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Thyroid UK
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Gluten free for over a year- worth it? Advice needed please!!

Hello!

I haven't posted for ages but quick summary- I was diagnosed with Hashi's after giving birth 3 years ago. I started a strict gluten free diet in Feb 2016. I'm on 125mcg levo. Have previously had private bloods but cannot afford to do it regularly.

Recently, I went on holiday to country where it was almost impossible to avoid wheat and so I ate it and spent most of the time with tummy ache and diarrhoea after eating gluten.

I have no idea if GF helps my thyroid. I can't 'feel' when I have a flare up and I'm always exhausted as I have two young children that don't sleep. So, is it worth it? It seems I'm building up an intolerance to it- am I not just creating another problem? I understand it has to be 'all or nothing' so I guess there is little point being mostly gluten free.

I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts and experiences... or any new research people have found? I'm finding it hard to justify to people around me when it seems like a self induced intolerance for no obvious thyroid benefit.

Thanks all :-)

11 Replies
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Hi

I have Hashimoto’s and an underactive Thyroid.

I experienced major tummy cramps, trapped wind etc and decided to stop eating gluten back in September 2017.

I stuck to strictly gluten-free only, I went away recently and stuck to salads, vegetables, steak, fish, plain foods.

I no longer experience tummy cramps, wind etc disappeared.

It hasn’t reduced my antibodies, but my tummy definitely feel 100% better.

It doesn’t matter what people think, it’s how gluten makes you feel.

if you want to say anything just explain that eating any gluten causes havoc with your tummy.

Best Wishes

Peanut31

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Thanks for your reply!

I guess my issue is that gluten never used to cause havoc with my tummy, i used to have bread daily. I adopted gluten free purely for thyroid benefit, I had no digestive problems when I was previously eaten gluten.

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It's not that you are building up an intolerance to it, as you mentioned, but probably that you had built up a tolerance to it over your lifetime. Then when you excluded it and subsequently reintroduced it, that tolerance had been interrupted and et voilā, the symptoms began! Not everyone benefits from being gluten-free, but if you do, the benefits can be numerous and various, and so presumably worth continuing with. In general, your eating habits are your own business and you need to justify them to no one. I haven't eaten meat for 50 yrs and I've never felt obligated to justify that to a single soul! Unless you are coeliac or have some other allergy, you need not even mention it, unless someone is offering to cook you a meal - in fact it can be tedious for others to hear someone always saying "I don't eat that because ........." then giving a long detailed unasked for explanation why, each time.

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Thank you.

It's mainly my husband as he is concerned that the restrictive diet is creating more problems than it is solving. I will offer him the explanation that you give, that makes sense to me so may also help him to understand.

I do find that it influences our choices as a family and so to continue to follow gluten free is not something I take lightly.

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Yes, we must all plough our own furrow, as they say; but as a final thought, I was struck by your comment that "Recently, I went on holiday to a country where it was almost impossible to avoid wheat and so I ate it and spent most of the time with tummy ache and diarrhoea after eating gluten". So if it were me, rather than following a gluten-free diet being something I don't take lightly, I'd be thinking that ignoring my demonstrable need to follow a gluten-free diet, would be something I didn't do lightly .....

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Yes, that is a good point. I really appreciate you offering a different view point for me to consider. Thanks :-)

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When you stop eating gluten then your body stops making the enzymes it needs to break it down, so it’s normal you would have reacted. If you’d had small amounts like 1/2 a piece of sourdough bread it may not have been as bad. It also depends on the gluten you eat.

Personally I’ve gone back to mostly GF again because I know my health slowly deteriorates otherwise.

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Wether it's the Hashimoto's or that treatment is mainly T4 (Levothyroxine only) gluten intolerance becomes extremely common

Possibly because on just T4 many of us remain hypothyroid

Or because reaserch suggests all autoimmune diseases begin with leaky gut, this then develops into gluten intolerance

Certainly a high percentage of Hashimoto's and Graves patients find strictly gluten free diet helps or is eessential as, yet only a small percentage are actually diagnosed as coeliac

Gluten intolerance and low vitamins go hand in hand

Strictly gluten free diet helps improve gut function and may improve vitamin levels. Though many hypothyroid patients need ongoing regular vitamin supplements, even when gluten free

Low stomach acid is often a problem

The fact you started suffering tummy ache and diarrhoea eating gluten means you're likely to need to return to strictly gluten free, like very many on here

amymyersmd.com/2017/02/3-im...

chriskresser.com/the-gluten...

thyroidpharmacist.com/artic...

scdlifestyle.com/2014/08/th...

drknews.com/changing-your-d...

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Thank you. I will look at the links later.

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Hi there, just to put forward another point of view. I know that many people go gluten free, because they feel that it helps them and that's great for them if they really feel better having no gluten.

Unfortunately to date, there is no solid scientific evidence that a gluten free diet has any effects on auto-immune diseases such as hashimotos. In addition, in order to get better, people usually change many things at once - sort out their medication, optimise their vitamins, change their diet including removing gluten. It is very difficult to tease out the effect of gluten from perhaps having a healthier or different diet or the meds working optimally. In addition, it is very difficult to strictly be gluten free and have the same dietary nutrient intake, than someone eating a healthy varied diet. Any restrictive diet will leave you with nutritional deficiencies in the long term, if you are not careful.

Another thought as well is, if you are going gluten free and not have had any for a long period of time, you may reduce the enzymes that usually deal with this. When then introducing gluten again, you may experience a sensitivity because your system is no longer used to dealing with it and hence you conclude that you are intolerant to gluten, when you perhaps have not been sensitive to it in the first place.

There is also a lot of hype about gluten at the moment and the ever expanding shelves in the supermarket are testimony to that. In the end, it is for each of us to decide, if we would like to eliminate certain items from the diet, but my advice is that it should be very carefully done and the pros and cons weighed up. If it does not make you feel better, then there is really no point and you are much better off eating a varied healthy diet.

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I do think I feel better gluten free, and have just discovered coeliac in my extended family so it is something to revisit shortly, but it is hard to do and I lapse regularly. Still, it dramatically improves my bowels (TMI, sorry!) so I need to do it again. I personally think that as long as I don't buy GF products (oh my the ingredient list!!! lots of things in there on my 'additives to avoid' list) my diet is probably better on GF than not. It doesn't seem to have much nutrition in it. This is controversial, but I see more health risks with avoiding highly nutritious meat - vegetarianism is common, and nobody would dare criticize - and yet as soon as you go GF everyone has an opinion on why you shouldn't do that. I completely agree, it should be thoroughly considered and pros and cons weighed up - not just done on a whim.

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