Re: Allergy to Gluten
I'm glad your symptoms have improved w/GF diet. Do you know "what kind of gluten allergy" you have? That determines how quickly one's gut heals, although if one suffers from more than one type of gluten intolerance, things get complicated.
Celiacs (not a true allergy but rather a serious autoimmune destruction of the small intestine triggered by gluten) typically take months to years for gut healing. Rarely, older celiacs can suffer from "refractory sprue," in which the gut does not heal despite faithful diet. Celiacs do need to keep their gluten intake very low to facilitate healing. For example, their progress towards healing can be torpedoed by sharing of a toaster, or by crumbs in the peanut butter jar.
IgE ("true" allergy) is a fairly quick acting/reacting histamine-based reaction. There are usually major improvements within a week or two of removing gluten when the allergy is IgE-based. Re-exposure to gluten will flare the symptoms.
Then there is also the "delayed IgG type allergy" -- contested by many m.d.s as meaningless. Yet many people with these IgG gliadin/gluten antibodies experience relief from symptoms after going GF.
Thyroid disorders have a much higher frequency of occurrence in celiac disease. That is well-established. The relationship of gluten intolerance to thyroid malfunction in the gluten allergies is less-well established.
While gluten is most commonly associated with wheat, flour, bread, pasta, cookies, etc., it's impt to note that barley is a common gluten contaminant. Barley is frequently found in malt form as a sweetener. Watch out for beer, candy, most commercial cold cereals, many "health/energy" bars, and even wheat-free goodies can rely on barley flour! Rye, kamut, & spelt are other "wheat-free alternatives" that contain gluten. Hydrolysed wheat proteins (as flavorings) are cropping up in unusual places, like commercial salsas.
Gluten is also found in envelope & sticker glue (don't lick), in art products like play-doh & papier mache, in wallpaper adhesives, & wall filler/joint compounds. Health & beauty aids (esp. shampoos & hair gels) are increasingly containing wheat proteins. If one is gluten-intolerant one must also check meds, OTC drugs, and supplements for gluten-free status.