Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis and Vitamin D Deficiency

Dr. David Clark, DC — Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC– helps you understand the critical connection between Vitamin D Deficiency and Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism.

I’m going to explain why Vitamin D deficiency is connected to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Vitamin D is a critical regulator of your immune system and research has already established that Vitamin D deficiency is highly associated with other autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Type I Diabetes.

And Vitamin D deficiency IS associated with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism–another autoimmune condition.

What is Hashimoto’s? 

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune attack on the inside of your thyroid gland.  Over time, your immune system destroys the inside of your thyroid gland—so much, that you can’t make enough thyroid hormones and you suffer low thyroid symptoms.

What low thyroid symptoms does Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism cause? 

Here’s a short list:

  • weight gain
  • constipation
  • hair loss
  • brain fog
  • a need to sleep excessively in order to function
  • high cholesterol
  • infertility
  • joint pain.

Last year a great scientific study looked specifically at Hashimoto’s patients and Vitamin D.
 

The researchers took 161 confirmed Hashimoto’s patients (meaning these people had positive TPO antibodies and/or positive TGB antibodies) and measured their Vitamin D levels. 

The results of their study are downright scary.

92% of the Hashimoto’s patients had Vitamin D deficiency. 

This study defined Vitamin D deficiency as less then 30 ng/dl.

148 out of 161 had Vitamin D deficiency.  Crazy, right?

It gets worse. 

They even broke down the results into three categories of Hashimoto’s patients:

  • Overt Hypothyroidism
  • Subclinical Hypothyroidism
  • Euthyroid

Let me explain what those mean. 

Overt Hypothyroidism Hashimoto’s means:

  1. The person has high TPO and/or TGB antibodies
  2. Their TSH is high
  3. The person has low thyroid symptoms (I see these every day).

Subclinical Hypothyroidism Hashimoto’s means:

  1. The person has high TPO and/or TGB antibodies
  2. Their TSH is high
  3. The person does NOT have low thyroid symptoms ( I don’t see many of these).

Euthyroid Hashimoto’s means:

  1. The person has high TPO and/or TGB antibodies
  2. Their thyroid lab test numbers are “normal.” (I see quite a few of these people in my practice).

Now here’s how they broke it down.

94% of Overt Hypothyroid Hashimoto’s patients had Vitamin D deficiency. 

98% of Subclinical Hypothyroid Hashimoto’s patients had Vitamin D deficiency.

86% of Euthyroid Hashimoto’s pateints had Vitamin D deficiency. 

(The researchers say that it’s not statistically significant in the euthyroid group.  But I’m telling you it is clinically, practically significant.)

Look at those numbers again….see how many of those Hashimoto’s patients had Vitamin D deficiency? Huge.

We know for sure that Vitamin D has something to do with Hashimoto’s. But what exactly does Vitamin D do?

Here’s the short answer… 

Vitamin D is a critical regulator of your immune system. 

Without Vitamin D your immune system can become over-exuberant. Without Vitamin D your immune system easily  can become unbalanced.  Vitamin D deficieny can lead to an expression of an autoimmune attack on a tissue.

So for example in Hashimoto’s….

if you carry the gene for Hashimoto’s and you become Vitamin D deficient your gene can turn on and you can start expressing it and start attacking your thyroid.  Over time you become low thyroid and you develop low thyroid symptoms.

And then…you go see a doctor who probably doesn’t test you to see if you’ve got Hashimoto’s (Medical doctors have nothing to offer but replacement hormones anyway).   They just put you on Synthroid® or Armour®

…but in the long run you end up not feeling much different because the replacement hormones just don’t do much for the underlying autoimmune process.

Sadly, this is exactly what usually happens to a woman with Hashimoto’s. 

Does this mean that you should buy Vitamin D and start supplementing? 

No, it doesn’t. 

Because even though Vitamin D is relatively harmless, you don’t know how much you need.  Plus, there’s a complex situation in which if you take the wrong dosage of Vitamin D— read carefully— if you take the wrong dosage of Vitamin D you can actually make yourself worse. 

Taking the wrong dose of Vitamin D can make you have MORE low thyroid symptoms—even if you really are Vitamin D Deficient.

That scenario nvolves something called 1, 25-dihydroxy vitamin D, and is a little bit beyond what I want to explain here. 

The takeaway message….

Even though there’s a 90% chance that you’re Vitamin D deficient if you have Hashimoto’s— this doesn’t mean you should go out and start supplementing Vitamin D. 

You need to find someone who understands exactly what I’ve been telling you about, someone that understands there’s other things to look at… and that Vitamin D, even though it’s important, is not the magic bullet.

In my practice we see a lot of people that need Vitamin D but some people need more or less than others–and many times it’s the difference between the person feeling good or feeling worse.  A small number people can’t take Vitamin D at all—even though they’re defiicient.

Find someone that knows what to do, because Vitamin D deficiency and  Hashimoto’s  are almost the same thing.

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© 2014 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

 

Disclaimer: The contents of this site are for educational purposes only. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Nothing here is a substitute for actual medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional.

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