For people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, avoiding gluten is essential to avoid an immune reaction. Gluten is found in many foods, including wheat. At Carolinas Thyroid Institute, we give patients needed information about eliminating inflammatory foods to avoid immune flare-ups.  (See our Success Stories about changed lives).  

Hashimoto’s patients might react to wheat proteins called ATIs

According to new research, non-gluten proteins in wheat are also a source of immune reactions. Though ATIs (amylase-trypsin inhibitors) are only four percent of the proteins in wheat, they can cause an immune response that begins in the gut and spreads to other tissues in the body, such as the lymph nodes, kidneys, spleen, and even the brain.

Contributing to the development of gluten sensitivity, ATIs also inflame pre-existing chronic conditions, including Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, non-alcohol fatty liver disease, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The danger then is twofold: ATIs are inflammatory for chronic conditions, and ATIs contribute to the development of gluten sensitivity.  Reacting to several different types of gluten, as well as to lectins and agglutinin, people with symptoms of gluten sensitivity need to be very vigilant to avoid exposure.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

An autoimmune condition characterized by a strong reaction to gluten, celiac disease affects a small percent of the population.  For many years, only celiac patients were known to have an immune response to wheat. It took years to convince mainstream medicine that non-celiac gluten sensitivity was a reality. Slowly, the link between Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten sensitivity is being understood in more depth.

Standard testing for both celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity has been so limited that, for decades, mainstream medicine has accepted a “negative” test result as fact, despite ongoing patient complaints.  Now, a recognized immune reaction to wheat in Hashimoto’s patients has finally achieved the status of scientific legitimacy.  

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity can include digestive issues such as abdominal pain and symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, common symptoms not related to the gut include headaches, joint pain, eczema, brain fog, and a number of dysfunctions related to the brain and nervous system.  In addition, patients see their Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism worsen, regardless of their level of medication.

In the future, being told to avoid ATIs might be commonplace for Hashimoto’s patients.  If you have Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid Disease, avoiding wheat now (because of gluten and ATIs) is a good choice for a healthy life.  

For more information about your particular health concerns, schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation with me, Dr. Steven Roach, on our Contact Us page or call (704) 853-8000.