The benefits of following a gluten-free diet with Hashimoto’s have been well described.
Many people have taken the plunge of going gluten free and are carefully checking labels to ensure that their foods do not contain any gluten ingredients, but gluten can also be found in medications and can sabotage your healing.
There are no current laws that require medication manufacturers to specify if their products contain gluten. Many progressive manufacturers have started labeling their products, but not all. This is why we need to do our research.
Some labels may list ingredients like wheat, gluten, barley, etc. on the actual label which are obvious, but others may not list any of the above and may have “hidden” sources of gluten.
Medication and Supplement Ingredients That Could Contain Gluten
- Starch, or Pregelatinized starch, or sodium starch glycolate – Can be derived from potato, corn, tapioca or wheat
- Dextrate – Can be derived from potato, corn, tapioca or wheat
- Dextrin – Can be derived from potato, corn, tapioca or wheat
- Dextr-Maltose – A sugar that may be obtained from barley malt
- Maltodextrin – A starch that can be derived from potato, corn, tapioca or wheat
- Sodium Starch Glycolate – A starch that is usually derived from potato, but may come from any starch source
- Caramel Coloring – Barley malt may be used in its production
Check Your Medicine Cabinet
Although I avoid Advil due to its propensity to contribute to intestinal damage, I used it this past winter when I came down with the flu, and none of my other remedies worked.
The last time I needed to use Advil was before I went gluten free, so I was surprised to have discovered that there are multiple formulations of Advil with gluten in them! Specifically, Advil Liqui-Gels, Advil Menstrual, Advil Migraine, and any Advil product with a film coating contains gluten.
Additionally, I’ve also cut soy out of my diet and was surprised to find Advil along with many ibuprofen and acetaminophen products contain soy in the form of vegetable fat, stearic acid, and magnesium stearate. Highly refined soybean oil is used.
Beware, as many labels do not specify whether a product is gluten/soy/dairy free. Many times the information is not included in the ingredients section. Usually, there is a 1-800 number on the bottle. Give them a ring! Better safe than sorry…
Many prescription medications can also contain gluten. As most prescription medications are dispensed in pharmacy bottles, most of us do not get to scan the ingredient list.
Work with your pharmacist. He/She can provide you with the package insert that contains the list of ingredients, the manufacturer’s phone number, and if you are extra nice, the pharmacist may even call the manufacturer for you.
Luckily, most thyroid medications are gluten free, but we need to be careful with the various generic brands of levothyroxine (only 1 is gluten-free), as well as liothyronine.
Gluten-Free Thyroid Medications
- Levothyroxine (Lannet brand only)
- WP Thyroid (formerly Westhroid Pure)
The following medications do not have any gluten-containing ingredients, however, they are not tested for gluten content and cannot be certified as gluten-free:
- Levothyroxine (Mylan brand)
- Armour Thyroid*
*Note: Armour does contain sodium starch glycolate, which can be derived from wheat or corn.
Some commonly used medications that contain gluten include the following:
- Ambien CR (sleep aid)
- Amitiza (constipation)
- Trivora-28 (birth control)
- Maxalt MLT (migraines medication)
- Fosamax D (osteoporosis)
I also recommend the following website as a resource; it is managed by a clinical pharmacist and full of gluten-free medication resources:
However, as the pharmacist in charge of that website has thousands of drugs to track through calling the pharmaceutical companies, this source may not be updated as quickly.
Lifestyle interventions may be helpful for reducing or eliminating the need for some of these medications, but you should never stop medications with checking with your doctor first. Work with your pharmacist to find alternative medications.
Many people with Hashimoto’s are sensitive to multiple ingredients like dairy, soy, corn, eggs. Tirosint and Nature-Throid have the fewest additives as far as thyroid medications go. You can also work with a compounding pharmacist to have a special thyroid medication made for you without any ingredients that are going to sabotage your health.
In addition to medications, supplements can also contain fillers that may be detrimental
I have a few supplements companies that I like to use…
Pure Encapsulations is a pharmaceutical grade brand that has extremely tight quality control and manufacturing guidelines. Each product undergoes rigorous testing by a third-party laboratory to verify label claims, potency, and purity. All the products sold by Pure Encapsulations are free of gluten, dairy, soy, additives that may impair absorption.
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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