needed- I don't understand. Per the doc, the scan would be to definitively dx Graves… Got an appt w/doc to discuss.

    If I do go thru with the uptake scan, it would really help to hear others' experience with it. Sounds scary based on some searches… Thanks!

    • LP says

      The test isn’t scary at all. In fact it was less intrusive then the biopsy (fine needle). I would think that they are doing this test to determine whether your thyroid is functioning or not. If it is not, and they say it is “cold” I would think they’ll look at doing a fine needle test.
      From what I understand a “cold” thyroid has a higher risk for cancer (if you have nodules).

    • rrhoop says

      Do not kill off your thyroid. I was dx with graves in 2005. Told them i wanted antithyroid meds and have been symptom free ever since. Still have a normal functioning thyroid. The antibodies are still there though. After my allergies got so bad that i started researching gluten, I’ve discovered that my ibs symptoms since around 2002 and gluten can cause autoimmune diseases like graves, it’s prob all been reactions to gluten all these yrs. I get allergy tested 4/21 just to make sure my constant postnasal drip isn’t caused by regular allergies (got allergy shots for mold, animal dander, dust, weeds, pollen before-finished them about 15 yrs ago). Come wed morning, gluten is out of my life! So glad i kept my thyroid.

      • Annelie says

        I wish I had this information before I had my iodone treatment. I was very young and my parents believed it was the right choice at that time.

        17 years later I battle just as much as I did in 1998.

    • SB says

      I don’t know if you’ve had it done yet as it’s been a while since this post, but I can tell you i was given a radioactive iodine pill to swallow. Nothing scary at all. it’s just supposed to “kill” the thyroid. Mine started as Hyper and when I did this it went hypo.
      I was put on meds after, which I was not regular at taking for a few years ( was young and didn’t care…). Then I finally found a good specialist and had my thyroid completely removed. I felt ok, but 3 years ago i started feeling pretty bad after eating anything. I am currently being tested for Celiac. This would make sense in the medical sense of things. I had researched my symptoms and quickly realized that eliminating all gluten and dairy made me feel 90% better, almost overnight. there is something, i can’t remember what, that is similar between thyroid hormone and gluten which makes you body fight the thyroid when in fact it is trying to fight the gluten… those 2 are related and seen together in 99% of cases.. anyways, i find it really hard to eat gluten free. I don’t have a problem with no dairy. I also don’t eat red meat. since i stopped eating gluten and dairy, my rhinitis and inflammation, bloating and gas disappeared.

    • Patti Burrows says

      Hi . Had the radioactive uptake scan done in 1994 . It found a 1 cm tumor full of A-typical cells , when blood work and biopsy by fine needle aspiration wouldn’t . I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and am a celiac as well .

    • Jamie Candelaira says

      I know it has been a while since you made this post so hopefully by now you have had your scan or someone else has sent you a reply. If not, don’t worry about the scans themselves. They can be intimidating but there is nothing to worry about. I am guessing the reason for the scan is to make sure you do not have any nodules or a goiter which cannot always be seen without the scans. The labs are enough of an indication but if you have nodules or are a goiter, those will need to be removed/biopsied. I just had all of this done. I however was found to be the opposite and have Hashi’s even though the Dr. thought Graves originally because when i first went in I happened to be in the hyper stages.

  9. says

    I had my thyroid removed 11 years ago-cancer. I am suspecting that I have a gluten intolerance. lots of stomach issues along with severe acid reflux. Therefore I take high doses of omeprazole. I am suspecting the stomach issues may be due to gluten intolerance. Is that possible and what link does that have since my thyroid has been removed?

    • Gia says

      Dx’d w/GERD also; bad. Would have acid 3-4x/week even though I’d avoid the known culprits: citrus, tomatoes, fried stuff. Nexxium and the like would keep the acid down, but I would have this sensation of pressure at the base of the throat when I was taking those acid blockers, and they would mess w/my IBS as well.

      MUCH better today. FODMAP. After following it for 3 mos to the letter (during which time the reflux episodes drastically decreased!), I started reintroducing each group individually to
      see where the pain was. Wheat. One slice of pizza would have me bloated like a balloon 1/2 hr later, hiccuping uncontrollably, and with reflux.

      See what gets you. For the few and far between reflux episodes later, I like Picot- which is an OTC antacid.

      But now that I have this figured out, just got dx’d w/hyperthyroid… b/c why should the fun stop. Suspected AITD, still confirming… If I were a betting person, I’d say the years of GERD & IBS wrecked the gut, and if you are to believe the gliadin-thyroid connection, there we are.

      Good luck!

    • Eric says

      I’m no expert on this matter, but I do have a story about my GERD (which drives my wife nuts because I cough constantly). Maybe something to think about.

      Some background: I have Hashimoto’s. As a young male, I am told it’s less common for me to have it than if I was older, or female. However, I did find out that most everyone on my mother’s side has it so I suppose it was only a matter of time. I also developed eczema just before I was diagnosed with Hashimotos, which is something I’ve never experienced before. GERD came last, but is no less annoying than the other two. Until now, I have not once in my life had any known, chronic medical issues. It was disconcerting to have all of this pop up in quick succession. I had always been pretty active, but over the last couple years my motivation has disappeared and I have put on some weight.

      I did the same depressing song and dance that we all do with doctors. Kudos to them for figuring out what it was…but I finally became tired of the endocrinologist, my primary care Dr, and my dermatologist telling me that there’s nothing I can do other than Levothyroxine, topical cream, and things like Prilosec to help me feel better. Thus, I started doing my own research. Unfortunately nearly everything on the internet is untested, unproven, or contradictory to other studies. Still, you have to start somewhere if you want to regain what possible control you can.

      After careful consideration, I decided to try one “major” fix at a time so that I can log it for posterity. My first and current goal is to make sure I provide my body a healthy gut microbiome. Because GERD, auto immune thyroiditis and a host of other things are possibly tied to proteins in gluten, I’ve completely cut gluten out of my diet.

      I also have dairy if it includes probiotics, as dairy is said to be cross-reactionary with gluten. Plus, I have always reacted poorly to consuming too much dairy.

      I’ve noticed I feel odd after eating soy, so that’s gone as well.

      On top of that, I’ve begun taking Prescript Assist, Omega 3’s, D3, and B vitamins (because I’m no longer eating “B-encriched” processed foods), I’ve also begun fermenting my own foods. I grow my own (organic) vegetables, so it works out well. I am taking the varied probiotics because of the supposed correlation between autoimmune issues and things like intestinal dysbiosis and permeability. The more healthy bacteria the better.

      In 3 1/2 weeks I’ve lost a few pounds, sleep better (my wife says she doesn’t hear me snore anymore), have more energy, my GERD is completely gone (it has utterly vanished), my goiter doesn’t bother me at all – even when lying flat on my back. The only thing I haven’t kicked is the eczema, but it is starting to become more manageable as well. I’m still taking Levothyroxine (Mylan) of course. I will probably always need to take it. That’s OK. I was just sick of taking pills and not feeling any better, even though my “numbers” were OK.

      So the question for me now is, why do I feel better? Is it that I got rid of gluten? Maybe, although I think it will take longer than 3 1/2 weeks to make that decision. I’m eating better, unprocessed foods that are higher in nutrients. Perhaps that’s part of it it. I’m also consuming far fewer carbs. Is that helping? I am guessing this is part of it as well. Is it the probiotics? Shouldn’t hurt. I think making sure I vary my prebiotic/probiotic intake is important. Losing the 5 lbs, well, it can’t hurt…I was much lighter when this all started so I don’t think that’s a major player, but it’s still nice. Hey for all I know this could all be placebo.

      What I do know, is that I’m starting to feel better, and my old friend “motivation” is returning. So I plan to do this gluten-free thing for the next 6 months (and probably longer). We’ll see if it continues to help. Next step is to begin a strict exercise regimen. In the meantime, I’m enjoying not coughing and not having reflux.

      • lee jenkins says

        3.5 weeks GF is enough time to feel better. I have celiac, Hashi and SIBO. Have you checked to see if you have SIBO? Easy breath test. SIBO leads to leaky gut. I can’t do dairy or soy either. Anyway soy is bad if you have Hashi. Another reason to check for SIBO is because you are taking probiotic. With SIBO sometimes you have too much good bacteria in the wrong place and probiotics will eventually make symptoms worse. That happened to me. I also follow FODMAP which helps. Good luck.

      • lisa says

        Eric, you are a great writer in my opinion. Would like to hear an update. How’s the exercise regime going? I got Hashimoto’s too. Bouncing all around post partum. It went hyperthyroid for a bit and I was expecting the hypo low phase but it never came. In that time of hyperthyroid hysteria I joined a gym with a trainer, cut gluten and most dairy, started Thyroid Strength by MegaFoods. My synthroid went from 125mcg to 75mcg and my doctor told me to stop taking it if I’m serious about the thyroid supplements, but I chickened out and am still on the 75mcg. Will see next week where I’m at. But I really do attribute the amazing curing effect on cutting gluten and exercise. If I get a bite of any gluten these days I get stomach problems so there’s no turning back I guess. But it’s a great way to decrease empty carb intake. Breads and cereals were so easy before, now I got to scrutinize so it helps me to eat less. Wishing you all the best.

  10. Kaylee says

    Hi, I have Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism. I’ve gained a bit of weight because of the Hashimoto’s and the hypothyroidism, and was wondering if anyone has had really great weight loss success by going gluten free? I would love to hear back on this. Thank you!

    • Jackie says

      My son was diagnosed with high Diamidated Gliadin Antibodies IgA and has now gone 100% gluten free. He stopped gaining weight. Theory is that the antibodies to gluten were attacking his thyroid.

    • jessie says

      You can lose weight with Hashi’s I have.
      Yes you will need to remove Gluten from your diet but you also need to remove sugar!!

      I started a workout program because i wanted to test to see if I could lose weight with Hashimotos

      And i did!!

      Here is the program i am using and will continue to use as I found it awesome. There are also a lot of suggestions for nutrition as well.
      I only suggest this website because it actually works.

      Good luck! :)

    • Eric says

      Honestly I don’t agree with using a gluten-free diet simply as a means of losing weight. I would say that, due to correlations between AITD and gluten, it’s a good idea to get rid of gluten if you have these diseases anyway. However, many people have replaced gluten-filled processed foods just to lose weight, and they replace these foods with gluten-free processed foods. It’s trading one “evil” for another.

      If you’re looking to get rid of gluten for health, I would say that yes, you can lose weight…but forego the processed junk out there and stick to eating healthy, balanced, portion-controlled food. Mix that with some exercise and weight should come down in a healthy fashion.

    • Melissa says

      Hashimotos and hypothyroidism for me, please let me know if you have any luck with gluten free / weight loss connection information. Thank you

  11. EmmaB says

    The studies you cite show a link between autoimmune thyroid disease and coeliac disease in some patients, not all. I have Graves’ disease which has been in remission for four years now. It was triggered in each flare-up by pregnancy and childbirth. I eat plenty of gluten and I’m in fine health.

    • lee jenkins says

      no, sourdough doesn’t change the gluten content. Why don’t you try a GF sourdough starter with GF grains? I make one that i use for bread, bagels and pizza.

  12. says

    I got tested positive on tpoab test. My count was little over normal range. Do i have hashimoto’s now? Do i have to give up gluten and dairy for good? I can let gluten go no problem but if i have to stop dairy (whey etc) too then im sad. Dairy doesn’t give me any noticable problems. Am i making my condition worse if i keep taking whey? Help me, pls! Chris, anyone.

    Thank you!

    • G.jerome says

      I do not believe dairy ( milk, cheese, butter) has anything to do with gluten which is found in wheat, rye and certain grains.

      • Gia says

        That’s right. I remember the acronym BROW: barley/rye/oats/wheat. Oats don’t have gluten themselves, but 9x out of 10 they will have been contaminated in the factory. Some will specify ‘gluten-free’.

        Not that simple though. Read that for ex, anything that has malt as an ingredient also has gluten. It can be tricky, but there are many blogs and apps that can steer you straight.

  13. MW says

    I have been diagnosed as a Hypothyroid and taking Synthroid for over 10 years now. Through another recently diagnosed intestinal disorder (SIBO) I was forced to eliminate potatoes, oats, bread, and rice from my diet. I immediately became aware of wheat and gluten and the effects it had on my gut, but I also wanted to share that since I have eliminated gluten from my diet my synthroid dose has decreased 2x already, over the course of only about 6 months. Incredibly I have also noticed I am able to grow fingernails!!! That is my favorite. I also have noticed I am losing far less hair in the shower than I used to. I am starting to believe that gluten has a huge effect on those with thyroid disorders. My mother has also gone gluten free and has not only been able to keep weight off, but her synthroid dose has also decreased significantly. The more I am researching articles discussing this matter, the more I am finding it to have validity.

  14. says

    Hey, does anyone know if gluten does anything to thyroid medication? I was born thyroidless and I can see how gluten would hinder thyroid production, but would it affect just the meds?

    • Deborah says

      I was wondering the same thing. My daughter had to have her thyroid removed and her diet is awful. SHe is on levothyroixin I think. I am wanting to find out more about what her diet should be since she has no thyroid. Let me know if you have found other information.

      • Eileen says

        There is a wonderful food plan called the fast metabolism diet by Haley Pomroy. It talks about your thyroid and health. I went on it for five weeks after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was unable to lose weight and still did not feel great. I went on a fast metabolism diet for seven weeks and lost 20 pounds. I capped off most of that. I will be doing it again soon. I felt so much better when I was on it. It is not easy but it was worth it!

  15. Errin says

    Can Gluten Intolerance and prolactin be connected? I have not been tested yet for gluten intolerance but with in the last year, I have had my gallbladder removed and have had an unstable thyroid along with elevated prolactin (was a 78 – now down to 33 ). I have been told that these things can be linked to gluten intolerance. Thoughts?

  16. Diane says

    Began a gluten free diet in August 2014, just over four months, and am feeling much better than before – no more daily bloating, upset stomach or gas. My Internist recommended I do this because I’m having autoimmune conditions that seem to be expanding – all of which have been medically proven by biopsy. Have been taking thyroid medication for low thyroid for about 8 years and this has, I thought, helped until the most recent blood test showed that my autoimmune system has really stepped up the attack on my thyroid. Now also I have developed autoimmune conditions like lichen scoliosis (heavy duty skin lesions on a flare-up), even on my tongue, and frontal scarring alopecia where my body is killing the hair roots in 50 cent sized patches in the front top of my head. ( I think I’ll look like paintings of 1500 century Queen Elizabeth I of England soon.) Hair loss has continued all over my body. Problem is – every medicine my doctor has given me so far has caused an allergic reaction (current rash/etc was caused by Azathioprine when the doctor told me to double the light dose he was giving me last week). Am not just a little frustrated – has anyone had these types of situations arise in your illnesses? I would appreciate any feed back on your successful treatment programs. Thanks.

    • Rebecca says

      I’m not a doctor or anything but have you tried going to a whole food plant based diet and continue leaving the gluten out?

    • angela elkins says

      My daughter has hashimotos and is a gluten free, vegan, and eats 80% whole foods except for the occasional sugar fix. She is under the care of a natural doctor and has been doing a 7 month program which seems hasn’t really helped and she still hasn’t been able to lose weight. Her hashimotos was caused by taking the bc pill yaz for three months!
      She accidentally ate gluten today because we were misinformed at wholefoods!! The doc said it would take 6mos to reset after eating gluten! She was advised not to work out too much because it would have the opposite effect. Thats why Im searching on this board to see if others with hashimotos have had relief or found a fix! But the reason I am responding to your post, is that when I saw your post about the lichen scoliosis, I was reminded about a lady’s before and after pic I saw recently with lichen scoliosis lesions on her face. She used everything and nothing worked… until her sister-in-law gave her a product called Soothe. Send me an email and I will send you the pics.

      • finndian says

        The only thing that will make your daughter feel better is getting her TSH below 1. Once a endocrinologist from Keck school of medicine from USC told me that simple fact I felt much better when I increased my thyroid hormone. Hashi’s need a lower TSH. Then since I wanted my life back and to be able to exercise like I use to before my diagnosis I switched to Armour Thyroid and now I’m back operating at about 95% of what I use to be. My antibodies are very low and in the normal range, I’m not sure why exactly but I did cut out gluten a few years ago.

  17. Com says

    Can you please share references (medical studies etc) to support this statement regarding the connection between gluten and hashimotos?

    “What explains the connection? It’s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. 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.”

    I have seen this quoted frequently on numerous sites, but nobody has listed any references or further explanations on this, or whether this statement is contested or not. It’s simply stated as a fact. What studies support this statement?

      • COM says

        I am not questioning whether you (BrendaD) feel better on a gluten free diet (which i assume you do) but rather whether the evidence for this is based on experience (i.e. anecdotal evidence of a lot of people reporting that they feel better) or scientific.

        I am merely trying to establish whether the “mistaken identity” assertion is based on science.

        The assertion about the molecular structure sounds like a scientific claim to me, so hence there has to be some science behind it.

        I just started a gluten free diet a month ago and I think it’s worth trying – especially given fertility issues – but I also want to understand what the science behind it is. Maybe it just hasn’t been looked into, which in itself is also useful information.

        As I understand it, the studies carried out have shown that a lot of people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity also have hashimotos.

        The evidence of the positive effect of gluten-free diets is also conflicting: this one for example suggests that diet didn’t slow the disease – that said it only involved 54 people

        I’m certainly going to keep to a strict gluten free diet for now and see whether it has any effect. That said, I think everyone is different and what may work for one person may not work for another.

        • BrendaD says

          I am sure there is scientific evidence out there but will the medical community be accepting of it? For 4 years, I have been battling the medical community because they say “their training doesn’t support the scientific evidence”. The case study research I presented has been shoved to the side because the information was shared by a chiropractor. My PCP’s didn’t want to take the time to listen or explore further. In their medical opinion, I was lazy and fat. I have MS and Hashi’s and I am the scientific proof that there is definitely a correlation. The change of lifestyle and diet is what is keeping me out of the western meds. It works for me but you are right – what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. That’s why boards/blogs such as these exist and are helpful for those who don’t know where to turn and may need some other opinions.

          • Rich says

            I had a high level of thyroid antibodies when I was diagnosed with Hashi’s and papillary Thy Can. I had thyroid removed. I went GF after doing some research and determining that I was gluten intollerant even though celiac test came back neg. Thyroid antibodies have now gone away.

          • Deb says

            Hi Brenda-I too have MS & Hashi’s. Just found you this morning & am thrilled to find someone else who has both. I often can’t tell if I’m having issues for MS or Hashi’s. I’m going to start the non-Gluten diet w/o bothering w/ all the tests for gluten. Anything you can share for dealing with both these diseases would be helpful. Thank you for the sharing of your knowledge!

        • Melissa says

          I too question a lot of this anecdotal evidence on the web. I am hypo and have been for years, I’m on Synthroid 137 and my TSH is perfect however I continue to gain weight and am tired all the time. I am going to attempt gluten free to see if I can lower my Synthroid dose to see if it makes a difference. I am very scientific in nature. I looked on Google Scholar and the evidence is iffy at best. There is a strong connection between celiac and thyroid but doesn’t really address gluten free (if not celiac) and thyroid. It does suggest though that gastro issues (which I have) affect absorption of Synthroid which is why when people with gluten issues go gluten free, they get better on the thyroid front. Not once in any study does it talk about gluten being a similar structure to gliadin. I’m going to try it and see what happens. Hope that helps!

      • Dee says

        Thyroid issues runs in my family from others having had goiter, cancer, tumors or taking synthroid but for some time I also had the issue of these gut aches with trips that ended not knowing if I should stay in B Room longer or could leave .
        My Grandson gave me a DNA kit gift when they were then allowed to give health issues and found I not only have Celiac Decease that I am also a carrier of this ( this gluten issue also listed on children’s and G kids DNA)
        No connection except for ordering and eating try Gluten Free “Personal Trainer Food” it is the best comes all packaged frozen each food separate so you can pick and choose to microwave have a meal in 5 minutes the food is fresh the taste is great with variety to choose from /people are buying this so they have healthy meals for work and home (I lost 14 lbs in 2 1/2 weeks ) I have a hard time loosing weight ,the ache in my legs had ended .
        You won’t be sorry/ its delivered right to your door.

      • says

        FYI It’s “Plethora”, not “Plethera”. But it’s no useful information in it nevertheless. There is no single source for this assertion. Neither good nor bad . Simply nothing.

    • Perrin Ehlinger says

      @COM, the “mistaken identity” is probably an incorrect assessment; the immune system is likely attacking gliadin-peptide amyloid fragments that lodge in the thyroid, similar to the Type 1 Diabetes auto-immune response:

      Hydrolized Gliadin, the component of gluten which enters the bloodstream after digestion in those with intestinal permeability disorder, is a known producer of amyloid when it reacts with amylin and adder proteins in the insulin process:

      Obviously, more research is needed into the exact pathology involved between gluten & thyroid, but given the above studies and the clinical link between GF diet and health, it’s a good hypothesis that this is what’s actually happening with the immune system, and not gliadin itself being directly targeted by the immune system.

    • Sarah says

      Hey, I was also looking for evidence that was scientifically credible but don’t have the links now as were on my old laptop but I will try and point you in the right direction. I had stomach problems since I was little, then autoimmune hypothyroidism as a teenager and then diagnosed with multiple problems (IBS, idiopathic hypersomnia, chronic fatigue, frybromyalgia, pompholyx, etc etc) but still always felt terrible and could barely get out of bed. I was about to be started on insulin for type 1 diabeties and it seemed my adrenal glands were also going on the blink (addisons). I test negative for coeliac but I found a study done on diabetic rats by an american university which had found that many gentically diabtic predisposed bred rats did not develop diabeties when on a gluten free diet. I’m sure you will find this and other similar ones that have been done since on mice and rats if you google rats, gluten and diabeties. I also found another credible study looking at autoimmune thyroid problems which was done in sweden/norway/denamrk (one of them) which suggested a much much higher association with coeliac when undergoing far more extensive testing for gluten problems than is currently undertaken for coeliac and also highlighted the high rates of false negative results of coeliac blood test, problems of biopsy especially if already on GF diet etc etc. These two were enough to make me want to give it a go as no harm in trying. Basically every problem I had dissappeared apart from the thyroid as probably too damaged now but I am on less thyroid meds. It became apparent that my young daughter was going down the same lines as me but her dad who has her on weekends and school were not going to take me seriously so have spent the last two years proving this to the NHS. I have had to show them every bit of credible research I could find (so it is there but as I said – links are on old laptop). coeliac is highly associated with many autoimmune disorders and funnily enough, coeliac is the only autoimmune disorder with a known cause. From everything credible I have read, which has been a lot now and covers most autoimmune conditions and gluten, it seems basically an issue with specific and highly associated gene types (HLA-DQ2 and CTLA-4 as some examples) which seem to originate primarily from europe and gluten seems to be a major trigger for these. On a side note, I have also noticed that from the people I know with autoimmune problems including non-related, many of them seem to be rhesus negative blood type but I have not had time to actually verify whether there is actually anything to this but am planning on doing so next lol. So, basically gluten seems to trigger autoimmunity or the immune system to go crazy with those with certain genes. But there is the problem that many test nagative for coeliac! However, I have proved beyond doubt now to the NHS inthe last two years that I have a problem with it and it definately triggers my immune system – the fact that I have stopped some autoimmune diseases in their tracks, reduced my thyroid meds after 20 years but become hypo again when doing gluten trials and can bring back all of my visable/testable conditions at a date of their choice and make them all go away again for the next time I see them, they have had no choice but to finally officially diagnose me with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. The last consultant has basicaly stated it is the same as coeliac but goes through the body in a different way so cannot be picked up as villi damage in the stomach or in the coeliac blood test for gliadin antibodies (only one component of gluten) and that they will most likely have a name for this in a few years and is genetic and highly likely in other family members (aunty is diabetic/cousin is ATD plus lots of eczema(pompholyx)/asthma) etcetc. This is a new phrase for something that is becoming more and more recognised across the globe but the medical industry has not yet pinpointed diagnostic testing yet but apears likely much more research inthe nextfew years. But it probably has the same impact on the immune as coeliac so looking how that disease progresses might give you a good idea to function. Also google research on any autoimune disease and gluten, gene types and autoimmunity and hope this helps – whether I have misdiagnosed coeliac (quite possible as only on gluten for five weeks for stomach biopsy and did skin biopsy in wrong place) or gluten sensitivity as diagnosed, this appears to be how it effects me, I have not personally come across anything credible in regards to the gluten and thyroid tissue being similar in molecular structure as discribed but then I haven’t been looking into it :o)

  18. says

    This is an interesting conversation (regarding gluten-free) which I am, and for the past 6 months I have eaten organic, live low stress – (on sabbatical from job to eliminate job stress), spring water only for liquids, try to eliminate all chemicals from my life, – in short, EVERYTHING that is recommended to try to recover (take 125 mcg. levothyroxine and 5 mcg. lirothyronine daily because I’m allergic to pig thyroid.) I still have no energy and battle depression (with naturopathic remedies, don’t want to take prescription anti-depressants). I have no other health condition according to recent extensive testing. I’m just wondering if the answer is MORE T3 (up to 40-50 mcg. daily). I’ve have read some stories about T3 making Hashimoto’s sufferers feel 95 percent better. When I was taking Armour (stopped taking it May 2014 due to allergic reactions) I didn’t have energy, but I didn’t have depression – I believe that is because I was getting more T3 than I am currently getting (I was getting at least 10 mcg. T3 daily, possibly more). COULD MORE T3 BE THE ANSWER TO ALLEVIATING HASHIMOTO’S??? I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR COMMENTS.

    • finndian says

      I struggled with Hashi’s hypo symptoms for years. I finally sprung for a visit to the Holtorf thyroid clinic here in southern California. They are very focused on T3 but they do not prescribe Armour thyroid. They give you synthetic T4 and they supply compound time release T3 capsules. They start low and up the dose by 12.5 mcgs every two weeks until symptoms disappear. It worked! I had never been able to take Armour because the jolt of T3 was shocking on my adrenals I think but this gradual TR T3 got me up to a high dose with no problem.

      I felt better than anything I had tried up to that point. Problem was that I like to work out a lot and if I worked out too much my thyroid would still gradually start going out of whack… and that meant I would feel bad with hypo symptoms and have to take a break to get back on track. I was just trying to get back to the normal amount of activities that i use to be at and I couldn’t.

      Instead of working with Holtorf to adjust the TR T3 to optimize it I left and got a prescription for Armour… actually just trying to save some money as Holtorf is very expensive to keep seeing the doctors. This time the Amour was a breeze to switch to since I was use to the T3. The Armour brought me back to 90- 95% full functioning as opposed to the Holtorf method that I was in the 75-80% range. I have switched to the Canadian brand of Armour called ERFA and order bulk (with prescription). It dissolves, tastes and is even slightly different in mgs then the American brand. Some speculate that switching brands might solve any allergy issues that you may have and that it might be fillers that are causing the allergy.

      One thing is for certain in all this is that I did not feel normal until my FREE T4 was at or above mid normal range and FREE T3 was in the HIGH normal range. The T3 is the key to Hashi’s for me! I split my dose to make sure the T3 lasts throughout the day and now I feel better than I have in 10 years and work out with not problem.

      Good luck!

      • Nancy says

        I am 30 days into the compounding treatment to raise my T3. My graphs were off the chart. I see some improvement but not much. I understand that this can take up to 6 months of ups and downs to accomplish. I also have Epstein Barr Virus in the form of Chronic Fatigue from having a severe case of Mononucleosis as a teen. This compounded by the Hashimoto’s makes it extremely difficult just to function on a daily basis. With a full time job, being a divorced parent, and home to care for workout time is non existent. I pray this treatment works for me as well as it has for you.

        • finndian says

          That needs to be “time release” compounded T3. You’ll burn off the T3 dose in a matter of hours other wise. I hope you have as much luck as I did too. I also wanted everyone that can’t afford Holtorf clinic to know the secret to their success that they charge patients thousands of dollars to find out. Its just this slow increase of compounded time release T3 until blood work shows high normal range of free T3! Also for Hashi’s a TSH below 1 (sometimes way below 1). They like to keep you coming back to them for the compounded so they won’t prescribe inexpensive Armour thyroid. Finally being able to start Armour without a reaction to it was the final step to normalcy. Good luck!

  19. Jo Farmer-Eynon says

    The article states:

    Hashmioto’s, the most common autoimmune thyroid condition, is primarily a Th1 dominant condition. I’ll explain what this means in further detail in a future article. For now, what you need to understand is that in Th1-dominant conditions, the Th2 system is suppressed. The Th2 system is the part of the immune system responsible for producing antibodies. When the Th2 system is severely depressed, the body’s ability to produce antibodies is impaired. The levels may be so low that they won’t show up on a test. So, even if you have gluten intolerance, your test for gluten antibodies may be falsely negative if you have Th1-dominant Hashimoto’s.

    Does this mean that the body’s ability to produce *any* antibodies is impaired, including anti-thyroid antibodies, or just antibodies *other than* anti-thyroid antibodies?

    • Sarah says

      I wonder if it could affect total IgA levels as well. When I had my celiac panel done, my total IgA was really low (in the 20’s). I didn’t test positive for any of the celiac antibodies. I didn’t test positive for thyroid antibodies either, and I believe my thyroid condition has definitely improved since going gluten-free. I’m currently on half of my previous levothyroxine dosage, and I’ll be tested again next month to see how things look.

  20. Liz says

    Hello, just thought I’d post a little update for those that are wondering if the gluten-free diet helps with auto-immune thyroid disease.

    There have been some doubters posting here and I understand. My first post on this article was asking Chris to explain the gluten-thyroid connection more clearly, because none of the articles he referred to really did. There was a vague connection, but no studies showing clear scientific proof that going on a gluten-free diet healed auto-immune throid diease.

    I decided to try it out anyways (after reading this article and Wheat Belly and a few other online articles and reading the stories of a few people that felt better after going gluten-free).

    Almost three years ago, I quit gluten cold turkey. I have hashimoto’s and my dose at the time was 120 mg of Erfa once a day (dessicated thyroid, similar to Armour, but Canadian version). My current dosage is 15 mg, every other day and I expect to be completely off drugs soon. It takes time, but about every 2-3 months I need to lower my dosage. I am amazed and delighted every time I lower my dosage. I have made a few other smaller changes in my diet (I always ate very heathy before so it was not a case of suddenly eating more heathy), but the gluten-free diet is the single most important change I made.

    Obviously, it is not only my dosage, but my thyroid antibodies as well that have dropped enormously, Every blood test I take is better than the last and I am almost within the normal range now. I feel much, much better and I attribute it all to getting off gluten.

    I would have never tried the gluten-free diet had it not been for people like Chris Kresser. No proper study has been done, pretty much all we have is anecdotal evidence of people like me. I wasn’t going to wait for the scientific community to prove it to me. Especially since there is no harm besides inconvenience in trying it out. I am certainly glad I did.

    Best of luck to anyone who is just starting it out, it is a tough diet to follow, but it’s soooooo worth it!

    • sonja says

      I have also been off gluten for 3mos since I found out last dec that I had hashimotos disease. My antibody level was 400 (normal 40) and my family md and endocrinologist laughed at me when I asked what I should do to help the disease. My tsh is around 4.78 and md said they wouldnt treat till I was around 10.
      Being gluten free has helped my digestion alot. Feel much better and helps my weight maintance.
      Recently, I found an md that deals with componding t4/t3 and just started taking a slow release since it was recommened to help the thyroid.
      My question, should I go off all grains to reducemy antibodies and how long does it take to get results.

      • BrendaD says

        Sonja – find a new dr and endocrinologist. Your TSH won’t get to 10. With Hashi… tends to give your normal T3/T4 and TSH and unless an antibody test is run – no regular MD will find it nor will they care to find it. Try a holistic md. I have been gluten free and now am paleo for 4 years now and my anitbody levels are 523+. And again with Hasi, there is normally another autoimmune disease pushing it. Seriously – find different medical professionals.

    • Jodi says

      I want to go gluten free as I was recently diagnosed Hashimotos. I am just so overwhelmed and have no idea where to start. Any thoughts?

      • Cray says

        I too was in this situation. Ask about a food sensitivity panel (my was through a company called US Biotek). I had the test done and found that I have a sensitivity to dairy and eggs. On my doctor’s advise I went gluten free in addition to dairy/eggs (and some other things identified by the food test). Now, 4 months later my antithyroid antibody has significantly improved.

      • Jennifer says

        Hi! My advice is to try not to replace items, just eliminate the gluten products in your diet meaning don’t buy GF bagels, just stop eating them etc. You will find there are many GF products that have too many ingredients that are not good for the body and often the replacing flour is rice, which is causing arsenic levels to increase in GF individuals. Plus, GF processed food is expensive. For items you still want in your diet, like bread, I would suggest making your own. I use Manini’s non-GMO, rice free bread mix and it is delicious. Being gluten free really is easy if you just eliminate and try not to replace. We only have bread for lunches. Breakfast is eggs, fruit, GF oatmeal and dinners are usually a meat and two veggies. It works for us. Good luck!

    • Boe says

      I’m confused. Chris’ article states ” Hashmioto’s… is primarily a Th1 dominant condition. … in Th1-dominant conditions, the Th2 system is suppressed. … When the Th2 system is severely depressed, the body’s ability to produce antibodies is impaired.”

      My understanding is that with Hashis, it is the opposite; that the antibody levels are actually elevated. Therefore, how does a depressed Th2 system produce elevated levels of antibodies? Even on my own labs report, where it indicates elevated aPeroxidase antibodies (with the regular thyroid hormones all within range), the report goes on to say that this is “indicative of Hashimotos”.

      Also, for the record, I have been totally, vigilantly gluten free for about three or four years now (eg, don’t even eat foods that have been manufactured in facilities that process gluten-containing foods), and my aPeroxidase is higher than it was in 2010 when I was eating gluten copiously.

      There is more to Hashis than getting off gluten.

      • Boe says

        NB: I’ve just discovered the benefits of low dose naltrexrone for autoimmune conditions. Will report back on labs after trying it. It sounds amazingly effective for Hashis.

    • Cray says

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s last summer. I had the food sensitivity test done and found that I have sensitivities to dairy and eggs, but not gluten. On my doc’s suggestion I cut all three from my diet and 3.5 months later my anti-thyroid antibody had gone from high to below detectable limits. I can’t say that cutting the gluten was the key to my success, but I am glad with the outcome and don’t feel I need the scientific proof at this point.

    • says

      Sorry to hear those of you who have a disease,I’ve been tested 3 times iam gluten intolerant no celiac Thank God!! I’m having trouble staying 100% gluten free &on the levo for my thyroid malfunction . I recently had emergency appendectomy @ 48 yrs old ….makes me wonder if gluten played any part in my appendix just shutting down???

    • Liz says

      Yes, just make sure they are marked as gluten-free oats. Oat do not naturally contain gluten,but they are frequently grown in rotation with wheat, so some wheat ends up with the oats. If you can find gluten-free oats, they will have been grown separately and then they are safe on a gluten-free diet. They are still a grain, but at least they don’t contain gluten.

      • BrendaD says

        Just make sure to READ the packaging as some GF oats are processed on the same equipment as wheat/barley products so cross contamination will occur.

  21. KCC says

    I have just finished reading an article by Sara, The Heathly Home Economist about the fact that wheat crops are sprayed with Round-up (“thank you” Monsanto for another health destroying product!!!) to excellerate the the dying, production, and harvest of wheat. And that this poisoning of the wheat crop just before harvest may be an even bigger contributor to the decline of our health than gluten. I hope someone will comment on this as well.

    • Karen Barnes says

      GMO wheat can tolerate roundup and I believe it is the GMO foods and GMO gluten foods causing auto immune attacks.

      • Jo says

        According to Wikipedia, our country doesn’t have any GMO wheat. What does everyone think of that? I was surprised and skeptical. They are not considering Round Up or hybrid species GMO, is that the problem?

    • Jill says

      I too have read the article by Sara the “Healthy” Home Economist. It is not true that wheat in the US is sprayed with Roundup before harvest. Roundup ready seed is designed to withstand spraying early in the growing cycle, NOT before harvest. This is typical for uneducated bloggers who write without researching. This woman
      Nor the people who worship her have ever gone to our US farms during harvest of hard red winter wheat and actually witnessed spraying during the harvesting process. Having spent my entire life around wheat harvest I have yet to see one sprayer involved in the pre-harvest or harvest process. Hard red winter wheat will not survive Roundup once the wheat heads out and the weather warms. Do your research and that doesn’t mean reading blogs. Anyone can blog but that doesn’t mean their information is accurate or correct. I challenge you if you really want to learn about how wheat is grown and harvested, visit a wheat farm and learn from a farmer. Don’t take a radical blogger’s word for it. She truly believes farmers are getting rich and if I remember correctly, suggested farmers just want to buy a new pickup each year! If farming were that profitable, manyore would be doing it, I assure you!

  22. says

    Bread can be healthy or unhealthy or maybe it varies on a case by case basis. Maybe we don’t know enough. I don’t know the answer, so I am going to sit on the sidelines not eating bread as nutritionists tell everyone that their gluten issues “may not” exist.

    • BrendaD says

      Look into the past and how your families were raised – we ate bread…..with every meal…and it was usually homemade, yes? Not prepackaged you-can-use-two-weeks-after-expiration-date-on-the-label. But not all gluten issues are “allergies” and even on broad brush strokes….”sensitivities”. It’s how YOUR body/immune system chooses to use the items you are eating. You need to do the research and educate yourself. The food manufacturers have changed the way they are processing. It’s a business – they need to make money and if it’s going cheaply to make the bottom lines finance numbers, we as consumers suffer. I am lucky enough to have a health professional to explain the “science” behind it all. My immune system is attacking antibodies with the same chemical make up as what the thyroid produces so I need to “retrain” my system. So while I am not gluten sensitive or allergic, it’s what I need to do. And one thing to keep in mind, what works for some may not work for others. Again, you need to do what’s best for YOU. Not all health professionals have your best interests at heart…..they only go by what they have been trained and refuse to look outside the box. If you diverge from their “training”, they don’t want bothered with you. Educate yourself and do what’s best for you.

      • Wendy V says

        I absolutely agree that you need to educate yourself about yourself and your own issues. Even the most dedicated health professional is seeing up to 100 patients a week, sometimes more, and if you rely on him (or her!) entirely, you will be at a disadvantage.

        Read, research and manage – management training says that if you can’t measure, you can’t manage so find ways to measure and record what is happening to you. if you can’t afford the tests, record symptoms and develop a system, 10 for extreme pain, 1 for almost no pain etc. Brain fog – not coping at all -10 coping very well – 1.

        Record it all – what supplements and dosages, slip ups with gluten that you know about and the results, (helps when you slip up because somebody put breadcrumbs in the meatballs that you thought were gluten free) etc. It’s YOUR life, YOUR body and YOU are the Chairman of the board! Good Luck

  23. Coleen says

    i just heard of this connection the other day. I’ve been taking thyroid medication for 27 years. I just recently figured out I was gluten intolerant. I can look back over my life time and see the gastric distress I have lived with. I’ve been gluten free for about a month and no longer look like I’m pregnant. I’m amazed.

  24. MarieB says

    Has anyone (including Chris!) actually read the studies that are supposedly supporting the gluten/thyroid connection? Studies 1 and 2 were small studies that suggested the incidence was about 5%; studies 3 and 4 do not focus on gluten/were not designed to evaluate the connection; and study 5 was designed to evaluate the incidence of thyroid disease in those with celiac NOT vice versa. Sadly, these internet rumors/untruths spread like wildfire and most people who read these forums have no medical background to evaluate the validity of your research!

    • Tessa Bryan says

      I’m sorry if I come off being rude! However I live this day in and day out! My family thinks I’m nuts bc I adhere to such a strict diet. I need articles like this to show my friends and family black and white proof of why I do what I do. Bc for me as I live this what is said here is 100% true and is gold! So please stop bashing and shut up. I cannot tell you the nights I have cried myself to sleep at first bc I was 23 and bed ridden with a newborn for 2 years and the drs didn’t know what was wrong with me then I find a dr who tells me the info presented here and my life is radically changed! I am alive again I hike and bike and play with my 3 kids everyday! But now I find myself crying bc I considered crazy and I’m attention seeking according to those I love them most. We who live this don’t need those who don’t to open your mouth in any negative way we get enough of that already! Thank you Chris for this wonderful piece of work!

      • MarieB says

        Tessa – I’m glad that you feel better on a GF diet, but that doesn’t mean that everyone with thyroid disease needs to go gluten free. Fact is that lots of processed food has gluten in it – so are you feeling better because you gave up processed food (ie, white bread, white pasta, etc) or because you gave up gluten? Most people in this country eat way too many starchy foods, including bread, pasta, pizza, and so you are bound to feel better when you incorporate more vegetables and whole foods that aren’t simply empty calories. Sorry, the science still does not validate what Chris proposes and he cites articles that **do not** back his claims – try reading the studies! His article would be torn to shreds if he attempted to publish in any medical journal.

        • finndian says

          I too have my life change after cutting gluten from my diet. What came first… the undiagnosed gluten allergy or the autoimmune thyroid problem? I don’t really care because I have my life back. My thyroid problem didn’t improve in the least but I do know now that I don’t look like I’m on death’s doorstep. I looked and felt like I was on chemo at my worst and it was all due to gluten!

          I personally believe that the because the gluten protein is harder to break down is what starts the gluten auto-immune attack. When the weakened stomach acids caused by thyroid disease start failing to break down complex proteins and the gut gets irritated and inflamed causing leaky gut… then the real problem begins. These undigested proteins pass the gut barrier and the body mounts the attack to these invaders as they flood the blood stream. I believe Chris takes it further with the theory that circulating thyroid hormones are similar in molecular structure to gluten and the thyroid gets targeted by the bodies immune system by mistake… not sure what is the truth but its an interesting theory.

          My recovery has nothing whatsoever to do with me stopping processed foods or eating differently other than cutting gluten. I am and have been very diet conscious all my life. If I get one more idiot asking me where all us “gluten fanatics” were 5 years ago I am going to go postal on them.

        • BrendaD says

          You are right – not everyone needs to go gluten free who has a thyroid problem. And again you are right about internet rumors and untruths go viral and are misleading. But Chris makes spot on comments about the “connection” between certain autoimmune diseases and gluten and I truly think that was his point – the “connection”. My PCP’s and OB/gyne’s spent years telling me I was fat because I was lazy and didn’t want to exercise. Not one person took the time to run the correct blood tests until I went to my Chiropractor who not only found Hashimoto’s (confirmed by an endocrinologist) but found MS as well (confirmed by a Neurologist and Neurosurgeon). While you may think science isn’t backing up whatever studies and comments Chris is making…..look at the other side of the coin here. Has anyone looked up the side effects of Synthroid or why some endocrinologists want to remove your thyroid (or put you on radiation and chemo) and put you on hormone replacement treatments? I spent alot of time reading materials from every end of the world. There is definitely a “connection” where swelling/inflammation/water retention in the joints and gluten is concerned. While we have our own opinions on everything medical, please respect those who are living everyday with invisible diseases most know nothing about. We must be our own advocates because there are certain medical professionals who do not have our best interests at heart. They only look at the pharmaceutical companies so called research and studies that may fall into the same categories as you are accusing Chris of. Who knows what they are creating to sell drugs? But I do know what is working for me and that’s all I care about – fortunately Chris is bringing up very valid points and I could care less if it’s not science supported. I refuse to be prodded into using western meds that have worse side effects. I am 4 years into MS and am on no medications. I still have function in my legs – there are many people who are not and are wheel chair bound after 3 months of the injectables or following their neurologist drug of choice that week. Try a day in our shoes and I will guarantee you won’t get past the shoe strings. Opinions are like belly buttons – everyone has them. Please be respectful.

          • Wendy V says

            Thank you for that comment, I come from a family with auto-immune issues, hashimotos, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgrens. We know that quite possibly the science is imperfect, we also know that cutting Gluten MAKES A DIFFERENCE to the way we feel, as a sufferer, and I mean sufferer, we find symptoms diminish and quality of life is improved. It really is worth a try, so if you are looking for proof, try your own experiment and record how you feel, it does take a while to feel the difference, and don’t replace gluten with processed “gluten Free” foods, do your homework with recipes etc. You have the rest of your life to live, and you need to be the manager of your own health. Good luck and God Speed.

          • Mike says

            Thank you for your insight.
            I am just starting to research this. Today, I explained to my family that my doctor recommended me to go gluten free because of my Hashimoto’s , they all critisized me and told me to get a differnet doctor. She also wants to treat me with LDN (low dose naltrexone).
            Reading through some these comments can be a bit discouraging. But your comments helped. Thank you again.

        • Hosanna says

          Why are you making an argument for gluten consumption? Why should anyone on the planet other than wheat farmers (grow a more nutritious crop) and Monsanto care to promote gluten consumption?

        • Kit says

          I couldn’t agree with you more. The studies cited here actually show an extremely low incidence of gluten-intolerance among those with Hashimotos. Based on their numbers, conservatively 95% of Hashomotos sufferers do not have gluten sensitivity. The procesessed starch cannot be decouple from gluten easily, so by cutting out gluten one is cutting out starch, among other things. Flour and starch reek havoc on insulin and thus many hormonal and cell signalling pathways, and increase inflammation. If one has reduced symptoms due to reducing carbs by eliminating foods with gluten, it makes sense, but I would go on to eliminate all processed carbs including rice flour and potato flour (although not necessarily potatoes, as they are not processed nor are they grains). Bottom line is that a paleo diet is ideal because one eliminates all grains, potatoes and vegetables are the glucose source. My Hashimotos is definitely not linked to gluten intolerance–I have no gastro issues whatsoever, but I do have insulin resistance and therefore cannot eat processed carbs without gaining a ton of weight and experiencing high inflammation.

      • Karen Barnes says

        I lived in the US for many years and weighed 112 pounds. I shopped at wholefoods and everything I drank or ate was organic. My son would often cook dinner at his home and usually included white bread. I would look 6 months pregnant the next day. I often thought it was the bleach in the white bread causing this reaction so I stopped easting any white bread at my sons dinner parties. However I returned to the UK and found it increasingly difficult to buy organic meats eggs ,milk etc and so slacked off and lo and behold bloated stomach,20 pound weight gain,including a Hashimoto diagnosis. I stopped all gluten products which helped immensely but I still suffered. I thought that I was safe living in Scotland and that they did not allow GMO foods into our country. However I recently discovered that all the major supermarkets and small grocery stores were allowing GMO Fed animal products into their foods. i.e milk eggs etc. The animals eat GMO and we eat the animals. I stopped eating gluten and also any GMO riddled foods which is ALL processed foods especially corn maize etc which meant that my diet was mostly raw spinich salads avocado home made soups fruit I juice carrots and apples etc. Wow what a difference. I started losing weight and my symptoms disappeared. I have refused any meds since diagnosis four years ago and will never take them although I realize that most people need to take them. However it is my belief that it is the GMO developed foods that are causing the problem so just cutting out gluten wont do for some.. It is my strong opinion that it is not the gluten products that are causing the problem but the gluten produced products that have been genetically modified.I look and feel 10 younger. I am an acupuncturist and have seen a huge increase in IBS Crohns disease etc. Scientist have been warning us for years about GMO foods.. The FDA or government won’t hold your hand. We all have to educate ourselves and stop eating these products.

    • Wendy V says

      I appreciate that you don’t want to believe everything that you read on the internet – only a fool would, so why don’t you try it? Go cold turkey for six months on all things gluten, it really won’t kill you, although it will move you out of your comfort zone, as It has done to me. Then see how you feel, then comment. It has made a huge difference in my life, and, boy, DO I KNOW when I have eaten Gluten? Brain Fog, Cramps, aching joints, desperate to sleep and sleeping 9 hours a day instead of normal 7-8. Productivity declines, stress levels go up, I fight with my husband – (Irritability)

      Going gluten free is an easy choice for me. Won’t somebody out there do the studies so that the quality of life of so many people can be improved by something relatively simple. I stress again, YOU are responsible for your own health, you need to manage it and record it and listen to your body.

    • Isma says

      Dear Wendy,

      There are loads of studies of gluten and autoinmune diseases, psyatric diseases. They are all in Pubmed.

      I am not sure that all the doctors can diagnose coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity.

      The vast majority of the gluten intolerants are undiagnosed because the test aren’t sentitive or specific.

      Check the Logan’s Coeliac Iceberg.

    • Jo says

      The thing is, this isn’t dangerous advice. I first tried gluten free as a non-believer. I 100% did not expect it to work, I was just totally disabled and unable to live my life, so I tried out of desperation, just as I had tried many other things. It worked. When I decided it was just a coincidence and ate gluten again (two times), both times I suffered debilitating fatigue, aches, brain fog… that’s enough for me. If you can eat gluten and feel just fine, go for it. Others need to try anything safe to get their lives back, regardless of research.

  25. says

    Hi, I am the author of the book titled, Teri’s Gluten-Free & Grain-Free Healthy Recipes. Grain-Free is much healthier than being just Gluten-Free. Also many of the gluten-free products you buy are full of sugars and other ingredients that are not that healthy. There are recipe books out there to help you.
    You don’t have to buy mine, but I would be happy if you do. (Smile)!

    Teri Paradiso

  26. Cassandra Krupa says

    First and foremost, I would like to thank you for putting this information on the web, it has acted as my bible when it comes to thyroid treatment and I recommend it to anyone who is seeking to get better. Secondly, I just wanted to ask a questions and explain my situation as I am very desperate. I showed signs of thyroid problems since about 6th grade, but it never got terribly out of control until I got pregnant with my first child. It has been about 3 1/2 years, and I don’t know what else to do to get better. I have switched from levothyroxine to naturethroid, and although there was a little difference since I was bed-bound totally before, I still have a lot of fatigue and it is terrible. I didn’t react to t3 in a bad way, so it leads me to believe that it is not adrenal fatigue. I cannot get any testing besides TSH from my doctor, and they will not do a referral and have been quite unsupportive despite me begging them to help me in some way. I know I have a slim chance of being replied to since this article is years old, but figured I would try to reach out. I just turned 22 and hate that I am physically in such horrible shape. I know that you can’t really offer health advice or anything, but if there is any way that you could refer me to possible explanations or resources that I could look into. The only testing that I have had done was for my pregnancy, which was all normal besides my red cell distribution width, which by itself is not a bad thing. Any information is appreciated and thank you. I hate trying to guess at things, but am trying to find a doctor who will help to somehow get me better. I just don’t even know where to start. Oh and years ago I did have my Free t3 and FT4 tested and they were both within normal guidelines.

    • JJ says

      I am a doctor myself. I say find a new primary if your ins requires a referral. If it’s a PPO u most likely do not need a referral. Another option is to find an endocrinologist You like and they can send a letter to your primary asking for a referral. By law your primary has to send you. They can not prevent you from seeing a specialist. If so they are practicing outside of their scope of practice. Get your tests and your results. You can’t treat something completely unless you have a correct diagnosis. Good luck!

      • Hosanna says

        JJ, how can we get in touch? I live in eastern Washington and I do not believe that there is any knowledge here.

    • Honey K says

      Dear Cassandra, I am very sorry to hear about your plight. Although I’ve just started to unravel the surface of health issues regarding gluten intolerance, still I can’t help myself but advice you to Google “Dr. William Davis”. He is a practicing cardiac surgeon in Milwaukee who has produced a best seller book named “Wheat Belly” & simultaneously treated thousands of his patients. Since I myself am facing issues like hypothyroidism (don’t know which one!) & autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis & a host of other related health issues I can completely understand what you are going through.

      Good luck for your search!

      Disclaimer : I’ve never met him but have researched his findings to my hearts content.

    • b says

      hi Cassandra I to struggle on a daily basis with an autoimmune disorder hasimotos and struggle to find a dr. who truly understands this disease and who doesn’t blow me off, I am so confused at all this diff research on to avoid or not to avoid gluten! anyway I hear YOUR pain and struggle and thought id reach out and possibly we can be email support buddies!? just let me know! because I know how frustrating and alone a person who deals with this can be…

      • Cassandra Krupa says

        Thank you all. Sorry it’s been a while, I just was going through my emails. And yes B, we could def help each other out through emailing. I am hoping to find another doctor who will refer me to an endocrinologist since this past one that I had would not. I did not know hat they had to refer you of you asked. Thank you jj. They said that mine wasn’t bad enough to go to an endocrinologist. I don’t understand how someone can say that just by TSH. I talked to a nurse practitioner when I asked if I could please get my free t3 taken. She said I didn’t even have it , even though I was diagnosed years ago. It’s just been a mess and most of the people that I have seen are not knowledgeable about thyroid conditions at all. It does not make sense how so many do not know anything about it. I assume I have hashis since I used to go through hyper and hypo switches (was even wrongly diagnosed as bipolar until I went fully hypo about 4 years ago)

        • Cassandra Krupa says

          (Didnt finish my last comment before pushing send). But I don’t even fully 100% know because no one will test me since “we treat it the same”. Although getting to the bottom of why we’re having these problems is very important. At least to me. Then people would know that they 100% need to cut out gluten (even though it’s bad for nearly everyone) if they knew this information. So although they do treat it the same technically, there are still many lifestyle changes that people with hashimotos need to do. I still hate saying that I have it, even though I am 99% sure that I do, I still hate feeling that I am guessing and the uncertainty of it. Anyways though, thank you all for your input and help to direct me. It has been very difficult and I am still having a rough time. Thank you very much. And I have taken both synthroid and naturethroid, and nothing has really helped. I actually feel worse even taking the naturethroid, which doesn’t make muhch sense.

  27. Amit says

    Great article and comments. Four years back bloodtest showed TSH of 15, started on 0.25 levoxythyroxine, stopped it everytime within few days, on GF diet since last 4 days, already the pain of insects biting thyroid is much reduced, haziness reduced, had some vertigo symptoms one year back, left ear closure for months, trying to explore more food alternatives and recipes in GF free vegan by choice diet, will try to stop dairy for a while after month or so, maybe vit D deficient as being in sun helps, had a food poisoning episode ten years back with fever for a days and gas, stomach cramps, bloating for months thereafter, it may have started from here, although the hypothyroidism symptoms fit in since childhood, tooth filling 30 years back, maybe mercury like someone mentioned a few comments back

  28. Sarah says

    I wish I had read this even just last year. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s about 8 years ago but prior to diagnosis self diagnosed I couldn’t eat gluten when I lost a lot of weight in a matter of months (I’d been told to avoid wheat before losing the weight as the gluten test was negative). My gluten blood test always comes back negative but I have read that in some cases, future tests become positive. Due to this, I decided to reintroduce gluten last year to get an official diagnosis. Plus, I could get food on prescription, as GF food is expensive. Sadly, the test still came back negative and my sysmptoms were worse than I remembered them being. I now have severe joint pain even though I only reintroduced it for about 2 months but on reading this blog, realise that eating gluten caused an autoimmune response which has probably increased the likelihood that I have rheumatoid arthritis – something that I was being tested for due ot the joint pain experienced when my throid wasn’t balanced. It’s a shame that most doctors are ignorant of this, as people’s health is being put at risk due to ignorance. Also, had I been aware of this when I first went to see my GP which lead to being tested for celiac, I potentially could be completely healthy, as the autoimmune response might not have occurred. Who knows???

  29. Sophie says

    Thank you so much for the information! I was diagnosed last year with AITD. It was difficult to cut gluten at the beginning. I too always dreamed about cookies and doughnuts. But after a few months gluten free diet, I feel a lot better. My blood test showed the improvement.

  30. Carrol Evans says

    I changed from my endocrinologist to a holistic doctor specializing in thyroid disorders when I started taking more of an active approach in my health care. My first doctor didn’t like that. My new doctor does (and yes, she’s an MD as well as holistic). After testing and finding I do NOT have Hashimoto’s, but still hypo-thyroid, we looked into diet for my weight issues. I’ve lead a plant based, whole foods dietary lifestyle, Forks Over Knives, for 2 years now and am very active in training hard for Spartan Races.

    When my weight began to increase and I went from a size 6 to a size 12 in six months, we investigated our options. My doctor had me do a Cyrex Laboratories Array 3 test where I had a result of 1.65 (well out of range) for Transglutaminase-6 IgG. All other gluten test results in this array are well within normal. When my weight didn’t decrease but continued to slowly gain, I investigated further and found information about something called cross reactivity. Cyrex Array 4 test showed an off the charts cross reactivity to corn, and less reactive although still disconcerting reaction to oats. I also tested for the need to remove teff, sorghum, millet, and hemp.

    Now, many, if not most, gluten free pre-made items are corn flour based. That is important to understand. Corn starch is in everything, as is corn syrup. Baking soda contains corn starch, for an example.

    All of this is to say that it may not just be gluten that we have an issue with. My body thinks the above grains are gluten, ie cross reactivity. If you’re still having issues, talk to you doctor about this possibility. I’ve eliminated all of the above from my diet and I’ve lost 10 pounds in 2 months. It isn’t coming off fast, but it is coming off. That tells me my body is able to focus on health now that its not being forced to try to deal with the attacks of gluten and cross reactivity to other grains. And I feel better.

    Below are some web sites that talk about gluten and its effects on everything from type 1 diabetes to schizophrenia. Its a lot of information that can be overwhelming. Nutritionally Yours explains the different Cyrex tests and what they’re used to test. Metametrix has a stool profile test that was highly beneficial to me in identifying some issues as well.

    My goal to follow Hypocrates philosophy to truly ‘Let food be thy medicine” is paying off. I hope it will for you as well.

    • Liz says

      Hi Carrol,
      Thanks for your comment and links. It’s great to hear that you are getting better through changes in diet!

      I noticed you mentioned that you are on a plant based diet and I just wanted to make sure that you are aware of the effects of soy and the vegetables in the cruciferous family (cabbages, kale, broccoli, cauliflower etc). The cruciferous veggies shouldn’t be eaten raw as they are goitrogenic and can be a factor in hypothyroidism. Same for unfermented soy. Since the vegetarian and vegan diets tend to be high in those foods, I thought I’d mention it because I have seen some people that were hypothyroid without hashis and it turned out it may have been because of their high intake of soy and cruciferous veggies. Cooking removes most of the goitrogenic properties of the cruciferous veggies, so they are ok cooked. Fermentation helps with soy, but still be carefull with it. Most soy in North america is GMO and there have been links found with GM foods and celiac disease, so the only soy we should really eat is organic and fermented. You may already know this, but for you or anyone else reading this, I just thought I’d mention it. There’s lots of info online about these issues for more details. Good luck and best wishes!

      • Carrol Evans says


        Thanks so much for your reply! I truly appreciate your information.
        Yes, I understand about the cruciferous veggies and only eat them steamed or fully cooked. I know about the soy issue as well, and only eat tofu once or twice a year. I don’t typically use soy sauce because it has gluten in it. Instead, I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos when I need it in a recipe, as it is organic, gluten free, and certified non-GMO soybeans. I also stay away from soy products because my mother is a two time breast cancer survivor whose cancers were both estrogen driven. Soy is an estrogen containing plant.
        The only veggie I eat raw in the above mentioned is Kale, as I juice it for my after workout recovery drink. My doctor said the benefits outweigh the goiterogenic properties.
        I do my best to stay away from GMO’s as they are truly terrifying. I’m more than a little worried about the use of GMO bugs in Europe, that they’ll make their way here. Those people never learn, often at our expense.

        I’ve become greatly interested in indoor urban gardens that produce organic veggies through hydroponics. I’m a city councilman and we have several abandoned buildings in our area that were once factories. I have contacts who know a great deal about water and fish and would know what I’d need to research to be able to see if this was feasible in our area. It would be invaluable to have organic veggies with NO carbon footprint that would be sustainable. It is a dream at present, but it is one that reaches out toward a healthy future not only for those who are gluten sensitive AND cross reactive, like me, but for anyone who wants to reach for better health.

        • Carrol Evans says

          Also, I found a great site called Gluten Free Vegan Girl that is wonderful!!!! Give her a try!

  31. dan the bandage man says

    Can anyone give me a citation for the claim that gliandin protein resembles thyroid tissue?

  32. Teija says

    I haven’t been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, but that’s what I think I have. I have so many of the symptoms, most disturbing being puffiness in my feet, hands and especially face! I hate it. And I have a double chin, even though I’m skinny.

    So please, somebody tell me how long does it take to have a normal face? I don’t wanna be a doughy-face!

    I’ve beem 100% gluten free for almost 6 months now. Although I’ve glutened myself a few times, quite badly in Christmas (3½ months ago) and then eaten in friends’ homes etc. so can’t be 100% sure there has been no cc.

    But please, give me some hope, am I ever gonna get rid of this dough-face and get a firm, good-looking face?

    • Halle Basinger says


      First and foremost, I’m sure your “doughy” face is beautiful and fits well on your skinny body. Unfortunately some skinny people just have a double chin…usually it’s genetic.

      Second, If you have an AITD just being gluten free is not going to be enough. You need to see an Endocrinologist and have a TPO and TSH/T4 test done to determine if you have an AITD or thyroid condition so that you can start treating it properly, along with cutting out gluten.

  33. Susan Cassell says

    Over the last few years I have spoken with people who have under active thyroid who have complained about acid reflux type symptoms. Because I have both these I started to think that thyroid and gluten intolerance were connected. Thank you for the confirmation. Now I want to see if lactos is also connect.
    Also, when I look at the body type, and perhaps someone is looking at gene heredity there will be a connection.
    I am not a researcher, just an observer.

    I am

    • finndian says

      Hypothyroidism causes weakness in all small muscle groups…. perhaps this applies as well to the esophageal sphincter muscle?

    • says

      Hypothyroid diagnosis – 4/2009; endoscopy results – 7/2009 (benign stomach polyps, biopsy results confirmed Celiac disease); 34 year history of IBS, eczema, and GERD. I cannot tolerate oatmeal unless it is gluten free and I avoid soy. Post gluten and soy free diet, my health is improving.

  34. Mike says

    I’m wondering if my thyroid is at risk.

    I have multiple food allergies (true IgE mediated allergies) to gluten, wheat, barley, rye, eggs and some others. I’ve also been diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. I’ve complained for years of being increasingly tired and feeling worn out and depressed. I instinctively ‘feel’ that something is chemically wrong inside but can’t get doctors to get past prescribing anti-depressants.

    My allergy blood tests included TSH which was 1.17, which I’m learning is within lab ranges but below the functional level. I’m considering going back to my allergist and demanding a more in-depth thyroid screening.

    Every article I’ve read linking food allergies and thyroid problems discuss celiac disease and gluten intolerance and how antibodies may actually attack the thyroid. Does that mean just antibodies related to celiac disease and intolerance such as IgA and IgG attack the thyroid or do true-allergy IgE antibodies also attack it?

  35. Deborah says

    Not sure if this subject has been covered or not, so I apologize ahead of time if it has. If you have Hashimotos for many years and thyroid minimal to none does it matter if you are gluten free or not? Since your thyroid is probably destroyed, anyway?

  36. Stacy says

    How does real sourdough bread compare when dealing with gluten intolerance and/or thyroid issues? Should it be avoided as well?

  37. Priscilla says

    Hi Chris! I have hypothyroid disease and wheat intolerance, and I am trying to track down the source of the claim that “The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland.” The thyroid gland obviously has more than one “molecular structure,” so can you say which part of the thyroid gland it is that gliadin closely resembles? And do you have any diagrams showing the similarity of the molecules? Or, if you could just tell me where *you* are getting this info, I would appreciate it very much. I see this claim mentioned a lot among thyroid patients, but no one can tell me its source, or what research backs it.

    I would really like to track this down, because it is something that patients talk about a lot and we would really like some definitive answers. Thanks!

  38. vicholls says

    Hi, I’m in the UK and was diagnosed with autoimmune hashimotos under active thyroid (with goitres) 13 years ago and have been taking levothyroxine ever since. I have also suffered with a problem with my throat for the same amount of time – feeling a tightening/ swelling/bubbling feeling when I eat/ drink certain foods. I have never managed to work out exactly what it is that causes the reaction as sometimes its instant – ie to orange juice/ cake/ wine/ tea, other times its a build up over the day & I can’t pin point the cause. However, I have often wondered whether its a lactose or gluten intolerance. Reading this I’m now very interested in the connection between my AITD & gluten but can anyone tell me whether the gluten would still be affecting me if my condition is being treated? So many articles I read seem to be about untreated thyroid disease I always wonder if I need to worry about the issues related to it once you are being treated as the medication is replacing the function of the thyroid. I really would appreciate your thoughts/ advice.

  39. erika reiner says

    Have you seen a link between Hashimotos hypothyroidism + gluten = infertility issues? I have a very brittle thyroid while trying to do IVF with recurrent implantation failure and I am wondering if going gluten free would assist.

    If so, I’d like to read some of the literature.

    • Prati says

      Hi Erika,

      I hope you you have had successful IVF or had a baby by now. Did you try going gluten free or something else? May be it could help me and other future readers who are facing the same issues. I have read that Hashimoto’s cause infertility issues as it can interfere in conceiving as well as there is a very high risk of miscarriage. I am currently facing these issues. I was never able to conceive on a normal diet while trying for over a year. Normal diet means no processed food only home cooked food. But then I started gluten and dairy free diet since almost 2-3 months and I was able to conceive but miscarried as my TSH went high :( (from 2 to 6). So I think there is some connection it wont hurt going gluten free for some time.

  40. stephanie says

    I’ve been on GAPS for about a year now and only recently have found alot of people saying that they have gotten Thyroid issues from being on GAPS and I’ve done research that says that we need some carbs other then veggies! So is its really harmful to stay off grains and starches? As I feel better staying off them and was going to permanently.

  41. Adriana says

    I am so frustrated!! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism almost 5 years ago and was put on levothyroxine. I didn’t seem to have any issues the last few years, but fast forward to a few months ago. I have gained about 10 lbs very quickly (which for me is HUGE) and have been exhausted for no reason (my main 2 symptoms from 5 years ago when I realized I had thyroid problems).
    I just went to my dr to be tested and had a FULL panel of tests done, and they have come back to me and said the tests are all NORMAL!
    I’m so frustrated and don’t know what could possibly be causing these issues. I have been fine for a few years, I eat healthy, I’m very into weight lifting for exercise, and I’m only 25.

    I guess I just need some advice as far as what to do next. I was thinking I might try gluten free, but don’t know if it would help at all. Is it possible to have normal thyroid tests but still have a need to go gluten free?? Maybe I need to try a homeopathic doctor or herbalist? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!!!

  42. Nicole says

    My daughter and I both have Hashis and have been gluten free for 2 1/2 years. During this time my daughter’s antibodies dropped from 1800 to 364. After some testing, we discovered that she was currently manufacturing antibodies to most gluten free gains – brown rice, teff, tapioca …. you name it! It was a who’s who list of the gf grain family. We have now been grain free since October and I just got her antibody test back and her levels have risen again. They are now up in the 800’s. She is eating meat and fruits and veggies and some dairy. She had zero issues with dairy as discovered through her Cyrex testing. Her tsh is elevated also. Up from 3.99 to 6.89 and her hair is falling out. Can flooding hormones in a teenage body cause this havoc? If not, what can it be? She takes a cereal bowl of supplements to support her thyroid each day. Please help! Thank you in advance!

  43. Darlene says

    A few months ago, I tried the Gluten-Free diet for about a week and then I had a new lab test with my doctor. I normally have high triglycerides but this time they were actually at normal levels. I think going gluten-free may have helped with that. I am starting back up with going gluten-free again and I am going to see if it helps me feel better. I am so tired of feeling tired even though I take my thyroid medicine.

  44. Melissa says

    Here’s my story:

    I gained 20 pounds in two months. I had 4 months of infertility. I knew I had thyroid problems but I didn’t think it was serious and didn’t recognize the warning signs because I’ve always been very appreciative of sleep. Lol.

    I went on a health binge. I knew that the only time I’ve ever been able to lose weight through my entire 24 years of life was to cut the bread. So I did and I took my synthroid and got pregnant. After that, I stopped, thinking “The job is done. I have cravings.” But I was totally miserable! Sick, tired, depressed, you name it. Bowel problems like crazy!

    At my first prenatal appointment (7 weeks), my tsh was 121 and I had gestational diabetes already. My endocrinologist asked me how I was alive. He bumped my synthroid from 25 mcg to 100 mcg.
    Second prenatal (still not eating the way I should and still feeling like crap), I had taken all my pills but my tsh was still too high. My sugar readings were all over the place. The doc bumped me up again to 125 mcg, not telling me – maybe you should try a dietary approach. He did send me to a dietician, but for diabetes. Not for thyroid. She encouraged bran cereal, whole wheat bread, etc…

    After that appointment, I got tired of being miserable. I was a week into my second trimester when I decided I needed to make a change. I swapped bread for iodine rich foods to boost thyroid function. I stopped eating raw, cruciferous vegetables that hinder iodine absorption (I was a major kale lover. But I don’t eat it anymore – at all).

    The biggest struggle, as we all know, was the bread. I live in a rural area. When someone says “I have celiac” or “I can’t eat gluten”, people think you’re “blowing smoke up their ass” for a lack of better terminology. Our grocery stores have 1 teeny tiny area devoted to GFree foods because it’s so uncommon or undiagnosed here. The possibilities for us are limited unless we order stuff online. Let me say, $5 for a loaf of GFree bread is NOT worth it. It’s the worst gluten free product made.

    I’m not completely GFree. I’m still learning. I do not eat anything containing wheat, barley, or rye on the label, but I’m still learning the big terms for “contains gluten” – like maltodextrin, etc… But I don’t seem to have an issue with those things (or some cross contamination) because my tsh levels the last two check ups have both decreased!! My last tsh level was 0.87! I’m still on 125 mcg of synthroid and I imagine that will be decreased soon.

    I have so much energy and my attitude is astounding. I don’t have intestinal issues and most of my acid reflux and nausea stopped (can’t expect all of it to go since the baby will press into my organs). I actually want to be around people and out of my pajamas. Through this ride, I’ve lost 12 pounds and kept it off. Right now, I’m 24 weeks pregnant, showing, and my scale hasn’t moved further than 170 (which is great since I started out overweight at 182).

    I plan on keeping this up post-preggo (with the exception of one last donut after birth) to see how far I can go with this and how good it will be on my body.

    I just wish the rest of society would catch on and do it. It would make this challenge easier on all of us.

  45. Stacy says


    Can you explain how this all factors in to pregnancy?

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 7 years ago, and have been taking thyroid medication (previously lexothyroxine, currently synthroid) for several years. My doctor just upped my dosage a little bit, to get my levels to the optimal range for pregnancy (as I understand that keeping the levels at the right spot is critical for fetal development). I am just now learning about this connection between gluten and Hashimoto’s, so am considering cutting gluten. However, I also plan to start trying to get pregnant in the next couple of months. I am worried about doing those things at the same time – if I cut gluten, and then my thyroid begins healing and all of a sudden my thyroid medication dosage is too high, this could be a risk to the baby (and we do not want to wait years longer before trying to get pregnant, as then I will have age to worry about on top of it).

    Can you shed some light as to whether now is a good time to make this diet change, or if it would be better to wait until after pregnancy to do it??

  46. Dawn says

    Thanks very much for the replies Nanci and Robert. So test results came back and all thyroid levels are totally normal but I do have those elevated antibodies for hashimotos. Dr is not inclined to give me meds as I suspected which is fine by me anyway. I really wonder if proper allergen elimination and nutrient supplementation could help as I have read case studies indicating such. Robert, you are completely right that I need to be all in on the no gluten. I think diary and sugar may also be foods to elimaate – of which I don’t have much of but still do have some. Yore right. I can do this. And I need to do this. Thank you both for your feedback and support.

  47. Shaz says

    I am in the UK, I am on 125mg of levothyroxine. I have heard much about Armour as an alternative but not sure if in the UK doctors would know what this was and also if it were available on prescription. Can anyone help with this please?
    Also if anyone in the UK has had outstanding success with Armour.

    • finndian says

      You can buy Armour from Canada from places like and other websites… with prescription of course. It would be best to find a doctor familiar with Armour to guide you through the transition form synthetic to natural hormone. If you can’t find someone with experience then has a lot of info on how to do it.

      I couldn’t do it for years because of all the T3 in Armour. It felt like a big shock to my system. I finally paid big bucks to the Holtorf thyroid clinic here in the states and they prescribed several bottles of time release T3 in low doses. Enough of each dose for 10 days.

      So, it was 10 days on 12.5mcg time release T3 in addition to my regular dose of levoxyl. Then 10 days on 25mcg… 10 days on 37.5mcg… etc. The slow ramp up made the jump to Armour and dropping Levoxyl entirely a piece of cake. My cells were already use to the jolt of T3. The last step for me was separating the dose of Armour and taking half in the morning and the other half at night. Once I did that I felt great and the closest to normal then I’ve felt in a decade of taking synthetic thyroid hormone.

      Just keep in mind that you will not feel well until you reach the optimal dose of Armour. That is achieved by upping the dosage of Armour in small increments… like a half a grain for 2 or 3 weeks and then testing blood to see if you have reached the high range of normal for Free T3. Good luck!

  48. Dawn says

    I have just gotten back bloodwork that I think indicates Hashimotos.I fully believe in the nutrition connection.I have a made a number of calls to integrative and functional MDs and unfortunately none take insurance (and my insurance won’t cover out of network) so although I know they could help me, it’s just not an option for me.

    I don’t want to go on medication – synthetic, bovine, or any. And I know that does nothing to treat the problem with my immune system anyway.And I’m sure conventional endos will either want to just to do that or tell me my levels aren’t bad enough to do anyting yet- so let’s just wait until I get worse! I have done detoxing stints of going gluten, dairy, soy, sugar free among others allergenic foods. I definitely know it’s helped and I can tell the difference for sure when I go back to eating one of those ingredients – especially the gluten. I think I may try to make this 100% permanent. I think it might have been you who said sort of going gluten free is like trying to say you’re sort of pregnant.

    A few other things I’ve learned -there are a few things, of which I am keeping a running list, that cause what I call a “mild thyroid storm”. I don’t know if this is the right term but the symptoms are :
    1)hair and eyslashes falls out,
    2)eyes hurt,
    3)feel tired.
    4)Joint pain especially in fingers.
    5)Sometimes I actually feel like my thyroid hurts -or light pain in my neck. No one has found it to be enlarged. And 3 years ago had the full scans and RAI tests and all looked normal.

    The running list of what gets me like this is injesting even just a little of :
    -Recently tried a hair/skin/nails supplement and had the same thing happen after just 2 days of taking it. PABA was in it which i read perhaps impacts thyroid. There were other ingredients in there too so I don’t know what is specifically was.
    -And more recenlty, after the all the positive info on coconut, I started taking a lot more in- Coconut milk, virgin oil, tried baking with flour and shredded. All organic, all natural, no additives. After a week of adding so much more to my diet, I am having the same flare ups. I’m still in disbelief but I think coconut must be another thing that triggers me. How can this be?

    I am creating a running list of things I can’t have and it seems to take very little of those things to tip me over to feeling unwell.

    Because I am not able to see the kinds of doctors I believe really get it, I was hoping you could direct me to the best books on the matter. Simply – what to eat and not eat to knock out these antibodies and get myself on track.

    • Nanci says

      I also did not want to believe that I had to go on thyroid meds for the rest of my life because of my Hashimoto’s. I’m fortunate to be able to afford doctors, and I’ve been to a regular one, a top expert endocrinologist, and an integrative medicine doctor. All of them say the only way to treat it is to take thyroid supplements. I’ve also done a ton of Internet research and am surrounded by alternative healer types, and all of them say I have to take the thyroid meds (with the exception of one minimally available and incredibly expensive chiropractic approach, which claims some success…the integrative medicine doc is very skeptical).

      Personally, I feel that perhaps you could *prevent* Hashimoto’s, or any other autoimmune disease, by eating right, exercising, meditating, etc. But once you have Hashimoto’s, your thyroid will never operate properly again. And if you don’t replace the thyroid hormone at adequate levels, the autoimmune disease will worsen and make you more susceptible to other autoimmune disorders like celiac and so forth.

      “Stop the Thyroid Madness” is a good source for learning more about Hashimoto’s, by the way.
      Good luck!

    • Robert says


      “I have done detoxing stints of going gluten…free…”

      I have posted several comments some time ago in reply to this page and will not rehash those here.

      If what ails you is an authentic autoimmune reaction to a gluten-sensitive state then you must be prepared–not for a “stint” of going gluten free–but for a (in the salty words of a trucker I knew) “long-ass drag” of a comprehensively gluten-free diet. From what I understand, in order to reverse some of the debilitating effects of a gluten-inspired autoimmune disease, it takes some 6-9 months of going gluten free just to stop the damage then several years to reverse it. (The classic metaphor of turning the supertanker applies here–momentum plays a huge role in either direction in the diet.)

      The gluten-free lifestyle is, in some respects, an act of faith. I am pushing three years into it and can not recommend it enough for individuals suffering from gluten sensitivity: there are countless benefits to it. But don’t expect a bunch of people to jump up and down and tell you how great the diet is (or for a bunch of doctors to jump on the bandwagon, either). Also, try to avoid signing up others to join you–it is like the fable about the fox who loses his tail and tries to convince all the other (skeptical) foxes how great life is without it. It doesn’t work.

      You have to have the strength to power through this pretty much alone.

      You can do it… R.

  49. heidi w says

    Right around the time I was convinced ihad thyriod issues a very gifted resaercher in my life gave me her resarch and experience on boosting your thryiod back to normal with Iodine. I use lugols solution and have 2 months now. right around the first diagnosis I noticed my extreme gluten intolerance and started going gluten free. Every time I slipped I felt HORRIBLE in many ways. But sice I have been getting my thyriod back to normal , my gluten intolerance has cleared up. Now I wont go back to eating as much as before but i can have pizza on movie night without making a 3 hours cauliflour crutsed pizza… YAY!

    DONT DO MEDS! research the iodine solution for your thyriod.- heidi

    • Liz says

      Thanks for sharing your success with iodine Heidi. Very interesting that taking iodine helped your gluten intolerance….there is still so much we don’t understand about the links betweeen various conditions, nutrient deficiencies, intolerances etc. who knows maybe just as there is a link between gluten intolerance and autoimmune diseases and there is a link between iodine deficiencies and thyroid conditions, maybe there is a also a link netween iodine deficiencies and gluten intolerance….it would make a full circle.

  50. Catherine says

    I’ve been gluten-free for about three months now and it’s changed my life. Before I was gluten-free, I was working out and ‘eating clean’ and had been doing so for 18 months yet I hadn’t lost any weight, which was my aim. In addition to that, I started to get some unpleasant symptoms, like brain fog that left me totally unable to concentrate, extreme fatigue that saw me struggling to get off the sofa, etc. I didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me but I knew something was up. Fast forward a few months beyond that point and a friend sent me the Wheat Belly book. I didn’t read it straight away but a few weeks later decided to have a quick flick through. One page caught my eye: the problems that gluten can cause. I saw my symptoms on it and decided to read the book. The more I read, the more I realised that perhaps gluten was causing some of my problems and the grains in my diet could be causing others. My ‘clean eating’ diet I had while working out was very rich in rice and pastas.

    Anyway, fast forward to now and I feel amazing. The brain fog is gone, the fatigue is gone, I’m full of energy and I’ve lost 10lb without working out or counting calories. Some might say that it could be a coincidence. Wrong. If I eat anything with gluten in it, I get an upset stomach (if you catch my meaning…) and a rash on my neck within 30 minutes. About an hour or two later, I’m struggling to stay away and the brain fog comes back. Again, some might say that it’s psychosomatic and only happens because I expect it to. Well, I get it even if I accidentally consume gluten! The other day a friend gave me some hot chocolate, half an hour later I had issues and when I checked the packet, it contained wheat flour!

    I intend to be grain-free for the rest of my life now.

  51. Gloria says

    I am interested to find out if someone has hashimoto’s disease, and their thyroid has been completely destroyed, would it still be beneficial to them to have a gluten free diet? What would happen if they weren’t and continued down the road they are on?

    • Meg says


      It’s my understanding that you would still have the Hashimoto’s disease, and it would likely attack other parts of your body after the thyroid, thereby effectively morphing into a different autoimmune disease. As a matter of fact, even if you still have some thyroid function, those with Hashimoto’s are more likely to develop additional autoimmune disorders.

    • finndian says

      I have Hashimoto’s and cutting gluten didn’t effect my thyroid dosage at all. I’ve been taking hormone for 10 years now and was up to 150mcg of Levoxyl until I wised up and switched to 5 grains of Armour so I would assume my thyroid is pretty well shot but I feel great.

      My undiagnosed gluten issue had progressed to leaky gut syndrome and then as the other undigested proteins hit my bloodstream I started to show anti-bodies to soy and Casein. I’ve been able to reverse the Soy and Casein by healing my gut but the gluten remains an issue.

      I became aware of my gluten issue a couple years after my hashimoto’s came about. I’d be really surprised if someone that has been taking a substantial amount of hormone for a longer length of time can reverse the need for it by cutting gluten. My experience has been that that bell has been rung and there is no way to un-ring it.

      I personally believe that with gluten intolerance your stomach get inflamed and the B12 making bacteria intrinsic factor can’t do its job because of the gut disruption. As the years wear on the methylating effect of B12 no longer is there to protect you from bad gene’s expressing themselves. Without fixing the gluten issue you are setting yourself up for a string of auto immune diseases because of the chronic b12 deficiency symptoms it brings. So my opinion is stop the gluten if you show anti-bodies to it but don’t expect it to effect your thyroid directly.

  52. Kelly says

    Stool samples aren’t a supported method for checking for gluten sensitivity.

    “In fact, while it is true that about 40% of people with proven gluten sensitivity have elevated AGA-IgG, it is also true that about 15-25% of the healthy individuals who have absolutely nothing wrong also have elevated AGA-IgG. Hence, about 60% of gluten sensitive people do not have elevated AGA-IgG”

    “…there is absolutely no biological readout that is no way can this diagnosis can be supported by any laboratory investigation. No antibodies in the blood are specific enough, or sensitive enough, for this condition. No antibodies in the stools can be utilized to diagnose or screen for this condition.”

    • finndian says

      “supported” or not a stool test changed my life by showing gluten antibodies when other tests showed I did not have celiacs. I no longer look like I’m undergoing chemotherapy all the time. I looked like death warmed over for no reason that anyone could determine until that test. Cutting gluten made me look a decade younger and healthier than I’d been in years.

  53. Liz says


    When I first got diagnosed with my thyroid condition, my doctor also got me tested for celiac disease. I tested negative. But after reading this and other articles on the subject, I decided to give it a try. 6 months later, I was on half my thyroid med dose. The biggest surprise was that when I accidentally ate tiny bits of gluten, I had horrible stomach cramps and diarrhea, very strong gluten intolerance or celiac symptoms (symptoms I did not have before elliminating gluten). I would have never found out had I not elliminated gluten for several months. Who knows how much damage I would have done to my intestines had I continued eating gluten. When we eat gluten every day, frequently multiple times a day, our bodies develop ways of dealing with it and we don’t even know we have an intolerance or are celiac. I had stomache issues (but not the same as my gluten reactions now), before elliminating gluten, but I never connected them to gluten. Simce elliminating gluten, my old stomach issues are almost completely resolved.

    Most celiacs are misdiagnosed multiple times and take about 10 yaers from first symptoms to proper diagnosis. So when you see that 6% of the people in the studies are celiac, you are seeing people who have been diagnosed, and diagnosed with the pretty innacurate standard tests done in standard labs. There are some newer, more accurate tests that can be done in a few labs, but those aren’t the ones being used in these studies, unfortunately. So those numbers are just not a true representation of what’s going on in people’s bodies.

    Chris isn’t making wide sweeping generalizations, he’s making incredibly helpful suggestions, way ahead of most MDs. Anyone with a thyroid condition who wants to imrove their health owes it to themselves to elliminate gluten for a couple of months and see how they feel and also how they feel when they ingest it again.

  54. Katie says

    Reading the article makes it sounds like a majority of the people with thyroid issues would also have gluten intolerance, but when I checked your sources it seems that only less than 6% of the people tested positive for celiac disease so it seems that it would be a sweeping generalization to recommend that anyone with thyroid problems go gluten free.

    • finndian says

      Celiac disease and gluten intolerance can be two separate issues. I don’t test positive for a Celiac’s diagnosis through any kind of testing including biopsy but other testing shows my body is creating anti-bodies to gluten none the less. I would also suggest anyone with thyroid problems test for gluten sensitivity and/or try going gluten free to see how you feel.

    • Henny says

      Hi Katie!
      For many of us, gluten is not such a black and white thing. For example, I do not have celiac disease, however, I definitely start to get thyroid issues when I eat vast amounts of gluten. I can eat a bit here and there with minor health symptoms starting, and the longer I avoid gluten, the better I seem to tolerate the odd “cheat”, but this is different for everyone.
      Also, if you have not tried going gluten free you may not even realize which niggling little health things are connected. For example, I used to have a patch of dry, flakey skin on my scalp and never healed….was told “eczema”. Fine. But when I stop eating gluten, it goes away, and when I cheat, it comes back….
      Pretty minor thing, but just an example. It is more of a spectrum like a lot of chronic health issues….so yeah, maybe 6% have celiac, but maybe another 78% have other minor health complaints that are linked to their thyroid operating at 70% or 50% or whatever it might be for them. Also, for me, my thyroid issues were not severe – it was enough that dietary changes and the right supplements got me back on track pretty easily. Not everyone is so lucky. Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones :)

      • Henny says

        (I should add, I made up 78% – I don’t know how many of gluten free people have thyroid issues, I was just making an example with that….)

  55. Finndian says

    Since people with lactose intolerance can take an enzyme they are missing in pill or drop form (like Lactase) in order to continue to eat dairy products I wonder if anyone here has tried Gluten enzymes in order to eat wheat products? They exist on health food shelves.

    I brought it up here a year or more ago and Chris said “No, that doesn’t work” and never responded to my follow up questions. Are people allergic or are some of us intolerant because we lack an enzyme to break down a protein?

    People are quick to blame GMO wheat as the reason people are having a problem with gluten… do we need an antidote in the form of a specialized enzyme to break down this new unfamiliar protein??

    I hate to think it would be as simple taking an enzyme and that that information is not being widely disseminated because there is too much money to be made in the gluten free industry by keeping us sufferers in the dark.

    • liz says

      I think that not enough is known yet about the mechanisms of gluten intolerance and the difference between it and celiac disease (some people believe gluten intolerance is simply celiac disease in its early stages, other say it’s completely different) to know the answers to all your questions. Certainly not enough is known about how the body reacts when gluten enters the system and how each of the organs affected by it react.

      My impression from everything I’ve read is that even though the enzymes you can buy do help alleviate some of the digestive symptoms, if you discover that you are gluten intolerant, you should still avoid it completely. If you already have an autoimmune condition, it’s likely that it’s not just the digestive system that is affected by gluten (and helped by the enzyme), but also the immune system and who knows what else. If you don’t have an auto-immune condition, but are gluten intolerant, I would avoid gluten in the interests of avoiding developing an auto-immune condition which may occur if you continually tax your system by feeding it something it’s already intolerant to. So taking an enzyme helps the body break up the gluten into smaller proteins, but the immune system has already “seen” the full gluten protein at that point and can react to it. Besides, As Dr. Tom, an expert in immunology and specifically the response to gluten, explains, we may also react to smaller proteins that are part of gluten. So everything points to there not being an easy fix of just swallowing an enzyme unfortunately. But I personally always have some on hand when I get accidentally “glutened” and they help a bit…but I still avoid gluten like the plague for my hashimoto’s and the horrendous stomache cramps that the enzyme only helps alleviate a bit.

  56. says

    I had two different occasions where I eliminated gluten. One was when I was on an elimination diet, and gluten was just one of the multitudinous foods I stopped eating for a year. After a year, of no improvement in health, no weight loss, I figured “why should I deprive myself of all of these foods and not feel any different”. So I went back to “normal” eating of quality foods.

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and have hypothyroid symptoms. So again, I’ve gone off gluten; and again, I feel absolutely no different. I have not lost any weight, nor have any of my symptoms improved. I think that this is an “in” disorder now; and that many people are removing gluten unnecessarily. I think people who suspect there could be a problem should just test it themselves. Eliminate gluten for a long period of time, and see if you have any differences. (but make sure you write down all symptoms/blood results before you start).

    • Finndian says

      Why guess? People who feel they might have a gluten problem need to be tested for antibodies. I feel no different when I have gluten either but my body is definitely mounting an attack against the protein in an autoimmune response. Testing confirms it…so I don’t eat it. Whether or not this gluten intolerance shows up as seemingly unrelated adrenal fatigue, thyroid disease, GERD, headaches, B12/magnesium deficiency is the question.

      If you’re like I was and have under-treated hypothyroidism then gluten elimination will not make you feel better. Could have been the undiagnosed gluten issue permanently damaged my thyroid, who knows? I’m stopping the gluten anti-bodies through gluten elimination instead of waiting to find out the next issue it will cause.

  57. marcia says

    I have Celiac diagnosed in 2010. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in 1980. I have been gluten free for three years and now my thyroid numbers are all out of wack. Dr. keeps lowering my dosage, but can’t get the TSH, T4, or T3 within normal range. I believe my thyroid is becoming active again as the antibodies that attack my intestines and thyroid are no longer active due to lack of gluten. It is amazing that these two diseases are linked and by simply changing my diet I am getting healthier every day. Sad side to this story is that my endocrinologist believes there is no connection, and yet he freely admits he cannot explain why my need for less thyroid med. Every patient needs to be their own advocate and get educated on the diseases.

    • liz says

      Thanks for sharing your story. Very impressive that even after 33 years of being hypothyroid, it’s possible to get your thyroid to work better again by removing gluten from your diet. I hope you continue lowering your needs for meds and even manage to get off meds completely and most importantly feel great!
      It’s crazy how the medical establishment won’t take this seriously, but eventually they will have to. Thanks to stories like yours though, people can learn about it and try it for themselves. Let us know how things go as you continue.

      Personally I have halved my dose, but can’t go any lower. I have been gluten-free for about a year and half now and was only slight hypothyroid to begin with and only had slighly elevated antibodies. I had hoped by now to be better than I am, both in terms of how I feel and my dosage. Not sure why I seem to have stagnated for the last year (all the improvement happened rapidly within the first 6 or so months). If I get stressed, my symptoms get worse and sometimes I need to increase my meds a little again. I suspect it’s connected to the adrenals responding to stress and affecting the thyroid as well, but I’m not sure. Has anyone had this problem and know what to do about it?

  58. benie says


    Are you saying that even Graves Disease could have a false positive blood test to Celiac as the antibodies could be suppressed for this AITD as well? My 13 year old son has Graves Disease and I am almost positive that he has Celiac Disease as well. I cut back but did not eliminate the gluten from his diet for about 3 or 4 months and the doctor said that it is unlikely that he has Celiac Disease. I want to get a diagnosis for him but it doesn’t sound worth it. I just got his Graves disease under control and I am very worried about him and putting him through all of this!!

    Thanks for the article,

  59. Heather says

    I have recently began having issues with my thyroid, i’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and have a nodule that is growing in my thyroid. It literally happened over night that my thyroid became a lump in my neck, I had never noticed it or had it bother me before. I woke up one day and every time I swallowed I noticed a huge lump on the right side of my throat. A doctor diagnosed me with hypothyroidism and now after hearing about my “gut issues” is suggesting I try a gluten free diet. He also suggest I get surgery to remove half of my thyroid that has this growing nodule. I am wondering if you have any advice regarding specifically a nodule in the thyroid along with gluten issues?
    Any information would be very helpful!

    • finndian says

      I would try to shrink the nodule with Iodine first. Many people in this yahoo forum have had success shrinking nodules and some even being able to stop thyroid hormone all together. Did not work for me however… still on the hormone. The inorganic iodine they are using did not in anyway cause a flare up of my hashimoto’s syndrome symptoms like some say it will.

  60. EJH says

    Having read most of the comments here, I cannot but help wonder if the problem isn’t so much the wheat protein, as the way that it is prepared.

    Years ago I read a book wrotten by a woman whose family had serious problems with most carbohydrates. She had found that her familt could eat wheaten bread just so long as it was made by the ‘long dough’ method. This gives the yeast time to digest the wheat starches and produce more vitamin B.

    All commercial bread that I am aware of now is made by the ‘short dough’ method. Sugar is added to the dough and the yeast ferments the sugar rather than the starches. The dough doesn’t get the ‘punch down’ after the first rising.

    I have also noticed with myself — all my life I have needed to take (deactivated) brewers yeast or I have health, energy and mood problems. In fact symptoms very closely resembling Hypothyroisism.

    Vitamin B Complex supplements do not help — it is something ELSE in the yeast that I need.

  61. Darla Ng says

    After suffering for years, I gave up dairy and gluten, but I had already developed Hashimoto’s. I think this is hereditary since everyone in my immediate family suffered or suffers from thyroid conditions. Everyone on my maternal side is obese, so I think there is a connection. BTW, doctors aren’t trained to think this way, so you will have to figure things out for yourself. I was tested for Celiac disease, but it came back negative. Eating gluten doesn’t kill me, just makes me feel closer to death.

  62. Lily S says

    I had my thyroid removed this year due to extensive Hashi and cancerous tumor! I can call myself a gluten addict and I think this is where my problem started! I have been on reduced gluten – trying to go gluten free all together. I fe much better and I have been loosing weight steadily! Since I don’t have thyroid anymore, what are the effects of gluten on my body now?

  63. tricia says

    Hi. I did have hashimoto’s but I have had thyroid cancer twice and had my thyroid was removed as well as some lymph nodes. Is a gluten free diet necessary once the thyroid has been removed? Is the Hashimoto’s gone in my case? My antibodies are less than 20 for the first time. Thanks.

  64. Cheri says

    In 2008 I was diagnosed with Graves disease. I was very sick by the time I was diagnosed and my levels were off the charts. It took almost 2 years to get my levels to a place where they could do radioiodine to kill my thyroid. I felt better, but gained a lot of weight in the next two years. During the last year I have felt terrible. I had diarrhea daily, no matter how much or how little I ate, and no matter what I ate. It got to where I hardly left my house because I couldn’t control it. Even anti-diarhea medications didn’t work. I felt like crying all the time, and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I had aches and pains all over my body and was tired all the time. A month ago I started doing some research online concerning my symptoms and being hypo-thyroid. Everything I read said I probably have a gluten sensitivity. I was already doing a low-carb diet, so eliminating gluten wasn’t that much harder. Within a week of no gluten the diarrhea was completly gone. I have so much energy I can barely sleep or sit still, and I have lost 13 lbs. I have an appointment with my endo dr. next week so I will talk with her about this, but I know gluten is an issue for me, and I feel so much better that I have no desire to eat anything containing it.

  65. Shaz says

    Thank you for a very interesting and informative section. I am in the UK. I have underactive thryoid due to radiotherapy to me neck back in 1981 surviving Hodgkins Disease. It was some 10 years ago that my symptons of an underactive thryoid started to show. Not wanting to go down the convenentional medicine route attempted to go it alone with diet and supplements etc. Eventually I gave in and I know take 125mg of levothyroxine daily. I have recently tried strict Paelo and started to shift some weight again but after 3 weeks I was noticeably tired again so I reintroduced white rice as per The Perfect health Diet recommendation for allowed starches. I really was wondering if anyone here could relate to this and maybe also offer some useful tips re diet and supplementation. Thanks in advance. Shaz

    • finndian says

      Sounds exactly like my situation… 2001 was the onset of my symptoms. Tried in vain to ‘cure’ the Hashimoto’s. I realize now that I was doing more damage than necessary to my thyroid by avoiding the hormone for over a year. The ONLY thing that took away the symptoms of hypothyroidism for me was switching to Armour Thyroid hormone. A doctor had me ignore the TSH and we only watched the free T3 and free T4 levels; both needed to be in the high normal range and boom… virtually all symptoms disappeared. I still had a few lingering mild symptoms but when I began to split the dose… half in the morning and half before bed I felt the closest to my old self. What a waste of a decade!

      • Liz says

        Hi finndian,

        Just wondering, why does free T4 also need to be in the high normal range? I find that when I feel best (not perfect, but best so far), my free T3 is in the high normal end and my free T4 is in the low normal end. If my T4 gets any higher, the T3 shoots up out of normal range and I get hyper symptoms (a sign I need to lower my dose again). I have always wondered how my T3 can be high when my T4 is low, but just figured I convert well to T3 and that is as close to “normal” as I can get. Any thoughts? Does a low T4 with a high T3 indicate anything?

  66. teresa shepherd says

    For me it was about a year, although I also gave up dairy, sugar too. Plus detoxed, took liver supplement to help that [milk thistle], healed my gut with kefir and kombucha and made own live yoghurt, fermented for 24 hours to get the lactose out. Beware soya milk, best to make your own almond or rice milk. I also took siberian ginseng alternated with rhodiola rosea, all recommendations from here and other websites/books like Stop the Thyroid Madness..

  67. Caroline says

    Both my daughter and I have Hashimotos. I have removed gluten from our diet for three weeks. How long does it take to detect a difference in the thyroid function via blood work? I would like to retest to see if it is making a difference…is three weeks enough or should it be much longer?

    • Liz says

      Based on my experience it took months and the changes are very gradual. It’s been a year and half now for me and I’ve halved my dose of meds, but it goes very slowly. I know when I need to lower my dose when I start to feel hyper symptoms for several days in a row. I would go based on how you feel rather than blood work, using blood work to comfirm things rather than as the main feedback. How you feel is the main way of knowing if it’s working. It’s a slow and sometimes frustrating process, so you’ll need loads of patience. The antibodies also can have up to a 6 month lag before you start to see a difference as well.

  68. Donna says

    Hi Dr Chris thanks for your article and followup comments.

    I have Graves’ disease (diagnosed 14 years ago), generally well managed on low dose Carbimazole. I understand that gluten intolerance is not necessarily the cause, and I do not really have reason to suspect that I have gluten intolerance. Giving up gluten completely (as you indicate is necessary to achieve results!) is quite an effort to make, and I wouldn’t want to do it unless I thought it was likely to help manage my GD. I would ideally like to get off the meds eventually.

    You said in one comment that even after withdrawing gluten from the diet the antibodies marking the thyroid tissue for attack will continue, since the gluten is no longer in the body but the thyroid tissue is still there! So what I am wondering is whether withdrawing gluten once the Graves’ Disease has already developed, is likely to achieve anything in terms of improving the GD?

    Many thanks again for your article, very interesting.

    • Finndian says

      I would just get a Diagnos-tech labs Expanded GI panel (stool/saliva) test to see if there are anti-bodies to gluten, soy and casein…if you want proof of an intolerance. It also checks for parasites (including toxoplasma from cats) and bacteria levels (good and bad). Digestive enzymes from the pancreas are assessed as well. Its a great test. Its $280 if your insurance doesn’t pay. Mine does.

  69. Elisa says

    After eliminating gluten, maybe you have increased your consumption of another food that you are intolerant to. For example, my niece eliminated gluten but increased the amount of corn products she was eating and felt much worse. I personally can’t eat gluten or corn. Corn products especially corn starch causes my fibromyalgia, arthritis, eczema, and allergies to come back. It’s hard to avoid corn it’s in so many things including over-the-counter medications.

  70. J says

    I have been GF for 3 months and all of my symptoms are dramatically worse than they were before eliminating gluten from my diet. I don’t know if I can keep this up for another 3 months.

    • finndian says

      Then I would say you have something else wrong with you. What made you think you had gluten intolerance?

          • Lynn says

            Boy, it’ hard to imagine anyone feeling worse just from eliminating gluten…..unless maybe if they’re loading up on every gluten-free goodie imaginable – cookies, donuts, cakes, etc.

            Just eliminating gluten and sticking with real food – meat, veggies, beans, nuts, fruit – can’t imagine that wouldn’t help just about anyone.. Packaged/processed stuff, not so much.

    • Wendy V says

      Try cutting out ALL Grains, yes even rice, I thought it would be a disaster but once you get into it, and you just try and replace with vegetables, you don’t crave them anymore. The trick is to replace with a veg, ie instead of rice, try butternut or sweet potatoe, or finely sliced cabbage, or shred baby marrows into spaghetti strips. Once you get it waxed, your life WILL change. Have gone carb free for 3 months now and am having to adjust my thyroid meds down every two weeks but best of all – MY HEAD IS CLEAR!!!! no more brain fog so my work rate has soared and my stress levels are dropping. My husband and says he loves me again…

  71. Henny says

    Anyone who suspects they have thyroid issues but could not get anything confirmed with tests…please check out this awesome information on how to use a thermometer and track your basal temperature. It helps you to see if you have thyroid issues, adrenal issues, or a combination of the 2….I found this VERY useful. Since adding adrenal support I have further decreased thyroid-related symptoms. My temps are not perfect and I still have a lot of work to do, but it is a start…

  72. Ami says

    This article says antibodies that attack gluten also attack the thyroid. However, then it says lab tests aren’t accurate because they test for antibodies to gluten in the bloodstream and antibodies will not be found in the bloodsteam unless the gut has become very permeable, so that gluten can pass through (this is an advanced stage of the disease). So then, if antibodies shouldn’t be found in the bloodstream till an advanced stage in the disease, how are they attacking the thyroid?!?!?!?

  73. Katie says

    After my second pregnancy my doctor keeps increasing my levoxyl levels three times already within 6 months. I just stop using levoxyl .112 due to the medicine being not available in the U.S. The doctor switched me to synthroid and I feel terrible. I am so exhausted, tired, fatigued. I also have difficulty concentrating. This has lead me to do research on hypothrodism and I have decided to start the gluten free diet. I am going again to get my levels checked today and I have a feeling they will be bad. I am so thankful to have found a doctor who has written upon this subject and all the individuals who posted here. Thank you everyone for writing your story. I am also going to get tested for celiac disease as all the sighs point to it. (rash, iron deficiency anemia, excessive bloating)

    • Henny says

      Katie, have you come across the “Stop the Thyroid Madness” website? It is a great resource. In your position, knowing that levoxyl worked for you and that synthroid doesn’t, I would seek a doctor who will prescribe either Armor or Naturethroid, which is not synthetic forms of thyroid. You may have to hunt around – perhaps try “integrative” or “environmental” doctors… Good luck!

      • Katie says

        Thank you. I just started my research on thyroid issues and did come upon that website. Taking a levoxyl is not the answer. With time I just keep increasing my medicine dosage. I went gluten free 2 days ago and I am having awful symptoms. I hope I will have it somewhat under control being gluten free. My doctor said she does not believe in a gluten free diet. Oh well. Yes, its time to go hunt down another endro doctor. Thanks for the advice!

        • Henny says

          Katie, a new doctor sounds like a great idea. We have seen soooooo many sub-standard doctors over the years (including an allergist who argued that food allergies have absolutely no relationship to eczema!)…they are such a waste of time, energy and money…it is definitely worth the time to keep looking.

  74. Kim U says

    Yes I have had some of the same issues.. Had my fillings removed and ha d a decline in my health.. I have candidia and leaky gut and food intolerances. I found foot detoxing to be a help and watch my diet.. Take probiotics, garlic, and other supplements and watch my diet closely and feel much better now. good luck!

  75. Henny says

    I’m curious to know if anyone else who has gluten/thyroid issues had any possible mercury exposure around or not long before their symptoms appeared. This is the case for me. I had amalgam fillings removed (2 in 2006, and 2 in 2008), and while my dentist attempted to do it safely, and used a rubber dam, I believe I was still exposed. Mercury is incredibly dangerous. This time marked the start of a general decline in my health. Unfortunately, I believe this exposure has also been passed (in utero and through nursing) to both my children. They have gluten intolerance, multiple food and environmental sensitivities, behavioral issues, and severe chronic eczema. I don’t believe this is a coincidence, and I don’t believe it is purely genetic, although I do think some families have a genetic predisposition to be more sensitive to poisons such as mercury (thus autism etc), and are not efficient at detoxifying themselves. I have done a lot of research and am now convinced that mercury exposure (usually through dental work, but vaccines and other forms of exposure can happen too) is the root cause of our issues. Does anyone else find or suspect a connection with mercury and their own health decline? I believe mercury can damage the intestine (and other organs, including the brain), particularly the natural microbial balance in the gut, and when coupled with antibiotics this is particularly harmful and will lead to leaky gut, followed by the sensitivities to gluten and more. Candida that persists no matter what you try is a good indication that mercury is an issue. Tests will generally fail to show it, because mercury tends to “hide” inside various organs in the body. It is hard to remove and there are some dangerous methods out there, and various forums filled with people trying to recover after inappropriate chelation techniques (IV, cilantro etc). We are currently preparing to chelate using the Andy Cutler protocol (Cutler is a biochemist who healed himself of mercury poisoning). I’d love to hear if anyone else has found this out or suspects a link….I have gone down many paths hoping to find the “root cause” of our issues, and found small pieces of the puzzle, but I really do believe this is it….mercury is a poison, pure and simple, and it damages us. I’m not saying gluten is great anyway (read “Wheat Belly”), but to a mercury-exposed person it is absolute poison.

  76. Chris says

    I have a very strong feeling my wife has become gluten intolerant but she has eaten these foods her entire life and loves them. Within the past year, she has began to experience an intense all over body itch without a rash. As she puts it – “it’s a deep itch under the skin that she will literally scratch herself to the point of bleeding. Do you know if gluten sensitivities manifest themselves this way without the GI issues? We have done lots of work and we know it’s not allergies to lotions or soaps. I’ve combed the internet and I haven’t been able to find much info on her condition.

    • Henny says

      Lotions can soothe and help repair the skin, but as your wife says, the itch is from deep inside. This is inflammation and an immune response. Some people have success with creams etc. because this can calm it down just enough to break the itch-scratch cycle, but if the inflammation is systemic the creams will not do much, and steroids will just lead to longer-term issues. Detoxifying the body (esp. kidney, colon and liver) as well as removing gluten and dairy are a really good start. Building up the immune system and strengthening the intestine are important. (And per my post below, did she have dental work done before this suddenly started to occur? Or break any CFL light bulbs or anything? Mercury exposure is linked with eczema, food sensitivities and more…)
      We are trying NAET for my son, and also homeopathic solutions, just to bring some relief. I hope your wife is lucky and finds an easier fix. Borage oil (applied to skin and internally may help – you can google it)

    • Nanci says

      That sounds horrible, I’m so sorry. Isn’t itchy under the skin sometimes a symptom of menopause or hormone imbalances? I think that’s where I’d go first.

    • Keri Mondragon says

      Chris, Lots of doctors are recommending an increase in vitamin D these days, and while that’s all well and good, I have found that if someone gets too much D it can cause this very sort of under-the-skin, nervie-type itching. I have experienced it myself. I backed off the vitamin D, which did alleviate it. I don’t know if your wife has been dosing vitamin D or not, but if so, she might try lowering her dose a bit and monitor the results. Whatever it is, removing gluten from the diet is never a bad idea! Good luck to you both. :o)

  77. Janet says

    I had my thyroid removed completely in 2003 after finding a goitre. It was considered to be such a mess with nodules and growing fast it needed to be removed quickly. This diagnosis came after I had had frequent thyroid tests at my request all of which showed I had no thyroid disease. My mother also had a goitre. Since then I have been taking Levothyroxine (I’m in the UK). Throughout the whole period my weight has increased and has been very difficult to remove despite a basic healthy diet.
    Two weeks ago I decided to try Weight Watchers again in desperation. When the leader heard I took Thyroxine she said cut out bread/biscuits/cakes etc and cheese. Over the 30 years she had been running the class she had found that this was the answer for these people. Without changing anything else in my diet I lost over 5lb in the first week. As I said I did not change anything else – in fact I haven’t had time to read the pamphlets she gave me thoroughly. I feel great! My whole body feels better and sort of ‘relieved’! I can feel that I’ve lost more weight since then.
    When I googled Thyroid and Gluten this article came up. I read the first paragraphs and just cried and cried. It was with relief, excitement and anger.
    I shall continue cutting out gluten no matter what the medics say. Thanks so much.

  78. Nanci says

    When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I found Dr. Kharrazian’s site and went completely gluten-free for about six weeks. Until I went to three doctors, GP, integrative medicine, and a thyroid/Grave’s specialist, and all of them told me there was no connection between gluten and thyroid. So I’m looking for any citations I can find.

    Where does the statistic about 1 in 3 Americans being gluten intolerant come from? The link you give to Dr. Fine brings you to a speech transcript that doesn’t contain that statistic.

    And the five references you give about the gluten-thyroid connection do not all make that connection. The strongest statement in them is that both celiac and hashimoto’s are auto-immune disease so both stem from the same causes and thus many people will have both if they have one (along with other auto-immune diseases).

    Anything you could point me to will be great, thank you.

    • Henny says

      I found the following which might help you, Nanci:
      Researchers have shown a strong link between the autoimmune diseases celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD), as reported by Chin Lye Ch’ng, et al., in a 2007 article in “Clinical Medicine and Research.”
      There are some references at the bottom too, and it mentions a report by A.J. Naiyer, et al., in the journal “Thyroid.” Would be fascinating to get access to all these!

      This site:
      links to a study (3rd word of the article), but it is over the top of my head – maybe you can get something from it.

      And this book has been around for a few years, but may have something:

      • Nanci says

        Thank you, I’ll check that out.
        It seems pretty clear that people with celiac are more likely to have Hashimoto’s (and maybe visa versa? though I don’t recall citations for that). This makes sense because they’re both autoimmune diseases, and at least a couple of studies I’ve seen have said they’re basically siblings — i.e. stemming from the same basic immune system issue, rather than parent/child, i.e. one stemming from the other.

        What I *haven’t* been able to find is anything on the idea that gluten activates the anti-thyroid immune system response. If that’s true, eating gluten would make Hashimoto’s worse and not eating it would help control it. But I can’t find any research on it.

        Thanks everyone.

  79. Kris says

    I have Hashimoto’s and had my daughter tested with Enterolabs stool test as she has GI symptoms. Strangely her Fecal Anti-gliadin IgA was 8 Units (Normal Range is less than 10 Units) but she has HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0201
    HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0303
    Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 2,3 (Subtype 2,9) and I think this means she has gluten sensitivity.
    Strange that she looks uneffected by this?

    I worry about her developing Hashis as I struggle with it now and no matter how suppressed my TSH is, my FT4 is always so low it is out of range, yet FT3 is low, but in range. I do take selenium so maybe I convert too much.

    • Finndian says

      Well its good you have a doctor that knows to check Free T3 and T4. Sounds like you are just not taking enough hormone. When I was overly reliant on checking my TSH to determine my dosage I was at 3 grains of Armour thyroid and felt terrible even though TSH was very low. When I realized that the Free’s where more closely associated with how I felt I titrated up to 5 grains and got to just above mid range FT4 and high normal range FT3 and suddenly felt the best I had in ten years. Oh, last thing was splitting the dosage…. half at noon and the rest before bedtime. T3 can make you very tired if you already are… for some reason I thought it would speed me up. I does not.

      If I could go back and do it all over again with what I know now… I’d have made sure to have kept myself methylated to try to prevent the Hashimoto’s gene from expressing itself during all my troubles. I believe my undiagnosed food allergies led to stomach inflammation and resulting nutritional deficiencies. The ability of the stomach to make its own B12 got interrupted and slowly I lost my own natural defenses (methylation) against these nasty gene variations that are waiting in the wings to express themselves. With proper nutrition, treatment and diet for food allergies they never will. I will forever take methylcobalamin B12 now that I know I also have a genetic difficulty absorbing B12 as well.

  80. Karl Baba says

    While I don’t doubt that avoiding Gluten is a powerfully positive step for Thyroid autoimmune patients, I want to be scrupulous in our fact-checking of the mechanism from which we benefit from avoiding Gluten.

    You cite a study in your second paragraph “The presence of the antigliadin antibodies in autoimmune thyroid diseases” and it’s results state : “Twenty two patients (5.5 per cent) with autoimmune thyroiditis had positive antigliadin antibodies. Polyglandular endocrine syndrome was diagnosed in most of these patients.”

    Less than 6% is hardly a strong correlation.

    and further the conclusion of the study states “We claim that polyglandular endocrine syndrome is the commonest cause of positivity of antigliadin antibodies in the patients with autoimmune thyroid disease.”

    Which has little to do with the statement you made in citing the study, so why cite it?

    It’s commonly claimed nowadays that bio-mimicry is the reason that immune cells attack the thyroid when people eat gluten but I’m having trouble finding a scientific basis for that either.

    • Honora says

      Hi Karl

      Yes, I’ve been looking at lots of published articles on auto-immune diseases and molecular mimicry and the only glint so far is this article which I can’t find on google except as something that is referred to repeatedly. It contains a mention of thyroid disease and molecular mimicry but how closely they’re associated can’t be inferred.

      Kamaeva OI, Reznikov IuP, Pimenova NS, Dobritsyna LV. Antigliadin antibodies in the absence of celiac disease. Klin Med (Mosk) 1998;76(2):33-35

      I’ll keep searching though. There was an article on Direct-ms but all the articles they had on molecular mimicry failed to mention autoimmune thyroid disease yet last time I stumbled on this site, that’s where I read that autoimmune thyroid disease was included in this phenomenon and the causative bacteria/viruses were named.

  81. Ash says

    How can someone go gluten-free? I’m having such a hard time with it. It’s horrible! I feel so left out on things and sometimes I just don’t eat because I hate the gluten free foods I am finding. Is there a good website for good recipes?

    • Finndian says

      I’m finding just the opposite. The gluten free food is too good (and expensive) and the calories are usually higher than regular. Everyone in my house prefers my products! Udi’s bread, rolls… muffins and cakes are amazing. One trip to the gluten free isles at Whole foods and maybe some questions to others also buying the GF products for advice on the best tasting products will lead you to a more satisfying meals.

    • Kathryn says

      Ash, I was very frustrated in the beginning as well and tried to substitute some gluten free processed products for my usual gluten containing products. When I learned that most of those products are also not what one should be eating as they raise your blood sugar so much and also contributes to inflammation, it became easier to abandon the idea all together. I still eat a little rice to satisfy me, but I mostly eat lots of veggies, lots of good fats like coconut, olive, avocados, lard – all from the very best sources, and very good quality meats from pasture raised animals. I also include wild fish several times a week. People keep asking me how I can be satisfied, but I have no problems with it. Eating lots of fat has stabilized my blood sugar, and I can go hours without eating, unlike when I had to eat every two to three hours on a carb high diet. On top of it I lost five pounds last summer without doing anything else differently when I was not even trying to lose weight (I am 5ft 3in and 107 lbs now) , I used to hover around 120lbs before I really started to cut back the sugars and grains 5 or 6 years ago. I still eat fruit, but try to be mindful not to eat too much because I love them so much and try to stay away from extremely ripe fruit. I still eat dark chocolate too, but read the ingredient label carefully. Good luck! It is a lifestyle change, and I feel so much better these days. I don’t really feel like I am missing out so much any more. Even at parties and eating out, it’s so nice that I can pass up even having one bite of that something decadent without feeling sorry for myself. There are so many people out in the world who have absolutely NO choice in what or if they can eat a meal – but I have a choice in feeding myself what is the best available on a particular day or situation. And if I miss a meal, I am not going to faint from low blood sugar. Mind you, I do not feel superior to anyone else, but for I do feel glad that my mind has been strong enough to keep me on the path to better health – and I really think it is the higher fat intake that has helped the most.

      A good start for you would be to check out this website and get Nora’s book. Your thinking will be turned inside out and upside down. But it’s always good to challenge your brain!

      Let us know how you fare in the months to come.

    • Shaunda says is an excellent resource – Join and search “gluten free” and you will get a ton of ideas. There are so many ways to replace gluten in the diet that you just don’t consider when it’s been a major staple your whole life, but if you’re open to trying new things and doing some learning in the kitchen, there’s a lot left to enjoy when grains are removed.

    • Terry says

      I hate gluten free foods, it is not good. I’ve even went to local gluten free bakery and did not like anything but the reviews are great. I hate Udi’s. I can eat the gluten free pizza at a few restaurants so far and that is it. I do eat some vegetables and fruit and rice. Bread is the hardest…I love sandwiches and French bread for soup and stews. I can’t seem to eliminate it totally. I am trying though. It is depressing.

  82. Renate says

    Our son is two years old and both my husband and I have autoimmune diseases in our families. I, the mom, have Hashimoto’s. To prevent the onset of autoimmune disease we have our son eat gluten free. The problem is, we live in Italy and all school menu’s are the same (gluten gluten and gluten), you only get an exception if the pediatric fills in a form. Ours is only willing to do that only if our son is celiac, which he may not be, but we don’t know, cause we don’t want to give him gluten for the sake of the blood test. Do you know anyone in Italy who understands why our son shouldn’t eat gluten and can help us? I would be so grateful.

  83. Kelly says

    I only found out I had Hashimoto’s when I was diagnosed with follicular Thyroid cancer at 24 years old.
    The tissue of my thyroid was patchy and inflamed which correlated with Hashi’s, I only had my antibodies slightly elevated in blood tests before full removal. My thyroid hormone levels had not been effected yet.

    I had blood tests and a gastroscopy to look for Coeliac disease, all negative. Doctors constantly telling me I have no problem with wheat. My Vitamin D is non existent and is now only 16 nmol/L. I’m only 27 years old and feel old.

    I am now trying to eliminate wheat from my diet to see if it has any added benefits to my health. Chris I wonder from your experience if from what I’ve said means I have a problem with gluten? I understand you are extremely busy, but I’m so lost and confused about my health. I have no thyroid and I take levothyroxine 150mg every day.

    • Chris Kresser says

      A negative gastroscopy for celiac does not rule out non-celiac gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy, so your doctors are misinformed. There’s no way to determine whether you are gluten intolerant from what you’ve written, nor is there a conclusive diagnostic test. The gold standard is still the elimination/provocation protocol, where you remove it from your diet for about 3 months, then add it back in and see what happens. If you feel better off gluten, and then have a bad reaction when you add it back to your diet, that means you’re gluten intolerant.

      • Finndian says

        You’re saying that a stool test for antibodies against gluten is worthless? Diagnos-tech’s expanded GI panel for instance.

  84. says

    Years ago, some iridologists told me I was allergic to wheat and gluten. They also told me that the pre-cursor to wheat, called SPELT, was introduced into the servant and slave diet back in ancient Egypt when the controllers began to notice that it had a soporific effect on the work force.

    They discovered that a diet high in breads, biscuits and cakes effectively made man dopey, disinterested and lazy.

    And now it is the staple food of the world!

  85. Liz says

    I think that’s a very important question and I really hope that Chris will respond to this question. I too have elliminated gluten, but I have had at least two accidental ingestions of gluten that I know of in th past year and am wondering what effect that has on my attempts to cure hashis. I listened to a very interesting discussion on this subject by Dr. Tom ( and according to him one must elliminate ALL gluten in order to stop the autoimmune attack.

    It is said that it can take up to 6 months for the body to elliminate antibodies, but if that is the case, then that would mean that just one accidental ingestion every 6 months would be enough to get the immune system to continue producing antibodies and therefor make it impossible to cure hashis or other autoimmune diseases. I have been slowly decreasing my thyroid medication since going gluten-free almost a year ago and am pretty sure it’s working, despite those two accidental ingestions. So I don’t think it’s an all or nothing thing, but I do think it’s very important to be as close to zero gluten intake as possible.

    • bella says

      There is no cure for Hashimoto’s. Tests, elimination diets, balance in all things in life.. Sure…but no cure. Genetic autoimmune disease, especially one that is one of the highest misdiagnosed and mistreated out of all the autoimmune diseases, has no cure thus far. And unfortunately the longer you have it without being diagnosed, the less likely you will ever feel even remotely human again no matter how many things you try…thyroid meds, stress, relief, diet elimination, supplements, toxic cleansing, proper full spectrum blood testing…20 plus years and I have lost the fight with Hashimoto’s. Take note, autoimmune disease, especially thyroid is predominant and runs rampant through one side of my family. Men and women in high numbers with varied destructive symptoms. It’s a lifetime war. Some just fair better than others in this world.

  86. Meg says

    Hi Chris!

    Very good article!! I’m a longterm thyroid nodule patient with suspect Hashi’s (although i’m clinically euthyroid) who has gone gluten-free. I have a question about incidental gluten ingestion through cross-contamination. I am scrupulous at home in my cooking, but I do occasionally eat out. I try to investigate all ingredients used in what I may order, but I’m definitely aware that I can still get some gluten through cross-contamination in restaurant kitchens. I know that celiac patients find it necessary to avoid even this exceedingly low level of gluten in their eating. Do you feel it would be necessary for someone with an autoimmune thyroid condition as well?

  87. Kitchen Coach Mary Collette Rogers says

    Wow, thanks so much for these answers. It is interesting that we sometimes look for a direct causal link when really, it is an entire system out of whack, from how we’ve hybridized foods, grow foods and process foods to the way we eat food, what we do to the environment, the stress we live under. Clear that change needs to happen at several levels to begin regaining balance and rightness.

  88. says

    Do you know why there is such a high incidence of gluten intolerance now? This was not an issue at all when I was a kid–and until maybe 10 or 20 years ago (when I was diagnosed.) Does it have to do with hybridized wheat? The general unsupportiveness of our diets or the toxicity of our environment that weaken our immune systems?

    Sorry if you have already answered this. I couldn’t find the answer in the string of comments.

    • Chris Kresser says

      My guess is several factors that collectively comprise the modern lifestyle: food and environmental toxins, micronutrient deficiency, chronic stress, physical inactivity, poor gut health (lack of fermented foods, antibiotic use, etc.), social isolation and alienation and disconnection from nature. All of these have the potential to dysregulate the gut and immune system and increase sensitivity to antigens like gluten.

    • Henny says

      “Wheat Belly” is a great read if you want more understanding of the changes done to wheat and how it affects our bodies. The scary part for me was how it affects our brains, but also our blood-sugar levels, thus our propensity to diabetes, leaching the calcium from our bones, and the devastation in the intestinal tract, which then leads to malabsorption. Modern wheat is also highly addictive. Chemicals from wheat are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier in the way many drugs do. I was shocked at the things I learned in “Wheat Belly”, and I have changed the diet of my entire family as a result.
      My kids have eczema and ADHD – both of which can be caused by gluten intolerance, impacting the ability to get sufficient levels of B12 and other requirements, and causing inflammation….so much to learn.

    • Honora says

      I got the opportunity to ask a wheat scientist if it was true that selective breeding had produced a wheat strain with a hundred-fold increase in gluten over the last 50 years or so. He replied indeed this was exactly the case.

  89. Laura says


    Please, Please go to and other reputable websites to begin to find out how to help your daughter. I have lived with Graves’ Disease and now hypothyroid. I am hoping that you were referring to the celiac disease when you stated that you are glad that it is only her diet that needs revamping. I cannot even begin to imagine how it would feel for a 7 yr. old to live with Graves’ Disease. The fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of muscle mass, etc. She needs her mommy to become a warrior for her health as well as her mental health. Study up on the symptoms of both diseases and be able to show compassion in the moments when you think she is “just being overly-dramatic”. I do not mean to offend you, only to beg you to educate yourself. The doctor’s will try to get you to kill or remove all or part of the thyroid. DO NOT LET THEM DO IT! Graves’ Disease is a malfunction of the pituitary gland, not the thyroid! has lists of tests to do and also, she probaly needs a cortisol saliva test to check her levels throughout different times of the day and a test for her adrenal function. Finding out all of these factors now may save her years of agony and misery by getting her treatment started off on the right foot. Good Luck to her and your family!

  90. Dawn Takacs says

    Could you share your thoughts on other items that most hypothyroid doctors/nutritionalist tell you to avoid. I can deal with “gluten free” however most say no nuts, no seeds, no leafy greens like kale or spinach…no brocolli or cauliflower…no soy or soy by products. I love sushi & stir frys,& salads! I work out regularly yet struggle with my weight because of the thyroid issues and so many different website say NO to items that are staples of a healthy diet. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this Dr. Kresser.

    • Fallpinn says

      I’ve never had a thyroid specialist tell me to not eat nuts, seeds or leafy greens. Brocolli and cauliflower uncooked I can see because of the goitrogens.

      My antibody testing showed antibodies to gluten, soy and casein. After 6 months of avoiding them and restoring certain nutrients with supplements the antibodies to casein and soy disappeared. Unfortunately the gluten antibodies remain.

  91. Sarah says

    I would be interested to know how exactly gluten causes attacks on the thyroid. For someone with hypothyroidism (possibly Hashimoto’s), could it cause attacks that lead to hyperthyroid symptoms as well as hypothyroid symptoms? I’ve read that Hashimoto’s can cause both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid symptoms. I decided to try to cut gluten as an experiment to see if it would clear my acne, not expecting the dramatic results I noticed within days, like chronic GI symptoms disappearing. At the time, I was unsure if it was wheat or gluten, so I would kind of “challenge” myself by eating non-wheat products that may be contaminated with gluten. One night, I decided to bite the bullet and eat half a breadstick at my mom’s, and three nights later, I ate a biscuit I got at a fast food restaurant. That same night, I woke up after 2.5 hours of sleep with what felt like hyperthyroid symptoms. I didn’t sleep at all the rest of the night. The next evening, I got cold chills and started to feel really out of it. Maybe it’s what some would describe as brain fog. Could these attacks have been brought on by the gluten I’d consumed previously? I’ve been trying to go as close to 100% gluten free as possible for the last month or so, and my last exposure to gluten, NOT purposely, caused me to feel really tired the next day. I also had painful bloating before that set in. Five days later, out of nowhere, I feel really unstable and off-balance. That night, I felt like I could sink right into my couch and felt like I could only crawl along the floor to get anywhere. Could this have been another attack on my thyroid as well? This is scary stuff and enough to keep me from ever wanting to try reintroducing gluten into my diet, if gluten is truly what has done all of this.

  92. Don says

    I am not sure about this sentence, “The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland.” The thyroid gland, as such, does not have a molecular structure. It is a gland built from many different things. Is it meant that some part of the tissue of the thyroid gland or the secretions of this gland have a molecular structure similar to gliadin? Nonetheless, a very interesting article.

    • Honora says

      Me too. Read this all the time but yet to find the scientific papers that gave rise to this statement. I got the chance to check in with a wheat scientist about the claim that gliadin content in wheat has been bred to increase and he said that was true. It has increased a hundred-fold to make the product handle better in the industrial process.

  93. Alysse says

    Hi Chris and all,

    I’m hoping somebody knows the answer to this question.

    I had my thyroid removed 7 years ago because of Hashis. My Endos never told me to avoid gluten or wheat…frustrating. My understanding is that the thyroid converts T4 to T3. I’ve been on Synthroid since my thyroid was removed, so I haven’t had T3 for 7 years. Neither my primary care doc or my Endo would prescribe Armour so I ordered off of a website in the UK and can’t wait to receive my order.

    Question 1: How much damage has been done by not having T3 for so many years?

    Question 2: My thyroid is gone, but what happens to the Hashis? Do I still have it? Is it attacking other organs?

    Thanks so much for the help. I don’t understand why medical professionals can’t help me with this.

  94. Vanessa says


    First of all I want to thank you for putting up these tremendously helpful articles online for people to read and hopefully find their way to healing or at least, leading a better life.

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in March when, after a year of being 20 pounds overweight, lacking energy and being unable to function at full capacity as I did before, I decided to take a TSH and anti-TPO test. The TSH was normal (2.2), but the anti-TPO was 54… Because the endocrinologist was a bit dismissive of my condition (“we’ll just wait until your thyroid starts to fail, then we’ll put you on hormones), I went online and researched a lot on this topic. I found your website and a few other helpful ones, so I took steps to improve my diet and lifestyle. I’ve been gluten-free since early May and since then, the extra pounds have literally melted away (though I haven’t been exercising too frequently and I’m not limiting my intake of calories).

    I feel more energetic, like I’ve mostly recovered my old spark. I’m more alert, more involved, I don’t feel the need to sleep as much (it used to be 12 hours a night during the previous year) and my mind is clearer. Yet I’ve done blood tests today and my anti-TPO was up to 184….. (I don’t know the TSH, but the others were very good: T3, T4, Free T3, Free T4, antithyroglobulin).

    So basically, I feel a lot better and I’ve eliminated gluten from my diet, yet the immune attack appears to have gotten stronger, despite my efforts.

    I know it’s hard to offer advice based on this limited information, but would you please help me make sense of this situation? Am I doing better or worse than before? If it weren’t for the spiked blood test, I’d consider myself ”cured” (though I know this is a condition that doesn’t go away).

    Thank you for your time!

  95. Sarah says

    I was diagnosed with papillary carcenoma and have been on mess for about 4 months. Will going gluten free help with my hypothyroid. I’m not sure I had an autoimmune disease I was never tested or it but did have some symptoms. I’m still extremely tired and my levels are ok except for my tsh that is .007 ur I was told they want it low after cancer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  96. healthgladiator says

    Very insightful articles Mr. Kresser.
    Question-Comment: While the logic behind attempting to be 100% gluten free seems sound, it also seems impossible. “Gluten free” means less than 20ppm, and many “gluten free” foods have been found to contain much more. Also there is hidden gluten. Since 100% is practically impossible it also may be unecessary for most?

  97. teresa says

    Come on, people, if you have nothing constructive to say then please keep your counsel. It’s an abuse of the facility and of others who wish to learn to make it personal.

  98. jane says

    keri – hi again. i’ve been thinking – i don’t think i said that right when i wrote to you above. what i meant to say is: could your doctor be using too high of a tsh to indicate hyper? now that i’ve muddied up that one, too, probably, i’d just ask if you may simply need a larger dose. good luck figuring this out! you’ll get there.

    • Paul says

      Jane, I’d appreciate if you don’t reply to any of my posts. I find some under-treated thyroid sufferers like to argue for the sake of arguing and are prone to fits of anger… been there babe!

      The internet is full of fitness forums where people abuse T3 and the common complaint is T3 making them tired whether you like it or not.

      • Stacy in SD says


        Your tone is very condescending and disrespectful. Most of us here are not athletes and struggle just to get through the day, so it is difficult to identify with your experience. We’re glad you’ve seen results and found your solution, but your unsupported pseudo-science really isn’t helpful to the rest of us.

        • Paul says

          No one it trying to pass off thousands of fitness forums as science for gods sakes… but if you’d take a moment and type “T3 tired” into google you will see 2 million results many of them fitness forums posters talking about how T3 makes them tired. You don’t find that at all interesting?? It was my experience as well. Why do I have to keep my experience to myself?

          Apparently you haven’t been following Jane’s posts trying to undermine my posts (or maybe you have)…. AND her promise to NOT CONTINUE TO ARGUE in one of them. She’s back and cranky. She shows me and my experience disrespect and I’ll show it back.

          Its been a while since I’ve posted on a forum. I forget the ‘regulars’ get territorial and excited when a new person comes in. There’s a natural urge to troll… been there too! 😉

    • Stacy in SD says

      Jane –

      I appreciate you calling Paul on his disreputable sources. 😉 Clearly a message board is not a source for reputable data.

      • jane says

        stacy – many thanks for the kind words. you’re definitely right that message boards aren’t terribly reliable – interesting and supportive, yes – reliable, no. and it’s disheartening when some people make things even more difficult for those of us who are searching for information and help. thanks for the information that i got from your posts, and i wish you the best in trying to get to the point where you feel best. i hope we haven’t scared away anyone – the thyroid road isn’t a bad one, but it’s one that needs some pretty good navigation, and camaraderie is always welcome :).

        paul – i am not your “babe,” and i have my own diagnostician, thank you.

  99. Stacy in SD says

    I met with the “Gregory House” of Endocrinologists this week.

    I did a two hour intake with one of his doctoral fellows who sort of reminded me of Dr. Cameron. She listened, empathized, then one-upped me. (She got into endocrinology/autoimmunology because of her own frustrations as a Type I diabetic. Her immune system started attacking her pancreas at the age of 19. She’s had to test her blood sugar and give herself insulin injections ever since. Fortunately, if you can look at it that way, our disease only forces us to take a little pill.)

    I had dozens of questions for the team, but two questions and answers that stuck out are about:

    1. Goitrogenic foods – basically there is very little clinical evidence to support these foods as being detrimental to Hashi’s patients. If you aren’t producing much natural T4/T3 anyway (as most Hashi patients don’t) there is nothing for the goitrogens to bind to/try to stimulate. He said they don’t do anything to the synthetic T4/T3 in Levoxyl/Cytomel, and you would have to consume them in MASSIVE quantities to have any negative effects anyway. He felt that this was much ado about nothing. If you feel better NOT eating them, then by all means, don’t. But there hasn’t been any strong science to support direct causation.

    2. The T4 vs. T3 controversy. My ND put me on T4 and T3, because I’m a poor converter. However, most MDs don’t bother with the T3 because the majority of their patients don’t report any positive improvement in symptoms. The reason for this has to do with how the body naturally converts T4 to T3. This process happens within the body’s cells – not within the thyroid. Synthetic T3 isn’t routed by the circulation system to these sites – it remains extracellular. So the cells can’t really use it/metabolize it. I know I feel better on a higher dose of T4, and I have not seen any improvement with the addition of T3.

    Again, the hashi’s experience is highly personal and subjective. My mom is on Armour and has felt better on that than any other type of thyroid replacement.

    I’ll stick with my Levoxyl. I may ditch the Ctyomel, and hope that they bump me from 150 mcg to 175 mcg.

    • jane says

      hi, stacy –

      thanks for writing about your experience with t3. your dr house’s explanation makes some good sense. maybe the only problem people have when they’re still having thyroid symptoms is that their dosage of t4 (whether levoxyl or synthroid or armour) simply isn’t high enough.

      as for the goitrogens, i’ve done a lot of searching for information on them (and you’re right – there really isn’t much that’s scientific out there), because i can’t tolerate most foods and was looking for an explanation as to why. some people do seem to have a problem with some of the foods considered to be goitrogenic, but if that’s the problem with me, then nearly every possible food would be goitrogenic! i’m leaning more and more to the problem (once again) being not on a high enough dosage (and reeeeally looking forward to that first slice of pizza again some day soon).

      it’s not every day that one of us can see “dr house” – lucky you! that must’ve been an amazing meeting – there are so many questions that only someone like that can answer, because so many of us and our doctors are so sorely misinformed. i hope you get your dosage raised and that it’s the answer for you.

    • Paul says

      Careful, thats a big jump in T4. It will take a couple weeks to recover if its too much. The 12.5 mcg dosage increases are always a much safer option I think. Spiking T3 on the other hand will wear off in a few hours. On the few occasions that I had too much T3 I was incredibly tired. Quite the opposite of what I expected and had heard.

      All the non-hypothyroid competitive weight lifters that abuse T3 to quickly cut body fat talk all the time about how tired T3 makes them. Another myth about T3 and anxiety bites the dust.

    • Sarah says

      Stacey, thanks for sharing your experience here. This a really interesting and useful thread; thanks to Chris for the information he provides, and the forum for (mostly!) useful discourse – there are many well-informed posters here, and it always helps to know we aren’t alone in trying to find our way through these issues.

      Out of interest, may I ask the location of the “Gregory House” of Endocrinologists (I’m hoping SD is San Diego and not South Dakota :) )

  100. Keri Mondragon says

    Hello! Regarding a quote from a recent post:

    “… Starting Armour thyroid may make you feel better than you can remember ever feeling if in fact you’ve been sub-clinically hypothyroid for years. We tend to forget what feeling great feels like.

    If you’ve ever suffered thin hair, fuzzy vision, lax skin, digestion problems with resulting nutritional deficiencies, depression, constipation, dry skin, fatigue, temperature intolerance, dehydration, jaundice, acne, etc… its all about to get much, much better.”

    I’ve been on Armour for YEARS, and I still live with most of those symptoms. I’m at a dose that puts my thyroid tests into hyper levels but am clinically low symptomatically. My Dr. is testing for Reverse T3 now. I’ve been gluten free for almost 2 years, and dairy free for several months. (Armour dose currently at equivalent of 180mg)

    Any thoughts?

    • jane says

      keri – my only thought is if your doctor is using too wide a reference range for what’s “normal” and too high a treatment target zone for you individually, thereby meaning that you’d need more thyroid?

    • Paul says

      I believe that I was hypo for a number of years before I was diagnosed with hashi’s and even then I went a year trying to reverse the problem with supplements, herbs, acupuncture, iodine, aryvedic and chinese medicine, etc. The biggest problem with that was that untreated or undertreated hypothyroidism effects everything including digestive enzymes.

      I was seeing undigested food, like salad leaves often in my stool. Occasionally I’d see an oil slick on the water. I remember smelling my fish oil supplements even in my urine occasionally. I didn’t understand the implications of what I was doing. By delaying taking the hormone it was like I was bailing a sinking boat with a cup and I couldn’t keep up. I eventually ended up on a couple medications to treat the symptoms of hypothroidism, one to protect my heart… before I took the hormone. So stupid.

      During this time I was having huge nutritional deficiencies show up in blood tests despite supplementing them all. Those deficiencies come with their own set of symptoms to compound the problem. From vitamin K deficiencies that showed up with an abnormal PTT blood test (also made me develop a temporary knot at an injection site when I received any shots). The B12 and folate problems the not only can make you depressed among other things but also random nerve problems arose including eventually a paralyzed vocal cord! Magnesium deficiency led me to have anxiety and panic attacks because that is natures xanax. If you don’t have magnesium to buffer adrenaline then its a runaway train that feels like a psychological problem that is actually a physical manifestation of a simple magnesium deficiency. Hypo notoriously lose a lot of magnesium.

      These huge nutritional problems persisted and a stool test showed Soy, Casein, Gluten anti-bodies. I cut all three out of my diet (by then I was on Levoxyl for a couple years) I felt better but still low level hypo symptoms that became more pronounced with stress or physical exertion. My old endurance exercise routine would run me in the ground in a day or two. Plus since hypothyroidism causes small muscle groups to become weak I would occasionally turn my ankle and need chiropractic care for my neck.

      I realized that levoxyl wasn’t doing the job I still have these underlying hypo symptoms and exercise fatigue and excessive soreness after weightlifting… but I thought that I would have to live that way. My muscle enzymes would be off the charts and the doctors would always raise an eyebrow and quiz me about exactly how hard I was working out.. the numbers were very high. Its just with hypothyroidism my muscles just would breakdown and overwhelm my system taking me days to recover.

      I tried Armour because of the things I had heard about it. I had made a couple other attempts to switch over the years but its a hard thing to start I’ll say that. That T3 is quite a shock to the system. So I went to a local Holtorf clinic and paid the thousands to see the doctors and buy their supplements… to see if they could supervise the switch. The doctors at this local clinic don’t like Armour it turns out but they seemed so confident, so I let them keep me on compounded T4 and time release T3. Reassuring me that compounded was the way to go. They slowly upping the dosage of time release T3 by 12.5mcg every 10 days. I felt remarkably better. It didn’t quite fix the exercise fatigue but at least I didn’t look so sickly anymore. My body temperature improved and food looked digested unless I worked out too much… then it was sleep disturbances, BM issues and creeping hypothyroidism still!

      Then boom, vocal cord problem… totally paralyzed. With my hypo history and research I determined it was probably B12 issue as some studies show that B12 injection helps people with Bell’s Palsy which is just one nerve up the neck. I dealt with my head and neck guy at USC who refused to give me B12 so I left his office right then for another doctor who gave me methylcobalamin B12 and syringes. I recovered in a couple months. There had been a 50/50 chance of me not ever recovering my voice and that SOB wouldn’t give me B12!

      I jumped over to Armour with another doctor supervising and it was a breeze because my T3 levels were already up! We calculated the amount of synthetic T4 I was on and my levels of time release synthetic T3 which by then was considerable and switched at almost the exact same levels over to Armour. I felt the blast of non-time release T3 from the Armour but I could handle it unlike other attempts and within days it wasn’t noticeable at all. I think its the additional hormones that Armour contains T1, T2 and calcitronin that makes the difference because I felt the difference immediately.

      If you don’t feel great on Armour, I would check reverse T3 of course. I would see that your free T3 is high range of normal and Free T4 is mid range of higher. If not, edge it up by a quarter grain and retest until you hit the sweet spot.

      In the mean time I would then check for nutritional deficiencies using Red blood cell analysis. Hashi’s need to pay close attention to nutrition. A RBC analysis gives you an average intracellular level of nutrients for the life of the red blood cell.. about 90 days. My insurance pays for it. Its a clinical type of test; its the very same test that checks average cellular glucose levels to detect diabetes called A1c except it checks nutrient levels.

      Find the deficiencies and cure them with megadosing for a month or so then maintain. I test every 6 months. I’m impatient… I even get IV’s to cure my deficiencies. I’ll start craving carbohydrates and scanning the shelves for them in my pantry; I’ll also get sugar crashes and sure enough I’m deficient in chromium. A little chromium GTF fixes me right up. Zinc and magnesium are other things I have to watch. Many labs have their versions of RBC analysis. This is just one:

      Paying attention to deficiencies and addressing them has cleared up so many issues with me. My histamine levels are dramatically more in control, no more dust allergy. My life long frequent canker sores are gone. No easy bruising anymore. My Soy and casein antibodies have even disappeared as well… although the gluten antibodies remain. I believe it was my hypothyroidism impaired digestive enzymes that prevented me from breaking down the more complex proteins as witnessed in the toilet bowl. That probably led to a more leaky gut situation. Cutting the offending proteins for a year and taking Mediclear plus regularly reversed the damage.

      My free T3 needs to be solidly in the upper range of normal for me to feel good. The splitting of the dosage was a big step and it seems to keep the T3 up despite me working out. The hit of T3 before bedtime helps me sleep despite it being counter intuitive. Lots of T3 will make you darn tired when you are exhausted just as you should be at bedtime. It does not pep you up unless you are well rested as you should be in the morning.

      My blood pressure is normal, my heart rate is 70… I show no calcium loss in my urine. There is no tremor in my hands. My muscle enzymes are more normal range after weight training. I look like a new man. That yellow jaundice color of beta carotene not converting to vitamin A that hypothyroidism causes is long gone… that use to happen all the time on Levoxyl and compounded synthetic T4 and synthetic T3 cytomel when I was working out hard. I take no meds other than Armour, after this epic decade long fight I finally feel almost normal. Good luck!

  101. jane says

    sorry – i’m wondering if the chris kresser website allows website addresses to be copied onto this comments section. i’m going to erase the fda’s website address that i just put in my comment, and copy the rest of my comment here – just in case, because i feel that it’s important to put into print here that there’s been NO recall of levoxyl. here goes:

    ashley and paul –

    i received my response from fda, and THERE HAS BEEN NO 2012 RECALL OF LEVOXYL. there has, however, actually been a recall of a couple of the thyroid hormone products from the same company that produces armour – this information is easily found at fda’s website.

    this is what i meant by “heated arguments” as to which is better – armour or synthetic – there’s a whole lot of false information out there. i don’t understand – perhaps people could just take what is right for them and let others decide for themselves which they would like to take. i would add to please get your information correct before you affect the lives of others.

    so, to set the record straight, go to fda’s website if you’d like. the last recall for levoxyl was in july of 2011, when a single 200 mcg levoxyl tablet was found in a bottle of 75 mcg levoxyl tablets – levoxyl’s own firm, pfizer, initiated the recall. other than that, in the 90′s through the early 2000′s all of the different thyroid medication formulations were challenged with making a more dosage-consistent and shelf-stable product, due to new regulations by fda. i feel, having fda’s approval, that levoxyl is a good product – anyone else will have to think for themselves – please let them.

    i’d love to talk with anyone on this site about having hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten sensitivity, but i won’t address the synthetic/armour debate again. i chose levoxyl because i felt it was best for me – let’s let others do the same. thank you.

  102. jane says

    ashley and paul –

    i received my response from fda, and THERE HAS BEEN NO 2012 RECALL OF LEVOXYL. there has, however, actually been a recall of a couple of the thyroid hormone products from the same company that produces armour – this information is easily found at fda’s website:

    this is what i meant by “heated arguments” as to which is better – armour or synthetic – there’s a whole lot of false information out there. i don’t understand – perhaps people could just take what is right for them and let others decide for themselves which they would like to take. i would add to please get your information correct before you affect the lives of others.

    so, to set the record straight, go to fda’s website if you’d like. the last recall for levoxyl was in july of 2011, when a single 200 mcg levoxyl tablet was found in a bottle of 75 mcg levoxyl tablets – levoxyl’s own firm, pfizer, initiated the recall. other than that, in the 90’s through the early 2000’s all of the different thyroid medication formulations were challenged with making a more dosage-consistent and shelf-stable product, due to new regulations by fda. i feel, having fda’s approval, that levoxyl is a good product – anyone else will have to think for themselves – please let them.

    i’d love to talk with anyone on this site about having hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten sensitivity, but i won’t address the synthetic/armour debate again. i chose levoxyl because i felt it was best for me – let’s let others do the same. thank you.

    • Paul says

      Thanks Jane for checking. Yes, I see that synthetic T4 was recalled from Forrest pharmaceuticals last year. The July 5 recall that is referenced on this site in particular is a pay site so not sure what they are talking about if in fact you actually got confirmation from the FDA.

      So yes… Levoxyl had a pharmacy level recall last year instead of this year and has struggled for over a decade with potency problems like Armour. Hopefully this is all behind us from both manufacturers.

      I can only speak from my own experience as a man with virtually unlimited resources to find a cure or treatment or pill to reverse, treat or manage my Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. After probably tens of thousands of dollars in treatments as far flung as a month in an Ayurvedic spa in Kerala, India and seeing some of the countries best thyroid doctors the only treatment that has made me feel close to whole again has been divided dose Armour Thyroid.

      Yes, let them decide and lets be clear LEVOXYL WAS RECALLED LAST YEAR not this year like has been published on the web…could be an honest typo. Hopefully my efforts here do effect the lives of others. Often I find people that swear by synthetic T4 are also on a host of other drugs (psychotropic and others) to manage the lingering hypothyroidism symptoms… or just simply have anger issues because of how bad they actually feel…been there!

  103. jane says

    ashley and paul – i’ve just searched fda’s site, and found no july 5 levoxyl recall. i may have missed it, so i just sent an email to fda. i’ll tell you what i find out.

  104. jane says

    ashley – there are some who believe that any amount of antibodies proves hashimoto’s. frankly though, it doesn’t matter right now what is causing your hypothyroidism – you just need to get on treatment. you can wait the 3 months or you can do it tomorrow – research, and then do what you think is right, knowing that you could just possibly be feeling better. there’s some reason (i have my own thoughts about this) that doctors wait and wait and wait to put people on thyroid medication, and then often they keep them at too low a dose, too, causing many to quit any treatment at all because they think the medication isn’t making them feel any better. my poor thyroid was wheezing and groaning for so long – why put people through that? my doctor said the same thing as yours said, but i went home and read and read and read about hypothyroidism, called her back and asked to get going right then instead of waiting the two months she’d said to wait. thankfully, she agreed.

    my tsh was close to yours at that time – 4.7. oddly enough, the level of tsh isn’t always commensurate with how bad your symptoms may be (ie, i was horribly sick when i was at 2.2!). your fatigue and anxiety could be from your life changes, but they could also be from hypothyroidism. try not to be like so many of us who disregard symptoms or the need to do for ourselves. i’m fighting that in myself now, as i’m trying to get my doctor to adjust my dose up again.

    which reminds me, once you go on the thyroid medication, there’s again controversy as to how low your tsh should go. my doctor has a target zone of 1.0 to 2.0. that sounds good in theory, but actually we all have different “set points,” as you can see from what paul said – he feels much better below 1.0. i’m now at 1.47, but not feeling optimal – that’s why i’m trying to get my doctor to up my levoxyl.

    it’s kind of a lot to take in now maybe, but you seem like you’re getting the gist of all of it pretty quickly. keep notes handy of your labs and of how you feel, so you’ll be able to be a knowledgeable, healthy, and happy consumer along the way :)

    by the way, funny thing – your mentioning your difficulty with birth control pills – having thyroid disease, people can sometimes have a hard time with all kinds of medications.

    let me end by saying that i’m so glad that you’re feeling more confident about taking thyroid medication. before you see your doctor again, figure out what kind of thyroid medication that you want to go on. i chose levoxyl, because there’s no gluten or dairy in it or any colorings or other additives, and it’s a trusted name – it’s been just great for me. i didn’t feel comfortable with armour, but i know some people swear by it. one of the symptoms that people with hashimoto’s can have is actually more of a hyPERthyroid symptom – anxiety – and i had it, and didn’t want the t3 from armour contributing to that, which it can do. you’ll find lots of rather heated arguments among people who take thyroid medication as to which is best – just look at your lifestyle, your philosophy, and the information that you gather online, and you’ll be able to figure out which kind works for you (but, again, no generics!!).

    paul – i can’t say thanks enough to you for writing about usc’s knowledge re how far we hashi’s can go down the tsh scale to feel better. i’ve been on a mad search for this information. as i said to ashley, my doctor thinks that since i’m at 1.47, i should be done adjusting and all should be well with the world – why do so many of them only rely on what is actually somewhat of an arbitrary target zone?! now i have a good source to tell her about her. thank you!!

    a recall is news to me, so i’m off now to investigate. it was recalled somewhere around 2004, but only because the pills dissolved too quickly. they still dissolve quickly, but all you need to do is have your water ready and just gulp the pill down, instead of putting the pill in your mouth, walking across the room to get some water, thinking about what you’ve got to do that day, then answering the phone, etc…

  105. jane says

    ashley – i’m glad your doctor was on the ball enough to diagnose hashi’s (which is when you have tpo antibodies). however, if your tsh is elevated, that means you’ve got hypothyroidism – doctors are just too hesitant and slow at treating this condition. caveat – the tsh reference range is a controversial issue with doctors (i follow the aace’s guidelines for the upper limit of normal being 2.5 or 3.0).

    don’t worry – hypothyroidism is the most unbelievably simple thing to treat, and is only a problem if your doctor doesn’t let you have the proper dosage of medication.

    please don’t say “ugh” or feel that thyroid hormone is a bad thing. i call my thyroid pill “my magic pill.” i’d been sick – 100% disabled – for decades til we finally figured out that everything was caused simply by low thyroid. i now feel like a human being again. yes, it is synthetic, but that’s the only way to get a proper, consistent dosage every day. thyroid hormone is as vital and necessary to someone with hypothyroidism as insulin hormone is to a diabetic, only ours is sooooo much easier to treat and control. when you do get on it, by the way, stick with only one brand (and preferably not generic – they all have different amounts and bioavailability).

    re the gluten – my educated but not medical doctorish opinion is that you can only help your thyroid going gluten free. it’s helped my hashi’s family a lot! i can’t say though that you can head off hypothyroidism, because i feel that if your tsh is elevated you’ve got it already. but it can make you feel so much better – lots better. i would add that you could also take a brazil nut each day – only one please, as that’s all you need to fulfill the requirement. the brazil nut adds selenium, which they’ve found can improve your thyroid antibodies.

    not to worry, ashley – hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is only a problem when doctors don’t give you the right amount of medication, and when treated properly it’s just a simple little pill every day – no big deal (and this comes from a woman who did natural childbirth, is a lifelong vegetarian, sees food as the primary healer, and pretty much has refused to take any medication all her life). so, educate yourself on how to understand your tsh, antibodies, free t3, and free t4. also, in the initial period of taking your thyroid medication, your doctor should start slowly and adjust up every 6 to 8 weeks. even though lots of doctors start you on a large dose, i think this isn’t advisable – your body needs to get used to it not be slammed by it. you’ll know when you’re on the right amount because of how good you feel, and your doctor will know from your tsh and t4 levels, and hopefully he’ll take both into account.

    so, hypothyroidism is no big deal. do go gluten free – it can only help. eat a brazil nut each day. and read up on goitrogens – they’re the foods that screw with your thyroid – especially soy and gluten and the brassica family. but don’t fear the medication. also, check with other family members to see if they might have an autoimmune thyroid disease (either hypo or hyper) or other autoimmune disease, as they tend to run in families.

    i wish you much luck – this isn’t a bad thing – honestly!

    • Paul says

      I on the other hand felt terrible at a 2.75 TSH. I was in terrible shape and even taking beta-blockers for heart rhythm problems until a doctor checked for anti-bodies and diagnosed my Hashmoto’s. After a few years of wide swings of how I felt while taking Levoxyl, a research doctor at Keck school of medicine at USC told me that most Hashi’s don’t feel normal until their TSH is under 1. So I increased levoxyl until my TSH was .8 and I felt even better.

      Problem was lingering exercise intolerance. I was use to heavy endurance exercise and when I did that I went hypothyroid… tests showed free T3 had dropped and TSH was up to 2 or higher.

      Levoxyl is synthetic T4 thyroid hormone and it wasn’t working as well as I needed it to. The concept that doctors cling to is that the body will convert T4 to T3 when it is needed. Well, some of us have a conversion problem. My body couldn’t keep up when stressed either mentally or physically… I’d go hypothyroid slowly. Like on vacation as I was sightseeing and keeping a busy schedule I’d catch a look at myself in a mirror and I’d look like death warmed over. It always took so long to recover and from these hypo bouts too. Obviously I needed more T3 and that led me back to Armour. Despite me not eating red meat for 25 years I was desperate to get my life totally back so I switched to the pork based pill.

      Armour thyroid is T4,T3, T2, T1 and calcitronin… and its actually made from pig thyroids. Its manufactured by Forrest pharmaceuticals, the makers of Lexapro and other drugs… its not an over the counter supplement or anything like that. Almost all thyroid pills get recalled due to potency issues but many doctors don’t seem to notice recalls unless its Armour and they tell their patients that Armour is unstable. Probably because it is harder to get people started on it and easy to give someone T4 instead. That T3 is like gasoline and when you feel terrible and are just burning embers that T3 is quite a shock to the system and its immediate. Dosing T4 takes weeks to feel anything.

      Levoxyl was just recalled 4 weeks ago and numerous times in the last 10 years along with all the rest… so don’t believe what your doctors says about synthetic hormone being the only source for consistant dosage. Some of us need those other thyroid hormones that are being left out of synthetic T4 only pills.

      Here is what the FDA about synthetic Synthroid in a document dated August 14, 1997, Docket No. 97N-0314, I would assume it still holds true… it says:

      “The drug substance levothyroxine sodium (also called Synthroid) is unstable in the presence of light, temperature, air, and humidity. Unless the manufacturing process can be carefully and consistently controlled, orally administered levothyroxine sodium products may not be fully potent through the labeled expiration date, or be of consistent potency from lot to lot.
      Drug Recall for levothyroxine (SYNTHROID) reported in July 5, 2012 FDA

      So keep in mind that you need to shield most thyroid pills from extreme temps because it effects potency.

      • Stacy in SD says

        Do you have a source for Levoxyl being recalled just 3 weeks ago? I couldn’t find any news about that.

        Also, Ctyomel is another option for T3 if you’re not into taking dessicated pig thyroid. I take Levoxyl and Ctyomel together every morning. Always the brands. Never the generics. I had a really bad reaction to a custom compounded T4/T3 combo.

        • Paul says

          I asked my Costco pharmacist about a recall on Levoxyl that happened a few years ago when I was still on it and he was totally oblivious of it. It had not been pulled from shelves, I was appalled. Alright, its not going to kill us but we won’t feel well and not know what is wrong.

          Most recent is:

          Drug Recall for levothyroxine (LEVOXYL) reported in July 5, 2012 FDA Enforcement Report

          Yes, I tried the Cytomel as well in time release form. It was an incremental improvement. The switch to Armour was huge but didn’t solve my issues entirely until I split the dosage. I take half at noon time… dissolved under the tongue and the rest right at bedtime. I feel like a new man… the most normal that I’ve felt in 10 years since this all started.

          The most psychological boost is that I don’t sudden look like death warmed over one day for no reason. That would actually even happened when I was a teenager… suddenly look like I hadn’t slept or was very sick. Those were the off days that I now know were low T3 days.

    • Ashley says

      Thank you so much for all this info!

      Stacy – I did get tested for antibodies. I have them – antibody level was 8, which is considered “within range” so my doctor thinks my elevated TSH (4.6) may be due to Hashimotos, but hasn’t confirmed that.

      Jane / Paul – thanks for the reassurances about taking a thyroid pill. I had a hard time finding a hormonal birth control that worked for me, so I was really anxious about taking a thyroid pill but you’ve made me feel a lot better about it. My TSH is only slightly elevated – 4.6 – so my doc didn’t think I needed drugs just yet. The only symptoms I’m having now is some fatigue and anxiety, but I run about 50mi per week (marathon training) and the grant for my job ends this month (so I need a new job!), so there are some other life-related explanations for these symptoms as well.

      As for gluten free, I have 3 months before my next TSH check. My husband follows the paleo diet about 80% of the time and avoids gluten and soy (he’s sensitive to both, but not diagnosed with celiacs), so I’m used to working around him, and I don’t think it will be a crazy overhaul for me to do that same thing. I’d like to try it to see if it helps. If I don’t feel any better after going gluten free, well…no harm, no foul is my thought. But if I do feel better, then hooray! I’ll also get brazil nuts this week. Thanks!!

      • Paul says

        Hmmm, I was into endurance exercise as well. I look back now and realize that was probably the trigger. I was sweating buckets and steaming in the sauna thinking it was healthy when in actuality I was sweating out all my water soluble vitamins, electrolytes and minerals and not replacing them in the quantity I really needed to. I think the loss of the B vitamins were the most devastating to my long term health. The methyl donors folate and B12 probably became so low that certain genes began to express themselves like Hashimoto’s. I damaged my own defense system by causing myself to become under-methylated.

        If I knew then what I know now I would have started Methylfolin, methylcobalamin, TMG, Sam-E and Betaine immediately because once those cracks appear in the ‘vase’ and it begins to leak its near impossible to fix it.

  106. Lynn says

    I so agree Paul. If we are vitamin D deficient, we get sun or supplement.

    If we are thyroid hormone deificient, we look for nutrition/lifestyle changes that might help, but if levels remain low, we supplement. It’s like vitamin T! =)

  107. Ashley says

    This is so informative! I was diagnosed today with subclinical hypothyroidism and my doc believes it may be caused by autoimmune thyroiditis (aka Hashimotos). I’m not being put on hormones right now because my TSH is elevated, but other thyroid levels are ok. I’m going back to be rechecked in a few months to see if I will be diagnosed with actual hypothyroidism and then put on hormones (ugh).

    So I did some research. What I understand is it’s likely that I am gluten-sensitive and that my body has confused gluten and my thyroid. Now, instead of just attacking gluten, it’s also attacking my thyroid. After long enough “attacks” my thyroid will really stop working and I’ll be diagnosed and put on hormones. Correct?

    My follow up question is – what if I go paleo and/or gluten-free now? Is it possible to stop this before I get a diagnosis and subsequently drugged up? Can I head this off and possibly 1) avoid additional damage to my thyroid and 2) avoid a life of synthetic drugs?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Paul says

      Why guess? Just take a stool test like diagnos-tech expanded GI panel and check for antibodies against gluten (and soy, casein, eggs, etc). Just make sure you eat all of those proteins the day before you start the 3 day stool sampling test.

      Although I’ve been gluten free for a few years the thyroid auto antibodies still are there.

    • Stacy in SD says

      A couple of things:

      1. If your dr. believes your sub-clinical hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimotos, then he should test your antibody levels, not wait and see. I don’t know what Drs. are so reluctant to run that lab. Demand it!

      2. Being put on thyroid hormones is a good thing, not a bad thing. Synthroid, Levoxyl, Armour, etc. – whatever they put you on, isn’t like steroids or some other hormone that makes you aggressive/crazy. They just make you feel “normal” and definitely not “drugged up.”

      3. Your thyroid is very persistent. Mine has been under attack for 20 years and it still functions from time to time causing hyperthyroid episodes.

      4. You should have the testing done BEFORE going gluten-free/paleo. If you remove the auto-immune triggers, you can’t test for them. Going gluten-free is a pretty big lifestyle change, and it’s silly to do if it’s not necessary for you.

      Good luck!

    • Paul says

      Two things… Armour thyroid is not synthetic. Secondly, you will not be ‘drugged up’. Its a hormone you may be lacking. Starting Armour thyroid may make you feel better than you can remember ever feeling if in fact you’ve been sub-clinically hypothyroid for years. We tend to forget what feeling great feels like.

      If you’ve ever suffered thin hair, fuzzy vision, lax skin, digestion problems with resulting nutritional deficiencies, depression, constipation, dry skin, fatigue, temperature intolerance, dehydration, jaundice, acne, etc… its all about to get much, much better.

  108. says

    I work with physicians daily and when they ask “why” I am gluten free I tell them “my thyroid swells when I have gluten.” They laugh.
    Let them laugh, I know what my body does. And it does not like gluten.
    The second thyroid killer….is stress.
    After a stressful day of “patient problems,” I come home with a swollen thyroid.
    It happens, it’s true, and there IS a connection between STRESS & THYROID.
    So I must not cheat on my gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, red meat free diet.
    I must not be stressed (easier said)…but be blessed!

  109. Stacy in San Diego says

    7/12/2012 – PROGNOSIS UPDATE

    I have been gluten/dairy/meat free since the beginning of the year. My gut is fine. Permeability test showed no/minimal leakage. Flora – normal. Parasites – not present. I eat vegetables. And MediClear Plus protein shakes.

    My doctor switched me to a synthetic T4/T3 compounded combo pill. 125 MCG levothyroxine and 5 MCG Cytomel. Tried that for 6 weeks.

    My TSH as of yesterday… 255.4!!!

    I freaked out and went back to my endocrinologist who told me I was hands-down the most hypothyroid patient he had ever seen in his 30 years of practice. In fact, he had never seen a patient with a TSH level that high that wasn’t in a coma.

    They now suspect pituitary adenoma (tumor), and are ordering an MRI.

    I am freaking out.

    • jane says

      stacy – two possibilities: 1) you’re eating lots of veg, but many of them may be goitrogens; and 2) your protein shakes are made from peas, which some believe to be goitrogenic.

  110. Kristin says

    I have been Paleo for about 6 months. I’ve eaten a few bites of gluten-containing foods less than 5 times, as far as I know, as well as gluten-containing Communion wafers at church every week. Last month my TSH came back high, and in a few weeks, I have an appointment with the doctor to get additional thyroid bloodwork done. I want to ask him to check my thyroid antibodies. Have I reduced my gluten enough to mask the presence of autoantibodies? For an accurate reading, should I have a nice big gluteny meal (or more) between now and then?

  111. Debbie says

    WOW! My son just sent me this link and I have decided to give it a try. My only question is; since I have had hypothyroid for over 23 yrs. Do you think that my immune system is beyond fixing?

    • Nicole Gladden says


      If a smoker stops smoking after 23 years there is healing that will begin to happen as a result of removing the offending substance. If gluten is the cause of your immune dysfunction then your immune system should begin to regain some function. I have gone gluten free 26 years after my diagnosis and although last fall I felt like I was having cascading health issues, I feel like a g-f diet has put me back on track. I am only 43. My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with Hashimotos last fall and has had her initial thyroid dose lowered to .25 from .50 . We are both 9 months gf. I have gone mostly grain free also. I was a vegetarian for 18 years so this has been a major change in diet, and I will never go back to eating gluten containing foods again. I had no idea that my body was reacting to gluten until I cleared it out of my system. Now even small amounts through cross- contamination make me feel woozy and unbalanced. They say it takes months to clear it out of your system, but try it for two weeks-cold turkey. Just go grain free since there is a learning curve. I felt my vision brighten and a veil lift within three days.

    • Robert says


      You seem to think that your immune system is not beyond fixing by asking the question.

      If you want solutions to serious problems you might have to get serious, to get radical…

      I recall a Springsteen video from the eighties for “Tunnel of Love”. There was a sign in that video that said, “This is a dark ride.” That is true, also, about the gluten-free path.

      But there is light at the end.

      Get real and go for it–only you can answer your own questions after quite a long fight–just the way that it is.

    • Stacy in SD says

      Just because you are hypothyroid does not mean you are autoimmune thyroidistis. Many MDs don’t bother to check antibody levels because the treatment is the same whether you are autoimmune or not. (At least in western medicine.) If you are AIT, your immune system is not beyond fixing. It’s just a long road/and an expensive road to figure out what is triggering your autoimmune flare ups.

      I was diagnosed with Hashi’s over 20 years ago now, and I am just now trying to figure out what is triggering my autoimmune system, with little success. It’s frustrating, but far from futile. We only get one body. Good luck! :)

  112. melanie says

    I have been diagnosed for the past 12 years with Hashimoto Thyroiditis, always have bad stomach issues, was tested for celiac but came back negative, could I still have gluten intolerance? what test would that be to get tested?

    • Elisa says

      I wouldn’t bother getting tested for gluten intolerance. Why not quit eating gluten and see how you feel? 30 years ago after having 2/3 of my thyroid removed (the surgeon originally thought I had thyroid cancer), I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. 22 years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and a couple years after that was diagnosed with arthritis. 12 years ago I had my gallbladder removed. A few years later I was diagnosed with acid reflux, GERD, hiatal hernia, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcer, schatzki ring (from scar tissue in my esophagus). My acid reflux was so bad that I slept in a recliner every night (mostly in the upright position), I had four surgical procedures done to break up the scar tissue in my esophagus so I could swallow food. I had chronic headaches. I quit eating grains 3-1/2 months ago to lose weight and discovered the cure my many health problems. My digestive problems are completely gone. My chronic headaches are gone unless I accidentally eat something with gluten in it. My fibromyalgia is about 95% better. I now have energy and can think clearer. Also, I’ve lost 43 lbs. Yesterday I had my yearly physical and after telling the doctor about the amazing results of eating gluten-free, he asked if I wanted to be tested for Celiac. If so, I would have to eat gluten for the results to be accurate. I told him I don’t need to see test results. I already know that I can’t tolerate gluten by how I feel. There is such a huge difference in how I feel being gluten-free. I feel amazing.

      • Teresa Shepherd says

        It must be so rewarding for Chris to read these comments.. it’s wonderful to read. I can’t help but wonder though why this advice hasn’t been taken up by endocrinologists?!! Mine [in the UK] actually advised me not to read any sites from the USA when I brought up the question of advice on nutrition and how I’d read about gluten intolerance etc. She told me to stick to sites from the UK. I feel appalled by this and even begin to wonder about conspiracies to keep us all sick! It certainly benefits the pharmaceutical industry and really they NEED people to stay ill. As do Doctors… ! [This is personal opinion only btw!]

  113. lisa says

    i was recently diagnoist with hashimotos i am now on amour for my thyroid and supplements along with bio-identical hormones replacing what my body is lacking. i am struggling still to lose weight have tried weight watchers have lost 3 or 4 pounds in 3 months years ago went on it when i had my kids and lost 15 pounds do you suggest that i should be on a gluten free diet to loose weight??

    • Stacy in SD says

      I was hoping that going gluten free was the magic bullet to weight loss, and for me, it has not been. Some people report weight loss, but I would guess it’s due to other factors and not just gluten. Since going gluten free, I have stubbornly not lost weight, despite controlling portions and reducing calories. It’s frustrating.

      • Elisa says

        I have lost 43 lbs. in just less than 3-1/2 months. I eat a mostly grain-free, low carb, high fat diet. I try to eat foods low on the Glycemic Index that won’t affect my blood sugar and then cause the release of Insulin (which I’ve heard is what makes us fat). I started on the Perfect 10 Diet and did great on Phase 1. Then I heard about a book called Wheat Belly and that’s when I decided to stay off of grains. I have had rice and oats a couple of times. This has been the easiest diet for me since I no longer have cravings and I’m not hungry all of the time. In Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis says to eat gluten free, but don’t eat “gluten free” foods that contain starches, because that will spike your blood sugar. Even better that the weight loss, is how amazing I feel. This diet has cured my many, many health problems (see post below).

  114. Arin says

    I currently take thyroid medication and here in the last few months I have also experienced lightheadedness and just overall just not feeling great. Can feeling lightheaded go along with gluten intollerence? I have been to doctors but have not gotten any answer for feeling lightheaded. I have a family history of thyroid disease as well as 2 members in my extended family with celiac sprue.

  115. margaret says

    i am a thyroid suffer for the last 19 years, it was so good to read this article. no one has ever mentioned to me about gluten free diet to help this. i am going to try this . will let ou know if it will make a differance to me.

  116. Jewell says

    I think people would be amazed at how gluten intolerance or celiac presents. What I’m discovering is that absolutely, positively -we are what we eat.

    I suffered from chronic & increasingly debilitating pain & inflammation from my waist down for years. I’ve been an avid walker since Aug/2001 & for years have walked thru pain that, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst, ranged pretty much daily from 8-11.

    I was also born with pyloric stenosis which was corrected thru surgery when I was 2 weeks old, but all my life I’ve suffered from digestive issues -which I attributed to losing about 4 inches of my small intestine all those years ago. Little did I know…..

    By Spring/2010, after years of seeing doctors who did nothing for me & chiropractors who, god love them, were wonderful bone-crackers but could not help me with chronic pain (it had gotten so bad, I could barely stand for more than 10 minutes) I was at my wits’ end. My lower back was frozen. My hips, thighs, knees & ankles were constantly inflamed & in pain. The chronic pain & other symptoms had worsened to the point where I was all but crippled & was on the verge of self-diagnosing fibromyalgia. I had indigestion all the time.

    Then came one week where I had not consumed any gluten whatsoever & guess what? The chronic pain & inflammation subsided to the point where I was almost pain-free. What gives? I realized I had been eating my roommate’s gluten-free bread! That was my wake-up call.

    Today I am gluten-free, standing upright, walking without limping or having to stop from extreme muscle/tendon pain. I’ve lost 25 pounds (a phenomenal feat when I consider I’ve had issues with my weight my whole adult life -since returning to the United States after living overseas for 17 years) and am working on losing another 25 by moving to a plant-based diet with little to no meat.

    I would also caution people who are eating gluten-free to watch your meat intake. Many of our livestock are fed grains containing gluten… guess what? You’re getting hidden gluten in your meat!

    Today, I am pain & indigestion-free. I look a bit slovenly because none of my clothes fit anymore, but that’s nothing but a thing, a trip to a tailor. I wish everyone as much success in getting back to being healthy!!

    • Bridge says

      Hi Jewell
      Thank you for the information regarding the meat. I hadn’t thought of that. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2009. As I have avoided meds all my life like the plaque even the contraceptive pill, I was very upset to be informed that I would have to stay on levythyroxine for the rest of my life. I live in, England and was wearing three sweaters and three layers of clothing under my coat scarfs etc to keep warm. The pain in my legs and arms was unbearable at times. I always had my suspicions about gluten. Whenever I ate bread I would bloat for days. I blamed it on chemicals in the bread as I was ignorant of gluten at this time. However after doing some research and finding Chris’s site, I totally eliminated gluten. There are many supermarkets in England that sell free from gluten products, a little more expensive but worth it as far as your health is concerned. I have lost 14 pounds and am totally med free.I can touch my toes again without falling over. My aches and pains have gone. Hoever, I would not recommend that anyone come off their meds unless their doc gave tham the ok. A friend of mine recently cured her arthritis by eliminating gluten so I guess the auto immune reaction is different for different people. i.e celiacs etc.I am also returning to the US Thank you Dr Chris Kresser for posting this information. The world needs more caring individuals like you.

  117. Honora says

    Thanks very much for that, Paul. I’ll make enquiries. What you say about the serum level testing makes sense. Hopefully our lab does the RBC magnesium test. We do do some RBC tests e.g. folate levels.

  118. Honora says

    Hmm…got me thinking. I have overbrisk reflexes probably secondary to some frightful experiences e.g. watching a buddy fall to their death etc. Can someone recommend what form of magnesium to be taking? I was taking Megamax but didn’t like the flavour of the sweetener. I’ve heard good things about topical magnesium oil too. Also, what’s the most accurate way of checking whether magnesium deficiency exists? Be grateful if those in the know e.g. Paul, can share.

    • Paul says

      I would suggest Magnesium Glycinate or the newly MIT patented Magnesium L-threonate. A doctor at the USC Keck school of medicine recommended red blood cell analysis for accurate magnesium levels. Serum testing just gives you a snapshop of that particular day but red blood cell give you an average over 90 days similar to the diabetes A1C test for glucose levels. Quest diagnostics has the test (RBC magnesium) and insurance will pay.

      Btw, I also take the hot drink mix Natural Calm before bed when I need it which magnesium citrate… raspberry/lemon is the best flavor.

  119. Robert says


    Thanks so much for that generous update…

    I cannot follow much of what you relate (due to my ignorance about thyroid levels), but I thought to add this:

    You may be stressing your endocrine system, still, by the carbohydrate load in your diet. Avoiding gluten is a terrific first step, but potential leptin and adrenal dysregulation due to high glycemic loads can provoke an assault on normal thyroid function.

    As you know, every day gluten free seems like an age. Three months seems an eternity. But one can’t feel the past, so much–only the future. Prime yourself for practicing a lifestyle not just remaining on a diet. I say that it is a practice because how you manage your diet six months from now will seem so much more refined (then) than it is now.

    Brace yourself for a 1-3 year challenge and head into the wind. It requires tacking, but you will make it.

    • Liz says


      Thanks for the encouraging words. Somedays being gluten-free seems pretty easy, but some days when I’m tired and there’s nothing to eat in the fridge, it’s frustrating not being able to go out and buy something easy. I’ve always been big on cooking from scratch, but I did have some take-out solutions before that I can no longer count on, but all in all it doesn’t seem too bad and I can imagine it gets easier with time.

      You said its a 1-3 year challenge, what do you mean by that? My conclusion from going gluten-free and seeing my thyroid numbers improve made me conclude that I should be gluten-free for life if I don’t want my thyroid to get worse or possibly develop other auto-immune health problems. Are you referring to it getting easier in 1-3 years?

      You also mention the possibility of a high glycemic load….how do I know if my diet has a healthy level of carbs? Since going gluten-free I have only replaced some of the carbs with gluten-free alternatives e.g quinoa and simply cut the rest (I have also cut sugar intake drastically), so overall my diet is lower carb than the ever before, but how do I know what’s optimal? Chris also mentions you need carbs for T4 to T3 conversion.

      • Robert says

        Liz, Hi…

        Well, about the 1-3 year bit… This is not my imagination–I looked into what one can expect, in the way of an improvement via a gluten free diet in the case of IgA (is that the right way?) indication and discovered that (say, in the case of a classic marker like dermatitis herpetiformis) the immuno response to GSE (not just celiac) is extremely persistent and, therefore, so are the symptoms.

        That link addresses “IgA deposits”, which are white blood cell depositories. Now (and I dislike discussing personal symptoms) I have had classic GSE related skin symptoms for more than TWENTY YEARS and didn’t comprehend the connection to anything until the past (almost) year. I had a persistent rash on my back, itchy raised welt-like scales beneath the hair on my head (though not egregious) and extremely dry, patchy redness on my elbows and knees. Well, the rash on my back is beginning to evaporate–perfect, smooth skin (astonishing) is beginning to reclaim the affected area on my back, my elbows and knees are smooth and supple (again, for the first time in memory) and my scalp is beginning (only) to make a comeback (much less itchy).

        Now, if this were, indeed, dermatitis herpetiformis, then one is faced w/ the fact that GSE is approaching late stage, and there is, likely, much more–at least–sub-clinical pathology (or asymptomatic conditions) with which to deal.

        I will not fight the doctor on the carb conversion issue. But I will say that it is truly difficult to become ketogenic in a deep sense–one is either over-consuming protein, or some such thing. As for how might one discover one’s status as trending toward a ketogenic bias, then you could consider Bayer Ketostix (available for about $15.00 at any mainline drugstore), which is a ballpark way of measuring one’s degree of excess keytones in the urine. (And, please, a trained professional will be wincing at the use of my language and the way in which I frame this discussion–I am just trying to get something across.) The sticks themselves are not perfect and do generate false positives–you can search for, and find, discussions on this topic, also.

        Okay, now I would suggest, strongly, purchasing Nora T. Gedgaudas’s book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind”, for competent narrative on these issues. I would also encourage you to install Amazon’s “Kindle for the PC (Windows)” if you do not have a Kindle (I do not) and start w/ Primal Body as soon as you think that you can. (Her chapter on gluten is excellent.) Please also consider my link (of sometime ago), above, to her 3-hour radio interview on Coast to Coast AM.

        Anyway, all this is a small (given the world at large) but huge (given our personal lives and aspirations) issue…

        Nice to hear from you… R.

        • Robert says

          And a clarification…

          The 1-3 year time frame is a period during which a rigorously pursued GFD would expect to produce alleviation of GSE symptoms. It is not intended to indicate a period of time after which one can return to a normal diet (unfortunately).

          Also, there were several sites that supported that particular time frame (though they were a bit difficult to find–and a couple indicated the time period included drug therapy).


        • Paul says

          Just my two cents but celiac and any condition that causes gut inflammation including food allergies will cause magnesium deficiency (as well as B vitamin issues) and that alone will cause severe skin problems. Other symptoms can be exaggerated startle reflex, anxiety, and a host of other problems. Conditions that often have magnesium deficiency as a symptom include autism and schizophrenia leading some to believe that radical diet changes can be used to ameliorate those conditions.

          I was so magnesium deficient that I couldn’t restore levels orally… I had to have IV’s. I know now that it was all these undiagnosed food allergies; some brought on by hypothyroidism.

  120. Liz says

    Just thought I’d give anyone who is subscribing to this comment thread an update on my gluten-free diet and the effect on my thyroid so far….I have been gluten-free since first posting here in late January. I also eat 1-2 brazil nuts a day, take 2000IU of Vitamin D, take a host of Dr. Willson’s Adrenal Support Supplements for some adrenal fatigue and a Vit B complex. I also tried taking Zinc as well which is important, but my stomach got super irritated on it. The Adrenal Suport Supplements contain a bit of Zinc and I’m hoping that’s enough. I also eat mostly organic and try to avoid most harmful ingredients. My approach is a combination of gluten-free, the approach recommended by Dr. Alexander Haskell on Hope for Hashimotos, who is another amazing doctor spreading the word, and the approach on healthwyze to cure hypothyroidism naturally (they don’t mention going gluten-free which I think is super important, but have a lot of other great advice). For the past month now I have been getting hyper symptoms and have had to decrease my Natural Dessicated Thyroid Horomone dosage three times (From 4 x 30mg, to 3.5, to 3). I just got my first blood test results since starting this and found my TSH was at 0.01 and my T4 and T3 were both well above normal range. I have been feeling hyper symptoms again and with these results will be dropping another 0.5 pills, so down to 2.5 pills or 1.25 grains. I am incredibly encouraged by these results and I think this gluten-free diet and supplementation is really working! I am still not feeling pre-hashi’s ‘normal’, but now it’s because of the hyper symptoms. Anways, I just wanted to share so as to encourage anyone who is on the fence about trying the gluten-free diet to do it! I still don’t know for sure if I am recovering or just having a thyroid flare up, but it’s been over a month now and I keep lowering the dose and still needing less, so I think it looks more like recovering than flaring up. I will post again in the coming months to let you all know how things are going. I know I am super grateful to those who shared their stories and encouraged me to try this diet and supplementation and I just want to help keep on spreading the word! Thank to Chris again for sheding more light on the gluten-thyroid connection! It’s thanks to people like you that share their knowledge on the internet that more people have found out about this. Please continue your great work!

  121. Paul says

    Does taking gluten/casein digestive enzymes before meals containing gluten/casein ‘fix’ the guts inability to break down the protein?

    If the genetic varient that prediposes you to gluten intolerance is simply a low enzymes issue then it seems like it would be an option to a difficult gluten free diet, no?

      • Paul says

        Since that is the shortest answer you’ve ever given anyone in this comment area so I feel its ok to ask a follow up question on the subject. Why wouldn’t it help if after quelling the gut inflammation by going gluten free for over 6 months then supplementing this gluten enzyme and reintroducing the protein slowly into the diet? The large undigested protein wouldn’t have a chance to inflame the gut and enter the bloodstream if it is broken down with the aid of digestive enzyme especially in the theoretical absence of a damaged permeable gut lining. Am I seeing the whole gluten intolerance thing too simplistically? Have you tried supplementing this particular digestive enzyme with patients?

        • Stacy in SD says

          The Hashi/Gluten connection has nothing to do with digestive enzymes and everything to do with the auto-immune response.

          If you are consuming gluten, you are flooding your body with protein molecules that your immune system recognizes as foreign invaders to be killed. For Hashi’s patients, those foreign invaders are marked on our thyroids and thus the thyroid is the target of the attack.

          Eating a “difficult gluten-free diet” is very simple when the alternative to have cancer. Is getting cancer worth eating grains? Nope. It’s a really simple choice. There is no cheating. Either you are eating to save your life or you are contributing to your own mortality. Which many people chose to do.

          • Paul says

            Once your gut becomes permeable the large unbroken-down molecules pass in to the blood stream where the immune system targets them is my understanding. If those proteins never make it to the blood stream then there would be no attack. My question is simply if these proteins are broken down to a non-irritating level by supplemented enzymes how can these huge whole gluten proteins make it into the blood stream?

            When I was under-treated with thyroid hormone for my hashi’s I showed stool anti-bodies against soy and casein as well as gluten. As soon as I reach a decent level of thyroid hormone the two food ‘allergies’ (soy, casein) cleared up spontaneously leading me to believe that digestive enzymes were disrupted in my previous hypothyroid state.

            Cancer is hardly the alternative to going gluten free. That seems a little extreme. I will say you will have a host of mysterious physical problems that the current medical establishment will attempt to mask with drugs however… and that is certainly no way to live.

          • says

            I agree….but it is so hard to walk by those Italian fresh-baked rolls!
            But I suffer when I cheat.
            So gluten free AND stress free are my goals.

      • Kayt says

        I hvve Graves Disease, have had radioactive iodine tx several years ago and take Synthroid. I have some dairy intolerance, increased irritablity and mild panic attacks. My levels are normal per MD. Should I try gluten free? I started doing this but haven’t cut it out entirely. I did give up coffee as was recommended. I am new to this and any advice would be helpful. Thank you!

  122. Pogonia says

    I am subscribing to comments to continue learning from you all. Need to have more time to digest the article for better understanding. Thank you Chris; and Robert, I am heading to those links right now. :)

  123. Joanna says

    Thank you all for the super information!
    I have no insurance and really cannot afford the expensive tests or alternative physicians. I’m left to my own devices so I greatly appreciate all the free information indeed.
    I was diagnosed with Hashi many years ago, placed on low dose Levithyroxyn. I didnt notice any difference, no diet was ever mentioned by any doctors I went to (no surprise). I recently started feeling all typical symptoms getting worse. I’m on day 2 of going GF and adding a Iodine Plus2 supplement and am very excited to see what will happen.
    Does anyone have any suggestions about how to best detox from gluten and soy (I thought I was doing good by going vegan).

    Thank you again,

  124. CrossfitMom says

    Hi Chris,
    How is it possible, in your opinion, for someone with hypothyroidism who has been on the Paleo diet for over a year, to have their TSH levels increase? Prior to starting Paleo, I had HDL cholesterol of 58, LDL of 116, TSH of 2.99. Now HDL is 84, LDL is 153 and TSH is 5.24. Could I be Leptin resistant? Why else would my thyroid still be out of whack when I haven’t touched gluten in so long? I had hip arthroscopy 11 weeks ago (labs were drawn about a month ago) so could that be contributing to the problem? I do eat cheese occasionally and put heavy cream in my coffee, but no other dairy, and no grains whatsoever. Also, could the gluten from grain-fed beef wreak as much havoc as eating grains by themselves. I’m at a loss as to what I’m doing wrong, but I’m convinced that my thyroid problem is hindering my hip recovery. Dr. Kruse recommended CT and upping my Synthroid dose to 105 (from 88). What do you think? Thanks so much!

    • Chris Kresser says

      Two main possibilities: you’re not eating enough carbohydrate (which is required for T4 to T3 conversion), or it has nothing to do with the Paleo diet and the increase in TSH is merely coincidental with starting the Paleo diet. If you have Hashimoto’s, and you aren’t specifically addressing the immune dysregulation, and increase in TSH over time wouldn’t be unexpected.

      • CrossfitMom says

        Upped my Armour dosage to 120mg/day for the last two weeks. Going to get my levels checked next week. Should I take my Armour the morning of my bloodwork? Should I ask them to test for Hashi’s? Thanks!

  125. billy says

    Question to those with knowledge regarding food sensitivities. I recently got an enterolabs test done mainly for gluten. I’ve been getting severe diarrhea after most of my hard workouts over the last 2 years. + energy levels have been really wacky lately. I noticed when I don’t eat my usual oatmeal and sandwich for lunch it isn’t so bad.

    My results were

    Fecal Anti-gliadin IgA 61 Units (Normal Range is less than 10 Units)

    Fecal Anti-casein (cow’s milk) IgA 14 Units (Normal Range is less than 10 Units)

    Fecal Anti-ovalbumin (chicken egg) IgA 10 Units (Normal Range is less than 10 Units)

    Fecal Anti-soy IgA 31 Units (Normal Range is less than 10 Units

    My biggest question is could my obvious gluten issues skew the results for the egg/casein antigens. I heavily rely on eggs for breakfast throughout the week and don’t want to eliminate them as Dr Fine suggested.

  126. says

    Hi Chris, Thank-you for your wonderful web-site. I have just been tested for gluten intolerance and my test was abnormal. My Mother had Celiac and it was never treated successfully back in the 1950’s and 60’s. At that time the Dr’s thought that she had tropical spru which she got while in Bali in the late 1930’s. I am a F 62. I have eaten gluten all my life, mostly whlie living and growing up in Europe and the UK. I am waiting now to get an Endoscopy to see if I have Celiac. My symptoms have been Alleriges, vertigo, and sinus. Constepation, etc. I’m now thinking that my problem is Thyroid. I will pass your Web-site on to my Doctor who practices intergrated medicine. In West Marin. For the past 20 years I have been working as Street Artist on Beach st. in SF. I usually get several hours of sunlight a day. However, in August I had a bad accident and had to stop work for 6 months. That’s when the symptoms started. My guess is that I am used to getting allot of Vitamin D, from sunlight. I am now on a Vitamin d supplement. So I ‘m sure that there’s a connection between Vitamin D, Gluten, and Thyroid. I look forward to your comments. Sorry for the Type O’s. VT.

  127. Deb from the UK says

    Hi Chris
    Thank you for all your help on your website
    If you can answer any of the following I would be very grateful.
    I have recently collected my results from my doctors.
    Serum free T4 level=10.8 Pmol/L
    Serum TSH 7.87 mu/L high
    TPO Ab’s may be found in association with autoimmune thyroid disease
    Thyroid auto antibodies>1000 iu/mL High Throperoxidase antibodies (serum)

    `I’m not sure what they all mean! or what is ‘normal’

    I have worked out by searching many websites for information, that I have hashimotos.
    I am reading “Why Do I have Thyroid Symptoms? When my lab tests are normal by Datis Kharrazian
    (i followed the link from your website)
    In the book Dr Datis states that there are “six patterns of hypothyroidism” then lists the test required
    to establish them.
    Do you know where I can get these tests done in the UK? or can they be done via post?
    My friend is a nutritionalist and has recommended I have ‘the york test” I have given up gluten and think I would be better spending my money on test specifically related to Hashimoto
    Thanks again for all your help

  128. Lynn says

    Hello, I’m interested in knowing more about this statement:

    The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland.

    Would you have a reference where I might find out more? Thanks!

    • Honora says

      Me too. Very keen to have some reference. Maybe I can try googling it under the term “molecular mimicry”.

      • Honora says

        Replying to myself! Yes, I found stuff on molecular mimicry done in the late 1990’s that explains the mechanism so google it. Basically viruses trigger an autoimmune response (antibodies) that target a specific organ whose amino acid sequence resembles the virus’s. And particular foods with the same amino acid sequence then aggravate the antibody attack as well because they have the same amino acid sequence. Unbelievable but true! So in my case some virus – influenza probably – rarked things up and the thyroid got targeted and wheat aggravates it. For MS people it can be wheat, dairy and beans. ?EBV, ?rotavirus being the possible troublemakers. New Zealand scientists discovered juvenile development of type I diabetes after immunisation – I think it was polio. Certainly there are studies recommending that siblings of these children should not be immunised.

        • Karl Baba says

          I’d like anyone to point me at one scientific study that demonstrates molecular mimicry relating to Hashimoto’s. I looked in vain. It appears some speculation (which might someday be proved true) has gone around and now everyone in quoting the information but no real evidence at all exists at this time. Please prove me wrong, as I’m fascinated.

  129. Khendra says

    I have both type 1 diabetes (diagnosed at age 10½ in 1995) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (officially diagnosed in 2010, though I showed occasional hypothyroid test results as early as my teenage years). My Hashimoto’s is not currently at the level where my endocrinologist has advised me to take any medication like Synthroid yet, but I wonder how much of the time I am truly hypothyroid and how much of an effect this has on my brain and body response. I don’t seem to consistently have the energy that other twentysomethings have – I became more withdrawn in my teenage years, and that pattern has continued throughout my adult years. I have enough energy to exercise vigorously 2-3x a week and do well in school, but when I have to perform at even higher levels – like student teaching, or any other arena where multi-tasking rapidly is required (receptionist work, paralegal work, etc.), I lock up and get terrible brain fog, inflexibility, etc. Colleagues are constantly puzzled by this because they of course have no such difficulties coping, and so they assume I’m lazy or weird or whatever. I started selenium supplementation today, but I’ve never seriously considered giving up gluten completely despite reading stuff like this. I take it that gluten intolerance could possibly explain my troubles, but how does one go totally gluten-free? The stuff seems everywhere in the modern diet.

    • Robert says


      Without my repeating myself to the consternation of all here, would you please consider reviewing my posts above, for the relevant links I pasted, namely, to the book, Primal Body, Primal Mind, by Nora T. Gedgaudas, and to the interview of the author on Coast to Coast AM?

  130. Teresa Shepherd says

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s [with Graves’ antibodies too] last year. I read everything I could and went gluten, dairy and sugar free. I started with kombucha, kefir, and home-made probiotic yoghurt fermented for 24 hours to rid the lactose. I also took probiotic pearls as I read that these deliver the flora to the intestines intact – there seems some doubt that they will survive the acid in the stomach so I wanted to make sure they got there. I also took milk thistle to help detox, siberian ginseng, echinacea and rhodiola rosea. Oh, I went Paleo too, organic; coconut oil and flour, butter, no veg oil save for a little olive in dressings; plenty of salmon and sardines, fresh meat, grass reared and or free range as far as possible, no potatoes etc etc. Voila; my blood results returned to normal within 4 months. I still don’t feel QUITE right [lacking energy, sleep better but odd sleepless night, little resistance to stress] but am much better than I was. Antibodies were negligible too, last test. Another blood test next week and will report back if any different.

  131. Jessica says

    I was diagnosed with Hashimotos 5 years ago and have been on levothyroxine ever since. Over the last year I have developed chronic fatigue, new persistent daily headache, fibromyalgia, anemia, vit d deficiency and hypoglycemia. It’s been a rough year. All with normal hormone levels. My antibody levels are just under 1,000. I tested negative for celiac and gluten intolerance. I’ve had CT, MRi, MRV, sleep studies & a battery of blood tests, all apparently normal (aside from low iron & vit d).
    After reading this article I intend to go gluten free & hope it helps relieve some of my symptoms. I have also read that soy and dairy are foods that should be avoided for Hashi’s patients and am wondering what your thoughts are on this?
    I’m hoping that cutting out gluten is enough, I am already a pescatarian (fish is the only meat I eat) for moral reasons I feel strongly about, so I am trying not to limit myself too much more if possible. You can imagine having chronic fatigue & hypoglycemia make special diets a bit of a challenge but I think cutting out gluten sounds worth it. Let me know if you think it would be worthwhile to cut out soy or dairy as well.
    Thank you, Jessica

    • Courtney says

      Since you eat only fish, you might want to get your mercury checked. There is a correlation between mercury poisoning and thyroid disfunction. From what I’ve read, a low constant amount will cause it to be hypo where a high amount of mercury will cause it to be hyper such as graves. If you do have high mercury, you’ll need chelation.

  132. j elaine says

    Ive been dealing with a thyriod condition for over 8 years and almost 2years ive been experincing aches and pain in my neck and shoulder which maybe a wasting syndrome that extremely is bothersome emotionally hurts my feelings . Can you please help me ease my pain I think the articles you’ve posted makes alot of sense to me.

  133. Jessica Ross says

    Hi 😉 I have hashimotos for the last 10 years now and have recently been advised by my dr that I must cut gluten from my diet. I am a little overwhelmed by the information out there. Do I treat this like a severe allergy and worry about cross contamination etc ? Also I am scheduled to start a new job april 1 managing a pizza place – is the flour in the air something to worry about too? I am so stressed and confused – please help!!!

  134. Robert says

    Hi, Everyone…

    The last series of posts–esp. those of the Doctor–have been very helpful in starting a new perspective to this page–a bit more hard and fast test histories and symptom diaries would go a long way toward making sense of the pathology ambiguity surrounding, what could be, one of the most profound disease patterns or sets of our time.

    Liz mentioned (as has the Doctor, of course) that the gluten allergenic reaction and the gluten autoimmune response are two different things. (I will reference a great Wikipedia article–that, no doubt, others here have already found–that explains some of this: .) What I have a hard time separating are issues (such as) can one have both a sensitivity (which can be precursor to celiac disease?) and an allergenic response to gluten? If one is gluten free for an extended period of time (and is, say, an autoimmune candidate) will a single slice of bread begin the autoimmune path all over gain; i.e., does any level of antibody directed to a particular target completely reinvigorate the autoimmune reaction path so that all progress is lost? (The Doctor indicated that it was not an “80/20″ thing.) How long does it take to quell the various gluten-inspired antibodies once they are activated? Do antibodies such as these ever truly disappear, go “dormant”, or dissipate to a degree that one could be deemed to possess a margin of resistance against them generating again? I’ll tell you that I don’t have a clue to any of this.

    I also have not been able to discern, anywhere, a timeline for recovery of some of the typical symptoms from hypothyroidism to dermatitis (one site stated that, w/ a particular drug and w/ a gluten-free diet, the prognosis was serious relief after 1 – 3 years). I can throw in my bit here and state that, after about six months of a gluten-free effort (a pretty good attempt w/ a couple of slips during the holidays) my body temp. is approx. (at least) one-degree higher (now perfectly normal) and my heart rate has jumped 10 – 15 beats per min. That is just for starters, as all kinds of little things have improved to make me feel reborn (a bit).

    Thanks for everyone’s efforts… R.

  135. says

    I have been gradually going gluten free and am pretty well compliant with it now. My antiTPO dropped from in the 800’s to 63 over this time. I have subclinical auto-immune thyroiditis. At the same time, the TSH dropped from 10 to just over 3. Having magnesium and 3 brazil nuts/day may have helped too.

    • Liz says

      Hi Honora,
      Thanks for posting your results. It is inspiring stories like yours that got me to cut out gluten and hope that it’s possible to control hashi’s. May I ask if you have also been able to decrease your dose of thyroid meds, if you were taking them previously and how you have been feeling as your antibodies and tsh drops. Also, did you get tested anywhere for gluten intolerance and if so what were the results? Thanks so much and I’m so happy for you that you’ve had such great results!

      • Robert says


        I am w/ Liz on this one… Could you also please post–for the benefit of all who read here–what “anti-TPO” is and what it indicates, as well as the approximate goal of your efforts (within the anti-TPO signature levels) and how long it took you to achieve your current levels?

        I am completely in the dark about gluten antibodies, their persistence within the body, and what dietary relapse (or accident) does to these levels. This would be a v. good topic to discuss. This would be especially true for those of us w/o medical coverage.

        In short, I believe anyone who reads this page would be very thankful for you (or anyone) contributing something along these lines.

        Thanks so much, R.

        • Chris Kresser says

          TPO stands for thyroperoxidase, an enzyme involved in thyroid hormone production. If you have anti-TPO antibodies, that means your immune system is attacking your thyroid. That is autoimmune thyroid disease. It is most often Hashimoto’s, but it could be Graves’ or Ord’s as well.

            • says

              Thanks, Liz and Robert. Well, my AITD is sub-clinical which means I think that I didn’t have any signs or symptoms (clinically euthyroid) though I do have a bit of a goitre as the ol’ thyroid tries to compensate for its poor effectiveness at producing T4 and T3. Weirdly enough, my reflexes are exaggerated and I’ve been more jumpy for quite a few years. I haven’t asked an expert why that would be so but I assume I simply don’t have hypothyroid symptoms because so far the T4 and T3 are in the normal range. I think the optimum is in the upper third of the range but my Total T4 is at the lower third (80nmol/L in the range for 55-140 but up from 70) and the Total T3 is 2.44 up from 1.89 (normal range 1.2-2.8 nmol/L) so that’s in the upper third which is great.

              The doctors say that if my TSH gets up to 10, then I’ll need to be commenced on Thyroxin. To be at the mercy of a prescriber doesn’t sound like a good idea to me as I’m constantly reading of the dissatisfaction and misery this causes so many patients. Even getting my desired dose of Vitamin D3 was a struggle, first entailing changing my doctor and then 4 phonecalls. And this was despite having my Vit D3 levels measured 5 times in the last couple of years showing the pathetic rise on the usually prescribed dose.

              I had the Enterolab gluten sensitivity on feces which also included anti-casein IgA testing and gene pane done by the American Red Cross. It was all normal except I had HLA DQ 2,1 (subtype 2,5) which indicated a predisposition to gluten sensitivity. Not surprising with my mainly Irish and Scottish descent. A recent anti Tissue Transglutaminase was negative as expected as coeliac enteropathy (gut damage) is a different disease process to gluten intolerance.

              Basically, if my sister hadn’t spotted the ‘small, diffuse goitre”, I wouldn’t know that the TSH was up and I had positive thyroid antibodies (subclinical hypothyroidism). I wasn’t really eligible to see a thyroid specialist but I wangled it as they run the clinic a few metres from my workplace and they discharged me after a single consultation. I’m due to get more TFT’s and thyroid antibodies in March so will see how things go.

              • Liz says

                Hi Honora,

                Thanks so much for following up! Funny, I’ve been jumpy too and never connected it to any of my other symptoms….my main symptoms are fatigue and anxiety and I just assumed that the jumpiness was just part of the anxiety and didn’t see it as a separate symptom. I wonder if anyone else has that?

                I find that really interesting that your enterolab tests came back normal….including not having antibodies to gluten (just the gene predisposition) and yet the gluten-free diet seems to be working so well! I was going to get tested and I thought that if I had no antibodies to gluten then it meant going gluten-free couldn’t be the solution. So another curve ball. Your story has been incredibly eye-opening, I can’t thank you enough for posting, now I am going to continue going gluten-free regardless of what the tests show.

                I hope your antibodies and tsh levels continue to improve and I hope you post again in March!

                • Stacy in San Diego says

                  From what I have read, most “gluten antibody” blood tests only test for two specific proteins:

                  Gliadin-Transglutaminase IgG
                  Gliadin-Transglutaminase IgA

                  Cyrex Labs Wheat/Gluten Array tests for 22 other wheat/gluten proteins which may be the culprit.

                  Of the two above, only one was out of range for me.

                  Gliadin-Transglutaminase IgG: 2.52 (Ref Range: 0.4 – 1.6)
                  Gliadin-Transglutaminase IgA: 1.0 (Ref Range: 0.6 – 1.6)

                  With only two tests and a partial picture, a typical doctor might say that I’m not gluten intolerant.

                  However, with a fuller picture of the other 22 proteins, they would clearly see that I am above range for 18 of the 24 tested proteins – sometimes double and triple the top end of the reference range.

                  Get the full picture!

              • Chris Kresser says

                I wouldn’t recommend waiting until your TSH gets to 10 to begin treatment with thyroid hormone replacement, natural or pharmaceutical. TSH is a more sensitive indicator of thyroid hormone status, because it will respond to changes in cellular receptor sensitivity and transcription whereas T4 and T3 levels may not.

                • Lucinda says

                  Maybe Honora lives in the UK? I wonder this because, when I lived in the UK, I was told by my GP that even though my TSH was well above the American limits (such that, in the US, medical treatment for hypothyroidism would have been started right away for me, given my test results), that in the UK they wouldn’t start any medical treatment until my TSH got to 10, and that I just had to tolerate all my symptoms and have my health get worse and worse over the years before they would do anything.

                  However, I think that in recent years in the UK they’ve lowered the lab result cut-off number down from 10 (though it is still not as low as the American one; I think it might be 5 now, but I’m not certain), so Honora might want to check into what the current NHS guidelines are. If she qualifies for medication under them, she can then either present the NHS information to her doctor, or switch to another NHS GP (which is not a big bureaucratic process anymore – and you do not have to provide your reason for changing).

                  [If she doesn’t live in the UK, nevermind!]

                • Honora says

                  I’m in New Zealand. I’m now seeing a doctor recommended for thyroid management who prescribes WTE. We’re just trying a few things before we start on the WTE.

          • Stacy in San Diego says

            Just for comparison, as a 20 year Hashi’s patient, my labs which were run on 12/15/2011 had the following results (which were alarming. You’d think my immune system would have given up by now!)

            antiTPO: 1251 (Ref Range: 0 – 34)
            antiThyroglobulin: 2966 (Ref Range: 0 – 40)
            Vitamin D: 19.3 (Ref Range: 30 – 100)
            Free T4: 0.97 (Ref Range: 0.82 – 1.77)
            Free T3: 2.0 (Ref Range: 2.0 – 4.4)

            I’ve been grain-free for just about a month now. I retest my thyroid levels in another month, and my antibodies in 6 months. I’m very interested to see the results!

            • Liz says

              Sorry to hear your results are so alarming! I hope the grain -free diet works! Please let us all know how your thyroid and antibody levels respond after the grain-free diet. There are so few scientific studies tracking the progress of antibodies and symptoms of non-celiac people with other auto-immune diseases, and thyroid levels with thyroid autoimmune diseases,that it would be really great to start a place where we can do that.


              Maybe you could start a page where people going gluten or grain-free could show their results (improvement of symptoms, antibody levels, tsh and other thyroid indicators)? This could become a powerful tool to get more doctors to look into the gluten connection with their patients and convince other patients to give it a try! It’s not the same as a controlled study, but it could be very interesting!

            • Chris Kresser says

              Stacy: you’re antibodies are quite high and your T4 and T3 are on the very bottom of the range. This suggests the autoimmune process is still very active, and not under control. I’d recommend focusing your attention there. Best,

            • Liz says


              Thanks for adding in your results from the two labs…you actually answered a question that has been on my mind. I wanted to know if either test would catch a gluten intolerance or if I had to do both. It looks like both tests showed a gluten intolerance (even though your enterolab results only had one of the two out of range, I think that it is still significant), but the cyrex results make the gluten intolerance even more obvious. I as worried that the cyrex tests werent as sensitive since they aren’t stool tests, but from your results it sounds like that isnt a problem.

  136. Liz says

    First of all thank for the information on your website, I have read quite a few of your articles with great interest and have already started on a completely gluten-free diet after my recent diagnosis of hashi’s. I am trying to understand the gluten-AITD connection and there is one thing that I still don’t understand. You wrote “These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue.” Initially I understood that as meaning that the same antibodies that my body is making against gluten are also going to work against my thyroid, but thinking back to my blood test, they are clearly two different antibodies. This article you linked to confirms that, with the celiac patients’ gluten antibodies going down with a gluten free diet, but not their thyroid antibodies. If this is the case, why would eliminating gluten help control hashi’s? I understand it cannot be cured, but my understanding was that by decreasing the body’s production of thyroid anti-bodies the destruction of the thyroid could be slowed down or stop, allowing decrease in hormone replacement for some patients and an improvement in symptoms. If the antibodies don’t go down with gluten removal, how is any of this possible? By the way I understand that if the Th2 system is severely depressed, the system will not produced much antibodies at all, but I assume that happens at a very progressed stage of the disease, is that correct? For people that are still only slightly hypothyroid and at an early stage of the disease, shouldn’t a control of hashi’s be able to be measured with a decrease in thyroid antibodies? And if so, if a gluten free diet doesn’t decrease those antibodies, then doesn’t that mean going g/f won’t help? I really hope that there is a way to control hashi’s, so much so that I have already gone completely gluten free in a matter of days after getting my diagnosis and researching like mad, but these questions are now making me wonder…by the way I’m completely sold on gluten not being any good for anyone in general, I just want to understand how it can control hadhi’s better.

    Thank you in advance for your response!

    • Ginny says

      If I understand him correctly:
      * the body reacts to gluten metabolites, and makes antibodies to attack this invader
      * the antibodies against gluten metabolites also attack the thyroid (and sometimes other tissues, as well!)
      * the immune system puts the thyroid (or muscle membranes, or guts) on its enemies list
      * if you keep eating gluten, the problem continues to accelerate, like an avalanche
      * If you stop eating gluten, you stop the first step in the cascade. You may not halt the whole avalanche. The immune system may still react to the thyroid (or whatever) as if it were the enemy, and keep producing antibodies to attack it. But even if it does, it won’t attack as energetically as it would if you continued to eat gluten.

      • Liz says

        Hi Ginny,
        Thanks for your response. I’ve been really looking for a mechanism that would explain the gluten-thyroid connection. The chain of events you wrote all makes sense to me, except for the second point, which for me is that missing link in the gluten-thyroid connection that I’ve been trying to understand. The part that I still feel is unexplained is this: the antibodies against gluten (antigliadin and others) aren’t the same antibodies as thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies. I’m not a biologist, but from what I understand, the fact that we can measure the levels of each of these anti-bodies separately tells me that they are different molecules that are produced independantly. So when a person produces antibodies against gluten or one of it’s metabolites, going on a gluten-free diet lowers the production of those anti-bodies. The big question is how does that affect the levels of thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies? Maybe there is some link, but I just can’t find any explanation. One thought I had was that maybe the presence of gluten just irritates the immune system of a gluten intolerant person in general and then the immune system just overreacts to other things and depending on the person attacks random other tissue as well. So by removing gluten the irritant, it allows the immune system to calm down in general. Any ideas?

  137. Lisa says

    I have an 18 yr old daughter who has been suffering from terrible migraines for the past couple of years. Other symptoms have included: cramping in legs, nausea, dizziness, struggles to lose weight, insomnia, irregular cycles, and I can’t remember the rest offhand. She is never without pain from a headache! They’ve tested her thyroid and found it normal. Oh, and she was growing regularly as a child and then her height really seemed to stunt (she’s 5’2 but her growth patterns seemed to match mine exactly as a child but then stopped and I’m 5’6″).
    I’m desperate to help her. I talked to her about going gluten-free. I’m wondering if this could help her even though she has no types of thyroid dx. I have crohns (I’m in remission), one daughter has IBS and then one of my son’s is ASD. Lots of gut issues in the family as you can see. My son is GFCFSF so I’m familiar of what to remove from the diet.
    Thanks for any help!

    • Bethany says

      My daughter had migraines and going off gluten cured them. She also did not grow as tall as she might. I wish we had caught it sooner. I think it would be an excellent idea to get your daughter tested for gluten intolerance.

  138. Keri Mondragon says

    Gods I wish I had known of this connection when I was searching with everything I had to fight the graves disease that was consuming my body for 6 years before I finally gave in and let the stupid doctors have their way and radioblated it. Single biggest self betrayal of my life, but after trying everything I could find, I could not maintain the shaky normal readings I finally achieved. Had I known that bread – the staff of life – was what was killing me… It’s a bitter pill to be sure… Gluten free for 14 months now. Can’t save my thyroid, but it will save the rest of me, and I can warn others.

  139. Courtney Huber says

    I’ve been taking synthroid since I was 14 and now I’m 45. Is it possible to heal my thyroid gland and not take synthroid anymore?

    • Robert says


      While this is not professional advice, quit dilly-dallying and check the links, above, for Primal Body/Primal Mind AND the radio interview appearing on Coast to Coast. Don’t expect friends and family to be too sympathetic as you try to Stop the Madness.

      Be advised: this is a long road. I can tell you that two years ago I had a lowered body temperature and aggravatingly cold hands in in temperate weather. Last night I walked my white German shepherd mix in below-zero wind chill w/ no discomfort to my hands, whatsoever, in the standard glove that I had worn before. My body temperature as returned to normal–despite my dropping twenty pounds–as evidenced by nominal readings during my five blood donations within the past year.

      You must be radical and tough w/ your health–it is a type of faith to go gluten and carbohydrate free. As a bread LOVER and carbohydrate freak for over 50 years, I can tell you that it is worth the trip.

  140. Stacy in San Diego says

    I’ve had Hashis for almost 20 years now. My symptoms have been poorly managed by synthetic hormones; my PCP would just increase or decrease my Levoxyl based on what my TSH happened to be doing on the day I had my blood drawn.

    So after years of going to a traditional western doctors and endocrinologists, I finally stopped the madness and went to a naturopathic doctor.

    First thing she did was order Array 3 and Array 4 from Cyrex Labs. (

    Predictably, my antibodies for almost all of the wheat proteins were double and triple where they should have been compared to the “normal” reference ranges. (In 20 years of treatment, no doctor had ever bothered to test me for Celiacs.)

    What was even more interesting, were all of the cross-reactive foods in array 4 that I am producing antibodies for. Milk, sesame, hemp, rye, barley, buckwheat, millet, spelt, quinoa, tapioca, and spelt all showed up with a high AI response. Coffee, interestingly, was the highest of the bunch at more than twice the reference range.

    (These tests are expensive – $550 for Array 3 & 4, and likely not covered by your insurance, but it really is a great comfort just to “know.”)

    I”ve been vegan for the past 15 years, which is pretty much the worst possible diet that a Hashis/celiacs person could possibly be on. All I ate was pasta, bread, seitan (straight up wheat gluten) and soy. It makes me sick to think how much damage I have done over the years, thinking I was living a “healthy vegan lifestyle.”

    I’m on a prescribed gut-healing detox diet for the time being and trying to educate myself about where I go from here, so thanks for this community! I need to re-learn and rethink eating. It’s sort of daunting, but my health is worth it.

  141. Robert says


    About the “sugar-free” diet… Please consider checking the sources re the paleo-diet (Primal Body/Primal Mind) that I have indicated, above. More than likely your thyroid is still being hammered by the (most likely still) high-glycemic nature of your diet.

    But the gluten-free step removes a lot of the bad things…


  142. Laurie says

    Where was this info six years ago?! I’ve spent that last six years covered with chronic hives. Taking massive amounts of anti-histamines (the only thing any Dr would do for me). Last year, I didnt have a single week without hives and that was it for me. I finally figure out I was on my own figuring this out.
    Yet another Dr blamed yeast so while walking a yeast free path, I figured I should go gluten free. Well I didn’t last too long on all things yeast sugar free but I decided to stick with gluten free. After three weeks, no hives. I can report that I am still mostly hive free. I am still learning the gluten free ropes and I can’t quite figure out why working out causes hives but I’m onto that next (now I think thyroid).
    PS: I really got hive relief when I gave up coffee in conjunction with gluten (I’ve read there is a link there too).

  143. Deidre Monarres says

    Thank you for making the gluten-thyroid connection understandable! Ive been hypo/hashi for 10 years and was just told this week to go gluten free. It is so mmuch easier turning down a cookie now with this knowledge! But will take awhile to become the ingredient expert I need to be. I am really looking forward to your next article!

  144. says

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for doing your part to educate people about the effects of gluten.

    Do you have a list of cross reactive proteins that are related to wheat or gluten?

    Besides gluten, what else will trigger thyroid antibody production?

    What is the recommended dose of selenium to help inhibit thyroid antibodies?

    Is there anything else that inhibits thyroid antibodies?

    What is recommended as far as iodine supplimentation goes?

    Thank you for your help,


  145. Kathryn says

    Hey Robert , I really enjoyed your post! You should start your own blog.
    What you say about Primal Body , Primal Mind really resonates with me too. Nora Gedgaudas has written such an easy to understand and fascinating book. I congratulate you on taking charge of your health. And believe me, I just turned 53 but I notice men my age and older who have managed to stay or get into shape, because I believe almost all of us have the ability to stay in or attain a healthy state. I see hundreds of guys who pass through my workplace and the healthy looking ones do stand out. So keep up the great work and keep the rest of us motivated.
    There is a slight chance that I might be able to participate in a climb to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro in the new year, so I am trying to get into the best condition that is possible for me. I don’t know too much information on being paleo and endurance exercise. If anyone has tips, I am all ears.
    Guess we are slightly off topic! Gluten….best to eliminate it for Most people.
    Another very good book is Wheat Belly by William Davis M.D. I don’t agree with everything in his book, but nevertheless, a lot of important information the public should know about.
    Happy holidays!

    • Robert says


      I really, really don’t understand someone who wants to go after Kilimanjaro–you have got to be kidding me. Insane. (But we all admire you, actually.)

      I find that I must apologize to all the readers–esp. you and Cindy–for the (obnoxious) references to body type, something a self-respecting guy should never do. Again, I did so only because this matters to some people, though I regard the changes to weight a purely secondary issue. (But thank-you for your kind remarks and your reference to my starting a blog (and the Good Doctor here is WAY ahead of me there).

      Please have a nice Christmas–everyone here, really, have a wonderful holiday. We are all struggling to stay strong not only for ourselves but those around us whom we love.

      Merry Christmas, all!!! (And, Hey Doc–you too!)

      • Kathryn says


        Well, Kilimanjaro is not quite that to me is insane! Also it would be part of a medical research project so the whole science part is very interesting to me. May not even happen.

        Merry Christmas to you too!

  146. Robert says

    Kathy and Cindy…

    Yes, I know that we are really under the gun here w/ the holiday schedule, so quickly…

    Outside of the Bible, Ms. Gedgaudas’s book is, perhaps, the most life changing thing that I have ever read. It is not moving, of course, but from a practical life perspective it is unmatched. (Of course, Nora, herself, is relating what she has learned and complied from other sources, including sites like this and those you have referenced.)

    So, quickly… BE WARNED: if you decide to walk through this door you may experience a long and lonely ride. Since I don’t know where to start, I will dispense just a couple of recent anecdotes regarding myself and my friends.

    Primal Body was a “teacup” moment for me. (The movie “Hunt for Red October”–a definite guy flick but a classic for some campy scenes amid the tumult–contained a scene where a top Russian apparatchik (sp?) was walking his way to his office, grunting his acknowledgement to the muffled morning greetings echoing about his entrance. But one only saw his upper back and the camera panned forward w/ his progress. As he takes his seat at his desk, one only sees his large hands working his mail. He opens a note from his son-in-law, Captain Ramius, who has absconded w/ the Soviet Union’s marine Death Star, the Red October. As he reads the note, one only sees his left hand holding the note, and his right hand holding his teacup. The cup then abruptly drops from his motionless hand against the bone china saucer (w/ the characteristic note).

    Well, that is why I say that Primal Body, Primal Mind was my teacup moment. It is something that, once apprehended, changes everything, forever. (And that is true even if one “falls off the wagon” because the truth is out.) I wasted no time in conveying the outline of the concept to others (and purchased several copies as Kindle gifts for people to read on their PC screens–that option is there for everyone via “Kindle for the PC, avail. as a free download from Amazon). One of my closest friends is now taking this approach up full bore and has lost 15 lbs. in a couple of months. Btw, I am 6’1″ and was 175 last spring. I am now 152 lbs. (my fall senior high weight in ’73) and have abdominal and stomach muscles I never knew I had. My waist is 27″, but my legs and rump are still strong, and my chest is 40+!). Now, I am only relating information about weight and measurements (and who in the world cares about a guy–nobody) because I want to convey that this diet does NOT emaciate oneself, if followed correctly. (Remember the injunction–if you decide to go this route–about not consuming too much protein because one will revert to carbo-burning again.)

    (There is really way too much to discuss here…) Okay, last night a heavier friend (about whom I worry much and would be a choice candidate for this LIFESTYLE–it is not a diet; it is more akin to AA) and I were having a great time w/ a holiday meal at Bob Evans. I was trying to “Primal Body” the menu and decided upon the (surprisingly good) Cobb salad. I noticed that the last time we were there I couldn’t read the menu, at all. Well, about a month ago, I noticed that, suddenly, I could read very fine print again. I was reading labels on gluten free flour offerings from Bob’s Red Mill (purely a coincidence–and I have LIVED for bread and spent years perfecting it from home by baking it in a steam bath within a huge cast iron pot, lid on) and was astonished that I could read everything on the label. I then grabbed a bunch of other products to see if I could keep it up–I did! Primal Body has much information about cross-linked sugars and proteins in the blood called Advanced Glycation End Products or AGEs. These twisted molecules gum up the free flow of nutrients between our cells (I am butchering the description now–please refer to the book) and otherwise disrupt the flow of blood through the finer capillaries of the body–the eyes, for instance.

    So, anyway, my incredulous friend at Bob Evans was astonished as I rattled off all kinds of menu descriptions. And, you know, I don’t really want to debate things like this w/ anyone. This experience is not fabricated by me, and I gain no energy from misleading others.

    Btw, my Christmas gift (to myself) this year is an upgrade, in the form of poles, boots, and bindings, to my circa mid-eighties Rossignol (waxable) cross-country skis because I no longer have the discomfort that prevented my doing so since the early nineties.

    I could go on and on. The improvements, mostly, are subtle and slow going. But they are on-going, too.

    I shudder when I think how different things would be for me if I hadn’t turned on the radio that night…

    Merry Christmas

    (And that book couldn’t be a better gift)

  147. Cindy Moustafa says

    I’ve done a lot of work and research around Gluten Free diets, being in the field of nutrition. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed myself with hypothyroidism. I started gluten-free but would like to ask how long does it take for symptoms (especially fatigue) to alleviate a bit? I know it differs for everyone…but what signs should one look for? Also what is your research based off of? Would like to know more :)

    • Robert says


      This is purely anecdotal, but everyone giving this an honest shot must be 1) hardcore about it, and 2) give it time. Remember, a week is an eternity when making what amounts to a radical change in diet.

      Your time frame must be long term: 6 months to a year, minimum.

      But you WILL get results, esp. as pertains to the thyroid (and, perhaps, primarily because such a diet tends to be los glycemic). Please consider this VERY important work by Nora T. Gedgaudas: Primal Body, Primal Mind.

      The book has an extensive chapter on gluten-free dietary imperatives.

    • Kathryn says

      Hi Cindy,

      I have been gluten free for six months because I have Hashimoto’s. I had blood work done after the 1st month and my TSH was no better, but apparently that can fluctuate. I tend to be anemic and hypoglycemic. I have found that as long as I am getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, the fatigue is not really there. The biggest change for me is that I went almost 100 percent grain free (had a little bit of rice noodles recently) and stopped eating the really sweet fruits. I think that this is helping the blood sugar regulation and adrenal fatigue. I eat a lot of good quality fats like organic coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, fat from pastured animals that keeps me satisfied. I also eat enough good quality protein of animal sources. I no longer eat the large amount of legumes I ate in the past, but still eat a lot of vegetables (with fats). I know now how I did my body disservice when I used to succumb to the large bag or corn tortilla chips (I figured, what the heck, it’s not wheat and it’s organic)! I also take a cow’s liver supplement, ubiquinol, do glutathione therapy, vitamin b and d, probiotics amongst a few other supplements. I should have a blood test done in the next few months to find out if my glucose levels are better.

      My biggest problem is eczema, and I am thinking that I may have to eliminate dairy and eggs. I try to stay away from dairy most of the time, but have it once in awhile. I still rely on eggs every week. There is something called molecular mimicry in which the protein of one molecule resemble a protein of another – such as gluten and casein. The problem lies when the body reacts negatively to the similar proteins of different molecules. Cyrex labs has an array of tests called the
      Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity.

      I have not taken it because I am afraid to find out if I am sensitive to things like chocolate and eggs…but I really should.

      • Robert Whitmer says


        Kathryn’s comment is v. helpful, but you should know that most of what is there–including the direction re Cyrex Lab’s–is included in the book I referenced above. (I don’t know whether she arrived independently at this information, but if not the lack of attribution only reinforces how important the Gedgaudas book is. (Additionally, I have no connection, in any way, whatsoever, to Ms. Gedgaudas, her publisher,, or anything remotely tied to the subject in any commercial sense.)

        Also, here is a most informative interview w/ the author, a couple hours worth on Coast to Coast AM:

        Listening requires a monthly membership of $7.00, but even this would be worth the one shot it would cost to listen to it.

        • Cindy Moustafa says

          Hi Kathryn and Robert,

          Kathryn it sounds like you need an overall anti-inflammatory diet and congrats on taking your helth into your hands—thank you for the feedback. I have worked with patients with food sensitivities and highly recommend you getting a food sensitivity test by a nutritionist (they know how to look for things some other doctors may overlook).


          Thanks so much for your feedback it’s very appreciated. I plan on looking at the resources you’ve given me and look forward to discussing them with you. This is great of you to put this all together…it’s gaining more popularity and needs people like you giving out the right information!

        • Kathryn says

          Hey Robert,

          I love Primal Body Primal Mind, but had not read it in a few months. In fact I just started reading the book after I posted last night and read the chapter about gluten.. Her book is just amazing!
          I learned about Cyrex labs from another website, and I attended a seminar for health care practioners regarding gluten sensitivity where Dr. Thomas O’Bryan talked about Cyrex labs. The doctor I consider brilliant is Dr. Datis Kharrazian who wrote :

          “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms” . I have learned so much from his book and website, and first found out about the gluten connection to autoimmune diseases a couple of years back. However, I didn’t know that it was a complete elimination of gluten, not most of the time of gluten free to allow healing to begin. I kept thinking that a little was ok once in awhile.

          I’ve started downloading podcasts of Ms. Gedgaudas’s talks on the net and listen on my drives. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of the car!

  148. George says

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for an excellent site!
    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a little over two years ago, and have been struggling to get to terms with it.

    I didn’t know about the gluten-thyroid link until I read about it here. So about a week ago, I started on a gluten free diet, and it feels like my body almost immediately started responding positively. More energy, less constipation etc etc. And yesterday(about five days gluten free) I was feeling much better than I have in a very long time.

    However, today I feel weak and tired again and constipation is back aswell. Feels almost like when I started on thyroid replacement and the dosage was to high for the adrenals to handle.

    So I was wondering; could it be that thyroid levels have already risen, thanks to the gluten-fre diet, and that they are now too high – leaving the adrenal struggling..? Could this really happen this soon in to being gluten-free..??

    Would very much appreciate a response.

    Thanks again for a wonderful site!

    best regards

  149. heather says

    Extremely interesting article.
    My husband was diagnosed with diabetes(type 1) about 4 years ago at age 30. Then shortly after with “a thyroid disorder” still trying to find out what that means. Is there a difference between hypothyroidism and Auto Immune Thyroid disorders? If so how do you tell? I just think that it is extremely strange how you can suddenly develop two different autoimmune conditions later in life. Also, a week or so ago, the doctor told him he was extremely anemic. I have a hunch that it possibly may be linked to gluten. My husband thinks I am crazy, and he is just an unlucky guy. Anyway, he doesn’t really ask the doctors too many questions. So I would like to tell him what to ask. I can’t go to his appointments with him right now because I am on deployment. My question is what kind of tests should be administered to see what type of thyroid condition he has? Also, as far as the gluten thing goes should he be tested for celiac disease or a gluten intolerance? Is it possible all of these health problems that he has could be the result of years of eating gluten?

  150. Eileen Foley says

    I have a 9 1/2 year old son who has autism and significant cognitive delay. His diagnosis of cognitive issues came early, 13 mo, but an autism diagnosis at 4. He was an extremely thin child, very active and usually under weight until the age of 6. At six he began to gain weight, as well as height at a rapid pace. His weight gain was rapid and then began to having significant edema in hands and legs and began to have a redness to his skin.. We followed up with a pediatrician who did a full blood and kidney workup with no avail. He met with a cardiologist to confirm that his heart was not enlarged or not functioning to explain the swelling. The weight continued to rise and at 7 we met with an endocrinologist who did further testing. His finding included advanced bone age, he ruled out precosious puberty, and identified that he had boderline hypothyrodism. He started a daily dose of levothyroxin and told us to watch his activity level and diet. A year later, the weight was still increasing and the thyroid levels were still boderline and his levothyroxin dose was doubled. We just met recently with endocrinologist who has now given him a diagnosis of Obesity and has referred us to a dietician. I have been a proactive parent is addressing diet and exercise in our family. We allow no fast food, no soda, limited juice and milk. He eats whole grain cereals, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, low fat meats and limited sweets. He still has a redness to his skin at all times, swelling and digestive issues (though those are common with autism) He frequently has hot, red rashes around his torso and boil like pimples on his legs and arms. His activity level is non-stop and we also do many family activities to keep him moving.
    Out of ideas and frustrated I mentioned to our chiropractor that I was confused on how a kid who eats a steady diet of healthy food and spends little time on the couch is obese. He mentioned looking into “Leaky Gut Syndrome” and said that it can put the body into starvation mode which encourages over-eating and little nutritional benefit from the food.
    I have a sister diagnosed with celiac. My son has been test for celiac several years ago and the test came back negative. Reading your article raises more questions on the tie to gluten intolerance/sensitivity and thyroid disfunction for him. Do you have any suggestions for our family? I am extremely concerned for his health and I feel like I am gaining little from our extensive list of physicians. He has so many challenges to deal with already, I cant add exessive weight and physical issues that will result from it (as well as other health issues) Thanks for your input!

    • Kathryn says

      Hello Eileen,

      I read the description about your son and immediately felt heartache for him and your family. I have an adult son who never had the severe symptoms that your son has, but nevertheless has issues on the autistic spectrum and things have been difficult. Due to my own hypothyroidism, I have been urging him to stop eating gluten, as I have read many times that gluten affects the brain. After about six months, he finally agreed to try this week, and he wants to know how to navigate food selections when out with his friends who all eat the standard American diet. This is a huge step for him, but he is still eating dairy products which often may be just as damaging to many individuals.

      I really wish I had known more information when my son was younger. I only found out about gluten and thyroid connection in the last two years after reading a book by Dr.Kharrazian called “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms”. It is an excellent book and many holistic minded doctors have been trained by Dr. K. I would encourage you to read the following link:

      When my children were young, I fed them what I thought was a “healthy diet”. Those were the days before the internet, and I didn’t even know that many excellent books existed that would have told me that children need the right kind of fat and cholesterol for their brains. Instead I gave my children lowfat milk and cheese, lean cuts of meat, unfermented soy products (not good for the thyroid) and tried to convince them that whole wheat was superior. I had no idea that whole grains and beans needed a lot of soaking time to deactivate phytic acid in them. The phytic acid makes it difficult to absorb nutrients in the foods. I am sure that the bread and canned beans I bought were not soaked sufficiently to deactivate the phytic acid. I had no idea that organ meats were prized in many traditional societies for their health giving properties. I just thought organ meats were disgusting. To think about it now, I ate the same way when I was pregnant. My oldest is relatively healthy, but younger two needed glasses and both have/had health issues. We now eat lots of organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil, butter from grass fed cow milk, some olive oil
      and we usually only buy grass fed beef/lamb. Chicken and eggs are as much as possible from pastured sources, and we try only to buy organic produce when possible. We try to eat several servings of wild caught fish each week, and I make bone broth from meat/fish bones for the minerals and to promote gut healing. When we do buy milk, it is as much as possible whole raw milk that is so creamy and delicious. I know many people worry about possible contamination, but we researched our source and have every confidence that our dairy farmer uses best sanitary practices.

      It can be expensive to eat this way when compared to the cheap meats/fish from large corporate owned agribusinesses. But we don’t buy all sorts of processed and packaged foods, nor do we eat out much. I would rather know I am putting better quality food for my family to eat and put off purchasing something else. It is better for the environment as well, which ultimately affects our health.

      A great source of information for eating better and learning about health for me has been the
      Weston A. Price Foundation. Do you know about the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) ?The following link will take you to an article written by Dr. McBride who started the GAPS diet. The article is in the Weston A. Price site.

      Finally, please read the article by Dr. Peter Osborne, who has studied gluten and health issues extensively. Even if your son’s celiac test came back negative, there is a good chance he may have gluten sensitivity. There is a genetic test that can confirm that in the majority of people who are sensitive. However, it would be probably be worth getting your son and your family off of gluten.
      Here’s the link:

      I know how daunting and scary it is to have to change so much. It is better just to do it as a family instead of trying to change for one person. Also, I would encourage you not to rely on the packaged, processed gluten free products. Most of them will spike blood sugar levels very high.

      I don’t have all the answers, but you do have a lot of support. There are a lot of parents trying to do the best for their kids and are constantly searching for answers. Please keep us posted.

      My very best to your son!

    • Misty says

      Your son needs to be gluten free. He has autism, hypothyroid, digestive issues, AND dermatitis herpetiformis. These are all Celiac related.. Not to mention you have a family history.. Remove gluten ASAP! Celiac tests are not always accurate.. In fact, I would say they are inaccurate most of the time. I would look into all the autism diets such as GFCF (and soy free) and/or GAPS and/or SCD. Many people start out with GFCF, see tremendous improvements, but want further healing (of the gut) so they move on to GAPS and/or SCD. GFCF would be the easiest to start with. Some kids have to go soy free too. Definitely don’t turn to soy to fill the gluten/dairy void no matter what. It’s all GMO these days. And don’t beat yourself up about this.. My kids were 11, 8, 6, & 3 before I realized we had a massive problem with gluten. They were diagnosed with everything under the sun, but tested negative for Celiac. Two years later after going gluten free, they have lost most of their diagnoses and are doing FABULOUS. My youngest is now recovered from autism. Mainstream medicine is failing our children, but we don’t have to. Be your child’s expert because no one else will be.

  151. mike miller says

    I have started the paleo program, and am wondering if eating dates and sweet potatoes is off limits. sugar is my downfall,and I seem to need some sweets in my program. Thanks Mike

  152. Alicia says

    Earlier this summer I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I had the bullseye rash for two short days. Thankfully, I had taken a picture to show my doctor so I could be properly diagnosed. I did one round of the doxycycline, which was miserable but necessary. After a couple of months I was still exhausted and my joints still hurt. I went back to the doctor, begging for answers. I was tested for everything. The result came back, and my TSH levels were extraordinarily high. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. All consulting doctors believe the Lyme virus attacked my thyroid. Does this mean I have autoimmune thyroid disease? My doctor didn’t mention any change of diet. He simply said I had to take levothyroxine for the rest of my life, along with regular testing to ensure the dosage is correct. He did say I could gain weight more easily. Should I be concerned with cutting gluten out of my diet? Thanks in advance for your input on this. It’s all so new to me. I was only diagnosed with hypothyroidism two months ago.

    Thanks again,

  153. Jade says

    Very interesting article. I have just been diagnosed with Graves disease (in the last 4 days). I had one doctor tell me to eliminate gluten, another tell me to go gluten free and another tell me to not change my diet at all. To be honest I am totally and utterly confused. Will going gluten free help my Graves and who should I listen to?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Yes, gluten should be eliminated especially in cases of autoimmune disease, because it is an inflammatory protein. But you need to take additional steps to address your immune system.

      • says

        Hi Chris,
        Thanks for the reply. I am also taking Neo-mercazole (carbinazole) tablets, 5 mg, 3 times a day and zinc tablets.
        When I was looking for gluten free products in my supermarket, I found gluten free spagetti (gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, yeast, soy free) and also gluten free toasted corn crispbread (same things free). What are your thought on these products in relation to Graves? (We don’t have alot of variety in Gluten free products in Australia)
        I had one doctor tell me not to eat any gluten free products for my Graves as they didn’t work. He wan’t to put me on a pure lean red mean (unseasoned), eggs, chicken breast, apples and oranges. He said that that would be my diet for the rest of my life. No normal human can live on such a bland diet.
        Thanks again for your time.

        • Nic says

          Hi Jade,

          I am also in Australia and was diagnosed with Graves 6 years ago and have been on and off Neomercazole since then. I trusted that my endocrinologist knew best and sat back waiting for it to take it’s course and burn out. I was advised after my first (and second and third !) relapse that I should have radio-active iodine treatment. I laughed and asked the Dr if they were still researching it as it sounded archaic! Thankfully I didn’t have it done as since this time, there has been further research into the longer term problems associated with this treatment. About a year ago I read a book that first brought the gluten connection to auto-immune thyroid disease to my attention. It was like a light had gone on. Despite not having what I would call ‘symptoms’ (read: Pain) after consuming gluten, I thought I’d try it out. I have been on a bit of a health journey this year with allergy testing to confirm things and going back on gluten (negative results), then eliminating gluten again after reading some more books. I have now been off gluten for almost 3 months and am starting to notice that I really did have symptoms after all (a recent trip to a restaurant where ingredients were not identified gave me instant reactions). I am becoming more attuned to my body’s reactions to things. I have read so many conflicting opinions and had different drs tell me different things, I have decided to listen to my body and keep researching. After eliminating gluten and dairy, I had a month or so of feeling just awful; think it was a bit of a detox. I now feel much better generally – more energy, much calmer, happier etc. I would recommend you shop around for GF products – different Coles or Woolies have different ranges, so try all the ones in your area. Also look things up on the internet – many companies sell online and will deliver GF products. Alternatively, don’t look for a GF replacement, look at meals that are naturally GF – stir fries, meat with salad and vegies etc You’ll find after a while (and it can be a bit of a rollercoaster) that you don’t crave or even miss gluten based products. Best of luck!

  154. anon says

    I’ve been off wheat almost 6 months and feel a lot better. Still not clear about whether oats contain gluten or not……….. I follow the D’Adamo blood type diet, am a type O.

  155. Charlotta in Sweden says

    Bethany, being gluten intolerant since 10 years I know that there is not room for any mistakes, not even rarely. It takes the intestines upp to six months to heal after being subjected to gluten, so one mistake every six months is enough for your daughters body to experience a non-gluten free diet. Maybe this can be what’s happening? As far as I know, nothing else than gluten in her diet can cause that test result.

  156. Bethany Sponseller says

    My daughter has been gluten free for two years. We are very careful to avoid cross contamination. She has her own toaster, butter, peanut butter, etc. The whole family eats gluten free dinners 80% of the time. When we have burgers, she uses Udi’s buns. Again, we do not cross-contaminate. We are so careful. She just had a blood panel done for anti-bodies. Since she has had virtually no gluten in two years (some mistakes have been made – but rarely) we expected the anti-bodies to be non-existant. However, her test results showed that she eats gluten regularly. She does not! If she did, we all would know. It causes pain and changes her personality. What else could cause this?

    • Kathryn says

      Bethany, from all the research I have been doing, all grains contain some form of gluten. It was a very difficult realization for me to know that to get well I would have to even give up my favorite comfort food, rice. The challenge comes in staying away from the gluten as it is ubiquitous. Supplements often contain rice in some form as a filler. It is true, the best thing to do is to not eat anything processed. When you go out, you have to consider what goes into things like soup, dressings, sauces. It is a daunting task. Good luck!

      • Chris Kresser says

        Kathryn: rice does not contain gluten. I’m not sure what research you’re referring to, but I’d like to see it.

        • Kathryn says

          I would be so so happy if I could still eat rice, but thought that going grain free might make me heal faster from the Hashimoto’s related hypothyroidism (recent TSH was 13), anemia, hypoglycemia, eczema, and adrenal fatigue.
          I based my comment on rice having gluten because apparently although a very low amount, rice has a prolamine called orzenine, and prolamine is a subfraction of gluten. Corn has a much higher amount of prolamin called zein. Perhaps there is not enough research in this area because rice is not known sensitivities. I am getting this information from:

          There was one study mentioned in the above tutorial video that was on rice sensitivity:

          I am really interested in learning as much as possible, so I am anxious to hear your opinion. And I am dying to eat sushi! Love your site!

        • Honora says

          My understanding is that most grains contain gluten e.g. corn and oats and even the non-grain buckwheat does. Each of these glutens has its own name as mentioned above in Kathryn’s post where examples have been given. The gluten is wheat is gliadin and I think there are other glutens in there too. We used gluten in a simplistic and inccurate umbrella manner to describe the glutens in wheat, rye and barley which actually have their own specific names. It’s a bit of baby talk really to call gliadin and the other culprits gluten when there are a multitude of glutens out there.

  157. Tiffany says

    Hi Chris, Thank you for replying to all of our comments. My mother has Graves disease and has often suspected an intolerance to gluten, suffering from severe migraines and dark circles under the eyes which I have heard can be an allergy of some sort. I am being watched by my doctor for Graves disease as my thyroid functions higher than normal . I do also have the dark circles under the eyes, depression, joint pains, very lethargic and irritable. I have also suspected an allergy to gluten which I will try eliminating to see. Do you know if a gluten allergy affects kids behavior? My 2 sons have continuously itchy skin(especially their bums), are constantly moody, explosive in temper but, also there is something they seem to eat that make them act with no eye contact, inability to focus, and extremely hyperactive behavior from there normal childlike selves. I am aware of a food dye allergy they have which we have cut out but, are you aware of symptoms with gluten like this? Thinking that it might be an allergy or intolerance in the family.

    • Lauren says

      Tiffany, that sends up some red flags to me – lack of eye contact in particular.

      There is a long but totally unscientific comment thread over at the Primal Parent ( with examples of children’s behaviour after eating dairy and grains, which may be of interest to you.

      As daunting as it seems at first, you might want to read up on the backgrounding for the GAPS diet ( and consider taking part in the 30-day intro diet challenge (no, not a weight loss thing AT ALL!) in October over at Health, Home & Happiness (

      Call me a cynic, but I have found mother’s intuition, when coupled with focussed self-education, to be far more thorough in promoting a child’s health than a test run by a doctor. By all means, if your research turns up specific questions, refer to professional help to confirm or rule out your suspicions! In the mean time, as Chris has said above, cut out grains and see if that changes anything. Good luck.

    • Henny says

      Tiffany, I am gluten intolerant and hypothyroid. I am also iron deficient. Since starting on iron supplements my itchy skin (I get ani pruritis, like your sons) has dramatically improved, as has my mood, dry/cracked skin on feet and heavy periods. I just mentioned this because I think the iron deficiency is somehow related to the gluten intolerance, but maybe an iron supplement would help your sons. (Just be warned, it can also cause constipation – I found magnesium effective in dealing with this).

  158. Caroline says

    I just wanted to say thanks – your blog (and twitter feed) is my main source of health news. I can also pretty confidently say after having been totally off gluten for 5 months that it has helped with my thyroid symptoms. I’m a Hashimoto’s currently in the ‘wait and see’ place with a TSH of 7-8, tried Levothyroxine and Euthyrox before but it made me worse. I’ve been off medication for about a year and have been having increasing problems with muscle tremors and spasms – but since I cut off gluten they’ve gone away. So I’m definitely not going back :-)

  159. Cheryl says

    I had My Thyroid removed last year because they found two hot nodules. I’ve always had a hyper thyroid but not enough for a doctor to put me on meds. This past year has been better as far as my mental state but my body has been doing some strange things. I have developed loss of pigment in my skin and my stomach hates me. I have a doctors appointment this week to see if I’m gluten intolerance and for the pigment loss. My question is, Is it possible for untreated gluten intolerance to cause cancer in the thyroid?

  160. says

    Thanks for the effort creating this blog. I saw almost girl have thyroid, is it through that only girl has the biggest possibility to attack by thyroid? Maintaining gluten – free foods would not be perfectly safe. There are lots of diseases from now on, like Celiac Disease, Hashimoto and this hypothyroidism.

  161. says

    Thanks for the effort creating this blog. I saw almost girl have thyroid, is it through that only girl has the biggest possibility to attack by thyroid? Maintaining gluten – free foods would not be perfectly safe. There are lots of diseases from now on, like Celiac Disease, Hashimoto and this hypothyroidism.

  162. Eris de Suzerain says

    I must add that two of the studies you referenced indicated a 3-5% rate of celiac in those with autoimmune thyroid diseases – hardly compelling.

  163. Eris de Suzerain says

    I read the information in the studies you referenced. Of those, only one indicated an unusually high prevelance of celiac in Graves and Hashimoto sufferers. The last referenced the high level of thyroid disease in celiac sufferers, not the high rate of celiac in thyroid disease sufferers. The overwhelming consensus seems to be that those who have celiac should be monitored for autoimmune thyroid conditions – not vice versa. Granted, getting tested is easy, and might as well – but the leaping to the conclusion that there is a strong correlation based on these studies is a bit much and makes me skeptical.

  164. Liza says

    thanks for the great info! I was  diagnosed  6 weeks ago w/ gluten, dairy and corn intolerance/allergies, low Vit D, hypothyroid, overactive adrenals, and low protein levels. I’ve been gluten and dairy free since the diagnosis, and mostly corn free except where corn by-products occasionally slip in (e.g. dextrose.), and am on thyroid supplements. I feel better than i have in years!  lots more energy, skin rashes are clearing up, depression is lifting.    I loved reading your posts about the interrelationship of these conditions– i was wondering if there was a link.
    And i’m curious about the grain connection.  I’m a botanist, and know that most of the common grains (all?) (rice, millet, wheat, ancient wheats, corn, teff, etc.) are all fruit (seeds) of  plants that are botanically grasses, and are more broadly classified as monocots –a group of plants that includes lilies, orchids and grasses.  Buckwheat is in a completely different classification–it’s a dicot, or broad-leaved plant.  Is it something about monocots that makes them harder to digest or more likely to cause an immune response?  i’m thinking about other plants that we eat, and almost everything I can think of is a dicot. (coconut being another exception–it’s a monocot–as is ginger, lemongrass, and turmeric.) Just curious as to whether you have any thoughts on this, or know of any research about it.
    Anyway, i’ll definitely be sharing links to your site with friends and family members.  thanks for the great articles and detective work with putting all this together.

    • Chris Kresser says

      I think buckwheat is well-tolerated in most people. I eat it myself, usually in the form of buckwheat crepes (recipe). I’m not aware of any specific research suggesting dicots are better absorbed than monocots. Please let me know if you find any!

  165. says

    Great Article!  I was diagnosed with hypothyroid 18 months ago.  I have lots of joint pain/muscle aches.  That has been my biggest symptom (I have obvious ones too) & docs keep looking at me like I have 10 eyes.  The symptoms come & go & I can’t seem to regulate my thyroid (even when I stay on the same dose for a long time).  I’m wondering if something else is making my thyroid fluctuate (ie. gluten) & I know that the joint pain / muscle aches are common in gluten sensitivity.  I was tested for celiac & it came back negative.  I took an immuno blood lab test & wheat was a +1.  So, I’m wondering if I really do have it & whether it’s worth going off gluten for 6 months.  Any thoughts?

    • Chris Kresser says

      I suggest all people with hypothyroidism (and probably just all people in general) should be off gluten forever.

  166. says

    Excellent article and follow up conversation.
    Selenium can be measured functionally using a lymphocyte proliferation assay (spectracell labs does a good job with this).  Additionally reverse T3 can be measured as a marker for selenium deficiency as it is required to convert T4.
    Looking forward to the next article.
    All the best,

  167. says

    Thanks for your comments Chris and I’m glad to hear your suggestion about eating buckwheat. For anyone beginning a gluten-free diet, buckwheat is actually an herb (Fagopyrum esculentum ), not a grain at all. And it has some amazing nutritional properties compared to the basic line-up of gluten-free flours (rice, sorghum, millet, tapioca, cornstarch, potato starch.)
    Two substances in buckwheat are being studied (I think at Cornell?) for their positive effects on blood glucose regulation – “D-Chiro-Inosito” and “fagopyritols.”
    But I’m wondering why you don’t believe dietary goitrogens have a significant effect on thyroid dysfunction? In populations with iodine def with diets high in grains like millet, goiters and thyroid disease are epidemic. Do you mean dietary goitrogens don’t significantly affect thyroid function in populations with adequate iodine status?
    I’ll look forward to reading your article (which I hope will discuss halogens and thyroid dysfunction.) Thanks again Chris.

  168. says

    Wow. What a great discussion. I’m thrilled to have found your site Chris! I’m a gluten-free cooking writer and have had a recent email conversation with a reader about several gluten-free grains and starches (tapioca, aka. cassava root, millet, teff, sorghum and soy) which may have goitrogenic effect on the thyroid gland. I am just embarking on a search to learn more about this potential effect.
    PubMed search results for “cyanogenic glucosides in cassava, millet, sorghum” and “goitrogens in cassava, millet and sorghum” turn up little (very little, like a mouse study and old studies done in the Sahara and Nigeria, where populations consume large amounts of millet and cassava.)
    Chris, do you have insight into the potential thyroid-suppressive effects of any of the above mentioned gluten-free flours? As someone with non-celiac gluten sensivity (diagnosed through Dr. Fine’s Enterolab,) Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and casein intolerance, I am increasingly convinced to adopt a Paleo diet, avoiding gluten-free grains in the process of seeking real health.
    Thanks again for your enlightening work.

    • Chris Kresser says


      I don’t believe dietary goitrogens are significant contributors to thyroid dysfunction – although environmental goitrogens are. I will probably write about this in a future article.

      That said, as you well know there are many who believe grains aren’t a good idea because the anti-nutrients they contain. The only grain I eat these days is in the form of very occasional sourdough buckwheat crepes – and buckwheat isn’t technically a grain.

      • vibs says

        Just thought I’d add a Gluten free sprouted buckwheat and Quinoa bread (no yeast) Recipe
        >Quinoa is high in protein>
        >Sprouting the grains starts the breaking down of protective proteins making it easier to digest.
        >Sprouting and the Bi- carb of soda makes it Alkaline…which is better if there is Inflammation in the body!
        2 cups quinoa
        2 cups of buckwheat
        Put grains into bowl, wash and then put just enough water to cover and stand overnight.
        In the morning process in a food processor or I use an Oscar juicer (mincing option)
        Add a little water needed to make it thick enough that it can pile up in a hill without flopping.
        Add about 3 teaspoons of bicarb of soda ( or any raising agent you wish)
        And bake straight away in a baking paper lined bread pan, in a 180- 200 degrees oven, for 1hr and 1/2.
        Turn out of pan after 10 mins and place without paper on a wire rack, let cool.

        • vibs says

          Opps forgot to mention you can add Salt, nuts and seeds…
          And In the morning the seeds will have sprouted little tails..dont sprout for much longer or it wont work!

  169. Cheryl says

    Chris- I’ve recently discovered, by accident, that gluten is creating havoc in me.  In Nat’s comments of 7/19, she states that she “knows when she’s made a mistake cuz the next day she has stomach cramps and the spots come back all over her body.”  I have these brown spots which began a few years ago, and the majority of them are under my arms and inner thigh areas.  I’ve been told that they are blood sugar related.  Can you share more about these spots?  Will they go away with correcting my food intake?  I’m very new to the GF concept, but I know this is where I need to focus.

  170. Chris Kresser says


    You bring up a great point, and I was thinking of doing a follow-up post on it.  A lot of GF products on the market are highly processed and full of junk.  Just because something is GF, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  In a future article on blood sugar and thyroid, I’ll explain why a low-carb diet free of refined carbohydrates (including refined GF carbs) is the best choice for people suffering from thyroid disorders (and everyone else, for that matter.)

  171. says

    Chris, I truly appreciate your insightful articles and your willingness to educate the public about this debilitating auto-immune disease. I have found much resistance (sometimes hostile) among certain Hashi patients who would rather call my dietary changes drastic or crazy. To some people, turning their backs on common sense certainly requires less conviction than bypassing the funnel cake stand.
    I have Hashimoto’s, and when I quit gluten this February, the antibody attacks and swelling stopped. I’ve also cut my thyroid hormone dependence by over 1/4. Now, I only get these attacks when I have a stressful situation or when I eat something that stimulates my TH2 pathways.
    For those Hashis who have tried the GF diet, just remember that eating a piece of yeasty, sugary GF cake every day can be equally as harmful to the gut. I’ve found that cow milk, soy and corn can also cause my gut to swell.
    Hashis must also remember that proper nutrition (especially avoiding processed, fried foods) and exercise is paramount in managing this disease.
    :) Tamra

  172. Mario says

    Thanks, Chris. I’m as skeptic as you, after reading a lot of positive stories on iodine group and experience the same with me and my wife (which, by the way, is a m.d.), I can’t believe that iodine could have such a deleterious effect.
    Yes, I have read your series on EFA & fish/fish oil. I was taking fish oil, but stopped and increased sea food (cod, shrimp and crab mostly). It’s so much more tastier!
    Yes, selenium is pretty amazing. It is showed to reduce thyroid antibodies ( and is low in Hashimoto patients (, this study found that hsCRP is considerably lower in persons with high serum selenium!).
    But, make no mistake. Selenium supplementation with iodine deficience is not good (
    Last thing: thank god I don’t live in USA, where bromide levels are the highest in the world. So, make no mistake, don’t underestimate bromide. It is a powerfull endocrine disruptor and iodine + selenium are protective against it (here a study not from Brownstein nor Abraham:

  173. Mario says

    Some other interestings studies about selenium and iodine:

    On your post about iodine, you cited a studies from Brazil, Sri Lanka, Turkey, China, Greece, and Azerbaijan that showed a increase in Hashimoto when iodine was added to salt. The question is: do these countries have a sufficient selenium intake?
    Greece: selenium status is one of the lowest of the Europe (
    Brazil: the study was done in Sao Paulo, city were most brazilian japanese live. Brazilian japanese have significant lower levels of Se than japanese living in Japan (
    China: Minerals as calcium, zinc, selenium, kalium and vitamins as vitamin A, B1, B2 were insufficient (

    Turkey: Selenium status of Turkish children is found to be lower than that found in the literature (
    Turkey: Turkey is one of those countries where iodine deficiency (ID) is widespread, Se levels are marginal (

    Sri Lanka: This study has shown for the first time that significant proportions of the Sri Lankan female population may be Se deficient (
    Azerbaijan: no studies found.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Excellent detective work, Mario. After my exam I’ll review these studies and revisit the topic.

      Selenium is pretty amazing. I don’t know if you saw my series on EFAs & fish/fish oil, but selenium completely protects against the effects of mercury in seafood by binding to it and creating a new compound that can’t be utilized by the body. Interesting that it may have a similar effect with iodine.

  174. Mario says

    Thanks, I had already found these papers.
    But, any comment on the study that I linked above, where a high intake of iodine did not cause a immune flare if selenium was taken together?

  175. Chris Kresser says

    Mario, this paper shows that increasing levels of Th1 IFN decrease levels of Th2 iL-4 in Hashimoto’s, and that Th1 dominance is positively correlated with disease severity.

    This paper shows a similar trend in Graves’ opthalmopathy.  As Th1 cytokines rise, Th2 cytokines fall.  Th2 cytokines are necessary for antibody production.

  176. Mario says

    I was looking for a paper that showed Th1 dominance and antibody supression on AITD, not in general. But, anyway, searching on Pubmed, I came across this interesting paper, that showed that a high iodine intake produced lymphocyte proliferation, higher NK cells activity and Th1/Th2 imbalance on mice. But in rats with high iodine + selenium there is no difference in relation with the group that did not took iodine.

  177. Mario says

    “The key is to avoid triggers (like gluten, iodine and others) that ramp up antibody production and thus increase the autoimmune response, and to regulate the immune system and bring it back into relative balance.”

    The problem that I see with Dr. K (from what I read from his book) and yours articles so far, is that they address only a small part of the problem. Gluten is a very well know problem with Hashi and many other autoimmune diseases, ok. But hardly is the only problem. What about fluoride, chloride, bromide, bisphenol-A, mercury, and the many other contaminants that are well know endocrine disruptors and all make hashimoto worse? What to do about them? Do you and/or Dr. K thinks that only avoiding gluten, eating a paleo diet and regulating our immune system are enough?

    “As I mentioned in the article, low antibody levels aren’t always a good thing, because that may indicate a severely depressed Th2 system.”

    Chris, can you provide any reference for this? Thanks!

    • Chris Kresser says


      It may be that fluoride, chloride, bromide and BPA toxicity need to be addressed in certain patients. But most practitioners (myself included) using Dr. K’s methods aren’t doing this explicitly, and are seeing dramatic results. BTW, Dr. K believes that hormone replacement is necessary in those with significant tissue destruction and persistently high TSH levels. Thyroid hormone is too important for proper physiological function to ignore. I’ll be addressing this in a future article.

      Here’s a paper showing that Th1 dominance suppresses the Th2 system and reduces Th2-mediated antibody production to near zero.

  178. Marley says

    Hi Chris,
    This is bit of the subject, but do you think there are any problems with  eating combinations of foods? ie. meat and dairy, meat and eggs etc. I have read a few things about not eating certain foods with others but havent found any scientific research to support this.
    Also, I am unable to eat fish oil as I am allergic to fish and found it gave me problems. Do you think taking ground flaxseed is a of any benefit to try and get omega 3? we have a good source of organic pasture fed beef and eggs so hopefully this will help the omega3/6 ratio.
    Thanks for all the great info! the acupuncture studies are going well- learning electroacupuncture and some TCM stuff this week

    • Chris Kresser says

      The omega-3s in meat and dairy probably aren’t enough if you have an inflammatory condition. I’d look into algae oil for DHA at least. I’m not sure if you’d be allergic to that or not, but it would be a better choice than flax.

      I don’t think there’s a problem with combining meat and dairy and meat and eggs – unless you notice there is for you. If it causes problems, it’s a sign of dysbiosis and you should investigate the cause (i.e. H. pylori, bacterial overgrowth, etc.)

  179. helen says

    Thanks for the explanation, so useful to know more. Does the gut need to be impermeable somewhere for the antibodies to interact with the thyroid? Once you have antibodies to gliadin or transglutaminase in your gut, by what mechanism can this then lead to interactions with the thyroid?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Molecular mimicry mechanisms with gliadin have been postulated for autoimmune thyroid conditions. The antibodies produced against gluten appear to stimulate B-cell production tagging of the thyroid tissue. But that doesn’t mean gluten intolerance is the sole trigger of autoimmune thyroid by any means. Your body is capable of producing antibodies to thyroid tissue without the influence of gluten.

  180. Venessa says

    Thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU! I have been trying to say what you are saying in these pages for YEARS but did have the knowledge, or confidence, or the right WORDS to say it with. MY BODY knew it though. My body knew that something wasn’t right with the medication that I was taking for my thyroid, but I didn’t have any other way of saying it except for ‘something doesn’t feel right’.
    I am right behind you, going back to school to become more educated in these areas so that I can first heal myself, and then help others. THANK YOU AGAIN! xo

  181. Eva says

    I noticed in the linked study it said: ” In these two celiac patients, the serologic markers became undetectable 6 months after beginning a gluten-free diet. However, thyroid autoantibodies did not positively correlate with dietary habits.”  Does that mean that although gliadin antibodies were no longer detectable after 6 months, thyroid antibodies were still there, ie did not correlate with diet?  The link does not let me see the whole study, just the synopsis, and it is only n=2 for celiacs, but if that is what it is saying, sounds like once the body starts making thyroid antibodies, it tends to keep making them, even if the gliadin is no longer fueling the fire.  Not good.  Either that or n=2 is not enough subjects for statistical significance and that is what they are saying by “not positively correlated,” ie did not reach statistical significance.   

    • Chris Kresser says

      It means that removing gluten doesn’t eliminate antibodies to thyroid. Keep in mind, however, that antibody levels aren’t necessarily a measure of severity in autoimmune thyroid disease. As I mentioned in the article, low antibody levels aren’t always a good thing, because that may indicate a severely depressed Th2 system. In that case, we might expect to see antibody levels actually rise as we address their immune imbalance and they improve. On the other hand, high antibody levels doesn’t necessarily mean severe tissue destruction. Antibodies themselves don’t destroy tissue – they just tag it for destruction.

      I think it’s best not to worry too much about the antibody levels and instead to focus on clinical symptoms as a measure of progress.

      • says

        i’m familiar with these issues- i am gluten-free and grain free already, so maybe it is a mute point, but i am wondering how to really know if you are hypothyroid and then if it is hashimotos….
        i was on thyroid meds for years because of low thyroid symptoms and positive response to the medication, Armour Thyroid. I went off of them about 2 years ago and my blood tests are about the same. the blood tests seem unreliable and the “normal” range doesn’t seem like it is high enough to really be healthy. my doctors insist on only testing TSH so i have had limited info and it’s never been addressed whether is was hashimotos…

    • Chris Kresser says


      To clarify my last reply, gluten doesn’t exist naturally in the body. The reason the gliadin antibodies disappeared in those patients is because they weren’t eating gluten anymore. Thyroid tissue, however, is still there and the so the body will continue producing antibodies to it.

  182. Lisa says

    My daughter (she is 7) was diagnosed with Graves disease last year.  We have struggled mightily in trying to get her thyroid under control.  It is so volatile and appeared to be unresponsive to treatment.  I finally decided to get a second opinion after having some doubts with our pediatric endocrinologist.  The new doctor ran 9 vials of blood and found the presence of some antibodies in her system which could possibly indicate Celiac Disease.  Sure enough, after consulting with a pediatric gastroenterologist and a biopsy having been done, my daughter has Celiac Disease as well.  Totally explains why her thyroid never came under control.  While controlling her diet is extremely hard (mostly because I am new to this)… I am thankful that its just diet that needs to be reformed to help her out.  Thanks for an awesome article.

    • Amy says

      Hi Lisa, my daughter was 10 when she was diagnosed with Graves. I have not talked with anyone else with a child with Graves. I know this is an old post but how is she doing now? We are 3 years into this journey.

  183. helen says

    Thanks for the great articles on what is such a common, complex condition that can affect the whole body! I am one of those with Hashimoto’s struggling with seeming ineffectiveness of thyroid hormones to remove the symptoms after a few weeks of them seeming to work each time the dose is raised, plus cycling symptoms and flare-ups so it is all a journey of discovery. I’ve been trying gluten-free on and off for a few months as challenge diet to see if I can sense any effects, but they are unclear, apart from an extremely sore thyroid for 2-3 days 3-4 days after stopping the gluten each time – must be telling its story! I’m just a bit confused in your explanation of detecting antibodies to the gliadin and the role of gut permeability. The gut needs to be permeable at some stage for the gliadin molecules to enter the bloodstream, right? And then this is the mechanism by which the body mounts an antibody attack as these protein molecules are not where they are supposed to be? This would then be the process by which the antibodies could attack thyroid tissue? If the gut has not become permeable anywhere, and the person is not a coeliac then how would they develop gluten intolerance? Is gut impermeability and presence in the bloodstream key for developing gluten intolerance? How does this tie in with the lab method for measuring gliadin antibodies from the gut in the stool? Just a little confused…

    • Chris Kresser says

      You can’t do an “on and off” gluten-free diet and expect results. As I said in the article, you must be 100% gluten free for a significant length of time to receive the full benefit of eliminating gluten.

      Gluten intolerance develops in the gut. The gut doesn’t have to be permeable for that to happen. The gut does have to be permeable, however, for the antibodies to leak through the gut wall and into the bloodstream, where they can be detected on a blood test. Celiac is just an extreme form of gluten intolerance. You don’t have to be celiac to produce antibodies to gliadin. Celiacs will also often have antibodies to transglutaminase, an enzyme in the intestines, and endomysium, a msucle sheath.

      • Jen says

        Wow. Really? Eighteen years ago I had major surgery to remove part of my colon, due to near obstruction. Fast forward eight years and I found out I am a celiac. I have practically no muscle tone in my abdomen, despite being muscular everywhere else. My tummy protrudes above the scar line. Are you saying that the lack of muscle tone could be, in part, due to antibodies to the muscle sheath in that area?
        I am to start physical therapy soon, as my organs are not positioned optimally for aging. Ackk.
        Thanks for the interesting article and everyone’s ideas. Great exchange!

  184. Chris Kresser says

    This paper that I linked to in my article suggests that gliadin antibody production may decrease to undetectable levels after six months on a gluten free diet.  This doesn’t mean celiac has been cured, because eating gluten would immediately ramp up antibody production again.  But it does mean the immune response has been dampened significantly.


  185. Chris Kresser says


    Yes, you’ve got it.

    And yes, thyroid function can recover to some degree when the underlying autoimmunity is dampened.  However, it’s important to understand that once the autoimmune process begins, it can’t be fully reversed.  The body doesn’t forget.  Once it produces antibodies to a tissue, that tissue will always be tagged for attack.  This cellular memory is what makes our immune systems are so expert at fighting off pathogens, but it works against us in the case of autoimmune disease.

    The key is to avoid triggers (like gluten, iodine and others) that ramp up antibody production and thus increase the autoimmune response, and to regulate the immune system and bring it back into relative balance.  I’ll be discussing the basics of this in an upcoming post, but this is something that’s best done under the supervision of a knowledgeable practitioner.

    • Nicole says

      I have a 12 year old that was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Her antibody level was 1,886 . She was started on a low dose of levoxyl (.5) and I immediately put her (and myself) on a GF diet. I would like to know if there is a chance that she can get off her meds if her antibody level returns to normal being GF. I have had Hashimotos since I was a young teenager. I have been in and out of endos all across this country and I had never heard of the gluten connection. I wish I had done my homework much earlier.

      • Chris Kresser says

        There’s a chance, but I usually don’t recommend it. The implications of not having enough thyroid hormone are more significant than the potential side effects or complications of the medication. They key is to address the immune imbalance that characterizes Hashimoto’s – that should reduce the required dose of medication.

        • Jen says

          After being diagnosed with Hashimotos I was placed on a relatively high dose of synthroid (.112mcg). I tried losing weight and was never successful over several years. I made a 10lb – 1 year weight loss goal and started to cut out all carbs and refined sugars. After about 2 months, I just decided to make this “diet” a lifestyle change. I have been gluten free for about 6 months! During this diet, I started feeling really sick because I became over medicated on the dose of sythroid I had been taking for years. I visited my doctor who told me that I was healing myself and this healing led me to be overmedicated ( I no longer needed the large dose I was on and adjusted me to .50mcg). Because of this gluten free diet, I lost 27 lbs in 6 months and dropped the amount of my synthroid dose by more than half.

          If you are going gluten free, I recommend you communicate often with your doctor because your levels will change and you will want your doctor to adjust your medication accordingly (so you don’t start feeling hyperthyroid!).

          Going gluten free has been an answer to my weight loss, my foggy thinking, my stomach issues, body aches and so much more. I can’t tell you how this has saved my life.

          Also make sure to have your vitamin D levels checked too.

          There are lots of website you can visit to help start you on your gluten free journey – and you are worth it!

          • Henny says

            I had gone gluten free (it has only been about 4 months for me so far) and I take Lugol’s iodine, selenium, magnesium, himalayan salt, vit C, vit D3 and eat lots of naturally fermented foods. I also did a 10 day Candida cleanse with oil of oregano – absolutely life-changing for me!

            Although my thyroid was struggling and labs were not great, it seems to be now at the point where I don’t need actually feel any difference whether or not I take my NatureThroid (I was only on a half grain dose), so I’m hoping I’ve averted disaster.

            I think many of these issues stem from dysbiosis, often after a dose of antibiotics. I know exactly when it all started for me. Then GMOs and gluten cause further damage to our now-susceptible intestine, give us a leaky gut, which then leads to malabsorption, causes us to absorb bits we shouldn’t (and then get an immune reaction to them and terrible inflammation) and allows parasites, candida and other opportunists to get in there and wreak havoc. If a gluten intolerance goes unchecked you can end up with more and more intolerances…lectins, salicylates etc., and then things get very tricky.

            Do whatever you can to regain healthy intestinal flora (and I don’t mean eating commercial yogurts like Activia), and your body will have the best chance at recovery. Seek organic, non-GMO foods, never take antibiotics unless absolute last, last resort. Eat cultured real food like sauerkraut or kim chee (best of all, make it yourself)…get Candida in check if it has run amok. You will certainly feel the benefits.

            • BethAnne says

              I am suffering TERRIBLY with HASHIMOTOS, Celiac, Candida…..and asthma !!! Please share the Candida diet that worked for you !!! I juice daily, NEVER consume gluten, and still do not feel well. Have been to doctors all over the U.S. ……to no avail. Any info will be appreciated !!! ~blessings~

              • Elisa says

                I felt a huge difference after I eliminated grains and sugar from my diet. I eat a low carb diet avoiding processed and GMO food. I eat meat, fish, poultry, vegetables (except potatoes), some fruit, nuts, etc. The grains that affect me the worse are wheat, corn, and oats. If I eat anything with gluten (even a small amount from cross-contamination), I get a severe headache, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, brain fog, IBS, acid reflux, etc. The symptoms last 5 days. If I eat corn my fibromyalgia, arthritis, eczema, and allergies come back. Oats affect me similar to wheat.

              • Sarah says

                Hello everyone! I’m new tothis site but have suffered from so things for about 25yrs!! From what I’ve learned, gluten free is good but adding Corn free is better! It also has been “altered” in the last 20 years without much info!! So its abit more challenging but for those who truley suffer and don’t see any or great results from gluten alone its really worth a shot!! And healthy too! Even hybrid wheat,corn are not “True” real products its impossilbe to get the REAL corn like we grew up on (20 yrs ago) sickening to know that people geneticly altered what was once good for us and know even then knowing its making people sick–all to make money. My health issues include autoimmune disease, IBS, chronic ulcers,skin ulcers,severe fatigue,connetive tissue disorder,chronic. Very lov Fe (iron storage, need IV boost) chronic pain,FM, MS, symptoms of Lupus,Addisons and porphyria unable to DX yet,and more. I’m labelled “an exteremly complex patient” for 15+ yrs now. Super frustrating!!! But I will never give up,I and we have to try to improve our quality of life!! So add Corn free and even lower sugar intake- won’t know till we try! Best of luck to all!

                • allergicvegetarian says

                  I hope you get this. Discuss the following with a Doctor and a Vegan Dietician First. Thanks!
                  Almost every single condition you mentioned, can be caused by undiagnosed food allergies and intolerances that you have been eating for too long, which in turn, caused much intestinal damage and leaky gut syndrome. Coeliac, being an auto-immune disorder, has been known to be the reason for many other health issues. Some people have seen a reversal of some of their symptoms when they have removed certain foods completely out of their diet. I elaborate below.

                  To heal the gut,
                  Stage 1:
                  1. Get B12 levels recorded, and I would record other key vitamins as well – you want the actual numbers, not just “normal range” versus below normal range. Get tested 3 months later for B12 (and if number have gone down, then increase your B12 sources.)

                  2. I would remove all cross-reactors to gluten from the diet for a period of 6 months. And I would instead, substitute Vegetables, green smoothies (using as little calcium containing liquid as possible, but instead use fruit and water) for better Iron absorption. And, I would eat more of a Vegan diet, but if not allergic, I would add fish to be sure that you were getting the B12. See below for what I would do if it were me.

                  Coeliac: Cross-reactors to Gluten have caused issues in some Coeliac people.
                  Cross-reactor free diet Excludes (for at least 6 months, as that is how long a tiny bit of gluten attacks the body for): All grains and foods in the cereal family (including ancient versions of corn and rice), buckwheat family, amaranth family (includes quinoa), Hemp, chocolates, dairy, soy, yeast, egg, potato, cassein, whey and coffee bean and salt with iodine (as the iodine is made on corn). One list adds Tomato as a cross-reactor, but another list doesn’t.

                  Nightshade Free diet Excludes (to reduce inflamation, pain and ulcers): Brinjal, Cayenne, Capsicum, Eggplant, Ground Cherry, Banana Pepper, Bell Pepper, Chili Pepper, Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Sweet Pepper, Paprika, Pimento (the red insert found in olives, not the spice), Potato, Tabasco, Thorn Apple, Tobacco, Tomato.

                  Chronic Fatigue: Increase vegetables in your diet. Kale, Spinach, Broccoli are very good, as is Beet roots. Beet roots have a good source of iron as well. Some people have had great success when they have gone Vegan with a balanced diet. I would still add Fish, if tolerated. Or, I would see a registered dietician who is very well versed on Vegan diet with food allergies. and intolerances. Also, I would go Vegan Plus Fish (if not allergic to fish).

                  Allowed sources of certain nutrients that may otherwise be lacking:
                  Iodine: Add Himalayan Crystal Salt (500 mcg of natural iodine per 1 gram).
                  Strawberries = 13 mcg (we need 150 mcg)

                  Protein: Nuts, Fish, Legumes, Chia Seeds
                  Ginger: This has been know to decrease inflamation.
                  Green Smoothies: Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Beet Roots with Peaches (Iron rich smoothie with V