Gluten and Thyroid – Any Connection?

Gluten and thyroid connection might be the more complicated that it might seem. It involves various aspects, but as nowadays there are more and more products containing gluten, it is important to know more.

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Thyroid symptoms

  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Joint pain
  • Bloating

These symptoms might even persist while being on a gluten-free diet. Gluten can have a largely negative impact on the thyroid gland. The main thyroid function is to regulate metabolism. Board certified nutritionist Chen Ben Asher also notes that different people might react to gluten in different ways. The connection between thyroid disease and gluten is well established.


Gluten sensitivity

People who have gluten usually also have nutritional deficiencies. One important nutrient is selenium that has various functions: “production of active thyroid hormone”[1], helps to regulate immune function, reduces clotting of the blood, and it is also the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Thus selenium deficiency caused by gluten provokes abnormal function of thyroid hormone. Further, this abnormality leads to excessive inflammation and autoimmune disease. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity can be muscle spasms, tingling sensations, achy joints, dizziness, and others.


The main problem

Several studies already have shown the undeniable connection between problems like gluten intolerance, Hashimoto’s, Grave’s and other autoimmune problems. The main problem seems to be the fact that protein in gluten called gliadin “resembles that of the thyroid gland.”[2] As many people with autoimmune diseases suffer from leaky gut, gluten allows small particles move into the blood. The immune system then attacks not only gluten but also thyroid tissue as it thinks that they are also gluten ones. The negative effect from gluten can last up to 6 months after each consumption. With time immune system simply cannot produce enough antibodies and the body becomes intolerant to infections, viruses and other threats.

The only way to heal the gut is with 100% gluten-free diet, but it is not easy and choosing gluten-free pre-packed foods won’t help as many of those products contain a lot of sugar and other ingredients that are harmful to the health and can lead to heart disease, autoimmunity, diabetes and others.

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It is important to understand more the connection between food and health problems like the ones related to thyroid. Otherwise, prescribed medicine can provide only short-term solutions. Gluten intolerance can be diagnosed with special tests, and it is worth doing them to avoid further disruption of immune system and thyroid. Removing gluten fully from the daily use can help those who suffer from gluten intolerance, but it is also important to think ahead to prevent health problems. Make the right nutritional and lifestyle adjustments to help to deal with more serious health problems.



[1] Gluten, Selenium Deficiency, and Thyroid Disease. Accessed from:”nofollow”

[2] The Connection Between Gluten and Thyroid Disease. Accessed from:”nofollow”

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