Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Autoimmune Gastritis Relationship

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Autoimmune Gastritis Relationship

Problems affecting thyroid manifest themselves in many ways, and their effects are rarely limited to the butterfly-shaped gland itself. Thyroid diseases and autoimmune conditions can contribute to a wide range of other problems in the body.

 

The reason is simple – thyroid hormones take part in many processes, so their fluctuations or impaired function of the gland can have a negative impact on other organs, tissues, and whatnot.

 

What about the stomach?

 

In this article, we are going to discuss the relationship between Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune gastritis. 

 

What is autoimmune gastritis?

As you're already aware gastritis is an inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the lining of the stomach.

 

But what is autoimmune gastritis?

 

Autoimmune gastritis is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease with the destruction of parietal cells of the corpus and fundus of the stomach. Parietal cells are the epithelial cells located in gastric glands.

 

The condition leads to atrophy of mucosa, increased pH of the stomach, and other serious consequences.

 

Also referred to as type gastritis, this autoimmune condition accounts for <10% of all cases of chronic gastritis.

 

Evidence shows that while autoimmune gastritis is associated with other autoimmune conditions, it is not linked to Helicobacter pylori gastritis. H. pylori bacteria tend to burrow into the cells of the stomach lining and cause gastritis, but this condition is not really associated with it.

 

When a person has autoimmune gastritis, their body starts attacking healthy stomach cells by mistake. It also starts attacking the substance called intrinsic factor. Similarly, to other autoimmune conditions, the exact cause is unknown.

 

In many cases, the condition is inherited, but more studies are needed to determine all factors that play a role in the development of autoimmune gastritis i.e., what makes the body's immune system attack healthy cells.

 

Autoimmune gastritis occasionally leads to pernicious anemia due to loss of intrinsic factor[i](glycoprotein produced by parietal cells, necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12).

 

Pernicious anemia is a type of anemia where the body can’t make enough healthy red blood cells due to a deficiency in vitamin B12.

 

What are the symptoms of autoimmune gastritis?

Autoimmune conditions often do not exhibit noticeable symptoms in the early stages, and the autoimmune gastritis is not an exception. Symptoms associated with autoimmune gastritis vary during the course of the disease. Unlike other types of gastritis (B and C), this condition doesn’t have pain in the foreground.

 

It’s also worth mentioning that autoimmune gastritis patients don’t have a risk of developing a gastric or duodenal ulcer.

 

Some patients may experience[ii]:

 

  • Delayed gastric emptying
  • Small intestinal and gastric bacterial overgrowth
  • Increase in gastrointestinal infections such as clostridium difficile colitis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Iron deficiency anemia which is associated with restless legs syndrome, hair loss, brittle nails, impaired immune function, slowed wound healing
  • Fatigue

 

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune gastritis

As mentioned above, problems with thyroid gland manifest themselves in many ways, and they are able to contribute to other health conditions. At the same time, autoimmune diseases are also associated with one another.

 

So, it really comes as no surprise that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune gastritis are connected.

 

Just a little reminder, Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the thyroid, which can lead to hypothyroidism. That's exactly why the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States is Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

 

Thyrogastric syndrome

Cellini et al. report that the term thyrogastric syndrome is used to define the relationship between thyroid disease and chronic autoimmune gastritis. However, this is not a novel concept or idea. The relationship between the two conditions first described in the 1960s.

 

The same report also reveals that 10% to 40% of Hashimoto's thyroiditis patients have gastric disorders, while 40% of men and women with autoimmune gastritis have Hashimoto's disease. Two conditions may be totally unrelated at first glance, but they share various similarities as both of them are involved with the complex interaction between genetic, embryological, immunologic, and environmental factors.

 

Previously in the article, we have mentioned that autoimmune gastritis leads to the destruction of parietal cells (partial or total), lower intrinsic factor production, and the occurrence of anemia. Eventually, the condition causes severe gastric atrophy, but malabsorption of levothyroxine can also occur[iii]. Levothyroxine is a synthetic version of hormone T4, and it is used for the treatment of hypothyroidism.

 

Autoimmune gastritis impairs treatment of Hashimoto’s

A review article published by Amaral de Carvalho and Muniz Fighera from Brazil shows that autoimmune gastritis, as well as other gastrointestinal disorders, can interfere in the treatment with thyroid hormone and lead to inadequate levels despite full adherence to the therapy[iv].

 

Basically, autoimmune gastritis can negatively affect treatment for your Hashimoto's or hypothyroidism, even if you adhere to doctor's recommendations. This only shows that tackling autoimmune gastritis is equally important for Hashimoto's thyroiditis patients.

 

Stomach and thyroid share important similarities

It appears that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune gastritis are more similar than we think. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis leads to a progressive reduction of thyroid function and gradual development of overt hypothyroidism while autoimmune gastritis features a progressive reduction of parietal cells leading to reduced or absent production of acid.

 

Speaking of similarities between thyroid and stomach it is worth mentioning they share some morphological and functional characteristics due to their common embryologic origin.

 

Additionally, thyroid follicular cells and gastric mucosal cells have the ability to concentrate and transport iodine across the cell membrane. What many people don’t know is that iodine, besides playing a vital role in thyroid hormone synthesis, regulates the proliferation of gastric mucosal cells.

 

Anemia

One of the most notable features of thyrogastric syndrome is the presence of iron-deficient anemia or pernicious anemia. What’s more, iron-deficient anemia in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may be due to autoimmune gastritis[v].

 

However, clinical signs of autoimmune gastritis appear several years after its onset, which is why it's necessary to see the doctor regularly and get regular checkups. Diagnosing condition in earlier stages can prevent the negative effects of autoimmune gastritis on the management of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but they can also lower the likelihood of anemia.

 

Anemia is not uncommon among patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In these cases, the doctor usually prescribes iron supplements. But, if the red blood cells count doesn't improve, it could mean that autoimmune gastritis is to blame because it decreases the body's ability to absorb iron.

 

Diagnosis of autoimmune gastritis

Autoimmune gastritis doesn't exhibit some major signs and symptoms in early stages, and that's exactly why the condition is so serious. Just because we don't feel anything, it doesn't mean everything is truly okay. If we don't see the doctor on a regular basis, particularly if we have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or some other autoimmune condition, the risk of complications can increase. On the other hand, regular checkups allow doctors to monitor your condition and spot other changes in the body in a timely manner.

 

When it comes to diagnosis of autoimmune gastritis, the gold standard is gastroscopy with separately collected biopsies of antrum and corpus with typical histological findings. In the early stages of autoimmune gastritis, the endoscopic appearance of the stomach may not be any different than in a healthy situation. This leads us back to the above-mentioned fact that autoimmune gastritis develops gradually and is difficult to detect in early stages. As the disease progresses and with increasing loss of gastric mucosa, the examination shows pseudopolyps which mimic relatively normal mucosa while the surrounding area is atrophic. In cases when extensive atrophy is present, the doctor may notice that rugal folds are flattened. Rugal folds are, basically, large folds in the mucous membrane in the stomach.

 

For the purpose of diagnosis of autoimmune gastritis, the doctor may also need to perform a biopsy. Blood tests are also ordered in order to analyze whether there are autoantibodies against certain cells of the stomach.

 

How is autoimmune gastritis treated?

Autoimmune gastritis is a complicated condition that requires careful management. As seen throughout this article, autoimmune gastritis can have a serious impact on the stomach, but also impair treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other thyroid diseases. For that reason, and many others, it’s important to manage autoimmune gastritis properly and adhere to the doctor’s orders. Of course, like in many other situations, treatment is more successful when the condition is caught in the early stages. This leads us back to the above-mentioned significance of visiting the doctor regularly and doing thorough physical exams.

 

The primary treatment route of autoimmune gastritis is to prevent or treat iron and vitamin B12 deficiency. In cases when pernicious anemia is already present at the time of diagnosis of autoimmune gastritis, the doctor may recommend vitamin B12 injections.

 

 Bearing in mind that consumption of iron supplements and upping the intake of iron-rich foods don’t generally improve iron levels; in this case, your healthcare provider will try to take a different approach. In order to make sure the body has sufficient levels of iron, you may need to receive periodic intravenous (IV) iron infusion or a daily dosage of oral glycine sulfate.

 

It is of huge importance for people with autoimmune gastritis to check iron and vitamin B12 throughout their life.

 

Another thing worth mentioning is that treatment of autoimmune gastritis revolves mainly around preventing anemia and complications associated with this condition. There is no pill or some other medicine that would eliminate autoimmune gastritis entirely. That’s why it’s also important to introduce healthy lifestyle measures that would alleviate inflammation and support doctor-recommended treatment.

 

Management of autoimmune gastritis could also improve treatment for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. At least the body would be able to absorb the medications you receive properly.

 

Tips for easier management of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis are quite tricky due to the fact it's still not really known, what makes the body's immune system turn against healthy cells and tissues. But, just because it's a complicated condition, it doesn't mean you're out of options that would make you feel better. Here are some useful tips for patients who want to manage their Hashimoto's thyroiditis properly:

 

  • Keep a food journal and monitor your reaction to things you eat in order to identify triggers that make your Hashimoto’s worse and eliminate them later on
  • Stick to the dosage of the medication prescribed by a doctor and bear in mind they will increase or decrease if necessary i.e., you should never alter dosage on your own
  • Balance your blood sugar
  • Ditch unhealthy foods and focus on an anti-inflammatory diet
  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Never skip breakfast
  • Manage stress
  • Consume foods that are healthy for your digestion

 

Conclusion

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune gastritis have a strong relationship.

 

Autoimmune gastritis can make treatment of Hashimoto’s disease more difficult due to malabsorption of levothyroxine, but it can also be the reason why patients don’t respond to treatment for their anemia.

 

References

 

[i] Stomach gastritis, autoimmune gastritis. Pathology Outlines. Retrieved from: https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/stomachautoimmunegastritis.html

 

[ii] Kulnigg-Dabsch S. (2016). Autoimmune gastritis. Autoimmungastritis. Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift (1946), 166(13-14), 424–430. doi:10.1007/s10354-016-0515-5. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5065578/

 

[iii] Cellini M, Santaguida MG, Virili C. et al. (2017). Hashimoto's thyroiditis and autoimmune gastritis. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 8:92. Doi: 10.3389/fendo.2017.00092. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28491051

 

[iv] Amaral de Carvalho G, Muniz Fighera T. (2015). Effect of gastrointestinal disorders in autoimmune thyroid diseases. Translational Gastrointestinal Cancer, 4(1). Doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2224-4778.2014.07.03. Retrieved from: http://tgc.amegroups.com/article/view/4364/5767

 

[v] Sibilla R, Santaguida MG, Virili C. (2008). Chronic unexplained anemia in isolated autoimmune thyroid disease or associated with autoimmune-related disorders. Clinical Endocrinology, 68(4):640-5. Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2007.03091.x. Retrieved rom: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18062801/

 

read more..
Everything to know about Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO)

Everything to know about Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO)

You have probably heard or come across the term thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, but may not be quite sure what it means.

 

Indeed, TPO antibodies are frequently mentioned in terms of thyroid health and diseases that affect it. Proper management of thyroid diseases and keeping the gland healthy require a thorough understanding of thyroid hormones, enzymes, tests, and other aspects that provide insight into the way the butterfly-shaped gland functions.

 

That’s why in this article we are going to talk about TPO antibodies.

 

read more..
7 Celebrities with Thyroid Problems

7 Celebrities with Thyroid Problems

Millions of people have thyroid problems, which cause a wide range of symptoms affecting our quality of life.

 

Thyroid problems can affect just about anyone, including celebrities.

 

Famous people aren't immune to diseases, and many of them have thyroid-related conditions.

 

Throughout this article, you’re going to see seven celebs who have some form of thyroid disease and get inspired to manage your condition in the best way possible.

 

read more..
Can Thyroid Disease Cause Dry Mouth?

Can Thyroid Disease Cause Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs due to absent or reduced saliva flow.

 

Xerostomia isn't a disease per se, but it is a symptom of a number of medical conditions.

 

Thyroid diseases are accompanied by a wide range of symptoms, and in this article, we’re going to explore whether conditions affecting the thyroid gland could also cause dry mouth.

 

read more..
Connections Between The Gut And The Thyroid According To Experts

Connections Between The Gut And The Thyroid According To Experts

More than a thousand years ago, the Hippocrates said that all diseases really begin in the gut.

 

Today, studies are increasingly finding that this statement may be true, with scientific evidence pointing out that the general well-being of the gastrointestinal system seems to play a role in the regulation of the immune system and many other functions of the human body.

 

In fact, the health of the gut may even play a role in the effectiveness of certain pharmaceutical drugs used to treat some diseases1.

 

The same factors may apply when looking at the Thyroid gland. This gland is located in the neck of the human body and secrets hormones that play essential roles in regulating metabolism. These hormones are called Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine. The Thyroid gland makes more Thyroxine than Triiodothyronine, but Thyroxine is considered an inactive form of Thyroid hormone.

 

The body is able to convert Thyroxine hormones into Triiodothyronine, the active Thyroid hormone, however. In many cases, Thyroxine is also rather referred to as the prohormone of Triiodothyronine2.

 

This is where things get interesting – according to some of the more recent scientific studies that have been conducted, the gut may even have an impact on Thyroid health.

 

The connection may also go the other way around, however. In this post, we take a look at how gut health and Thyroid health are connected.

 

read more..
Can Dairy Affect Hashimoto’s Disease?

Can Dairy Affect Hashimoto’s Disease?

Many patients diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease may have been experiencing worsening of their symptoms.

 

Despite their best attempts to improve their diet and take their medication regularly, they may still feel unpleasement. Dairy might be one of the reasons for that.

 

Dairy products can have many negative effects on the body when the person has Hashimoto’s disease, but do you know why? Let’s take a look at this mysterious development.

 

read more..
Complete Overview of Autoimmune Paleo Diet for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Complete Overview of Autoimmune Paleo Diet for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

No autoimmune disease is easy to live with, and unfortunately, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one of them. There are millions of people who are currently dealing with their Hashimoto’s thyroiditis diagnosis, wondering what they can do to make their life resemble the one before their diagnosis was ever made.

 

While it is true that now Hashimoto’s patients will have to learn to live with the new symptoms, not all hope is lost.

 

Have you heard of the autoimmune paleo diet? Does hearing paleo diet remind you of something that you have heard or perhaps, read somewhere?

 

read more..
Is There A Connection Between Cholesterol Levels And Thyroid Health?

Is There A Connection Between Cholesterol Levels And Thyroid Health?

The body comprises of many systems and functions that all need to work together in order to assure survival. Cholesterol and Thyroid health would be an excellent example of how problems with one system in the human body can lead to problems with another function that plays an important role in the body.

 

Cholesterol is something that many people fear – they hear that eating certain types of food causes cholesterol to accumulate in the blood vessels, ultimately leading to blockages, heart disease, strokes, and, of course, heart attacks. This is why patients are often advised to ensure they keep their cholesterol levels in check, but things aren’t always as simple as switching out certain foods that may lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol levels.

 

In this post, we are going to take a look at the role that the Thyroid gland and its general function play on the regulation of cholesterol. We will also consider why it is important to keep cholesterol levels in a good balance and consider how patients can determine if their Thyroid’s health might be interfering with their ability to regulate the balance between their LDL and HDL cholesterol better.

 

read more..
Losing Weight With Hashimoto’s Disease

Losing Weight With Hashimoto’s Disease

Almost two billion adults throughout the world are overweight1, each of them at a significantly increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. While some people are able to lose weight in a relatively short period of time, others tend to find it more difficult to shed excess pounds that they have gained.

 

This can be concerning and often leads to a person following one diet after the next – many of these diets often referred to as “fad” diets, requires a significant restriction in calories and can ultimately lead to problems like malnutrition.

 

When weight loss seems like a difficult challenge, it is important to consider underlying issues in the human body that may contribute to excessive weight gain and, of course, difficulty reducing body weight.

 

Hashimoto’s disease is an example of a condition that can cause weight gain and make a journey toward a healthier body weight seemingly impossible. With adequate knowledge of the condition, appropriate treatment, and an effective weight loss strategy that takes the condition into account, weight loss is certainly possible.

 

read more..
10 Thyroid Supplements to Help Support and Improve Your Thyroid Health

10 Thyroid Supplements to Help Support and Improve Your Thyroid Health

In our new featured article, the team behind the popular thyroid supplement, Thyromate, explore how supplements of certain amino acids, minerals, herbs, and vitamins can help improve thyroid health and make symptoms feel more manageable.

 

Read more to see which thyroid supplements our team of experts recommends taking.

 

read more..

Safe and Secure.

SSL Secure                      

SSL Secure

Be in the Know