What You Need to Know About Vitamin D & Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
The standard of care for Hashimoto’s is no different than for someone with simply Hypothyroidism. Doctors will say that nothing can be done to stop the autoimmune disease. Now researchers are learning more about this disease and what can influence it. This is very important for those suffering from this disease.
Fortunately more studies are being done with the hopes of finding better treatments for autoimmune thyroid disease and even better ways to prevent it. A recent study has shown that those that had higher vitamin D levels were less likely to develop Hashimoto’s.
A similar study concluded that in those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that there may be a low vitamin D level taking place during the disease process.
These findings are leading researchers to believe that there may be a link between Vitamin D and autoimmune thyroid disease. Not to mention, Vitamin D may have a role in balancing (homeostasis) the immune system and help to control the progression.
What is the significance of this?
It can mean that individuals who are diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency should perhaps be further investigated for potential autoimmune thyroid disease. Health care providers can easily order a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test to determine if there is a deficiency present in this particular vitamin.
One of the important factors and what can be a little controversial is in respect to what is considered to be a normal Vitamin D level.
There is what is considered to be a normal range from the lab as (33-100 ng/ml), but now a lot more physicians prefer to see the patients level to be in the middle of this range (50-100ng/ml). Holistic practitioners are of the opinion that people with autoimmune thyroid disease should have their Vitamin D levels maintained at higher levels than this. (80-100ng/ml)
So it really depends on what your Doctor thinks or feels is good for you. Sadly, most of the time this is totally ignored. From personal experience, often times I am usually the first person to test the vitamin D levels of Patients with Hashimoto’s. Levels consistently come in low.
The Patient tested below came to my office complaining of fatigue, weight gain, IBS, brain fog, headaches, cold hands and feet and hair loss. She mentioned that she was taking synthroid and was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism years ago. I asked her if she was ever tested for Hashimoto’s and she said no.
As you can see from the testing that follows she is positive for Hashimoto’s (thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies are both high.) You can also see how low her vitamin D levels are. The relationship between low vitamin d and Hashimoto’s is very common in my practice.
Remember that this Patient came to my office stating that her Doctor told her that her thyroid tests were normal and she should try to lose some weight. Thyroid patients are rarely tested for Hashimoto’s or vitamin D. Why? Because it does not change the Doctor’s course of action. Prescribe Synthroid and monitor TSH levels.
The importance of Vitamin D:
This vitamin plays a critical role in our being able to maintain good health. It can affect us in a multitude of ways. It can help to prevent cancer and heart disease. It can help to ward off osteoporosis and even prevent tooth loss. It helps to fight and stop recurrent infection, and plays an important role in other types of autoimmune disease.
Nurses’ Health studies showed that nurses who had vitamin D levels averaging 50ng/ml, reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 50%.
The importance of Vitamin D for those with autoimmune thyroid disease is that it helps to bring their immune system back into balance.
How to get Vitamin D:
The best way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure because. When your skin is exposed to UVB rays it produces vitamin D3. The amount of vitamin D you can get from the sun will depend on a few things.
- The time of day – your skin produces more vitamin D if you expose it during the middle of the day.
- Where you live – the closer to the equator you live, the easier it is for you to produce vitamin D from sunlight all year round.
- The color of your skin – pale skins make vitamin D more quickly than darker skins.
- The amount of skin you expose – the more skin your expose the more vitamin D your body will produce.
Dr. Holick stated in an interview. “We had shown many years ago that during the winter time, if you live above Atlanta, Georgia, you basically cannot make any vitamin D in your skin from about November through March.
Dr. Michael Holick, expounds on these and many other health benefits of vitamin D. He’s both an MD and a PhD, and wrote the book, The Vitamin D Solution.
He has also created an app that can tell you when you can get vitamin D based on your location and how much you are getting. You can get more information at this site: http://dminder.ontometrics.com/
Very little vitamin D comes from food so if you live in the north you will need supplementation. Take vitamin D3 cholecalciferol. I start dosing at 2000 iu’s per day to as high as 10000 iu’s per day. If you have autoimmune disease your target should be to get your levels around 80ng/ml.
Steps to take:
- If you have a Thyroid problem get tested for Hashimoto’s.
- If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s ask to be tested for Vitamin D deficiency.
- You should then be monitored by your health care provider to ensure your Vitamin D levels reach and stay at the proper levels.
- If you need to get tested or are looking for help, schedule a case review.