What is the Relationship Between Your Thyroid and Gluten?

In the majority of cases, hypothyroidism actually turns out to be an autoimmune disease, whereby the body attacks its own thyroid gland. This is what is known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Causes of Hashimoto’s include:


Hashimoto’s tends to run in families. Other family members may also have Hashimoto’s, or they may have some other kind of autoimmune disease (examples could include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and so forth).

Estrogen exposure

This means more women develop Hashimoto’s. More women also develop thyroid problems after giving birth, with it developing into Hashimoto’s later on.

Exposure to Radiation

This can occur due to exposure in the environment, or due to exposure from damaging cancer treatments.

So you might be asking yourself, what does Hashimoto’s (hypothyroidism caused by the thyroid being attacked by its own body) have to do with gluten?

Many studies have linked gluten intolerance (including Celiac Disease) and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This link is so common that when someone is diagnosed with gluten intolerance, they should be referred for testing of thyroid antibodies, and vice versa.

Why is there this connection?

The protein portion of gluten resembles your thyroid tissue! If you have gluten intolerance, your body’s immune system attacks the gluten by producing antibodies. These same antibodies also attack your thyroid, because of its resemblance in structure to gluten! So, if you have gluten intolerance, and you eat gluten, your body will attack the gluten and your thyroid.

Knowing which foods to avoid can make a huge difference in how you are feeling, and can help stop this destructive process.

What kinds of foods contain gluten?

Foods that contain barley, wheat, rye, and triticale (which is a combination of rye and wheat) should be avoided. Examples of some wheat ingredients include:

Durum flour





Some actual foods to avoid, unless they say they are gluten free, include:





Certain sauces and salad dressings

This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but is one place to start. The key is that there is a high correlation between thyroiditis and gluten intolerance.

There are some natural ways to support your thyroid, and ensure it functions optimally. You may want to find a doctor that practices functional medicine. A functional medical doctor can assist you with natural ways of treating the root cause of illness, rather than just treating the symptoms with medication. If you or someone you know may have a thyroid condition, call 770-731-9410 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Sean Savedoff.

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