Hi All,
I'm a Type 1, diagnosed 9 months ago at the age of 32. I've recently begun seeing a chiropractor for a chronically sore back and she also happens to be a nutritionist with a lot of knowledge and experience in food allergies. She would like me to get tested for a wheat intolerance (Celiac Disease) and has expressed her belief that a wheat intolerance is most likely the "cause" of my autoimmune problems (I also have hashimotos thyroid disease). She is proposing that if I do test positive for a wheat intolerance and then adhere to a gluten-free diet I'll probably see my thyroid disease disappear and halt the progression (if not turn around) of my Type 1 disease progression (my pancrease still produces quite a bit on insulin - so currently I take 6 units of lantus and then just a metformin with breakfast and dinner and I use humalog when I want to splurge with a higher carb count than usual.

I have a high level of skepticism, but am willing to get tested for the intolerance and give a gluten-free diet a chance (although I travel for a living and have no idea how I'll practically be able to do it when I'm on the road).

My question for you is - have you heard of this theory, do you have any experience in a gluten-free diet and has it changed your auto-immune disease situations. Any information and thoughts you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

Stacey

Tags: Free, Gluten

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T1 is an autoimmune problem. Thus it is common that people with Type 1 Diabetes have several autoimmune problems at the same time. Coeliac disease is very likely and Hashimoto as well. But also the rare Lichen sclerosus or Lichen ruba.

Unfortunately they are not related to each other. If you have Coeliac disease then the Gluten free diet is not an option it is a must. Untreated this disease can lead to a chronical inflammation of the small intestine. If this happens hell will break loose because an impacted digestion is one of the biggest challenges for T1 diabetics. If you can not rely on your digestion you can not coordinate your insulin with the rising blood glucose from carbohydrate absorbition. The result will be a big mess.

If you have Hashimoto disease then this is to my knowledge not affected by your eating style. Your body simply destroys your thyroid and you need to supplement the products created by the thyroid externally by medication.
I had a similar background. Lots of autoimmune conditions: psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, lichen sclerosis, hypothyroid and now LADA. I had a lot of allergy testing and spend almost two years eating a very restricted diet. I am sensitive to wheat- not full celiac- and also to rice and corn which means I can't eat most gluten free stuff. I don't do well with any kind of grain-based flour because of the high carb content. I use a lot of almond flour for baking. I also like buckwheat flour (not a grain). I recently started adding back some of the foods I had cut out, but try to avoid all wheat. My thyroid antibodies are reduced, as are the pancreas antibodies, but I don't think you can ever reverse the damage so I am still using insulin, though not quite as much, in my 4th year of LADA. Cutting out wheat is well worth trying, but be aware that you may have other foods that cause inflammation: red meat and dairy are two of the biggest offenders, and also you have to read labels carefully as wheat is in EVERYTHING. Good luck.
Like Holger said, T1, Celiacs & Hashimotos are all autoimmune problems. It is common for T1s to have more than one autoimmune problem. They actually group the autoimmune problems together when you start getting multiple ones and those three are all in the same group. Of course it is possible to be the one in a billion person that gets a different one.

Diabetics are among the high risk groups for getting Celiacs. If you have Irish ancestors, you are also at high risk. They now recommend regular Celiac screenings for diabetics – just because you don’t have it today does not mean that you won’t have a problem in the future.

I went gluten free about 3 years ago. I first did it not realizing that gluten was the source of my problems. I did it trying to cut calories and for me, bread was my big source of gluten. When I cut that out for several months, my problems all went away and then started up again when I started eating it again. I was always nauseous (which I always thought was gastroparesis but really wasn’t), I had stomach pain, I had skin issues along with gas and diarrhea. I did not do the testing because once you go gluten free, the damage done gets repaired and the tests will come back negative. I did not see any benefit in starting up again just to do the tests. I know I have a problem and I can fix it without help from a doctor.

Going gluten free can solve problems you have because of it, but it won’t reverse either your T1 or Hashimotos. Although I had thyroid problems about 10 years before going gluten free, it actually got a 100 times worse after going gluten free. Being gluten free really did nothing to save my thyroid and I am certainly still diabetic!
I agree with the others. Talk to your endo or pcp about conducting the tests and the results, but realize going into it that you are and will remain a T1. Eliminating gluten in at risk individuals may improve treatment by improving digestion and reducing gut inflammation even if they aren't yet causing symptoms. It may even reduce insulin needs or prolong the honeymoon period as a result. But it has not been demonstrated that it will reverse or halt T1 progression. The autoimmune attack is a difficult train to stop. Advising you otherwise is irresponsible, and I would not pay this person one cent for their advice. If the test comes back + then you can go gluten free or reduced gluten on your own.
Here is an interesting blog post by Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who thinks wheat causes multiple health problems, including a disturbing rise in T1. Although he admits his hypothesis is difficult to prove he does present some thought provoking circumstantial evidence. The most disturbing thing about this post is that he documents a 3% rise, per year, in the rate of T1 between 1978 and 2004. Although you can argue about his wheat hypothesis there is no arguing with the rise in T1.

One could posit, something, or perhaps several things, in the environment are causing this. Although T1 and T2 are completely different diseases, it perhaps calls into question, voiced so often in the media today, that the rise in T2 is caused by people getting fatter and lazier.

Dr. Davis' blog is thought provoking at a minimum. His posts are short, to the point, and mix scientific studies with the anecdotes from his own practice. Here's a link to the main page of his blog. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find an index of posts by topic on the left side. Wheat has 70 posts to date.
I hate to be blunt, but couldn't the increase in T1 be, in large part, the result of more T1's surviving to adulthood and procreating? It's a genetic disease; it stands to reason that the more children with T1 who survive to live a long, relatively healthy life, the more their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will populate the earth. Of course there will be a slow, steady increase in the number of T1's over time.

I guess I'm not understanding why we need any more explanation than that? Not everyone with the genes will convert (it takes that unknown "trigger") but with so many more people ready to be triggered, it just stands to reason that there will be more T1's over time, doesn't it?
Good point, I suspect there may be multiple causes. 3% compounded over 26 years is a huge increase. It would be interesting to know what the average life expectancy for a T1 has been for say the last 50 years. One would have to think it has improved with ready availability of meters and better insulins.

I have no way to truly evaluate Dr. Davis' theories about wheat, but they are thought provoking. I like his blog because it is based on science. One can argue about the meaning of various studies, but at least he is not pulling his ideas out of thin air.
Yes, thanks for the link. It's very interesting.

I'm T2 but we have auto-immune diseases throughout my family: Hashimoto's thyroiditis (3 of us), rheumatoid arthritis (2), Crohn's disease (1), and uveitis (autoimmune inflammation in the eyes) (2).

I don't know of any T1's in my family, but there are a half-dozen T2's.

I have been tempted before to try a 100% gluten-free/grain-free/grain-starch-free diet just to see if it would help with my food cravings, abdominal obesity, thyroid inflammation and insulin resistance. Every time I try to eliminate all grains and refined starches/sugars from my diet, I go into some serious withdrawal: depression markedly increased, brain fog, exhaustion, achy body, feeling just plain awful -- this lasts for about three to four days. If I fall off the wagon even a little, the clock restarts on the withdrawal. Gah.
I agree with Holger. T1 is an autoimmune disease and while I think it's a good idea to have it checked out, I can't see where they are connected except if you get the gluten allergy under control, it should help your digestion overall which, in turn, should help your blood sugars. I also have thyroid problems and I am positive a dairy intolerance as well. Going to make my appointment with an Allergist very soon. My daughter, who is not diabetic does have gluten intolerance along with many other food allergies. I'm afraid auto immune diseases run in my family and they take many forms.
I would definitely have it checked out. My daughter and I have spent many, many miserable years not knowing why we felt so bad all the time. Good luck!
Definitely try cutting it out of your diet for a month and see how you feel. It is amazing how many people out there think that aches, pains, low energy, etc is just a normal feeling for them. Better yet, go cold turkey on all processed foods and see how you feel after a month. There are a few great websites out there that you can use as resources, this is one of my favorites:

http://whole9life.com/2010/12/whole30-2011/
Thanks for the link! Very helpful. ;0)
I have heard of the connection from Celiac and T1. I have not got the test yet but I plan on it because I have several digestive problems. I started looking up what actually qualifies as gluten free and have started eliminating things from my diet. I see a small difference already. I read however that it can make an immediate difference or it can take up to a few months depending on how much damage is done to your small intestines. It cant hurt to know, I would get the test done if I were you.

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