Thyroid UK
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Gluten free - my doctor says it must be tried

Update on blood test post below


2.5 years after a TT I am still not 'right'. I have been taking a T4/T3 combined 100/20 tablet.

My latest results show

TSH 0.028 (0.35 - 4.94)

T4L 8.80 (7 - 14.8)

T3L 2.70 (1.71 - 3.71)

Very tired and weight not going anywhere.


I had thought that I needed to increase dose of something and did increase my dose by 1/4 tablet extra per day.

My GP says he thinks I should reduce the dose to 3/4 of a tablet BUT that I should switch to a completely gluten free diet.

Done nearly two days without gluten (living in France the idea of a life with no bread, croissants, tarts etc is a real blow - but if it helps I would do anything). During these two days I have felt awful, very depressed and tired (could be the shock of no comfort food). Also felt very foggy, weak and almost shakey. However, my stomach does feel less 'gurgly' and maybe; just maybe this evening I am feeling less awful. I expect it is possible that there is a 'cold turkey' stage to go through with cutting out gluten completely.

The doctor believes that I will soon start to make better use of the medication I am taking if I remove gluten from my diet. He could be right, no real way of knowing.

Has anyone else done this and did it work at all?

13 Replies

Do you have thyroid antibodies? Quite a few of our members have gone gluten-free as it reduces the antibodies which attack the thyroid gland. Sometimes the thyroid gland produces too many antibodies.

I think your doctor is another who concentrates on the TSH alone. The fact that your T4 and T3 are both very low show that you're not on sufficient thyroid hormones to feel well.

I would ask your doctor if you could try T3 only on a trial basis as I don't think you're converting the levothyroxine you take at present to sufficient T3. Some of us have a defective Gene D102 which prevents us from being able to convert.


Your doctor should check first for antibodies to gluten and then order an endoscopy with biopsy to confirm if you have coeliac. Someone I know had a TT and was up to 200 mcg T4 with still low numbers. She was diagnosed with coeliac, has gone gluten free, and is doing much better now.


Hello France,

Foods that contain gluten (both whole grains and flours) contain substances that inhibit nutrient absorption, damage our intestinal lining and can potentially activate a destructive autoimmune response.

If you already have Hashimotos, the effects of gluten could be worse.

The molecular structure of gliadin (protein portion of gluten) closely resembles that of the thyroid gland so 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 Hashimotos and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid.

Your TSH is low but your T3 & T4 aren't high enough. Many people with low thyroid hormone suffer low stomach acid which in turn inhibits hormone, and nutrient absorption which interferes with thyroid med conversion. Supplementing Betaine Plus at meal times will help with this problem.

Also nutrient deficiencies may interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. Ask your GP to test Vit D, Vit B12, folate and ferritin and post results complete with ranges for members to comment. A doctors normal is not the same level that members have found to be most beneficial.

Supplementing selenium will help T4 to T3 conversion.

Link detailing gluten & thyroid connection

Link explaining low stomach acid & thyroid connection

This following link explains the importance of vitamins and where they may be obtained. This forum is supported by the charity ThyroidUK. You do not have to join the charity to benefit from this forum but by doing so you will be supporting the charity and also entitled to various discounts when buying supplements, as detailed in the link below.

Hope you feel better soon,



Thanks for all this useful info. Most of the info I read refers to people with Hashi - I have had a TT and so I am either Hyper or Hypo depending on the last change of medication. So much data assumes there is a thyroid to be looked after. I guess that naturally I would be hypo as there is no thyroid there to do anything



You don't have to have Hashimotos or even a thyroid gland to be intolerant to gluten.

If you are suffering form any gut issues, the chances are you are intolerant to gluten.



3 days with no gluten. Two days of hell and feeling brighter today. Strange how my stomach feels good - I had got so used to it being a bit noisy and unsettled (I had begun to think this was normal). Now it is quiet and I can not feel it. (fingers crossed)


If you are experiencing recovery.... then the chances are your thyroids meds might eventually start to work better once your gut is healed.



My husband is severely gluten intolerant and when he first became gluten free, for the first 10 days he was so unwell, fatigued, pain, no energy, then suddenly it was like turning on a light bulb and he felt amazing. He said he hadn't realised how ill he was until he felt better because feeling so ill was a natural thing to him. He doesn't have thyroid problems ( I do) but just wanted to reassure you that feeling so rotten may be the gluten leaving your system. Clemmie


Thank you - it is hard to believe we can get to such 'grown up' age and not realise what is going on with our bodies.


A new book by Dr Sarah Myhill - Sustainable Medicine - is an excellent read. She discusses the Fermenting Gut - often referred to as SIBO - small intestinal bacteria overgrowth - and its connection with absorption. She suggests taking VitC before sleep to counteract this fermentation - a dose of 2000-6000 mcg - start low and dose to bowel tolerance !

I have been taking 2000 now for a week and can notice the difference ! I have Crohns and Hashimotos.....and yes I am GF.

Hope you soon feel better.....


Thank you


if you don't have problems with gluten, eliminating it won't help anything, i am sorry to say. Looks like you are undermedicated too..


The fact you feel unwell when you start to eliminate gluten is a good sign that going gluten free will help you. I think it is called the 'die off' effect. Bacteria are killed off and release toxins so you feel worse at first. Can't remember all the details, but just wanted to say stick with it for at least a month before you make a judgement as to whether going gluten free is helpful or not. I am gluten free.


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