Celiac Disease and Thyroid Disease: A Two-Way Street

December 28, 2010

Celiac Disease and Thyroid Disease: A Two-Way Street


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Link reinforces need for early diagnosis and adoption of gluten-free diet.

Celiac disease has been linked to a number of related diseases, but its association with thyroid disease gives a clear example of why early diagnosis can prevent a painful autoimmune cascade.

Researchers in Italy recently noted the role selenium deficiency plays as a link between celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease. Patients with celiac disease often suffer from malabsorption of nutrients, including selenium. Selenium deficiency can lead directly to thyroid disease, and in turn, perpetuate intestinal damage, according to the article.

“CD is associated with thyroid disease and vice versa,” the researchers noted, “this association is seen regardless of temporal sequence.”

The article also emphasized that the link is not an “isolated phenomenon” but “an integral component of genetic-environmental events.”

In light of the findings, researchers concluded that early diagnosis of celiac disease and introduction of a gluten-free diet would help prevent the development of autoimmune thyroid disease and prolonged intestinal damage. The authors also noted that development of a therapeutic agent that targets the role of IL-15 and selenium could prove beneficial for both celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid diseases.

To read the full text of the article, click here: http://www.iss.it/publ/anna/2010/4/464389.pdf

Early diagnosis is a key goal of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). NFCA developed its Symptoms Checklist to help individuals get diagnosed sooner, and most recently launched CeliacCMECentral.com to educate primary care physicians about celiac disease detection and diagnosis.


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