Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

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Help for Thyroid Illness

Monday, 13 Aug 2012 07:59 AM


Question: I was diagnosed with Graves disease and a goiter about four years ago. Every time I eat pasta or bread I feel extremely full and have gastrointestinal pains. Is there anything you could suggest?

Dr. Brownstein’s Answer:

Graves disease is an autoimmune illness of the thyroid gland. Although we do not know exactly what predisposes a person to get an autoimmune thyroid illness, I have no doubt that there are key factors: iodine deficiency and gluten sensitivity.
It is impossible to experimentally induce Graves disease in an animal without ensuring iodine deficiency. According to the Centers for Disease Control, iodine levels have declined more than 50 percent over the last 30 years in the U.S.
During this same time, we have seen an epidemic increase in all thyroid disorders including thyroid cancer and autoimmune thyroid disorders. I have also found a direct correlation between gluten sensitivity and autoimmune thyroid illness.
Simple blood tests can often detect antibodies to proteins found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. These antibodies often react with thyroid tissue, causing an inflammatory response in the thyroid gland.
Removing gluten from the diet can help reduce the inflammatory cascade and should be a priority for those suffering from autoimmune thyroid illness. Studies have shown an improvement in autoimmune thyroid illness when gluten is removed from the diet.
Not everybody who is suffering from an autoimmune thyroid illness improves on a gluten-free diet. But my experience has shown that more than 70 percent of autoimmune thyroid patients will improve.
If you are going to try a gluten-free diet, I suggest at least a six-month trial in order to ascertain if the diet will improve your condition. More information about how to implement a gluten-free diet can be found in my book, “The Guide to a Gluten-free Diet.”









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