The Gluten Free Autoimmune Disease Connection


Criticism has been aimed at the average citizen eliminating gluten from their diet – perhaps as an “en vogue” choice.  However, it could be in the best interest of some individuals to eliminate gluten.  Is there truly a gluten free autoimmune disease connection at work?

There appears to be a positive relationship of disease avoidance and symptom mitigation of autoimmune disease through dietary health.  That may present in differing definitions for some; but many people report decreasing symptomatology through dietary modifications.celiac disease, gluten free and other autoimmune disease  Results may vary depending on the autoimmune process at hand – better glucose control, decreased inflammation and a general sense of wellness prevail for many with diets aimed at eliminating offensive culprits such as gluten.

The power of a clean, healthy diet should not be overlooked.  After all, we are what we eat- right?  Whether it is paleo, gluten free or another modified diet (lifestyle) there is one for you.

What is autoimmunity?

Let’s take a look at the built in human defense system.  When the body’s armor is functioning correctly the immune system is something to marvel at.  It serves as a protector or fence of sorts against foreign invaders.  The immune system is complex and when it is functioning as it should, it can identify foreign invaders versus itself.

A flawed response occurs with autoimmune disease and an attack begins to occur on otherwise healthy cells.  The immune response ultimately spirals out of control resulting in an autoimmune condition and diagnosis.

Diet and Autoimmune Disease

If you have an autoimmune disease would it benefit you to adapt your diet?  We know that having one autoimmune disease predisposes you to having another.  We also know that autoimmune diseases prefers to happen in clumps. If you have just one consider yourself lucky.

On the flip side, if your family is populated with autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. should dietary changes be in order as a precautionary measure?  My personal opinion is – yes.  Gluten stokes the fire of inflammation, why add fuel to the hot coals of your genetic predispositions?

Please know my opinion stems in part from the fact that the wheat we eat today is not the wheat our ancestors consumed.  See She Sugars article “Dwarf Wheat, Another Arrow in the Backs of Americans”.  Wheat is yet another genetically modified food with fingers pointing at its ability to cause inflammation, obesity and diabetes.  Gone are the days when are everyone is saying eat wheat and as much as you can- whole grain this and whole wheat that.

That being said, there is no strong evidence that avoiding gluten will help autoimmune diseases.  You can think it through yourself.  If you have chronic inflammation, why add foods to your diet that can cause or increase that level.  Check out Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid.  Consuming a diet rich in anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant foods is certainly worth a try.  One that highlights whole foods- fruits, vegetables, fish oils and is low in processed foods.  Basically eating real food, not food that is manipulated, colored, preserved and made into fun shapes.

Serving your child dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets is not a whole food choice people!

Before you eliminate gluten always be sure to see your doctor and be tested for celiac disease if you are suspicious of gluten intolerance.  Many people will eliminate gluten and feel so much better they never add the gluten back into the diet, which is necessary for positive testing to occur.  The celiac gluten free diet is very specific and even a crumb will sicken a person with celiac disease.

On the flip side of this controversy…


An interesting study in Finland: “Gluten-free diet and autoimmune thyroiditis in patients with celiac disease” examined the relationship of further autoimmune diagnoses with a rapid identification and treatment of celiac disease.  In particular, this study honed in on autoimmune thyroid disease and its diagnostic rate before and after diagnosis and dietary treatment.

“Celiac patients had an increased risk of thyroid autoimmune disorders. A gluten-free diet seemed not to prevent the progression of autoimmune process during a follow-up of 1 year.”- Pub Med




  1. Nancy says:

    Wow thank you for the information regarding celiac disease and the underlying treatments behind it. It sounds good interesting. It will definitely give people more awareness regarding their disease. Hope to read some more! Thanks for the post.

    • jewels says:

      Thank you for your response! I took a peek at your website which is wonderful. Quite a diagnosis story you have, the length of time it takes for a correct celiac diagnosis is always amazing to me…

  2. Chonnochara says:

    make an appointment with a dotocr for an intestinal biopsy. I left of course, in a rage and did not make the appointment. But, eventually aftera different ER gave the same advice, for jaw pain, I tried the gf diet with coersion from a co-worker. The plan was, if gf diet worked, I go for the test. In two weeks time I had no more brain fog, stuffiness,insomnia, or IBS. I woke up and felt alert in the morning. My jaw got better so I decided that was dental and my garlic treatment worked. But, I also decided there was no way I was going to go back to eating wheat so a dotocr could test me. I felt like my brain had been released from a plastic bag. In months to follow I noticed no more bone pain, asthma, colds, or severe depressive states through a whole winter! When sensation to heat in my hands returned partially in 9 months, after 20+ year absense, I couldn’t help but suspect a gf diet connection; sure enough. I didn’t always have Raynaud’s anymore, either. With so many improvements I still haven’t gone to a dotocr. My GI issues and severe depression did come back twice; both times were with new brands of GF cereals; one got me bad after a couple months in my diet eventually I figured out the coincidence. I still have mild depression .maybe it’s part of healing or it could be the economy, situational or reaction to the effects gluten had on my life. Before going gf, I had depression diagnosis three times after bad life situations; and I tried anti-depressents. But, the anxiety, shaking and an inability to talk made care of my child, my job and myself impossible. I’m wondering What experiences others with Celiac Disease and depression have had with anti-depressants before and after going gluten free?

  3. Jan Q says:

    I have Coeliac Disease, biopsy diagnosed in 1985, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in the early 90′s. I have my thyroid function tested at least yearly & it is still functioning well. I think my strict GF diet may have stopped the HT from developing.


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  2. […] The Gluten Free Autoimmune Disease Connection | She Sugar – Is there truly a gluten free autoimmune disease connection at work? There appears to be a positive relationship of disease avoidance and symptom mitigation of autoimmune disease through dietary health. That may present in differing definitions for some; … […]

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