Low Vitamin D Contributes to Thyroid Problems

Thursday, January 03, 2013
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Researchers at UCLA tried to show that low vitamin D1 would make an autoimmune thyroid problem worse. Their experiment was based on the idea that vitamin D has a dampening effect on an excessive and inappropriate immune response in many areas of your body.  Therefore, they figured this was likely to apply to the thyroid as well. This turned out not to be the case, but what they did find was rather surprising.

To conduct the experiment, the researchers first created two groups of mice, one with vitamin D in their diet and the other with none. Even before they started their experiment they found that the vitamin D deficient mice had low levels of thyroxine (T4)—they were actually hypothyroid prone when the experiment was conducted.  When the experiment was performed, the mice lacking vitamin D did not have an excessive immune response as expected.  Rather, they developed persistent hyperthyroidism because their thyroid glands were less able to withstand the stress of the experiment, and were more sensitive to the autoimmune antibodies to which both sets of mice were being exposed. Simply put, a lack of vitamin D makes your thyroid more susceptible to injury that could result in hyperthyroidism.

Although this is an animal study, the findings are important. First, it means that a lack of vitamin D contributes to the possibility of low thyroid. Second, it means that many irritants are likely to aggravate your thyroid to a greater extent if you lack vitamin D. For example, many chemical irritants in the environment irritate your thyroid gland, such as perchlorate and fluoride. If you lack vitamin D you are more likely to be adversely affected by them.

This may be part of the reason that so many people feel metabolically worse and gain weight as the winter months move along. It is simple to make sure you take some extra vitamin D in the winter. Doing so may help you keep your metabolism and thyroid from suffering the winter blues.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Vitamin D and Hyperthyroid  Endocrinology.  Alexander Misharin, Martin Hewison, Chun-Rong Chen, Venu Lagishetty, Holly A. Aliesky, Yumiko Mizutori, Basil Rapoport, and Sandra M. McLachlan.

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