Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. It is the most common type of hypothyroidism in the U.S. The thyroid controls metabolism, or your body’s processing pace, and affects heart rate and the speed at which you burn calories. The thyroid functions by producing an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase; your doctor will test your hormone levels to determine if you have Hashimoto’s. If you do have thyroid peroxidase antibodies in your blood, a likely diagnosis is Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
- Panic Attacks
- Weight Gain
- Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
- High Cholesterol
- Memory Loss
- Muscle Weakness
- Hair Loss
In addition to Hashimoto’s, there are a variety of other autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases occur when antibodies within your body attack otherwise healthful tissues and organs, causing sickness and disease. Unfortunately, having one autoimmune disease increases your chances of having another. Research indicates that a large percentage of people who have Hashimoto’s are also sensitive to gluten. In fact, people who are diagnosed with celiac disease after the age of 20 are 34% more likely to develop another autoimmune disease.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
However, you don’t have to have a celiac diagnosis in order to experience the crippling effects that gluten can have on your body. Gluten disrupts immune function and causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, which can then cause leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut occurs when small fragments of gluten pass through the lining of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. These indigested fragments of protein can lead to autoimmunity and go on to harm body organs and tissues. As you can see, gluten is often the very basis of autoimmune diseases.
Hashimoto's and Gluten
People with Hashimoto’s disease commonly receive thyroid hormone replacement. Unfortunately, this treatment only addresses a part of the problem, and many people continue to experience symptoms. When someone is sensitive to gluten, his or her immune system treats gluten as a foreign object and attacks it. This causes inflammation within the body, which in turn leads the body to attack the thyroid. In this case, many people find that after removing gluten from their diet, their symptoms decrease significantly. For this reason, many experts believe that people with Hashimoto’s should also be immediately tested for gluten sensitivity. However, since the tests for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are often inconclusive, it is recommended that doctors use a SIgA stool test to determine if a patient is indeed sensitive to gluten.