I subscribe to a Newsletter from the States regarding PCOS, one of the most recent covered the link between PCOS and Hypothyroidism. I am unable to post the link as it is a personal email, I will copy and paste the letter, it may duplicate the information you are already aware of, on the other hand it may help you or other readers who have the same issue.
We all know that PCOS is a can of worms -- hard to understand, hard to control.
One of those "worms" is your thyroid gland and the hormones it produces. Optimal thyroid function and hormone levels are required for controlling weight, fertility, metabolism and so much more. There is a strong interaction between your ovaries and your thyroid.
The problem is that women with PCOS also tend to have thyroid problems of one sort or another. One example is autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's disease), which interferes with thyroid function and seems to be more common in women with PCOS. An autoimmune disease is where the immune system mistakenly attacks organs or tissues in the body, such as the thyroid and ovaries.
There are two thyroid hormones we're concerned about. One is T4, which is converted into a more active hormone T3. So you could have inadequate production of T4, or you could have impaired conversion of T4 into T3.
The optimization of thyroid hormones is a huge topic so let's just touch on 4 aspects today.
1) 20% of T4 to T3 conversion occurs in the intestines and is dependent on healthy gut bacteria. Gut bacteria can be healthy or unhealthy. You can promote healthy bacteria by avoiding processed foods, consuming occasional fermented foods, eating a variety of whole foods with considerable fiber, and taking probiotics (especially if you've taken antibiotics). A healthy population of gut microbes thus helps with thyroid hormone function.
2) 60% of T4 to T3 conversion occurs in the liver and is dependent on healthy liver function. The issue here is that a high percentage of women with PCOS have impaired liver function, also known as NAFLD or fatty liver congestion. It's hard to diagnose this problem but a liver ultrasound might be your best bet.
Improvement in the quality of your diet will help your liver. There are a number of supplements that also help with NAFLD, such as berberine extract and fish oil concentrate.
3) "Estrogen dominance" can lead to excess thyroid-binding proteins, which in turn limit the availability of active thyroid hormones. PCOS women frequently have estrogen dominance. The mirror side of this condition is a progesterone insufficiency. There is some speculation among researchers that high estrogen and low progesterone could alter the immune system and increase autoimmune thyroid disease.
A couple of ideas for estrogen dominance are bioidentical natural progesterone (not found in birth control pills) applied to the skin, and vitex extract (which could assist with production of progesterone). Also, vitamin D is critical for regulating the immune system, so get a vitamin D test and find out where you stand.
4) Low thyroid function can lead to low stomach acid, which impairs absorption of B12 and calcium. Note that taking metformin also reduces B12 absorption. So if you have low thyroid function and are taking metformin, you probably should be evaluated for a possible B12 deficiency.
Berberine, fish oil concentrate and vitex are all available from our online store.
For a discount, use this code at checkout: VITAMIN
Best of health!
Bill Slater, Editor PCOS Health Review
co-author of "The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility"
"We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves." -- William Hazlitt
PCOS Health Review is a newsletter providing natural health information for women with PCOS or ovarian cysts.
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Du D et al. The relationship between thyroiditis and polycystic ovary syndrome: a meta-analysis. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2013 Oct 25;6(10):880-9. eCollection 2013.
Beaudoin, T, Addressing Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Emerson Ecologics Quarterly Newsletter, 2015:13
Gabercek S et al. Mechanisms in endocrinology: thyroid and polycystic ovary syndrome. Eur J Endocrinol. 2015 Jan;172(1):R9-21.
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