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Gluten and Thryoid Hormone – Is There a Connection?

A new study sheds light on the fact that selenium deficiency can be caused by gluten induced malabsorption. The researchers go on to say that Selenium deficiency can cause thyroid diseases and can lead to unregulated inflammatory damage…

Regarding gluten sensitivity –

the target organs are not limited to the gut, but include thyroid, liver, skin and reproductive and nervous systems…

Regarding selenium deficiency –

Thus, selenium malabsorption in CD (celiac disease) can be thought as a key factor directly leading to thyroid and intestinal damage.


Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2010;46(4):389-399. It is no medical mystery that gluten can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Selenium is a mineral with multiple functions within the body. A short list of some of selenium’s more common roles is listed below:
  • It plays a role in the production of active thyroid hormone (see chart below).
  • It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps to regulate immune function.
  • It plays a role in blood viscosity (reduces excessive clotting of the blood).
  • It drives the most powerful antioxidant system in the body.

Relationship Between Gluten and Selenium


This study points out that no only does gluten induced selenium deficiency cause abnormal thyroid hormone production, it leads to excessive inflammation and autoimmune disease. In previous posts we have discussed how going on a gluten free diet can lead to fat loss. This is one of those mechanisms as hypothyroid disease is a common manifestation of gluten intolerance.

In previous posts we have discussed how going on a gluten free diet can lead to fat loss. One of the reasons this happens for many is that a gluten free diet helps the thyroid gland start working again. This in turn increases the metabolism.  

Other Nutrients Important for Thyroid Function –

  1. Iodine – this mineral helps the body build T4 (the hormone that doctors commonly measure that floats through the bloodstream)
  2. Vitamins D and A – these fat soluble vitamins allow T3 (the active hormone) to communicate with your DNA and increase your metabolism.
  3. Zinc & Magnesium – these minerals help your body make TSH (the hormone made in your brain that tells your thyroid gland to make T4).
  4. Protein – most Americans eat too many carbs and not enough protein. Protein is absolutely necessary to form the backbone of thyroid hormone. It also carries the hormone through the blood stream to your tissues.

What Can You Do If You Have Been Diagnosed with Hypothyroidism?

Have your doctor perform the following tests –
  1. Iodine loading test (urine test)
  2. Spectracell (vitamin and mineral deficiency blood test)
  3. Reverse T3 and thyroid antibody testing
  4. Genetic testing for gluten sensitivity
It is time for doctors to start ruling out gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, and nutritional deficiencies in patients with thyroid disease. If your doctor will not investigate these areas for you, look for a functional medicine doctor who will. If you think that this information will help someone you love suffering with a thyroid problem, please forward this along.

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It is time for doctors to start ruling out gluten sensitivity and celiac disease in patients with thyroid disease. It is time for doctors to start recognizing the therapeutic benefit of a gluten free diet. If you think that this information will help someone you love suffering with a thyroid problem, please forward this along.


6 Responses

  1. I am disappointed that your education program is directed towards only physicians. I am left to assume you are Western Medicine oriented and not holistic, which i find most unfortunate. There are so many awesome practitioners out here who are NOT MDs! I feel you need to include them also and to be more open to the holistic world. I raised 2 kids and the ONLY time we went to an MD was when we needed stitches or a bone set and my daughter had a type of cancer western medicine considers terminal. 12 years later she is a mom and alive and well. Please open your minds and hearts to the holistic world. They are your friends!

  2. I am a licensed healthcare professional studying Nutritional Therapy. Will this certification program be open to people who are not MD’s?

  3. I am in favor of all avenues being explored. Yes, if there were a vaccine, I would get it. Yes, if there were proven holistic remedies, I would take them. I’ve been GF for 8 years after being tested for the entire gamut of autoimmune diseases. When my iron level and hematocrit were low recently, I had an argument with a GI specialist about whether or not I had Celiac. He was basically a “non-believer,” but had to do an enteroscopy to see if I were bleeding internally. The results were inclusive as to whether there was some microscopic bleeding; however, he sheepishly admitted that he had found fresh evidence of Celiac damage. We wracked our brains (my husband is a physician who has essentially joined me in a GF diet at home. In fact, he was the one who actually diagnosed me although he is not a specialist. Since then, he has often lectured on Celiac, admonishing his fellow practitioners about their lack of taking gluten-related issues seriously), and discovered that two of the medications I took regularly quite likely had gluten as a filler. I’m off those and my iron level is within normal range. My crit is better, and I am feeling a lot more energetic.

  4. I just had to say I was a complete health nightmare. At the age of 27 I was diagnosed with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, thyroid cancer, and hashimotos(fancy term for hypothyroidism) I had my thyroid removed, radiation and then was sent on my way and told eat a healthy diet. I could not get an answer to what that was from my endocrinologist, a specialist that really deals with diabetics more that anyone. I struggled for years and was told that since I no longer had a thyroid that was about as good as it would ever be for me. I was about to ask my ob/gyn to give me a hysterectomy at the age of 31 and I don’t have kids. I lost hope… but then my boyfriend was diagnosed with ms and to be supportive I went on a yeast free diet. My health turned around. I was able to lose the 40 lbs that I ad made peace would always be with me, my skin cleared up, I had energy, I WAS HAPPY. I feel so blessed to have in the midst of tragedy, get my life back. Changing my diet literally changed my life. I still struggle at times with staying on course, but I know what will help me. It wasn’t medications. I am so excited to see a website informing the public and md’s about diet being used to help people. Naturopathic medicine is not a joke or for whackadoo’s it helps. Medications have their place but many times the side effects are worse that the disease. Please keep it up! Inform all you can.


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