Raising Vitamin D and Thyroid Disease

Since so many of us with osteo also have thyroid disease, I thought this might be helpful to post. A few others here, like me, have had a hard time increasing our vitamin D intake for bone health as it causes a "hyper" feel, I recently found that this is because it makes the thyroid gland work more efficiently -- often converting T4 into T3 at a higher rate---thus the hyper feel.
On another thyroid blog there was a discussion about this same hyper experience with D occurring for others and all they had to do was lower their thyroid medication a little bit and then could resume taking D. Apparently as in other autoimmmune diseases, the D makes your thyroid work better. I had been lowering my D intake instead not realizing it was affecting my thyroid, and now since lowering my synthroid a little bit, I can take higher amounts of D and still have normal thyroid levels. Probably will still have to experiment for a while to get optimal balance between the two.

An endocrinologist jumped into one of the discussions and said that he always had a lot of patients who had to lower their thyroid meds during the summer and raise them back up in the winter, so clearly that was the vitamin D in the summer making their thyroid work better.
Hope this helps, Santa Fe

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Hi Santa Fe,

Your points are good ones, and I am sorry to say that no one has mentioned anything about interactions between vitamin D and thyroid levels. Nada. So this is entirely new to me! I am looking forward to reading more about this.

The problem for me is that I feel best on a relatively high thyroxine dose, and yet that's bad (it seems) for my bones. Oh well!

Cheers,

Soprano

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I've been a user of Armour for 10 years now, started on D3 1000 IUs soon after, up it to 2,000 a couple years ago. Haven't noticed much difference.

Due to the shortage I tried a Synthroid generic for about 3 weeks and wasn't impressed. Went back on the Armour I had left and have since found a compounder that charges what I paid for Armour.

I take my Armour about 4AM with Protyozyme & Zytec, as I like soy mochas in the morning and soy binds to dessicated porcine thyroid apparently.

What I have notice in the last couple of months is the thinning of my hair on top. :'-(

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Gatekeeper,
Thanks for reminding us about the soy-thyroid connection. I forgot to add soy to the list of thyroid cautions. Some people's thyroids are really sensitive to soy. Too much soy makes my husband's PSA number shoot up dramatically, then goes back down when he stops those soy mochas he loves from Starbucks. I don't think anyone is paying attention to the possible soy-prostate problem for men.

Glad you were able to find a compounding pharmacy for your natural thyroid medication. Pharmaca pharmacies have been advertising here that they are able to compound the natural thyroid even with the shortage.

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I just recently found out about the soy & Armour connection, I never knew it could mess with the thyroid itself... hmmmm? How would one know, by test only?

It has been in just the last 2 years I've discovered iced soy mochas... otherwise have done without. Sure hope I don't have to give up what I consider my last food vice. I have about 8 ounces of soy/day.

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I just had my thyroid levels checked...TSH was 1.53 and I am on a low dose of levothyroxine 50mg. Doctor said they this was a normal level....anyone out there who is knowledge about thyroid, would you agree?

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bzcmom,

Most people feel best right around the TSH level you are at--which is well into the normal range. If you are not feeling or experiencing signs of hyper or hypo but feel just right, then this is your optimal level. Optimal is best for your bone health---hyper can create too much cortisol and adrenaline which is bad for the bones, and hypo can make your metabolism too sluggish and ineffective. If you can't find a TSH level you feel well at, then you have to pay more attention to the Free T4, T3 levels---it's so important to monitor how you FEEL, not just go by "normal" lab numbers.
Hope this helps, Santa Fe

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I have Osteoporosis and cannot tolerate any medications, such as Boniva, Fosamax, etc.....or simple calcium supplements. Therefore my doctor has scheduled me for an infusion of Reclast in January. My concern is according to the literature you should supplement the Reclast with calcium pills.
I seem to be between a rock and a hard place. My question is will the infusion work well without added calcium ?

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Now that my vit D level has picked up, I wonder if my thyroid function will become normal. I am due to start a volunteer mission in a developing country and the medical clearance will depend on the stabilisation of thyroid function. I am looking for any information or suggestion with maintaining my thyroid health. I have been taking Carbimazole 10mg twice a day for the last 7 weeks. The blood chemistry is improving gradually. Thank you and look forward to reading your replies.

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Hi Penny,
I am not familiar with the thyroid medication called Carbimazole---perhaps it is unique to Australia. Is it a synthetic T4 drug or natural dessicated thyroid? Are you hypo or hyper? You said that the blood chemistry is improving, are you also feeling better and having less symptoms?

Here are some websites devoted to thyroid health which may help with your questions. There are also many labs now that allow you to do home blood-spot checks for both thyroid and Vit D levels---perhaps they can be done in remote countries---I do not know. I have included one blood-spot lab here, but if you google "thyroid blood spot testing" you will find many more." If you are just starting on thyroid meds, it will probably take you awhile to find the right dosage---I suggest if you are leaving for a foreign country out in the boonies and won't have access to your doctor, you may want to ask your doctor to give you a few extra pills so that you can up your dose if you need to (under doctor's approval and assuming you are hypo)---but remember to be very careful and go very slow in increases---I go by the recommendation of only 25mcg increase PER MONTH total increase. I cut one 25mcg pill into quarters and add one quarter pill each week---then wait for 6 to 8 weeks to see how I feel---your doctor may have a better suggestion for your particular thyroid circumstance.
Thanks for your volunteer work!
And good luck getting your thyroid under control.
Warmly, Santa Fe

http://www.thyroid-info.com/index.htm

http://www.drlowe.com/

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/things-we-have-learned/

http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?folderId=8&listMode=13&nav=message s&webtag=ab-thyroid

http://www.johnleemd.com/store/prod_btest.html

http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hashimotos/a/tedfriedman.htm

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Thank you for the links to thyroid health.

I have Grave's disease with my initial TSH at <0.05mU/L (ref range 0.4 - 4), free T4 23 pmol/L (10-20), free T3 7.2pmol/L (2.8-6.8), TSH receptor antibodies 3.5 U/L (< 1.0). I understand sometimes different laboratory uses different reference range. It gets confusing.

Carbimazole is a blocking agent, aims at reducing formation of T3 and T4. My specialist is convince that this drug will stablise the Grave's disease.

Associated with this, I had moderate Vit D deficiency at 35nmol/L (30 -100). This was improved after 1 month of supplement and expose to sunlight. I work in an office with some sunlight.

Do you have any information of the biophysiological link between Vit D and thyroid function? This was the question that led me to your site. A few of my colleagues also have thyroid and vit D deficient.

Sorry about the long posting. Just wanting to share with you that my T4 is now 19. TSH is 0.06. Still a long way to go. But I am determined to get there otherwise no volunteer mission for me. ; - (

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Penny,
I am so sorry to hear of your Graves diagnosis. I don't know much about Graves except it seems a lot more challenging than being hypothyroid. Experiencing the hyper state is hard on both the heart and bones. I hope you can get it under control soon---sounds like you have a doctor working with you. Maybe some members here with Graves can give you more info on medication
or their experiences with vitamin D and Graves. On the links I gave you above they have discussion groups just on Graves. On the Hashimotos discussions, a few are saying they are seeing changes in their medication dosages due to increases in Vitamin D. That is also my experience.

If you google Graves and vitamin D, there are a ton of articles. Most of them state that being D deficient can cause Graves, and one article said you can go into remission of Graves by getting sufficient D. The thyroid links above have whole educational sections on just Graves.

Here's an article about mice developing Graves when induced with D deficiency--also states D definitely affects thyroid.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18927213

Here are some more about Graves and D:

http://tinnitus-free.com/2007/04/29/graves-disease-and-tinnitus-cured-vitam in-d-corrects-hyper-thyroid-and-resulting-ringing-in-ears/

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/science/research/vitamin-d-and-graves-diseas e.shtml

http://www.goodhormonehealth.com/VitaminD.pdf

http://autoimmunedisease.suite101.com/article.cfm/graves_disease_revisited

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Thank you for the links on Grave's disease. The article from Dr Friedman is especially enlightening. Will forward the links to my colleagues. I have learned so much since my diagnosis. Thank you for your kind words/thoughts. I know I will beat this disease and pick up my life again.

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bzcmom,

My doc would say, "Tell me what the T3 and T4 numbers are, TSH tells me nothing." If T3 is high & T4 is low, or vice a versa, you'll still be out of whack and have a normal or close to normal TSH.

Btw, 45 mg (a low dose) is the amount of compounded natural thyroid that my doctor prescribed for me and also one of my friends. We both suffered thyroiditis within a year or so of each other. So I'd say it is a fairly common dose.

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Hi Penny56

You are right about different labs using a different reference range. It is very confusing.

A couple of weeks ago my new doctor told me if the FT4 readings went too high bone would be lost.

This is the first time I have been told this. I became hyperthyroid about 4 years ago. At the time I didn’t realise this was the problem but I lost a lot of weight very quickly and I suffered very badly from dry eyes so I was sent for a blood test.

The doctor told me I was hyperthyroid but said she would keep an eye on it. In other words she did nothing.

She didn't even suggest a blood test over the next year to monitor the thyroid.

I lost an alarming amount of bone especially in my spine. I was on Fosamax all this time.

I asked to be referred to an Endocrinologist. The doctor took offence at this but referred me anyhow.

In April 2007:
TSH = 0.2 mIU/L (ref range 0.4 - 4.0)
FT4 = 21 pmoI/L (7 - 21)
FT3 = 6.0 pmoI/L (3.1 - 7.6)

In December 2007:
TSH = 0.16 mIU/L (ref range 0.3 - 4.0)
FT4 and FT3 were mid range

The endo said if my TSH goes below 0.16 she will have the thyroid taken out.

In my latest blood tests (October ’09) the TSH is a bit low but the FT4 and FT3 are mid range

As my doctor stated it is the FT4 which affects the bones and only once in the last few years was my FT4 high at 21 pmoI/L (7 - 21), the rest of the time it was mid range I now wonder why I lost so much bone.

I can only assume it was because I had such a low reading for Vitamin D. I now take 6,000IU’s per day of Vitamin D and the figures are going up. 116 nmol/L (range 51 – 200).

One doctor I used to go to only tests TSH and isn’t interested in FT3 and FT4. He also stated it doesn’t matter if the Vitamin D reading is low.

I think the biggest problem is finding a knowledgeable doctor.

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Hi Verginia, Thanks for sharing your information. I don't feel so alone anymore knowing there are so many of us with the similar medical disorder.

My journey of tests and consultation is slightly smoother than yours. My famly doctor was very quick with the blood test when I mentioned my mom had thyroid problem. She had it in her 60s and had a partial thyroidectomy. She is still alive and well without taking any thyroid supplement.

I agree with you about knowledgeable doctor. And one that is willing to sit and answer questions without making you feel silly!!

I was referred to a endocrinologist very quickly by the knowledgeable family doctor. More blood tests were organised by the knowledgeable endo, including thyroid antibody titre, Coeliac disease, vit D, CRP, ESR etc. It was about 10 tests altogether. My phlebotomist had to use a small "butterfly" to drain my blood into the blood tubes!

My endo is very thorough and impressive with his knowledge. He is convinced that radiation and surgery is old fashion. He strives for medication adjustment. My thyroid antibody titre is 3.5 (normal <1.0).

The other problem I have is non-alcoholic fatty liver so we have to titrate the medication slowly to reduce liver complications. As it is, my liver enzymes have been raised since 2007. It is a shame that I don't drink! My liver function is still not quite right. I went to see a liver specialist who recommended liver biopsy. I am relunctant as I feel this may trigger more inflammatory process.

My eyes had been dry for a few months before I suspected it was linked to my thyroid. My colleagues were teasing me about staying up late at night with my work + study. I feel totally drained, both emotionally and physically. Seems to need lots of sleep - up to 18 hours or more!! Also putting on weight. What I lost earlier in April/May, I stacked it back up and more!

I am beginning to pick up pieces though. The Vit D certainly helps. I am due to start a course of acupuncture tomorrow. Will let you know the effects.

Also heading out to get a juice extractor - will drink lots of carrot, and fruit juices to balance up. From the reading, vegetables and fruits are beneficial with autoimmune disease.

Are you in US? I am in Australia.

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Hi Penny56

I'm from Australia. I would love to have a GP and Endo like yours

I will be interested to know how you go with the acupuncture as I would like to try it also.

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Penny56, what are you taking for your thyroid and what is the acupuncture treating? Sorry if you posted that info in a previous message... if so, you can tell me to go look for it, or perhaps you wouldn't mind a repeat performance? ;-)

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Hi Verginia, You will find a good endo and GP I am sure. The acupunturist worked on the points for eyes as I still have disturbed vision from my Graves Disease. My Yin is blocked so the aim for the first treatment is to unblock the yin pathway for my energy (or Qi) can flow about. The acunpuncturist also gave me some chinese herbs to help. I feel relax and had a lovely weekend with my family. Due to go back tomorrow to the endo. Hope my blood result has improved so I can start packing to move to Cambodia. I am in Brisbane. If you are not far from me, I could give you my endo's contact details.

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Hi Gatekeeper, My endo started me on neomercazole 15 mg daily initially for a month. This was increased to 20mg as my Thyroid Function Test did not improve. I am due to see him tomorrow. See my response to Verginia about acunpuncture. I am also planning to see a naturopath. Are you hypo or hyper thyroid?

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Hi Penny,

Thanks for the response. I am hypo and from your medication sounds like you're hyper? I have a cat that is hyper and takes a similar drug. ;-)

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