The bottom line is, if you have an autoimmune disease, you really must go gluten free.
Gluten free eating is not a fad. Studies have shown there has been a dramatic explosion in gluten sensitivity over the last 30 years. This is partly due to changes in how the wheat is processed, which make the gluten protein more immune reactive. Also, when pesticides such as glyphosates bind to gluten substances they change the structure and make it more reactive to our immune system. Different seeds are now bred together so they are more weather resistant and this has led to a different type of wheat compound which is more reactive.
The modified gluten protein can cause problems with both your gut health and your immune system which can trigger and lead to the progression of inflammation and autoimmune conditions.
Those with Hashimoto’s are genetically more likely to react to gluten
People with Hashimoto’s have a genetic sensitivity to being gluten sensitive. The genotype for gluten reactivity (HLADQ genotype) is very similar to the genotype found in celiac disease which is an extreme form of gluten sensitivity. We know that just because you have Hashimoto’s, you have the gene type to be reactive to gluten or even have celiac disease.
Eating gluten can cause further destruction of thyroid tissue via ‘Cross Reactivity’
Cross reactivity is where antibodies made to target one type of food protein or body tissue protein can also be made for another protein which has a similar structure. This is relevant for Hashimoto’s because the gluten protein has a similar structure to the protein of the thyroid gland. Scientists have found that if a person is gluten sensitive and they are making antibodies to target gluten, it is common to also make antibodies which target the thyroid gland which has a similar structure. So, whenever gluten is consumed in these individuals, the body produces antibodies which attack the thyroid tissue. This is known as cross reactivity (or molecular mimicry). Wheat germ agglutinin (the lectin portion of the wheat) has also been shown to cross react with Thyroid Peroxidase (the enzyme which produces thyroid hormone)