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Autoimmune Diseases And Gluten
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Just curious:

I've seen a lot of information about the connection between celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases. But I was wondering if there is also a connection between non-celiac gluten intolerance (NCGI) and autoimmune diseases?

It's difficult to research this via search engines. Does anyone know?

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Since non-celiac gluten intolerance has only recently been recognized as actually existing, there is very little research on it yet; but there are studies under way. Logic (in my pea brain) would say that celiac disease is just another form of gluten intolerance :P

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I'm intolerant of peas, but second mushroom's logic :)

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I'm intolerant of peas, but second mushroom's logic :)

Well, I am too, so there ya go -- problem solved -- new brain on order :D

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It is fairly common for a person with one autoimmune disease to also have another. This increased susceptibility is probably genetic. There is no evidence that one causes the other—in other words, gluten has not been shown to be a trigger for other autoimmune diseases, other than celiac disease.

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Gluten can be a "trigger" food for Eosinophilic Esophagitus, another auto-immune disease. There is a known connection between Celiac and EoE. New diagnosed cases of EoE should be automatic testing for Celiac.

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It is fairly common for a person with one autoimmune disease to also have another. This increased susceptibility is probably genetic. There is no evidence that one causes the other—in other words, gluten has not been shown to be a trigger for other autoimmune diseases, other than celiac disease.

Gluten is suspected in making some AI diseases worse though. Patients with RA, lupus, Hashimotos, and uveitis are advised to go gluten-free to help alleviate symptoms.

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Psoriatic arthritis was the impetus for me (from arthritis patients and from what I had read) to stop eating gluten. The disappearance of my GI symptoms was an unexpected bonus :blink:

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Gluten is suspected in making some AI diseases worse though. Patients with RA, lupus, Hashimotos, and uveitis are advised to go gluten-free to help alleviate symptoms.

Hi nvsmom,

Do you have any more information about this? I haven't come across this idea before—I try to stay up to date with the research, but this is unfamiliar.

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Hi nvsmom,

Do you have any more information about this? I haven't come across this idea before—I try to stay up to date with the research, but this is unfamiliar.

I'm afraid I'm really bad about quoting authors; I probably should write this stuff down... I've read a bunch of books over the past 6 months on thyroid problems because of my own health issues. I would estimate that a quarter of them recommended that patients try the gluten-free diet to see if it helps with symptoms. I remember reading in one book about the possibility of mild hypothyroidism resolving itself on the gluten-free diet based on a some patients' experiences. Same thing with Lupus; I've read in a few books that the gluten-free diet can help prevent flares. That was applied to RA as well.

My SIL has uveitis (sp?) and her specialist also told her to follow the gluten-free diet to help slow the disease; she' had some mild improvements.

Wheat Belly by Davis also mentions how going gluten-free can help in AI diseases, the most obvious being diabetes. He discusses how genetically modified wheat is and how this could be the cause of many problems. It's a really good book, and an entertaining read.

...But with your credentials, I'm sure you are much more knowledgeable than I am in this area.

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I have heard of a gluten free diet can be helpful for any auto-immune disease.

Take gluten and the top 8 allergens list, these are the hardest known proteins for the human body to handle. It would make sense that an already compromised immune system may have more difficulty handling these proteins in the diet. There is not a medical test "proving" this food "intolerance" , but there has been studies and research collected. So I don't have a link to any test, but there are studies of diet change helping auto-immune diseases.

You can search some of cases of MS and improvement, or are you interested in one other auto-immune disease specifically?

It may be like the advice to new gluten free peeps, "keep a food journal" to identify another food intolerance. We do assume (from many cases discussed here) the damaged gut is going to have difficulty with another food (most likely casein from the similarity of the protein chain and the location of the damaged villi to the area of digestion.)

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Just heard back from the Chicago center (they are super sweet, by the way!) for a specific version of this, namely: whether the gluten-free diet has any impact on autoimmune thyroid disorders.

Dr. Guandalini informs us that there are no current studies yet concerning the link between the two in *non* celiac patients. So, as it stands, it would seem that we just don't know.

I am still barely 1/3 through the gluten-free period they prescribed me, but in my specific case I can't say much regarding the gluten-thyroid connection in non-celiacs. I have (right now) hyperthyroidism, and my FT and FT4 spiked up even more after the gluten-free diet. I could bottle some of my hormones and sell them at the black market right now! :D I am starting a new therapy today, and it'll be a few months till I know how it goes.

But the gluten-free diet alleviates my GI symptoms (and some others), which appear to be not directly connected to my thyroid problems, so I will just stick with it.

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I scour the medical literature on a regular basis and I just came across an editorial in which it was postulated that non celiac gluten sensitivity is caused by activation of our "innate" immune system...it works by a different pathway than most other autoimmune diseases, but is still autoimmune in the sense that our bodies are recognizing gluten as "foreign" invader and then attacking ourselves. I need to go back and find the reference myself. There was similarly a recent article about "wheat sensitive" IBS, and the researchers discussed a subgroup of IBS sufferers whose symptoms were worsened with gluten exposure and who also were intolerant to dairy and miltiple other foods. Again, activation of the innate immune system was discussed. My understanding of the innate immune system is that it is our primitive, no frills defense against bacteria and viruses (not highly involved and does not involve the complex antibody response). I need to read and learn more about this and report back.

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Thankfully -- we will be hearing more and more of our Innate Immune System - the best researchers are getting closer to what we all have figured out individually.

For now - if you are here and other places researching possible solutions from your food - you are way ahead of the most advanced research ... IMHO.

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Question for those of you in the know - does the presence of more than one autoimmune disorder leave one more susceptible for another? For example, I tested negative for celiac (blood test and endoscopy), but I have two other auto immune disorders - does this mean that the possibility of developing celiac in the future is greater for me?

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I often ask the same question. Since I didn't have any testing, but have hypothyroidism and psoriatic arthritis, does that make it more likely that I have celiac disease rather than gluten intolerance. Since my oldest sister was gluten intolerant but her daughter celiac, would that likely make us both celiac? It is something to ponder but, for me, not to know for sure. Regardless, neither of us should eat gluten. :)

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