Many hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroid patients experience reactions with specific foods. Additionally, food interactions may play a role in a subset of individuals who have difficulty finding a suitable thyroid hormone dosage. Our study was designed to investigate the potential role of dietary protein immune reactivity with thyroid hormones and thyroid axis target sites. We identified immune reactivity between dietary proteins and target sites on the thyroid axis that includes thyroid hormones, thyroid receptors, enzymes, and transport proteins.

We also measured immune reactivity of either target specific monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor, 5′deiodinase, thyroid peroxidase, thyroglobulin, thyroxine-binding globulin, thyroxine, and triiodothyronine against 204 purified dietary proteins commonly consumed in cooked and raw forms. Dietary protein determinants included unmodified (raw) and modified (cooked and roasted) foods, herbs, spices, food gums, brewed beverages, and additives.

There were no dietary protein immune reactions with TSH receptor, thyroid peroxidase, and thyroxine-binding globulin. However, specific antigen-antibody immune reactivity was identified with several purified food proteins with triiodothyronine, thyroxine, thyroglobulin, and 5′deiodinase. Laboratory analysis of immunological cross-reactivity between thyroid target sites and dietary proteins is the initial step necessary in determining whether dietary proteins may play a potential immunoreactive role in autoimmune thyroid disease.