Is Giving UP Gluten REALLY Necessary for Hashimoto’s Patients, or Just Fad Hype?

Unless you are newly diagnosed, chances are you have heard a lot about the connection between eating gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats) and auto immune diseases like Hashimoto’s.

You also have probably heard from your doctor, online nutritionists, and many mainstream media outlets and late night talk show hosts saying it is a lot of BS, and that you actually NEED gluten to be healthy.

So Who Is Right?

And also, just how strict do I really need to be? Can’t I have a little cheat? What if I don’t have any gut symptoms?

To find out the answer, I searched through research articles on PubMed. I already knew my stance on the issue, but wanted to make sure there was current research that supported it.

The September 2015 edition of the journal Gastroenterology  found high “proportions of patients with NCWS or CD develop autoimmune disorders, are ANA positive, and showed DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes”. (note- NCWS is non-Celiac wheat sensitivity.)

In the March 2015 journal Cerebellumgluten was further linked to neurological disorders such as gluten ataxia, where there were no gut symptoms whatsoever, and occurred most commonly in patients with Hashimoto’s and other auto immune diseases. Check out this quote from the study:

“As with celiac disease, patients with GA (gluten ataxia) are often found to have an increased prevalence of additional autoimmune diseases the commonest of which include hypothyroidism, type 1 diabetes mellitus and pernicious anemia. Gastrointestinal symptoms are seldom prominent and are not a reliable indicator for the presence or absence of enteropathy. In this respect, gluten ataxia resembles dermatitis herpetiformis, an autoimmune dermatopathy triggered by gluten where gastrointestinal symptoms are not prominent even in the presence of an enteropathy.” (parenthesis and bold added by me for emphasis and clarification)

Wow. That is pretty powerful. How many of you with brain symptoms has ever had your doctor consider a possible gluten connection?

Did you know that a study from 3 years ago showed an increased need for T4 in patients with atypical Celiac disease?

How about that the need for increased T4 dosage reversed when the patient adopted a gluten free diet?

This study was in the March 2012 journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Have you ever had your endocrinologist consider that this may be another reason your T4 is not working as it should, or did they ridicule you when you asked about it?

As far back as 1999, the Italian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology   concluded the following:

The prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases is significantly increased when compared with the general population (p = 0.009) but not with patients affected by non autoimmune thyroid disorders (p = 0.18). We suggest a serological screening for coeliac disease in all patients with autoimmune thyroid disease measuring anti-endomysial antibodies, considering that early detection and treatment of coeliac disease are effective in preventing its complications.”

I could go on and on with studies that show the connection between gluten reactions, both non-celiac and celiac, and auto immune diseases, but it would quickly turn into a book.

The 2013 study in the journal Brain and Nerve by Yoneda even showed connections between Hashimoto’s encephalitis and gluten ataxia, which caused not only thyroid symptoms but neurological symptoms.  Thus gluten intake actually triggered not only reactions in the thyroid but also the brain.

Ok, so there IS a connection, but can’t I have an occasional cheat?

I remember talking to my friend Dr Datis Kharrazian about this. My wife had gotten seriously ill from her thyroid and mine was wreaking havoc on my life as well.

He asked if we were gluten free. I told him “mostly, like 95%.”

His response was that there was no such thing as mostly gluten free…just like you could not be mostly pregnant…you either ARE or ARE NOT…

It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it was what I needed to hear. He then told me something that the immunologists at Cyrex Labs confirmed when I had a consultation with one of their top doctors.

Just ONE exposure to gluten, one little bite of a “cheat”, could trigger an immune flare up that lasts 6 months to one year.

One year…that is HUGE.

I highly recommend that you go onto www.PubMed.org and search for yourself. The number of research studies is mind boggling.

Also check out www.CyrexLabs.com to read about the cutting edge tests that they are running for food reactions, environmental toxins, chemicals, metals, etc.

I hope this gives you some helpful info, and be sure to talk this over with your functional medicine or functional neurology practitioner for customized help.

You can follow me @drkirkgair or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo

 

Should Hashimoto’s Patients Get Flu Shots, Or Will It Make You Worse?

Boy, talk about a hot topic that gets emotions flaring!

Any medical procedure you do has a risk to benefit ratio, and you have to consider that to see if you think it is worth doing. With this post I am just going to lay out the facts so you can make an informed decision about what you think is best for you.

You already know what the benefit can be of the vaccine, so let’s look at what the risks would be for an auto immune person.

First off, I highly recommend that before you get any shot that you read the insert. Inserts for all the flu vaccines can be found on this page. http://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/Influenza/Influenza-Vaccine-Package-Inserts.aspx

The info there will tell you exactly what is in the vaccine, such as the preservatives and adjuvants, and also provide you with a list of what the potential reactions are to the vaccine, as well as what percentage of people had reactions in their trials.

Here is what the FluMist vaccine insert said about patients with underlying illness getting their vaccine:

“The safety of FluMist Quadrivalent in individuals with underlying medical conditions that may predispose them to complications following wild-type influenza infection has not been established.”

So basically they do not know if it can make you worse or not.

When it comes to negative reactions from vaccines, the preservatives and adjuvants are potential causes. Patients who have Hashimoto’s antibodies may also have antibodies against common vaccine ingredients such as FORMALDEHYDE, MERCURY (thimerosal in vaccines), MSG, and EGGS.

Exposure to those ingredients can ramp up the immune system. I would recommend any Hashimoto’s patient to consider taking the Cyrex Labs Array 11 test and Array 4 test to see if you have antibodies against these substances if you are considering flu shots. If you do have these antibodies, then you know that a vaccine that has those in them could potentially flare you up.

(Many people think that  mercury is no longer in vaccines, but it is still used as a preservative in multi use vials.)

Neurosurgeon Dr Russell Blaylock has written about the dangers of MSG for brain function due to its excitatory neurotoxic properties and how it can destroy brain cells. Many Hashimoto’s patients suffer from brain fog, and MSG exposure has the potential to make that worse. Dr Mercola wrote an article about MSG and vaccines that you can read here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/06/08/msg-vaccines.aspx

Hopefully this will give you some info to make a more informed decision. Again I am not saying you should not get the vaccine, as that is a decision you should make after reading these inserts, taking those tests, and talking over this information with your functional medicine practitioner. If you have children, I would also recommend running those tests on them as well. If they have those reactions and you still want to get them vaccinated, you can talk to your doctor about receiving a formulation that is modified and does not include the adjuvants and preservatives that they react to.

For more info, be sure to to follow me on twitter @drkirkgair or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo

As always, this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace your conversation with your licensed healthcare provider. This is not a pro or anti vaccine article, but instead is designed to give you resources to make an informed decision about what is best for you and your family.

Could Cold Laser Be The Next Big Thing In Helping Thyroid Patients?

A lot has been written about the connections between Hashimoto’s and gluten, environmental toxins, leaky gut, etc. However, very little has been discussed about the potential use for Cold Laser therapy, even though several recent research studies found some promising results.

Hashimoto’s antibodies can lead to destruction of thyroid tissue, which can result not only in the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, but also changes in thyroid appearance on ultrasound, and the presence of abnormal blood markers.

Currently, most traditional medical treatments aim to control the symptoms or get the TSH and T4 into the medical normal range while often ignoring the underlying root causes and the destruction that occurs in the gland.

The exciting thing about these studies on lasers and their effects on the thyroid is that they appear to not only trigger tissue regeneration, they also seem to help normalize function and decrease the need for medications, without any side effects.

The most recent study comes out of the July 2015 edition of the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology.  In this study, the thyroid glands of rats were damaged with gamma radiation, and then were treated with low level laser of 632 nanometers for 6 sessions. The study concluded that the laser improved the rats thyroid function, liver function, antioxidant levels, and blood cell markers. No side effects were noted. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25975382 

The August 2014 edition of the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery found that cold laser treatment to patients with autoimmune thyroid disease significantly increased levels of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25101534) Why is this important? The August 1991 edition of the Journal of Autoimmunity found that TGF-β1 could calm down and suppress auto immune attacks, and that it may even prove helpful in causing remission of Graves disease. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1777015)

Patients with autoimmune thyroid disease often have altered blood flow within the thyroid. The 2012 journal ISRN Endocrinology found that 10 laser treatments improved blood flow within the thyroid, as visualized with Dopplar ultrasound. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23316383)

But perhaps the most exciting study I came across was in the August 2010 journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. Patients were given 10 treatments over 5 weeks. They found that all patients needed less thyroid medication, including 47% who did not require any medication through the 9-month follow-up. Can you imagine being able to go 9 months without needing thyroid medication?

Furthermore, the medication dosage needed in the other participants decreased, and remained decreased even 9 months later. TPOAb (thyroid antibody) levels also decreased,  and thyroid tissue appearance improved on ultrasound. This means that thyroid tissue damaged by auto immune attacks was actually getting repaired with laser stimulation. Again, no side effects were noted. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20662037)

These are just a few of the exciting studies that support the use of lasers in thyroid disease, but the applications go even beyond just the thyroid. As far back as December 1993, there was a far reaching study from Japan in the Keio Journal of Medicine that found that laser therapy on cancer cells “inhibits growth and increases cell-specific destruction”, and that “other immune system-related diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, some forms of eczema, asthma and asthma-related ulceration, have responded well to” laser therapy. I found numerous other studies that also suggested that cold laser was effective even for helping with thyroid cancers. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8126975)

So let’s review what these studies found. Cold laser therapy was shown to:

  1. Reduce TPO antibody levels
  2. Reduce the need for T4 medications in a majority of patients, even 9 months after treatment, and eliminate the need in nearly half the patients in one study
  3. Increase the amount of cellular antioxidants such as glutathione
  4. Improve thyroid tissue and vascularization on ultrasound examination
  5. Increase levels of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), which calms down the auto immune activity and may have the potential to cause remission of Graves’ disease
  6. Decrease the activity of inflammatory molecules such as nuclear factor kappa beta and interleukin 6
  7. Stimulate the repair of tissue damaged by the thyroid auto immune attack
  8. Have no side effects

These are all pretty powerful findings. I was surprised to find the data going back over 20 years supporting cold laser’s use on auto immune diseases, considering that most of us have never heard about it in mainstream media or from our doctors.

Obviously more studies are needed, but the current research suggests that lasers may provide significant help for the growing numbers of auto immune thyroid patients out there. Have any of you out there tried this therapy or heard about it from your doctor? If you have, please comment with what your results have been.

Please check out my facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo, or follow me on twitter @drkirkgair.

This information is for informational purposes only and should not replace the diagnosis and treatment of your qualified healthcare professional. Do not undertake using a laser on yourself without proper evaluation and supervision of a licensed healthcare provider. As always, Dr Gair recommends that you seek the help of a healthcare professional trained in functional medicine and following their advice.

Rheumatoid Arthritis? Recent Studies Show Cold Laser Can Decrease Inflammation & Repair Damaged Tissue

Recently, a patient asked me if Cold Laser could help with RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, since it had worked so well on her son’s injured shoulder and she wondered if it could help other more serious conditions.

While I had seen patients with the condition improve when I treated them, especially if we did the functional medicine protocols in combination with laser, I wasn’t sure if there were any studies that supported this.

I actually found several that showed that Cold Laser not only decreased the INFLAMMATION associated with Rhuematoid Arthritis, it also stimulated the formation of new cartilage and bone and slowed down the tissue necrosis (death).

As with all the other studies I have seen, there were no side effects to the therapy.

Here are a couple of studies that you can take a look at. This study in the Feb 2013 journal Lasers in Medicine and Surgery had this conclusion:

“LLLT both at early and late RA progression stages significantly improved mononuclear inflammatory cells, exudate protein, medullary hemorrhage, hyperemia, necrosis, distribution of fibrocartilage, and chondroblasts and osteoblasts compared to RA group (p < 0.05). We can conclude that LLLT is able to modulate inflammatory response both in early as well as in late progression stages of RA.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538842

This study from Russia (their research in cold lasers was actually decades ahead of US research) showed that cold lasers “not only increases the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects but also has the antioxidant properties”.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25876429

Now, for the most effective alternative combination, I would also recommend that you get tested to see what foods are triggering the antibody flare up.

A great test is available from Cyrex Labs (www.cyrexlabs.com). Many patients with auto immune diseases have “leaky gut”, aka intestinal permeability. Cyrex’s Array 2 is great for assessing if you have this.

Auto immune patients are often reactive to gluten, casein, and other foods. Cyrex’s array 3 and 4 tests for gluten and gluten cross reactors, which have been shown to be able to trigger auto immune flare ups.

I would also make sure that your vitamin D level is optimal. Many studies suggest that optimal blood levels for an anti-inflammatory effect and for immune support range from 50 to 80 ng/ml.

Also be sure your Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is well balanced. Anemias, blood sugar imbalances, and chronic infections should also be addressed.

I hope you find this helpful. Feel free to message me with questions or sign up for my free email health tips. You can also follow me on twitter @drkirkgair or on facebook at either www.Facebook.com/LaserChiropractic or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo

As always, be sure to check with your qualified healthcare provider before starting any of these protocols.