The Difference Between Gluten Intolerance and Gluten Sensitivity

Did you know that you could be sensitive to gluten but not intolerant/allergic?

Did you know that you could be sensitive to gluten i.e. have it still cause you symptoms or problems, but not be full blown Coeliac (allergic)? (Spelled Celiac outside of the UK).

As hypothyroid patients, it’s actually quite likely that we do have gluten sensitivity.

As explained by Coeliac UK: “Gluten allergy is a reaction to proteins found in wheat, triggered by the immune system and usually occurs within seconds or minutes of eating. Non coeliac gluten sensitivity is when symptoms similar to coeliac disease are experienced, but there are no associated antibodies of the gut..”

So, you could have had the tests done by your doctor to check for Coeliac Disease, and it come back negative, yet you suffer from fatigue, mood swings, brain fog, aches and pains, uncomfortable feelings in your stomach, goitre/swelling of the throat, acid reflux etc. within hours or a few days of eating something containing gluten. Sound possible or familiar?

It’s likely you have gluten sensitivity, if this is the case.

It’s reported that 90% of people with an underactive thyroid, have the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which attacks the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism. A common symptom of this autoimmune disease is gluten sensitivity. 

I’d always recommend, seeing as it’s 90% of us hypothyroid people with Hashimoto’s, to try cutting out gluten to test if you have a sensitivity to it anyway. Especially if you have symptoms such as acid reflux, brain fog, aches and pains and fatigue. It could just help them.

Gluten is said to apparently trigger the same autoimmune reactions that cause you to have Hashimoto’s in the first place, since supposedly, the cells of your thyroid are similar to the cells of gluten, and it confuses your body, increasing inflammation and so worse/extra symptoms. As a result, some Hashimoto’s patients eliminate gluten from their diet, and see good results.

Gluten sensitivity is different to a gluten allergy, in the way that you are generally diagnosed with Coeliac Disease if you have an intolerance to gluten, with symptoms of diarrhoea, bloating, bad wind etc. but a sensitivity can mean an increase in hypothyroid symptoms such as increased fatigue, swinging lab results (also swinging symptoms in feeling hypo one day and hyper the other), goitres/swelling in the thoat, brain fog,  aches and pains and poor gut health meaning low absorption rate of minerals and vitamins.

So if you often have low levels in vitamins and the like (B12, D, Iron, Selenium etc.), it could well indicate Hashimoto’s and/or damage to the gut by consuming gluten. It is believed that even if you do not have a sensitivity to gluten right now, you can develop it any time later on in life, since we’re very likely to have some kind of adverse effect to gluten eventually if not already, having Hashimoto’s. Dr Datis Kharrazian explained this in a seminar I watched for the Healing Hashimoto’s summit, held June 13th-20th 2016.

If you think you could be sensitive or allergic to gluten, or are just interested in giving gluten-free a try to see if it helps your fatigue, aches and pains, etc. try eliminating it from your diet for at least 3-4 months and keep a log of how you feel. You should also ideally retest your antibodies, TPOAB and TGAB, to see if they come down.

You do need to completely eliminate it and not just ‘cut back’. Read more info on this topic here.

If you found this article informative, useful, helpful or in other words are grateful you stumbled across it, please consider helping me keep The Invisible Hypothyroidism running, so that we can carry on building a strong community, spreading awareness and helping each other. Running the site comes at the expense of my personal time and money from my own pocket. You can make a one-off or monthly donation to support me keeping this website going, by clicking the button below.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given, but more reading and references can also be found at:

http://hypothyroidmom.com/12-shocking-symptoms-of-gluten-sensitivity/

https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/autoimmune-thyroid-disease-and-gluten/

https://chriskresser.com/the-most-important-thing-you-may-not-know-about-hypothyroidism/

To get notified of all my posts, blogs and articles, like my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheInvisibleHypothyroidism/ 

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I run a Facebook group, called Thyroid Family: Hypothyroidism Advice & Support Group. This group is for underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism patients only, and not medical professionals or anyone else. If you have any questions on living with hypothyroidism, or want some support, help or advice, please join us. 

I also run a group for the spouses, partners and other halves of hypothyroid patients, called Hypothyroid Patients Other Halves – Support & Advice Group. This is for the other halves only and not patients. 

-Rachel

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