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Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson's Chronic Condition Natural Treatment Blog

Intentional musings of a unique Shelby Township Michigan Chiropractic Physician dedicated to helping people find solutions to improving their health by rooting out causes to chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, stubborn thyroid disorder symptoms, balance disorders, chronic knee & shoulder pain, migraines, sciatica, ADD/ADHD/ASD, back pain, peripheral neuropathy, gluten sensitivity and autoimmune disorders so they can Reclaim Their Life!

From the Desk of Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC.....

Thyroid Autoimmunity - What You Need to Know

Posted by Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC on Tue, Jan 10, 2023

January is Thyroid awareness month

Thyroid autoimmunity is the most prevalent and dominant autoimmune condition. Understanding the gluten-thyroid connection can lead to better symptom management with diet and lifestyle.

Functions of the Thygroid Gland

Though it weighs only about an ounce, the thyroid is responsible for functions that have a major impact on one’s health. It maintains body temperature, controls the rate of energy production (including oxygen use and basal metabolic rate), regulates the skeletal and muscular growth of children, and heavily influences brain chemistry. Additionally the thyroid gland has major influence in many other areas.

The thyroid:

  • Enhances a portion of the nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Promotes breakdown of blood sugar, mobilizes fats essential for protein synthesis.
  • Enhances the liver’s synthesis of cholesterol.
  • Promotes normal adult nervous system function and mood.
  • Promotes normal functioning of the heart.
  • Promotes normal muscular growth and function.
  • Promotes normal GI motility and tone.
  • Increases secretion of digestive juices, particularly that of the gallbladder and the stomach.
  • Promotes normal female reproductive ability and lactation.
  • Promotes normal hydration and secretory activity of the skin.

The thyroid gland takes iodine, a chemical element found in many foods, and converts it into thyroid hormones thyroxin (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). It is estimated that iodine makes up about 0.00004% of total human body weight and is found in highest concentration in the thyroid gland cells. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine, residue from the protein thyroglobulin, to make the hormones T4 (thyroxin) and T3 (triiodotyrosine). These hormones are then released into the blood stream and transported throughout the body, attached to a protein called Thyroid Binding Globulin (TGB).

Thyroid Symptoms You May Not Recognize as Such

There are many symptoms that can be caused by dysfunctional thyroid activity that may lead you to believe you have some unrelated health malady. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress (including IBS or Celiac Disease)
  • Acid reflux
  • Brain fog
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue

Does Gluten Affect thyroid function?

It’s important to understand what gluten is to fully understand how it can create a toxic response in people with autoimmune disease, especially those with thyroid disease.
Wheat is made up of multiple gluten and non-gluten proteins, peptides, wheat germ agglutinin and enzymes. This multitude of antigens are responsible for many other autoimmune conditions. Gluten is found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat.
 Wheat Proteins and Peptides
It’s a staple in the Western diet that you’ll encounter in most breads, cereals, pastas, processed foods, and other hidden ingredients. Non-food items including certain low quality vitamins and supplements, personal hygiene, and cosmetic products may contain gluten.
If you have a thyroid autoimmune condition gluten can trigger inflammation, and barrier breakdown, leading to gut dysbiosis. Autoimmune genetic predisposition can also prompt gluten reactivity. This response is like "turning on a switch." Once the switch has been turned on it can't be turned off.
If you have a thyroid autoimmune condition gluten can trigger inflammation, and barrier breakdown, leading to gut dysbiosis. Autoimmune genetic predisposition can also prompt gluten reactivity. This response is like "turning on a switch." Once the switch has been turned on it can't be turned off. 
To properly assess wheat and gluten reactivity a full array of antigens must be measured. The Cyrex Array 3X Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity and Autoimmunity™ can be used as a powerful tool to support risk evaluation and to identify early detection. Click here to download the Cyrex 3X Brochure
Note: There is significant cross-reactivity with gliadin, a gluten component, and multiple tissue types including Thyroid Peroxidase, GAD 65, Myelin Basic Protein, Asialoganglioside, and Myocardial Peptide to name a few. To test for these and others we utilize Cyrex Array 5 (Multiple Autoimmune Reactivity Screen).
Gluten-Antibody Cross Reactions

Other foods can look like gluten to your immune system and Interfere with your healing

Over the years many patients have consulted me for a functional approach to helping with stubborn thyroid symptoms despite medical management*. Some who have asked for help already knew about the gluten-thyroid connection. For those folks, I ask if they eat other grains, dairy and gluten-free foods, the typical answer is yes. They would wonder why a gluten-free diet was not enough, so I blogged on that topic.
Often the missing link is other proteins in the diet can look like wheat gluten and cause immune reactivity and the associated inflammatory response.  In other words we had to test for what additional foods were to blame for the ongoing aggravation. Here is a flow chart that represents the clinical decision making. You can download the flow chart here.
Clinical Interpretation Table Array 3X Flow Chart

 Testing for Gluten Look-Alike Proteins

The way we assess cross-reactive foods and gluten-free diet antigens is with Cyrex Array 4. The image below shows what foods are evaluated with this important test:

Cyrex 4 Analytes

When I had this test performed on myself, I tested positive for 8 of the listed foods. Thankfully, we can use Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET) to desensitize reactions to what are found in the list.

The bottom line

The standard medical testing is all based on thyroid hormone replacement. It's not unusual for a Hashimoto's patient to come in and list a thyroid medication as the sole treatment for their thyroid health challenge. Functionally, I look at many tests to evaluate body function, including ordering 10 thyroid tests. I do this to understand more about a patients physiology. Also we assess for gluten intolerance as described above as well as gluten cross-reactions.


If you would like a more in-depth look at your health, particularly your body health as it relates to thyroid function, I welcome you to give our office a call to schedule your case review. You can reach us at 586-731-8840.I Could Use Some Help With My Health

*Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC focuses his practice on helping patients find  root causes to their chronic health challenges using the neurological aspects of chiropractic care, diet and nutritional recommendations. Please be aware I work with patients who are already medically diagnosed with medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, who are considered to be successfully medically managed by their physician, but who still have stubborn symptoms for which there appears to be no medical answer. I do not diagnose or treat medical conditions as would a medical doctor with drugs or surgery.

Download Dr. Karl Johnson's FREE Thyroid eBook

Always remember one of my mantras, "The more you know about how your body works, the better you can take care of yourself."

For more details about the natural approach I take with my patients, take a look at the book I wrote entitled: Reclaim Your Life; Your Guide To Revealing Your Body's Life-Changing Secrets For Renewed Health. It is available in my office or at Amazon and many other book outlets. If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the top of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with chronic health challenges, despite receiving medical management. Help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living! Thank you!


Topics: Cyrex Labs, gluten, autoimmune thyroid, thyroid hormones, autoimmunity, Thyroid Challenges, gluten sensitivity, gluten cross-reaction, gluten cross-reaction, Wheat

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