Dairy and Hashimoto’s
Much has been written about the impact of gluten-free diets on thyroid autoimmunity, and I am a big proponent of gluten-free diets for autoimmune conditions.
However, I have been getting quite a few emails from people who have gone gluten-free but have not gotten better…
If gluten was a trigger in your thyroid antibodies, you should see a significant decline in them, if not a complete elimination, within 3 months.
If not, you need to dig deeper…
Some people with Hashimoto’s may present with a celiac-like intolerance to milk proteins (whey and/or casein), egg proteins (ovalbumin), or soy proteins.
Many of these cases are undiagnosed, and when people continue to eat these foods, they are damaging their intestines and robbing themselves of vital nutrients. It sounds surprising, but even people who are overweight may be completely malnourished and nutrient depleted because of the foods they eat.
Food intolerances are different than food allergies…
Food allergies are mediated by the IgE part of the immune system, take effect immediately and are often called a “True Allergy” by medical professionals. However, this terminology is a misnomer and suggests that only IgE allergies exist and that reactions mediated by different parts of the immune system are non-existent.
I looked back at my immunology notes, and guess what? There are at least two other parts of the immune system that react to foods…the IgA and IgG branch.
For lack of better terminology, IgA and IgG hypersensitivities have both been labeled as “food intolerance” or “food sensitivity,” however, they are much different in their mechanism and propensity to cause harm in the body.
IgA Food Reactions (Celiac-like)
IgA food intolerance is the more severe reaction and works primarily in the intestines. It is an abnormal response of the intestines to certain foods in genetically predisposed individuals. The intolerances may manifest themselves early in childhood, or later in life.
IgA food intolerance results in irritation and inflammation of the intestinal tract every time that particular food is consumed. This results in damage to the intestines, with an eventual inability to absorb nutrients, and can increase the risk of autoimmune diseases, cancer, and accelerate aging through increased intestinal permeability.
IgA food intolerances may be asymptomatic, or they may present with the following symptoms: diarrhea, loose stools, constipation, acid reflux, malabsorption of nutrients from foods, and increased intestinal permeability.
They may cause IBS, gas, nausea, skin rashes (including eczema), acne, respiratory conditions such as asthma, nasal congestion, headache, irritability, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies.
The most well-known IgA food reaction has been called “celiac” disease, and it is an intolerance to gluten, the protein found in wheat. However, dairy protein, egg, and soy protein IgA intolerances are also extremely common in those with Hashimoto’s. These IgA food intolerances do not have a specific name and are often confused with other less severe food absorption syndromes.
For example, when I told my well-educated pharmacist friend that I had a dairy intolerance, she said “Oh, I’m lactose intolerant too. Can’t you just take Lactaid®?”
Of course, lactose intolerance and dairy protein intolerance are two completely different things. Lactose is a milk sugar, and the ability to digest lactose depends on having an enzyme named “lactase,” or intestinal bacteria that digest the milk sugar. Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, diarrhea, etc., but does not cause intestinal tissue inflammation or damage.
A more accurate description of an IgA food reaction may be Protein-Mediated Autoimmune Intestinal Inflammatory Reaction (PAIR).
Dairy was a huge issue for me! Read my Dairy and Hashimoto’s story. In short, if you have Hashimoto’s and are not getting better on a gluten-free diet, you need to dig deeper and consider other proteins that may be inhibiting your body’s ability to heal.
Read my other posts here:
- What’s Really Going on in Hashimoto’s
- Media Attack on Gluten-Free Diets
- Gluten and Hashimoto’s
- Got Acid Reflux?
NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
I wish you all the best in your healing journey!
PS. You can also download a free Thyroid Diet Guide, 10 Thyroid friendly recipes, and the Nutrient Depletions and Digestion chapter for free by going to www.thyroidpharmacist.com/gift. You will also receive occasional updates about new research, resources, giveaways and helpful information.
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