Letter to a Colleague- Re:Thyroid Disease
The following is an Email to a colleague who wrote on the behalf of a veterinarian pursuing a doctorate in immunology asking about the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and hypothyroidism.
A Letter to a Colleague- Re: Thyroid Disease
Do you want scientific articles or the ramblings of a mad man? LOL (The following is meant to be more for your friend’s benefit than yours.)
I certainly think there are strong correlations between IBS and thyroid and the common ties are lectins, nutrient malabsorption, and the rise of embedded viruses. I believe that PLE is actually a chronic anti-viral battle in which the food lectins (along with some chemical sensitivities) have caused the chronic, latent enteric viruses to adapt into something the immune system no longer tolerates and is called in to keep them under control.
The removal of some preservatives, etc. can cause partial remission of signs but the key to the long-term treatment is the elimination diet (especially the removal of all gluten, casein, soy and corn). This allows things to get back to normal. We all know the role corticosteroids play in short-term and long-term management, usually having transient success as treatments just like in their use in other immune-mediated diseases, which helps to prove the role of food proteins (lectins) in the pathogenesis. The initial damage done to (reactions incited in) the cells by lectins is independent of the immune system. The immune response follows this initial biochemical damage, which explains why symptoms abate but the condition persists.
Why the boring review? Because the same thing is happening in the thyroids, right? And the nature of the virus in the thyroid of the individual determines the form of thyroid illness that follows the lectin insult. In the dog, the virus induces hypothyroidism (and thyroid cancer is rare). In the cat, hyperthyroidism occurs frequently followed by thyroid tumors….also viral. In the human, it can be either Hashimoto’s or Graves that occurs (in keeping with the interesting fact that humans can get viruses from animals but not the other way around) and thyroid cancer is common. So, it is easy to assume from this that viruses ARE involved in thyroid illness, except in those cases in dogs and people where the hypothyroidism is purely from iodine malabsorption (which, according to a retrospective look at some studies, may occur in up to 1/3 of hypothyroid cases in the dog).
Why does the iodine malabsorption take place again? Due to villous atrophy of the duodenum where the iodine is normally absorbed. This is extremely common in celiacs and is part of the syndrome induced by the lectins of gluten. Do these same lectins head off to the thyroid and induce hypothyroidism in sensitized individuals? With celiacs having a 50 times higher rate of hypothyroidism, I’d have to say yes. Are all celiacs hypothyroid? No, not all have the virus or ever experience the right combination of factors that leads to their expression. But between the malabsorption of iodine (being blocked by the “big 4″…gluten, casein ,soy, and corn) and the true immune thyroiditis, staggering numbers of us have low thyroid levels.
And in the dog, the most food allergic dogs have the worst thyroid illness, don’t they? The Cocker, Shih Tzu, Poodle, Lab, Rottie, German shepherd, Dachshund, and Dobie lead the pack. The spayed female Dobie often develops the hypothyroidism before the skin manifestations of food allergy show up. The gas they have is their big tip off. Woof! LOL. The food allergies are the outward manifestation of the internal damage to the gut, with IgE being formed at the time the lectins damage the villi. IgG is also formed to these food glycoproteins and later becomes involved in the more serious immune-mediated diseases. The bad news is that not all individuals form IgE to the offending foods. Not all celiacs are allergic to wheat. This is bad news. This is probably why the Dobie, who is a leading thyroid breed, does not manifest the extreme skin signs of food allergies seen in others like the Cocker, Shih Tzu, and Labs. But they do get other manifestations like thyroid, polyarthritis, and IBS and finally cardiomyopathy, which I certainly believe is the same chronic, latent viral mechanism as the other immune-mediated diseases that we see manifested at the exact same time (peaking at 7 years of age).
And when do we see the Rottie die of osteosarcoma (also a virus, as easily seen by doing a search for “osteosarcoma virus”)? Yep, the same age. Their immune systems totally fail them early, don’t they? No wonder they are lining up at the board-certified derm guys office to get skin tested? Their (secondary) inhalant allergies are incredible. I had a 5 year old Rottie come in this week for acute fulminating AIHA… the worst I have ever seen (and I have had about 7 cases in the past 1.5 months. I “love” Mobile.) His urine looked like sangria and his serum like cabernet. His owners gave him ice cream every night for dessert. Too bad they didn’t know about Dr. D’Adamo’s work on eating for your blood type. “Murphy” was probably the dog equivalent of Type A blood in people, the most dairy intolerant. Alpha S-1 casein loves to stick red cells together just like (Borden’s) Elmer’s glue (from casein) holds things together.
The interesting thing is the relative lack of gastrointestinal symptoms in the dog compared to all of the skin allergies, immune-mediated diseases, and early cancer. But, this is the exact same thing that happens in celiacs. Only 1/4th of us are even having gastrointestinal signs. That’s what happens when the duodenum is the primary target. As long as the stomach, jejunum, ileum and colon are OK, we’re “good to go” so to speak. BUT, as things progress, the other parts start to fail for secondary reasons….in some. Still, the main manifestations are thyroid illness and other immune-mediated diseases, neurological issues, early cancer, and a myriad of malabsorption-related symptoms. See the reference below to “The Gluten File”.)
So much for the ramblings of a mad man. I’ll see if I can dig up some articles from the gluten and casein intolerance literature as well as PubMed to back up all of these “allegations” if you want.
If I were her, I would spend some time studying celiac disease in people as a model for disease. It is a great example of just what she is looking for, I think. Here is a great forum for her to spend some time on.
http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13 “JCC” (Cara) is one of the forum regulars and really has it goin’ in. Her “The Gluten File” (
http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/showthread.php?t=1872 ) is a great piece of work. She could also learn a lot about lectins from Dr. D’Adamos’ work. My favorite primer for this topic is The Lectin Report (http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html).
Hope this helps,