Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is attacking its own tissue by the immune system. It is the most common cause of Hypothyroidism in the United States.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include, weight gain, depression, cold sensitivity, fatigue, panic attacks, infertility and hair loss. Blood tests often show that thyroid antibodies are present against either thyroid peroxidase and/or thyroglobulin.

Dr Nujen Bozkurt and colleagues of the Ankara University School of Medicine in Turkey, recently conducted a cross-sectional study of 540 subjects, seeing if vitamin D levels are connected to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

The groups consisted of 180 stable hypothyroid patients taking thyroid supplementation and 180 subjects with newly diagnosed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, comparing them to 180 healthy controls. While 48% of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients had 25(OH)D levels below 10ng/ml, only 20% of the healthy controls did. Only 10 subjects had 25(OH)D ≥ 30 ng/ml and 60% of them were in the control group. Female chronic Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients had mean 25(OH)D levels of 10 ng/ml, while male control subjects had mean levels of 19 ng/ml.

Most importantly, they found that 25(OH)D levels were directly correlated to thyroid volume and inversely correlated to anti-peroxidase (r= -0.361) and anti-thyroglobulin levels (r= -0.335), which are the antibodies involved in thyroiditis. The authors concluded,

“We showed that patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis present lower vitamin D levels inversely correlated to antibody levels and directly correlated to thyroid volume. Finally, our results suggested that there might be a casual relation between vitamin D deficiency and development of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. On the other hand, there might be a possible relation between severity of vitamin D deficiency and progression of thyroid damage. However further studies are needed especially about the effects of vitamin D supplementation on prevention and/or progression of autoimmune thyroid disease.”

In hypothyroidism, the autoimmune damage was done over 7 to 10 years via Hashimoto’s thyroiditis but the symptoms are improved by thyroid medication. I have found personally and with my patients that the functional medication approach I use has been more successful than the traditional approach with medication. There are several causes of Hashimoto’s thyroditis such as, gluten intolerance, gastrointestinal infections, insulin surges, estrogen surges, vitamin D receptor polymorhism, iodine excess, heavy metal toxicity, and pregnancy. A successful treatment approach must include investigation into these factors.

References

Bozkurt NC, Karbek B, Ucan B, Sahin M, Cakal E, Ozbek M, Delibasi T. The Association Between Severity of Vitamin D Deficiency and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Endocr Pract. 2013 Jan 21:1-14.

Study: High antibodies, low vitamin D levels in autistic children. Posted on August 17, 2012 by John Cannell, MD

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: Does D deficiency play a role? Vitamin D Council. Posted on February 3, 2013 by John Cannell, MD

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