Gluten Free For Candida Recovery

Gluten - the most delicious way to increase inflammation when you have candida

Published Feb. 15 2021

Gluten is a protein found in wheat products, rye, barley, and many oat products that can cause inflammation and a histamine reaction for people with candida.

You have probably noticed the gluten free craze recently. Everyone and their mom saying they are gluten free, little stands at the farmers market selling gluten free cookies and granola. If you are like me you just laughed and thought why would you take out the gluten, its what makes everything moist and delicious. Many people do have celiac disease and even more people actually develop a sensitivity to gluten.


Gluten has a very similar protein structure as candida's outer biofilm wall so, if the immune system is trying to eliminate an over growth of candida your immune system creates antibodies that will recognize the protein structure of candida. When you eat something with gluten in it, the body can mistake the gluten for candida and start to launch an immune system attack on the food you just ate. This can lead to an increased histamine response (allergic response) which contributes to inflammation.

Inflammation can manifest in many ways depending on each persons unique body but some examples could be

  • itchy dry skin, eyes, throat and ears

  • eczema and other skin conditions such as dermatitis herpetiformis [3]

  • cyst acne can be exacerbated due to increased inflammation

  • joint pain

  • chronic fatigue

  • fibromyalgia and other autoimmune conditions

  • anxiety and depression

These are not the only ways that inflammation can show up in the body, but they are some of the most common.

The Science Behind Gluten Sensitivity for People With Candida

New research shows that candid actually binds to transglutamase, an enzyme (enzymes are a special type of proteins) that the body produces to break down the protein, glutamine, found in gluten.[1] Candida use transglutamase as a "virulence factor", a method that fungi and bacteria use to evade the immune system. By binding to this enzyme candida is able to hide from the immune system. When the body tries to attack the candida it finds a new protein, transgluatamase and stops launching its attack on candida. Now the candida is free to keep growing without the body regulating its growth. Luckily our bodies are very smart and once our bodies finally learn that the candida is hiding behind this transgluatamase protein it starts to develop antibodies to it and thus celiac disease begins and you develop an allergy to gluten.[2]

The take away is, the autoimmune reaction that actually causes celiac disease could be caused by candida overgrowth. Which is why if you suspect you have candida it may be wise to eliminate gluten for a time to lower the inflammatory response in your body.

If you remove gluten for 2 to 4 weeks and notice a change in your inflammatory markers then you may want to continue on a gluten free diet for a few months.

Are Other Auto Immune Diseases Linked to Gluten?

Yes, there is a lot of research coming out now about the possible link between candida, gluten and auto immune diseases.

Gluten becomes an even bigger issue if your candida has been systemic for a long period of time because thyroid tissue also contains a similar protein and if the immune system starts to attack the thyroid tissue the autoimmune disease, hashimoto's, can be triggered.[4] There are research studies showing that removing gluten can reverse some autoimmune conditions.

Take Action!

If you are into the current diets and trends you have probably heard of a paleo diet. Many people have experienced health benefits from this diet because they are removing grains that contain gluten. This can be a great long term diet for many people however when dealing with candida overgrowth it is likely not low enough in dietary sugars to be effective. It is however a great way to check if gluten may be an issue for your body. Eliminating gluten for a few weeks is a simple way to determine how your body reacts. After a few weeks you can add gluten back into your diet and see if symptoms reappear or worsen. If symptoms worsen, then it may be useful to remove gluten for a longer period of time.

Working with a functional medicine doctor and health coach to create a healthy lifestyle could be a useful tool if you believe that you have candida overgrowth or gluten sensitivity.


[1] No author, "What Role Does Tissue Transglutamase Play in Celiac Disease" Boston Children's Hospital

[2] Dr. WF Nieuwenhuizen PhD, "Is Candida albicans a trigger in the onset of coeliac disease?" The Lancet, Volume 361, Issue 9375, Pages 2152-2154

[3] Teea T. Salmi, "Celiac disease evolving into dermatisis herpetiformis in patients adhering to normal or gluten-free diet." Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Volume 50, Issue 4, 2015, Pages 387-392,

[4] Nicole Avard, "A case report of a novel, intergrative approach to Hashimoto's thyroiditis with unexpected results." Advances in Integrative Medicine, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2018, Pages 75-79,