Hashi's and gluten, latest research

I've shortened the paper below.... a lot of people with autoimmune diseases like Hashi's who are not celiac are sensitive to wheat (so possibly gluten too, given the findings on DNA), it finds. This seems to be a distinct group from those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Which comes first, the Hashis or the gluten problem? Maybe the gluten probs come first, if this is right .... Clutter keeps patiently saying that a lot of people with Hashi's say giving up gluten helps, ie, it is so far mainly anecdotal, but the research evidence is clearly building.

Gastroenterology. 2015 Sep;149(3):596-603.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2015.05.040. Epub 2015 May 27.

High Proportions of People With Nonceliac Wheat Sensitivity Have Autoimmune Disease or Antinuclear Antibodies.

Carroccio A1, D'Alcamo A2, Cavataio F3, Soresi M2, Seidita A2, Sciumè C4, Geraci G4, Iacono G3, Mansueto P2.

We evaluated the prevalence of autoimmune diseases (ADs) among patients with nonceliac wheat sensitivity (NCWS), and investigated whether they carry antinuclear antibodies (ANA).

We performed a retrospective study of 131 patients diagnosed with NCWS (121 female; mean age, 29.1 years) at 2 hospitals in Italy from January 2001 through June 2011. Data were also collected from 151 patients with CD or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (controls). Patient medical records were reviewed to identify those with ADs. We also performed a prospective study of 42 patients (38 female; mean age, 34 years) diagnosed with NCWS from July 2011 through March 2014 at 3 hospitals in Italy. One hundred age- and sex-matched subjects with CD or IBS served as controls. Serum samples were collected from all subjects and ANA levels were measured by immunofluorescence analysis. Participants completed a questionnaire and their medical records were reviewed to identify those with ADs.:

In the retrospective analysis, similar portions of subjects with NCWS (29%) and CD (29%) developed ADs (MAINLY HASHIMOTO'S thyroiditis, 29 cases), compared with a smaller proportion of subjects with IBS (4%) (P < .001). In the PROSPECTIVE study, 24% of subjects with NCWS, 20% of subjects with CD, and 2% of subjects with IBS developed ADs (P < .001). In the retrospective study, serum samples tested positive for ANA in 46% of subjects with NCWS (median titer, 1:80), 24% of subjects with CD (P < .001), and 2% of subjects IBS (P < .001); in the prospective study, serum samples were positive for ANA in 28% of subjects with NCWS, 7.5% of subjects with CD (P = .02), and 6% of subjects with IBS (P = .005 vs patients with NCWS). ANA positivity was associated with the presence of the HLA DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes (P < .001).


Higher proportions of patients with NCWS or CD develop autoimmune disorders, are ANA positive, and showed DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes compared with patients with IBS.

12 Replies

  • I can't eat wheat without risking being horribly ill. I might well be gluten intolerant, but as most times you don't get one without the other - except for oats and barley - I'm gluten free by default. I don't know whether the usual tests for Coeliac would have showed anything up but as I have no intention of making myself ill on purpose to do the test, I guess I won't find out anytime soon. :) But so many people do feel better when they cut out the gluten - even if they've tested negative for Coeliac - that I do wonder whether they're testing for the right thing. Maybe the current tests only rule out one type of Coeliac. I've wondered whether there are several types. Or maybe it's Coeliac-like.

    Interesting research, thanks for posting.

  • There's celiac, an autoimmune disease.

    There's wheat allergy, where you get a reaction just to wheat, and it happens within hours of eating it, maybe a lot faster. Sounds like you may have that.

    Then there's non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is an immune, not an auto immune reaction to gluten, where the reaction to gluten is very similar to the symptoms celiacs show, and can take hours or even a day to show up. This is disease which is only just being established and there isn't a failsafe test for it yet so far as I know.

    Can you eat Kellogg's cornflakes without a reaction?

  • I don't know, I've never tried. :)

    I'm not sure if there really are different types or whether it's another of those things like the difference between hypothyroidisim and fibromyalgia, the difference between IBS and colitis, etc.

    Now, before this post sparks a whole load of posts where folk tell me, "Jazzw, there are differences between those diseases!", yes, I know that - that's not what I'm saying. It's just that so many of us appear to be intolerant to 21st century living.

    Genes have a lot to do with it - think Dr P says that in his book. Years ago, those with autoimmune issues would probably simply have died young. Now, with readily available food and antibiotics, we live long enough to reproduce and pass it all on - usually years before we find out we have those issues...

  • Jazzw,

    I think they are all similar too and as there is often no distinct diagnosis...who is say who is suffering with what..??

    There are people more genetically predisposition to developing autoimmune disease and it is especially prevalent in those of us who have over lapping inheritance ..... and as generations go on & on the over lapping becomes more & more evident.....and so more of us have autoimmune disease....


  • There really are different types. Alessio Fasano and his research team have taken gut samples.

    So though I understand what you are saying, that maybe the new types of wheat are sparking the increase in these diseases - the diseases are different.

  • Hello Aspmama,

    Which come first..?.?..gluten intolerance or autoimmunity?

    I believe autoimmunity happens as a result of a series of actions//reactions to an antigen such as Epstein Barr, Lyme Disease... or other pathogen, invading germ, virus or bacteria..certain foods..(iodine, gluten.?..), toxins ( smoking…recreational drugs…chemicals..), trauma.. endocrine imbalances and also being genetically predisposition to it . .... .

    The immune systems response is to start macrophages attacking and stimulating the T helper cells. ...either TH-1 or TH-2...which lead to pro-inflammatory immune cells and proteins, more antibodies and cross reactions.

    As this is repeated over many years the immune system becomes weakened and pushed further into autoimmunity......and maybe destruction of the thyroid gland. As the immune system communicates with the nervous system, the endocrine system and digestive system...an auto immune response might effect the whole body.

    I think Clutter is absolutely right to suggest a GF diet to Hashi sufferers.

    Also don't forget about cross reactors...depending on what antibodies your body forms against gluten, it may or may not cross-react with other foods.

    I had the Cyrex Laboratories Gluten Associated Cross Reactive Foods test and was "out of range" with amaranth (gluten free) and "equivocal" with rye, barley, spelt, polish wheat and hemp (gluten free). At the time I was eating a lot of amaranth and using hemp protein powder in smoothies.

    Blood tests will only detect gluten antibodies in the blood stream where the gut is so permeable that gluten can easily pass through...this is a relatively advanced stage of disease. Stool analysis is far more sensitive as it detects antibodies produced in the digestive tract that are more concentrated as haven't yet escaped into the blood stream.

    There is also a cheek swab genetic test for people with HLA DQ 1, 2 or 3 genes who will have a predisposition to autoimmune disease, celiac or gluten intolerance.

    In some people ... their immune system is so worn out they no longer produce antibodies. Hashimotos is primarily TH-1 dominant so TH-2 ( responsible for producing antibodies) will be surpressed. If severely depressed....no antibodies are produced.

    Do you have a link explaining the ..'.immune reaction to gluten.." please Aspmama?

    Thank you for sharing.


  • Flower, celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. No one doubts it. Proven. in its case, gluten is the antigen. It is the only autoimmune disease, according to Alessio Fasano, who knows, where we understand the trigger. The genetic disposition exists, but then the trigger produces the autoimmune disease, celiac. But not everyone with those very common HLA genes develops an autoimmune disease. That's an important question, why not?

    I am not disagreeing with Clutter over the gluten free diet, though why it helps is not yet clear. That is why I posted this piece of research.

    I agree that in celiac the blood test probably works at an advanced stage, this would explain why it is not a once-for-all test.

    Will find the Fasano research for you on non celiac gluten sensitivity - you only see the "immune not auto immune" part of it if you read the whole research. Am a bit of a dinosaur on the internet, but it is definitely true.

  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/199...

    This is the original research by Fasano on this, if you track down the full article you will find it v interesting I think.

  • Thank you very much for this Aspmama,

    I will read with interest,


  • Hi Aspmama

    Thanks for your post. Very interesting reading.

    I am coeliac and hashi's along with other autoimmune diseases. I did a genetic test last week to try to find out some answers, although the results are a long way off.

    I am inclined to believe from all the reading I've done in the past couple of years, and lots more especially more recently, that it is all in the gut. Heal the gut by removing the foods causing problems, add in things to help restore, then everything else will slowly begin to heal? I hope I'm right, as I think that's the route I'll be going down.

    I hope all is well with you.

  • I think there must be more than one type of Hashi's - from observing a friend.

    But it does look as though the gut plays an important part for a very high proportion - maybe causative, or maybe two or three steps away from the cause. Gut conditions are so highly represented - celiac, c 5 per cent, autoimmune gastritis, c 35 per cent (at least), and then there's lactose intolerance, figure not established, but almost certainly highly than normal, and apparently non celiac gluten sensitivity, as above. So in a very high proportion of cases, Hashi's could be triggered either something causing damage by entering through a damaged gut, or by some nutrient not being absorbed because of a damaged gut. The latter is a possiblity given that pregnancy also seems to be a hypo trigger - and is a time when there is a massive call on nutrients, with not enough necessarily left over for the mother. Could be too much or too little of the same nutrient of course. If this was a detective series Iodine would be the first to be arrested, called in for questioning and then followed and have all his communications tapped. But as with all detective series, there's a long list of suspects.

    In your case especially Lee the cause must be closely associated with the gut. Your approach is logical.

    We can only try to help each other on this forum by exchanging experiences. It is so frustrating, we know the answers, we just don't know we know them.

  • Love the "detective series" analogy Aspmama! Very true about the long list of suspects.

    I said to the GP last week that "something or some things, in my body is/are not working properly and I'm going to find them and fix them. This was when she was pooh poohing the private tests I ordered.

    So many healthcare professionals have told me to accept the coeliac and hypothyroid diagnoses and move on with GF diet and levothyroxine and everything will be fine. Even a dietician told me to "stop looking for a magic pill"

    Back on point, sorry, they do say that autoimmune diseases can be brought on by a sudden traumatic experience, or a period of great stress. I wonder if there's some truth in that.

    I have been thinking about getting a book by Izabella Wentz about finding the root cause to stop and even reverse Hashi's.

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