The Connection Between Wheat, Water Fasting and Your Sluggish Thyroid : The Renegade Health Show Episode #801

Friday Apr 15 | BY |
| Comments (38)

This is the last installment of Dr. Alan Goldhamer’s talk at True North…

In this episode, he talks about how wheat and gluten can cause a sluggish thyroid.

He also addresses questions about losing electrolytes when you’re on a water fast as well.

Really good info in this one!

Take a look…

Your question of the day: Did you know about the connection between wheat, thyroid and water fasting?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. lisa says:

    curious… do you have an update on the woman with the headaches who was treated at the fasting center??

  2. Dawn b says:

    I did not know about the thyroid thing with wheat and water fasting. I will keep it in my mind though, as there are thyroid issues in some of my family members.

  3. stephanie says:

    To Lisa…the link below is to a more recent video of the woman who healed head injury headaches from fasting… I received it in the True North newsletter….I’m on my 9th month of major headache resulting from head injury so i’m following this story….

  4. Smith says:

    How would fasting normalize thyroid function? Fasting would actually make thyroid function worse because you need enough protein, carbs and fat to keep your thyroid functioning optimally.

    When you fast your body thinks your starving and then you start converting a lot of your T4 to reverse T3 and your T3 level lowers while your reverse T3 rises and then you have reverse T3 dominance which will give you very bad hypothyroid symptoms. I’ve tried this before and this is what happened to me, I had thyroid labs run to check everything at the end of the fast and my thyroid was totally out of range with low T3 and very high reverse T3. Just wanted to get the facts out there so people who want to try this will know whats going to happen and that your thyroid function will get a lot worse. But don’t take my word for it, try it and see what happens.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Smith: Dr. Goldhamer has talked about this to me and at his lectures before. I don’t have a complete understanding, but after the fast – from his clinical experience – thyroid function improves.

  5. AKwan says:

    That thing about the wheat and thyroid connection is quite interesting, but I still have doubts about the water-fasting. It’s great that you have enough energy stores to last you a while, but doesn’t the metabolism suffer when you stop eating?

    Though there would naturally be weight loss (no calorie intake, but basal calorie burn), I can’t help but think that there would be rebound weight gain due to a lowered metabolic rate.

    Also, what sorts of energy levels would you expect on a water fast? I’m not talking about running marathons, but just normal living would probably be hard to maintain; I’ve tried one of those much-shorter 30 hour water fasts before and I got very sluggish towards the end. I didn’t get particularly hungry until I smelled or thought about food, but energy levels definitely dropped.


  6. Marie-Clare says:

    Interesting about hypothyroidism and wheat. I’ve had a gluten issue for years, and I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. My doctor never connected the two. So, does this mean I can reverse my thyroid problem? How would I determine that? I’m already eating gluten free? Would fasting help? An entirely new avenue for me to explore!

  7. I knew about the connection between thyroid, wheat (actually gluten) and fasting.

    I did a 28 day water only fast about 26 years ago and it gave me back my life. I was so inspired after that I left my lucrative career in the computer industry to become a practitioner and teach this to others.

    I met Alan Goldhammer shortly after my fast when he first opened his fasting center.

    I was inspired listening to this video as it rekindled my excitement about fasting as a profoundly effective healing modality. There’s lots of negative press about fasting and it’s from those who have not studied the physiologic effects as deeply as Alan has.

    Thanks Kevin for sharing this


    Dr. Ritamarie at

  8. Aimee says:

    I have an underactive thyroid which I had suspected was related to diet. After eating raw for a month, I reverted back to eating cooked vegetarian food and eating wheat to see what affects it would have. My thyroid swelled as it did before and now I can attribute it to diet. When I suggested this to a ‘dietician’ she laughed it off and said I could have a test for the coeliacs gene but there wouldn’t be much point. Needless to say I never saw her again! 🙂

  9. Karen Toth says:

    No, never knew about that connection! Thank you for sharing Kevin and Annmarie!

  10. roxanne says:

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s about 6 years ago and the Dr. told me soy was not good for my thyroid. I didn’t give up soy because I’m vegan, love tofu and Starbuck’s soy lattes. I have cut back on soy recently.

    I have heard that fluoride is bad for the thyroid.

    I didn’t know about the gluten impact but recently gave up gluten because of other issues.

  11. Anna Lea says:

    This is very interesting information! I have been having hypothyroidism and nobody told me the link between that and gluten! Only through self healing through changing my diet, getting rid of the gluten and transitioning into raw food have I started noticing a huge improvement. I had gotten so skinny that people got startled when they saw me and expressed huge concern. I was also very concerned so it has been a journey of healing for me, discovering new ways of feeding myself and taking control of my health. I have done fasting before, but never water fasting – it sounds very interesting now, especially in the light of completely healing my thyroid! Thank you for this information!

  12. Tracy says:

    I have a question about the water fasting. He talked about how your body changes the way it’s gets energy and it burns keytones. Is that a safe thing to do? I know that people with diabetes with go into a state called DKA, diabetic keytoacidosis. They don’t produce enough insulin to metabolize the sugars in their blood. The body needs a form of energy so they burn keytones. But since using keytones is not as efficient at sugar they body has negative side effects. One of which is a change in blood pH and proteins in the urine. A lot of the bad things about DKA comes more from the high blood sugar but I don’t know what the keytones do.

    Does anyone know how the body reacts to burning keytones for energy and if it is safe? Water fasting sounds like a great jumping off point for me but I’m a little nervous. My husband is a Type I diabetic so there is no way he would be able to participate.

    Thanks everyone! Have a blessed day.

  13. I didn’t know that. I did understand that you could be low thyroid but not Hashimotos. Since learning about raw living foods I wonder how many low thyroid folks (of which I thought I was one) that take Armour, would benefit more from changing the way they eat.

  14. maria says:

    If you wanted to do a water fast on your own (because you don’t live anywhere even close to a water fast center, and you had your cats to look after!) How long many days could you go for and still be safe?

  15. laura says:

    Yes, I knew about the gluten/thyroid connection. Datis Kharrazian has a very informative book and website on that connection. However that wheat sensitivity and autoimmune thyroid share a common gene marker was news to me; and also that humans are rather unique in that our brains can utilize ketones as well as glucose. I would’ve thought other animals would have that adaptive advantage as well.

  16. Thomas says:

    @ #7 Tracy:
    “Acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate are ketones (or ketone bodies) generated from carbohydrates, fatty acids, and amino acids in humans and most vertebrates. Ketones are elevated in blood after fasting including a night of sleep, and in both blood and urine in starvation, hypoglycemia due to causes other than hyperinsulinism, various inborn errors of metabolism, and ketoacidosis (usually due to diabetes mellitus). Although ketoacidosis is characteristic of decompensated or untreated type 1 diabetes, ketosis or even ketoacidosis can occur in type 2 diabetes in some circumstances as well. Acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate are an important fuel for many tissues, especially during fasting and starvation. The brain, in particular, relies heavily on ketone bodies as a substrate for lipid synthesis and for energy during times of reduced food intake. Ketones have been described as “magic” in their ability to increase metabolic efficiency, while decreasing production of free radicals, the damaging byproducts of normal metabolism. Ketone bodies are relevant to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,[5] and the heart and brain operate 25% more efficiently using ketones as a source of energy.
    . . . the sugar fructose is a ketone.”

    So now we know why frutarians love their diet so much! 🙂

  17. Thomas says:

    the hypertext link to this show in the email (4/15/11) has a 14 instead of a 15 for the date, so it takes you to a blank page with an error message.

    You can delete this after you read it.

  18. Simone Shaw says:

    Kevin thank you for this information. I am in the process of having my thyroid tested. I knew the corellation between wheat and Hashimoto’s but not about the benefits of water fasting. Last week I saw a Naturopath and she was fantastic! So I’m on the road to some answers, just waiting for blood results. I have felt like I’m gluten intollerant for a few years now so avoid it where I can and feel better for it. But recently finding out that it’s related to Hashimoto’s was surprising and relieving at the same time. My mum has been hypothyroid for years (her mother was hyper) and she is also diagnosed celiac 10 years ago. So this is all very interesting. Unfortunatly for the gluten intollerant test you have to spend 2-3 days prior loading up on wheat! Ugh, that was horrible but happily over now.

    My question is – can somone thrive on a water fast while living normally day to day? Thanks to the ailling thyroid I have plenty of fat reserves but I can’t ‘check out’ for 40 days! Is there anyone out there who has done a water fast before while still being a mother and wife with all that goes along and was successful and healthy?

    Thanks again Kevin and Annmarie for all that you do!

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Kristen: The purpose of fasting is to FAST! (From everything!!!) This is a great topic and I’ll have an article on it next week. Super important topic! Thanks for bringing it up. 🙂

  19. Donalee says:

    That’s very interesting info. about the wheat/thyroid connection? Does anyone have any information concerning whether a diabetic (Type 2)can fast. And if so for how long? I would think they would not be accepted for fasting at
    True North.

  20. Doris Dejwakh says:

    ANother great video I wasn’t able to watch because I can’t get youtube here in China. No chance of putting the transcript on the web site? Doris

  21. Sandi says:

    No, I didn’t know about the wheat,thyroid,fasting connection. Interesting…

  22. oreganol says:

    @Kristen: whether you can work normally while water faster depends on teh individual. Many people need complete rest, but I have seen many people who continue to work. I knew one man who was in his 70s and had been fasting for about 20 days. He came into the clinic and the receptionist asked how he was feeling. He said he’d just finished his shoping and washing and after the clinic he was going to mow his lawn. He said it’s the best he’d felt for many decades. But I think even people who can continue working still have down days where the body repairs are using up all their energy.

    I should add that the above man didn’t just dive into a 20-day fast. He spent months preparing and doing mini-fasts first.

    This is also what I did. But I was the complete opposite and needed almost total rest.

  23. Personally met in Costa Rica health father Viktoras Kulvinskas says you can overcome gluten problem in 2 month with enzymes therapy.

  24. Kurt Hoyer says:

    No I did not know about wheat.

  25. No I didn’t know, thanks for info!

  26. Tracy says:

    @ Thomas #16
    Wow, thank you. You are a wealth of knowledge. I didn’t think I would get a response, let alone one that was so detailed. You are wonderful! Thanks again!

  27. Suzan says:

    I successfully fasted for 17 days on water alone while I had 4 children under 10. I probably could have continued, but I was past the white tongue froth stage and felt completely cleansed. I then started back with just juice for a week or so and then added salads and fruit. At that time we had been eating sprouts and sprout bread for many years.

  28. Penny says:

    Wow! That’s really interesting that gluten intolerance affects the thyroid. I’d never heard that. Good to know!
    For the past 20+ years I’ve avoided gluten because it sends me into a near coma, causes excessive mucus, and makes me feel generally lousy for about three days after ingesting. I’ve found a product called GlutenEase, by Enzymedica, drastically reduces the symptoms if I accidentally ingest gluten. (For me the first symptom is an itchy nose.) Might help others of you!

  29. Ellen says:

    I have had Hasimoto’s for 19 years. I only read about gluten and the thyroid 4 years ago, I was never told that by my doctor. I gave up the gluten and my allergies are much better, dermatitis has gone away, I no longer have the digestion issues that I once had, plus I sleep at night and I have lost weight. I always wondered about fasting and the thyroid, very helpful information Thanks!

  30. Josephine says:

    Did not know this!

  31. Simone Shaw says:

    Thanks Kevin and oreganol!

  32. liz says:

    I still don’t know the connection because this presenter talks far too fast!!! Kevin, could you summarise in print, please.
    This is important because I did a water fast twenty years ago and have never been well since: swollen legs, food intolerances, weight gain, depression, among other things. No doctor or natural practitioner has been able to explain why. Very frustrating and depressing.

  33. Barbara says:

    At age 35 I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem and i was told I had to take medicine for the rest of my life. My younger brothr recently had his gallbladder removed because he was allergic to gluten. I have multiple things that have happened including depression. Maybe gluten is impacting my allergies too.

  34. Sherry Davis says:

    did not know this about the Thyroid, wheat, water fasting connection.

    Where is True North or it’s affiliate on teh east coast?

  35. What is the safest holistic approach to hypothyroidism? Right now I am on levothyroxine and would like to stop it. Would iodine, potassium iodide and selenium do the trick?

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