Zoe Saldana's health condition could be affecting you too

Jul 21, 2016 at 3:40 p.m. ET
Image: WENN.com

Going gluten and dairy free have been equal parts touted, both cited as wonder drugs and mocked. But for actress Zoe Saldana, the diet has helped her with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Saldana spoke up about the condition in an interview with Net-a-Porter's The Edit, reports E! Online. We've heard of going gluten free for celiac, but what exactly is this apparently celeb-worthy condition?

As Saldana told The Edit, Hashimoto's thyroiditis means "your body doesn't have the energy it needs to filter toxins, causing it to believe that it has an infection, so it's always inflamed. You create antibodies that attack your glands, so you have to eat clean."

More: Your handy guide to converting any recipe to gluten free

According to Mayo Clinic, Saldana's description is on point. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a thyroid condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid and can often cause long-lasting damage over time if untreated. If you've experienced rapid and unexpected weight gain or loss lately, there's a reason to go to your doctor. EndocrineWeb reports that Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common thyroid disease in America, affecting 14 million people in the U.S. Further, 12 percent of all Americans will develop a thyroid disorder in their lifetime, says a report in The Atlantic. (What all this means, of course, is that it was bound to claim some celebrities. If you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, at least you know you're in good company.)

It also disproportionately affects women — we're seven times more likely to suffer from this condition than men are. Other symptoms include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, paleness, muscle and joint ache and prolonged periods, says Mayo Clinic. The most typical early sign — if there is one at all — is a slight swelling at the front of the throat. Eventually sufferers can develop hypothyroidism (a condition that can only be treated by hormone replacement therapy) or a goiter.

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Saldana tells The Edit that she manages her condition with a gluten- and dairy-free diet (which she also has her husband, Marco Perego, adhere to.) "I had a great time in my 20s. Then your doctor says you're losing calcium in your bones. What the fuck is that? I would hear those conversations with my mom and grandma, thinking I'd never get there," she says. "'I'm going to live forever!'"

Then the hard part comes. "But all of a sudden, it hits you. I shit you not, it's from night to day."

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