A gluten-free diet to improve iron levels

Hypothyroidism and anemia (not having enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen in the body) go hand-in-hand.  Low iron levels could be one of many possible causes for anemia. 

One possible cause is that hypothyroidism leads to a deficiency in stomach acid, which may lead to poor iron absorption.  Also, women who experience excessive menstrual bleeding, together with poor iron absorption from low stomach acid, may contribute to anemia caused by iron deficiency. [1]

Could a gluten-free diet help to improve iron levels?

A study of 190 patients with iron deficiency anemia was done, and 26 newly diagnosed celiac patients were invited to follow a gluten-free diet alone, without any iron supplementation [2]. 

The results?  After 6 months on a gluten-free diet, 14 of the 18 women recovered from anemia, but only 5 of the women reversed the iron deficiency.  

At 12 months, 17 out of the 18 female patients recovered from anemia and 9 patients recovered from iron deficiency.

At 24 months, the only patient who did not recover from anemia was the one who at 12-months was anemic, while 10 patients reversed their iron deficiency.

In conclusion

A gluten-free diet of 6 to 12 months may be helpful to address anemia and improve iron deficiency (without supplementation). 

Adele du Rand

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