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Link between hypothyroid and celiac disease

Adapted from Clin Med Res. 2007 Oct;5(3):184-92.Does Gluten Sensitivity Cause Autoimmune Hypothyroid Disease (Hashimoto’s)?

Not only do the authors of this paper discuss the need to screen hypothyroid patients for gluten sensitivity, they also discuss other common non intestinal manifestations of celiac disease and gluten intolerance: anemia, osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders, unexplained neurological syndromes, infertility and chronic hypertransaminasemia, autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, autoimmune liver diseases and inflammatory bowel disease. “Treatment of CD with a gluten-free diet should reduce the recognized complications of this disease and provide benefits in both general health and perhaps life expectancy. It also improves glycemic control in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and enhances the absorption of medications for associated hypothyroidism and osteoporosis.


Clin Med Res. 2007 Oct;5(3):184-92.

Gluten Free Society’s Stance:

Hypothyroid disease can have many contributing factors. Gluten sensitivity is a big one. The intestinal permeability or “leaky gut” created by gluten has been shown to cause “molecular mimicry” reactions. In other words, gluten allows toxic chemicals to leak into the blood stream. Sometimes these toxic chemicals resemble tissues in the body i.e. thyroid hormone, joint cartilage, muscles, liver cells, etc. The body’s immune system attacks these chemicals, and because they resemble or “mimic” the structures of the body, the immune system is directed to attack friendly tissues as well. See – Molecular Mimicry and Autoimmunity for more on this. Once your body starts to attack it’s own tissues, it can take 2-3 years to reverse autoimmune disease. That is why going on a gluten free diet should not be sporadic. Once the internal “autoimmune fires” start, they must be put out. The only way to do this is with a strict adherence to the diet so that the gut can heal and the immune damage can cease.

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