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Can a gluten allergy indicate a thyroid problem?

The thyroid is a gland situated in the neck. The role of the thyroid is to secrete thyroid hormones, which regulate many aspects of a person's health, including the metabolism. Two types of thyroid disease exist: Hashimoto's disease (hypothyroidism) and Grave's disease (hyperthyroidism). Both of these diseases are autoimmune diseases. Similarly, celiac disease, a common and extreme form of gluten allergy, is also an autoimmune disease. Studies show that a significant number of people with celiac disease also have thyroid problems. Similarly, other studies show that people with a thyroid condition are also more likely to have celiac disease. However, scientists are still uncertain whether exposure to gluten in people with celiac disease causes thyroid problems, or whether people with thyroid problems are more vulnerable to developing celiac disease. What is certain is that if you have either one of these conditions, it is worth being tested for the other.

Many of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are shared by people with celiac disease. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive. People who suffer from this condition may display a number of symptoms including weight gain, fatigue, depression, and an inability to think and concentrate. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive. Some of the symptoms that may manifest in this case include weight loss, anxiety, fatigue, sleeping disorder, increased appetite and nervousness.

Thyroid and celiac diseases are autoimmune diseases - where a person produces antibodies that attack the body's own tissue, including the thyroid tissue. Checking and controlling allergies, such as an allergy to gluten, is one way to manage thyroid conditions. Research has shown that organ-specific autoantibodies, such as thyroid antibodies, are indicative of celiac disease. What's more is that studies have also shown that these antibodies disappear after three to six months of a gluten-free diet.