Why You May NOT Need Gluten-Free Diet To Recover From Hashimoto’s Disease


Gluten is a well known trigger of celiac disease. It also has been linked to many other autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease. In fact, 10% patients with celiac disease have Hashimoto’s and 13% patients with Hashimoto’s also have celiac.

Based on these findings many holistic practitioners and some doctors suggest to people with autoimmune thyroid disease to adopt a gluten-free diet and some even insist on a strict patient’s compliance in order to see improvements.


Only a smaller group of people with Hashimoto’s and Graves have celiac and the majority don’t. Going gluten-free when you have thyroid autoimmunity but don’t know for sure if you also have celiac, is more a safety and prevention measure than a guarantee of improvement of your thyroid symptoms.

It can take years or even decades for celiac disease to develop and show up on a standard antibody tests. That is why there is no certain way to say who will develop celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and who won’t.

Until now…

Today you can solve your painful dilemma about going gluten-free or not by ordering a genetic test for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

The test result will tell you with almost 100% certainty if you have a genetic predisposition and whether you will ever develop celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

And the answer will be simple: Yes or No

Two Genetic Factors Of Celiac Disease

Autoimmune disease runs in the family and genetic predisposition is one of the mandatory factors that are required for autoimmunity to occur. Research studies show that two genes HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 from the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) group are the major celiac disease predisposing genetic factors and are present in all people diagnosed with celiac disease.

This means that if you don’t have HLA-DQ2 and/or HLA-DQ8 genes in your genetic blueprint than with an approximate accuracy of 99.9% it excludes the possibility of you ever to develop celiac disease in your life.

More good news is that even if you have one or both genes present there isn’t a 100% guarantee that you will have the disease either, because only 3% of those who have these genes actually develop celiac disease.

…celiac disease.

In recent years, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many non-HLA genes associated with an increased risk of celiac disease. However, only three chromosomal regions 5q31-q33 (CELIAC2), 2q33 (CELIAC3) and 19p13.1 (CELIAC4) have been officially recognized as genetic predisposing factors for celiac.

Furthermore, in celiacs these non-HLA genes are always present together with HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes and cannot be used for the risk assessment as a stand-alone factor. That is why only two HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 genes provide the highest genetic risk for celiac disease and non-HLA genes are not considered in the risk assessment.

Genes Of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

Both Graves’ and Hashimoto’s are complex genetic related diseases and as of today 8 contributing genes were found that fall into two categories:

  • Immune regulatory genes: HLA, CTLA4, PTPN22, CD40, CD25, and FCRL3
  • Thyroid-specific genes: TG and TSHR

However, there has been no major gene discovered yet that is present in all Hashimoto’s patients as it was found in celiac disease. None of the genes related to thyroid autoimmunity have shown high statistical values that could point to a single gene that is involved in inducing autoimmunity in the majority of patients with Graves’ and Hashimoto’s disease.

It was suggested that because of the gene polymorphism a variety of multiple gene interactions can combine to cause an autoimmune thyroid disease and it can result in many different clinical patterns and symptoms.

Furthermore, the contributing genes may be different in different patients and populations. Their expression can be altered by infections, environmental factors and gene mutations to initiate the disease. Similar conclusions were made for other autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes mellitus.

HLA genes are the major genes associated with both Graves’ and Hashimoto’s disease. They build the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) which contains 3 groups of genes related to immune system function in humans:

  • HLA class I (A, B, and C)
  • HLA class II (DP, DM, DOA, DOB, DQ, and DR)
  • HLA class III (other immune proteins).
Genes in Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

Genes in Autoimmune Thyroid Disease. Source: Reference 1

While HLA group of genes was found in many people with autoimmune thyroid disease, you can have Hashimoto’s without HLA genes present in your genetic blueprint. If this is the case then you are in the “lucky” group of 87% of people with Hashimoto’s who will never develop celiac disease.

Hashimoto's and celiac

The good news is that genetic testing is not only very helpful in the assessment of your risk for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity but also became available to order and gains more and more attention.

Who Can Benefit From Genetic Testing

Genetic testing for celiac disease can be a valuable tool in early detection whether you are at risk to develop this condition at any point of your life.

You should consider genetic testing for celiac when:

1. Someone in your family has celiac disease which puts the whole family at risk due to genetic predisposition.

Celiac disease could appear in the family at any time and regular antibody testing is recommended for all your family members:

  • People who have a first-degree relative (parent, child, sibling) diagnosed with celiac disease have a 1 in 22 chance to develop this condition too
  • Those who have a second degree relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin) with celiac and are at risk to have it 1 in 39

Genetic testing can help to determine the risk for your family members and is a great alternative to a regular antibody screening.

2. People who are gluten free but didn’t have a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of celiac disease.

Genetic testing is not affected by diet. You can be eating gluten or be on a gluten free diet – it won’t affect your results.

If you are gluten free and experience symptoms that may be indicative of celiac disease, a gene test is often the only way to determine if your symptoms are related to celiac. A positive gene test does not diagnose the disease but shows that you have an increased likelihood that celiac disease is present. A negative gene test would indicate that symptoms are not the result of celiac disease.

3. People with other autoimmune conditions that are often associated with celiac disease.

The autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroid and liver diseases, Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis herpetiformis. sarcoidosis (formation of lesions in the lungs, skin, bones and other parts of the body) and Addison’s disease occur more frequently in people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

4. Non-celiacs with persistent indigestion and digestive complaints

In healthy people the intestinal barrier is almost impermeable to macromolecules such as gliadin which is a gluten-protein found in wheat. Studies show that people with active celiac disease have increased intestinal permeability meaning that the integrity of their gut lining is compromised and gliadin can cross the intestinal epithelial barrier and reach submucosa.

It was found that gliadin can also affect the gut lining in non-celiacs with symptoms of indigestion, however the damage to the intestinal mucosa from the gliadin alone never reaches the level observed in celiacs.

This means that indigestion of gluten-containing foods can make gluten-proteins more aggressive towards your intestinal lining if you are a non-celiac but have digestive issues.

Furthermore, any physical damage to the gut lining due to surgery, inflammation, active gut infection or bowel disease opens the way for gluten-proteins through your gut lining and increases your risk of celiac disease. People who have Crohn’s disease, IBS, ulcerative colitis, microscopic colitis, autoimmune and non-autoimmune atrophic gastritis and other inflammatory conditions related to digestive tract could benefit from genetic testing for celiac disease.

For those non-celiacs healing leaky gut and avoiding triggers is the priority #1 and is the key to their recovery.

Where To Get Genetic Testing For Celiac Disease And Gluten Sensitivity

You can get genetic testing without a doctor’s referral and insurance authorization. Don’t be one of those whose diagnosis is missed or needlessly delayed for many years. There is no need to suffer from the limitations of gluten free diet either, because you may not need it. Get tested and find out! This is the lowest price point this lab has ever offered.



1. New Genetic Insights from Autoimmune Thyroid Disease.   Journal of Thyroid Research, Volume 2012 (2012)

2. HLA-DQ and Susceptibility to Celiac Disease: Evidence for Gender Differences and Parent-of-Origin Effects. Megiorni F et al. Am Journal Gastroenterol. 2008;103:997-1003.

3. Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2012 Feb;42(1):71-8.

4. Improving coeliac disease risk prediction by testing non-HLA variants additional to HLA variants. Gut doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2012-304110

5. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 2006; 41: 408/419

6. HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 in Celiac disease predisposition: practical implications of the HLA molecular typing. J Biomed Sci. 2012 Oct 11;19:88.

7. A Major Non-HLA Locus in Celiac Disease Maps to Chromosome 19. GASTROENTEROLOGY 2003;125:1032–1041


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About Marina Gutner, PhD

Marina Gutner, PhD, researcher, medical writer, thyroid blogger, founder and Admin of Outsmart Disease who writes about life-changing treatments for hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and autoimmune disease and how to balance hormones in women