Get Off Gluten!
Gluten is one of the biggest culprits linked to causing an autoimmune thyroid condition. Without a doubt the vast majority of people that we see in our office with thyroid symptoms or who have been previously diagnosed with hypothyroidism are gluten intolerant.
It is so common that in our office if you have a thyroid problem or thyroid symptoms we assume you are gluten intolerant until we can prove otherwise.
Therefore, it is extremely important to be tested properly for gluten sensitivity. In our office, we run the gluten reactivity test through Cyrex Labs. They have the most comprehensive gluten testing available. The testing being done through standard labs like LabCorp, Quest, and your local hospital are just not thorough enough to identify gluten intolerance in the vast majority of people with gluten intolerance.
Before we get too far into this post, we better explain a little about what gluten is and why it is a problem.
Gluten is the protein in wheat, barley, malt, and rye. It is currently thought that 1 of 3 people have genes that predispose them to gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance is not the same as Celiac Disease. Everyone with Celiac Disease is gluten intolerant, but not everyone with gluten intolerance develops Celiac Disease.
There are many reasons believed to be responsible for the increased number of people being diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Those reasons include modification of wheat, increased gluten content of wheat, and the massive consumption of gluten.
The wheat of today is not the same as the wheat of old. Today’s wheat has been hybridized with 44 chromosomes, whereas the wheat of old had 14 chromosomes. We all know that adding one single chromosome change to a human can create Down syndrome.
Still think our wheat is the same?
Gluten is in practically everything from food to gum to beauty products. It only takes a trigger to turn your gluten intolerance genes on and “whamo” you’re now gluten intolerant. The trigger could be a trauma, a stressful event, medications, etc. The important thing is once you turn the gene on, you can’t turn it off.
One of the biggest challenges with gluten intolerance is that you may be gluten intolerant, but not have any GI symptoms so you don’t relate how you feel to the food you are eating. Another major challenge with gluten intolerance is that before Cyrex Labs came out with their Array 3 Test, lab tests for gluten intolerance were not very accurate. Now we know the other types of lab tests had a 97% failure; flipping a coin would be more accurate!
There are multiple breakdown products of gluten. The test your doctor would typically run, only tests for one of the breakdown products. So if you tested positive to that one component tested, then you would be identified as gluten intolerant. But if you didn’t react to the tested component (alpha gliadin 33mer), then you were told you were not reactive to gluten.
If you have, or believe you have a thyroid problem, one of the best things that you can do is to avoid gluten. If you are sensitive to gluten, it will cause your immune system to attack your body, whether it’s your thyroid, your joints, your pancreas, or other body parts. No tissue is safe.
Now being gluten-free may not be enough to calm down your immune system, but it is a good place to start. There are other factors to consider when someone goes gluten-free. If you have intestinal permeability (“Leaky Gut Syndrome”) and you start introducing gluten-free grains, increased amounts of rice, potato, etc., you may develop new food sensitivities.
The increased immune response from the new food sensitivities might leave you feeling just as bad after a few months on a gluten-free diet. This is why we recommend if you decide to go gluten-free that you consult with someone like us who understands the complexities involved with going gluten-free so you have a successful transition.
We will discuss more about going gluten-free, intestinal permeability, cross-reactivity, and food sensitivities in another post.
Don’t suffer another minute!
Call Dr. Dranko or Dr. Gorlesky at (919) 556-1033 today.