How Vitamin D Affects Thyroid Conditions

Jul 13 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Vitamin D is well-known for its importance in managing calcium in the gut, bones, and blood and disease resistance. However, many studies now show vitamin D levels affect may be a contributing factor in many other health issues too.

Researchers now believe it plays a crucial role in how cells communicate. Clinical studies link abnormal vitamin D levels to colon, prostate, and breast cancer as well as heart disease, weight gain, and thyroid conditions.

Vitamin D Production

Vitamin D is unique compared to other vitamins, because it is nearly impossible to get what you need from food. Instead, your body produces it naturally in the skin when you’re exposed to natural or artificial UVB light.

Once your body produces vitamin D or you take it as a supplement, it’s sent to the liver. The liver transforms vitamin D into 25(OH)D and sends it various areas of the body and activates it. Once activated, it is ready to perform its duties.

Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmunity occurs when the immune system treats a person’s healthy tissues and cells as a threat. When this happens, their body produces an immune response and attacks. This response can cause damage, inflammation, and chronic pain in many parts of the body.

Vitamin D deficiencies may reduce the body’s ability to fight infection and may link to or cause autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Grave’s Disease.

Clinical Studies

Several 2014 studies presented at the annual meeting of the Thyroid Association are of special interest. Researchers from Nanjing, China evaluated 34 patients with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and 32 with Grave’s Disease against 52 healthy patients. Researchers measured many thyroid-related factors including vitamin D3.

Vitamin D is actually a group of compounds classified vitamin D1, D2, and D3. Vitamin D3 is the naturally occurring form of the vitamin, and the most biologically active.

Researchers found patients with autoimmune thyroid disease had significantly lower vitamin D3 levels than the healthy controls. Patients with high thyroid peroxidase antibodies the body produces in thyroid autoimmune disease also had lower vitamin D levels. This suggests vitamin D insufficiency could link to or cause autoimmune thyroid disease.

Brazilian researchers studied 54 Hashimoto’s patients, compared to 54 healthy controls. They also found vitamin D deficiency in 63.2% of the patients. Those with low vitamin D levels also had higher thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and a larger thyroid.

Lack of Vitamin D

Normally, the skin produces sufficient vitamin D when exposed to adequate UV light. However, the risks of skin cancer or melanoma now mean many people use sunscreen and cover their bodies. We also spend more time indoors for work and entertainment.

Since more clinical tests show a link between vitamin D and thyroid function, many physicians now recommend vitamin D testing as part of thyroid evaluation and care. Nonetheless, functional practitioners and doctors following the medical model may treat you differently based on your results.

Medical Model vs Functional Model

The medical model recommends 400 International Units per day of vitamin D. They also define a sufficient serum 25(OH)D level as over 50 nmol/L as it “covers the needs of 97.5% of the population”. The test used to measure vitamin D levels in the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test.

The medical model usually recommends supplementation to increase low vitamin D levels. However, the functional approach to care recognizes multiple reasons may cause low vitamin D levels. Consequently, recommending supplements before looking at overall health and other possible issues can be ineffective and counterproductive.

Supplements don’t always correct low vitamin D levels, because they do not address underlying problems. The vitamin D receptor in some autoimmune patients cannot activate due to variations in their DNA sequence. Consequently, they need higher than normal blood levels of vitamin D to avoid vitamin D insufficiency.

Vitamin D is fat soluble, and some patients with thyroid issues like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have low stomach acid and poor fat absorption. Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease also make the immune system work overtime, which depletes the body’s stores of vitamin D. Therefore, addressing gut and digestive issues and modulating the immune system are of primary importance before considering vitamin D supplementation.

A highly qualified functional practitioner will look at your gut and digestive health and if they’re satisfied, they may order a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test for your vitamin D levels.

Your practitioner may recommend supplementation to reach between 60 and 80 nmol/L. This is still well below the 125 nmol/L threshold where a patient might experience adverse effects. After several months, they’ll retest. If their serum level rose to an acceptable level, the doctor will adjust vitamin D intake so serum levels stay between 50 and 60 nmol/L.

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Vitamin D insufficiency is just one factor that can contribute to thyroid problems, so self-supplementation is not recommended as it can be ineffective if underlying problems remain. Discuss your thyroid issues with a functional practitioner to develop an effective treatment protocol.

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Never Ignore These Vital Thyroid Symptoms

Jul 13 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

The thyroid is one of the many gland of the body that performs some of the most important functions of the human system. Nestled at the tip of the neck, the thyroid gland produces essential hormones, which help in smooth brain activity and metabolism. Thyroid symptoms are often an indication of the presence of a problem in the gland. While most of them are quite vague and similar to symptoms of many other conditions and diseases, it’s best not to ignore them as a sign of a thyroid problem. Pay a visit to an endocrinologist and let them test you for a plausible thyroid condition.

Signs and Symptoms of a Thyroid Problem

Below are some common thyroid symptoms you must not ignore:-

  • Witnessing fatigue even after sleeping for about 8 to 10 hours at a stretch or a need to take a nap every day.
  • Unintentionally gaining weight or finding it difficult to lose weight.
  • Experiencing extreme mood swings, anxiety or a condition of depression.
  • Facing hormonal imbalances such as irregular periods, PMS, infertility and even lower sex drive.
  • Pain in the muscles, the joints, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis.
  • Having cold feet and hands, and feeling unusually cold, even when others are not.
  • A body temperature that’s consistently below 98.5 F.
  • Drying or cracking of the skin, having brittle nails and experiencing excessive hair loss.
  • Constant constipation.
  • Brain fogging, or unable to concentrate properly.
  • Swelling in the neck, snoring more than often or developing a hoarse voice.

Type of Thyroid Problems

Typically, there are two types of thyroid problems – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition wherein the gland produces excessive amount of hormones which cause the onset of many internal problems. A hyper active thyroid often leads to excessive TSH secretion in the blood stream, Grave’s disease, and the formation of nodules in the gland. Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is a condition wherein the thyroid causes less production of essential hormones, which further hampers the proper functionality of many related organs. Both the conditions are dangerous for the human system and hence, maintenance of the health of the thyroid gland is important.

Tests Related to Thyroid Problem

There are a couple of tests that are associated with the diagnosis of proper functionality, and production and release of the essential hormones in the bloodstream. These are as follows:-

  • TSH Test
  • Free T3 and T4 Test
  • Reverse T3 Test
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies Test (TPOAb)
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies Test (TgAb)

Basis the result of these tests, a legitimate thyroid problem treatment is formulated by the endocrinologist. The sooner you get treated for a thyroid related treatment, the better is the outcome.

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