Thyroxine and osteoporosis

I have been taking thyroxine for nigh on twenty years and am convinced that it has caused severe weakening of my bones....approx twelve rib fractures in the last eight years... The fact that my condition has not worsened in the last eight years has amazed my doctor but he told me yesterday that full blown osteoporosis is inevitable in the next three years plus. I am currently on 100 mg but at one stage I was on 250 mg which was when my fractures commenced. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Can you offer me any advice on improving my situation? Aged 61, not overweight, regular exerciser and healthy eater.

19 Replies

  • There's a good article here that explains that bone health requires both T4 and T3: Have you ever had your FT3 tested to see if it was low? If so, a little bit of T3 may help your bones, but you'd have to introduce only a tiny amount at a time, to not shock your bones. Has your estradiol been tested? Low estradiol levels also seem to be common in osteoporosis.

  • Thank you for responding.i will need to read a few times....

  • It might be worth checking your vitamin D levels, I was involved in clinical research many years ago and our results showed that calcium without vit D did not improve density, so if your D is low that could be a contributing factor. (I'm assuming your diet contains sufficient calcium)

  • Thank you, I am taking a supplement which includes Vitamin D. I think I need more sunshine!

  • have you had your vit d tested hence being at top of normal range is essential andi am 55 and take 5000mg of d3 a day....and i live on the coast to keep mine up. it i quite common in older people to be low in vit d . i had mine checked as well as b12 when i read that a roofer could be low in vitamin d...and when tested mine was low normal as well. it can cause aches pains and breaks...but i make sure i take vit d3 with k2 because it is better.

  • It has to be D3 in preference to D2 when taking supplements for Vit D.

  • 1200mg calcium supplement with D3

  • ps you need oil with the calcium, ie at the same time so reduced fat milk, cheese etc is not much help.

  • You also need magnesium, K2 and possibly boron for strong bones. Being hypo often means that you don't absorb nutrients very well, so that may well be the cause of your problems.

  • So, are you saying that the full fat versions contain the necessary oil?

  • Yes Rigby, because the naturally occurring fat in cow's milk is what I meant by oil - I had a hypo moment and couldn't bring the word fat to mind so put oil instead! Fat and/or oil both allow the body to take up the calcium.

  • Thyroxine DOES NOT cause osteoporosis. Nor does low TSH.

  • No, in and of itself thyroxine does not cause osteoporosis, but if you are over treated then the risk of osteoporosis rises.

    However, there are some genetic links between some thyroid abnormalities and osteoporosis. If you have one or more copies of the DI02 gene, which affects the way you convert (or in this case don't) T4 to T3, you have a much higher risk of early osteoporosis.

    There is also the fact that we hypos tend to be less active, because we are so darn exhausted, and that isn't good for bones either.

    The three biggest risks, apart from inheritance, are smoking, drinking and inactivity.

  • Hi Ruthie. Thanks for your response, just to say that I don't have any of the above risk factors, no genetic link, loads of activity (ex P E teacher and owner of two huskies plus a keen gardeners) non smoker and occasional red wine drinker ( weekend only) . T3 and T4 are new to me and I need to talk more to my GP

  • Don't hold your breath - your GP is unlikely to know much about T3, and its rarely tested nowadays because they are taught that TSH is everything (and then don't understand the difference between normal and optimal, nor yet the difference between blood tests and true health).

    Your best bet is to read avidly on here!

  • knowing your free t3 and free t4 is critical in knowing your overall health with thyroid...i would never just go by tsh on t4......

  • Fermented soya seems to be very helpful against osteoporosis. My husband saw a programme on TV that showed Japanese people who used a lot of fermented soya had no problems connected with the thinning of their bones by comparison to other groups of Japanese.

  • Thank you all for your help, I am determined to fight this with all the means I have, I have too much living to get on with.

  • Hi Rigby

    I got diagnosed with osteoporosis about ten years before I started taking NDT, and thought it comes from having low thyroid hormones.

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