Thyroid Problems, Vitamin D, and Blood Pressure

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Hypothyroid and subclinical hypothyroid have been associated with elevation in blood pressure.  New research indicates that a lack of vitamin D may be a key factor in blood pressure elevation.  The data suggests that people with elevating blood pressure should optimize their vitamin D levels as a key factor in blood pressure management.

Poor thyroid function induces multiple stressful changes to your circulatory system that make it harder to function and more likely that blood pressure will elevate.  Some of those changes directly impact your kidneys, and there is now evidence linking salt sensitivity to poor thyroid function.

Your kidneys, operating in a state of metabolic stress, respond to stimulation.  Some of this stimulation is from adrenaline, which is often released in higher amounts by those who are overweight (adrenaline tries to break down fat, but irritates the kidneys).  In the sluggish thyroid state adrenaline is often over-released in an effort to compensate for one’s body being stuck in hibernation mode.  The kidneys respond to adrenaline by making excessive renin, which drives up blood pressure.

It has now been discovered that the renin gene is controlled by vitamin D.  If vitamin D is lacking it is like losing parental control, renin can now run wild and cause sustained elevation in blood pressure. 

I have previously reported that a lack of vitamin D leads to excessive thyroid inflammation and thyroid autoimmunity.

Thus, there are several good reasons why people with any type of thyroid issue should have their vitamin D levels checked and should strive for optimal vitamin D levels, not just somewhere towards the bottom of the normal range.  While vitamin D may not be a direct regulator of thyroid hormone, it appears that it puts the lid on how out-of-whack a stressed thyroid can become, as well as helps prevent an undesirable elevation in blood pressure.

Attention to this issue is especially important in winter months when cold temperatures pose a stress of their own to thyroid function and the lack of sun typically leads to low vitamin D levels.  There are good reasons more cardiovascular events occur in the winter months.  Optimizing vitamin D levels along with optimizing thyroid function will directly benefit your cardiovascular well-being.

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