Hypothyroidism and Vitamin D Deficiency

Hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency have been linked in recent research studies. Many articles published in the past 20 years suggest that hypothyroidism and vitamin d deficiency go hand-in-hand. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that performs numerous functions in the body including calcium regulation. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to some bone problems, related to hypothyroidism. There are two possible explanations on the hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency link:

1. The patient does not absorb vitamin D properly

2. The body does not activate vitamin D properly

Hypothyroidism and Vitamin D Deficiency

It’s important to note that both thyroid hormone and Vitamin D bind to similar receptors known as steroid hormone receptors. A gene in the vitamin D receptor was demonstrated to predispose people to auto-immune thyroiditis, i.e. Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. That’s why it’s important for hypothyroid and hyperthyroid patients to understand exactly how the vitamin D system functions.

Vitamin D2 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin D3 (ergocalciferol) are both collectively referred to as vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is found mostly in plants and vitamin D3 – mostly in animals. They can be obtained in two ways:

1. Through sun exposure

2. From dietary intake – vitamin D is found in fish, eggs, cod liver oil, milk and vitamin D fortified orange juice as well as Vitamin D supplements.

Sometimes vitamin D deficiency might occur in people who are unable to properly absorb it in their intestine, such as patients suffering from Celiac disease, which has been closely linked to Hashimoto’s. In fact the two auto-immune diseases have been found to co-exist so often that it’s now recommended that patients with Celiac disease be screened for Hashimoto’s and vice versa. That’s why patients with Hashimoto’s are often advised to eliminate gluten from their diet.

How to Diagnose Vitamin D Deficiency?

We learned so far that vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism often go together. But how do you find out if you have vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D itself is in an inactive form and in order to be used, it needs to be converted to 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OH vitamin D) in the liver and then to 1, 25-hydroxy vitamin D in the kidneys. That last conversion is catalyzed by parathyroid hormone, also called PTH. Patients with vitamin D deficiencies will have high PTH and low calcium levels. Only the 1, 25-hydroxy vitamin D is biologically active and aids the absorption of calcium from the intestine. People with low vitamin D levels also have low calcium, and in some more severe cases get rickets (in children) or osteomalacia (in adults).

In addition, the 25-OH vitamin D form is in the low range, while the 1, 25-OH vitamin D form is normal or slightly high. Some doctors only test the 25-OH form and assume a patient isn’t vitamin D deficient. In order to determine whether a patient has a vitamin D deficiency, the following should be measured:

  • PTH
  • Calcium level
  • 25-OH vitamin D (normal range is 20-60 ng/dL)

So to summarize, if you’re vitamin D deficient you’ll have a low 25-OH vitamin D level, a normal or an elevated 1, 25-OH vitamin D level, a high PTH level, and a low normal calcium.

Treatment of vitamin D deficiency

The most obvious treatment for vitamin D deficiency is increasing sunlight exposure. A lot has been said about the dangers of the sun in recent years and this is a very complicated subject that I talk more about in my book “Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery”. After extensive research on the subject I came to the conclusion that moderate sunlight exposure is necessary for your body to function properly. In fact, it’s recommended that you expose your legs to direct sunlight for 20 minutes a day without sunscreen. The UV-rays stimulate the thyroid to produce the necessary hormones, which in turn boosts metabolism. This helps in both muscle development and weight loss. When kept indoors, farm animals fatten much faster, as do people who stay out of the sun.

Another way of correcting vitamin D deficiency is to take vitamin D supplements. There are many brands available, a good one is Spring Valley Vitamin D 2000 IU. Eating foods rich in vitamin D aslo helps.

Conclusion on Hypothyroidism and Vitamin D Deficiency

There’s no doubt that Vitamin D is highly beneficial, and I’m not talking just bone health. Studies have shown that vitamin D may protect against some forms of cancer and heart disease. It also plays a role in regulating the immune system and reducing blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. Proper vitamin D levels are extremely important especially if you’re suffering from hypothyroidism.

Filed in: hypothyroidism vitamin d, hypothyroidism and vitamin d deficiency, vitamin D deficiency Hashimoto’s, vitamin D deficiency Grave’s disease, vitamin D deficiency hypothyroid, vitamin D deficiency hyperthyroidism, vitamin d deficiency hyperthyroid, vitamin d deficiency hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism and vitamin d deficiency




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About Author

Petra Mitova is the author of the best-selling ebook "Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery." She's dedicated to helping patients empower themselves by providing patient-oriented information about thyroid disease - whether you suffer from hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or any other form of thyroid disease, feel free to browse our website and learn about thyroid disease diagnosis, treatment options, natural remedies and more.

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