Significance of thyroid antibodies

In the simplest form of explanation think of antibodies as having arthritis of the thyroid, that is your body is actually attacking your thyroid. Its not logical and makes no sense why this should happen...but that illness for you!

(next bit is from this site ;-) )

When this happens the body cells being wrongly attacked can be damaged and destroyed. This can happen in a number of ways, but we of course are most interested in the thyroid.

The antibodies that appear most frequently are

Antithyroid Peroxidase Antibody or TPO Ab (Ab is short for antibody) this is also known as Antithyroid Microsomal Ab

Antithyroglobulin Antibody or TG Ab

Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin or TSI Ab

The first group, the TPO Ab, are found raised in Hashimoto's disease - otherwise known as autoimmune thyroiditis. Here the cells of the thyroid gland are attacked and slowly destroyed. Patients with these antibodies present either have Hashimoto's, or are going to have it with subsequent reduction of thyroid function. (Elevated levels are found in virtually all cases of Hashimoto's disease and they will also be raised in 65% of patients with Graves' disease).

The next group is the TG Ab. These levels rise as well as the TPO Ab levels in autoimmune thyroiditis, but to a lesser degree.

The third group, the TSI Ab, exert their effect by targeting the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) receptors in the thyroid gland, and activate them abnormally, thus stimulating the thyroid gland to overproduce thyroid hormones. This of course is Graves' disease and these Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins are the chief cause of it.

When confronted with this the average GP and Endo has no idea what to do. The only drugs they have in their arsenal are very heavy hitting immune suppression drugs and this would leave you open to manner of side effects and iatrogenic illness.

The key players in autoimmune thyroid conditions are insulin fluctuations and elevated blood sugar levels. For some people diary and gluten based foods can also be involved as they can cause blood sugar spikes in those sensitive to them.

Control your blood sugar levels (this does not mean I feel tired so I eat sweets to raise my blood sugar!) Paleo diets can help but often still have to much residual carbohydrate. Ketogenic diet is probably the better option, there are vegetarian and vegan options in the none meat eating range. If you are vegan/veggie you must be very well managed in your meals and timings. The ideal blood sugar level is considered to be 5 and below.

Try to keep your body in ketosis, ketosis is not ketoacidosis! Ketoacidosis is a condition found in uncontrolled and poorly managed diabetes, everyone wakes in the morning in a mild ketosis state.

A stable blood sugar level of 5 and below reduces cortisol and helps reduce adrenal stress.

Sounds simple, well it is and it isn't. With long term sub-clinical thyroid issues there are all manner of deficiencies and biochemical compensations that need to be reset before you achieve optimum health. What you will find if its managed well the extremes of fatigue, depression, anxiety will be topped and tailed. Life will become less of a roller coaster ride.

To quote Emma a young and brilliant naturopathic student I mentor..'I didn't realise what a glass of apple juice could do to me, I had forgotten all of this misery and depression!'

The bite of the apple and the 'fall from grace' in the bible probably has more to do with sugar consumption than a forbidden fruit.

Roderick

6 Replies

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  • Interesting. But I personally feel horrible on a ketogenic diet. I've felt so much better since reintroducing complex carbs into my diet.

    Isn't there something about needing carbs for conversion of T4 to T3?

  • It depends how badly compromised you cell metabolism is. Its a bit like having drugs to take away the craving for drugs when you are trying to give up!

    Also if you have had the problem long term you will need to manage it in all of its complexity.

    R

  • Thank you for this information Roderick, I've been trying to find out about raised antibodies. I had TPO Ab & Tg Ab tested and my TPO was well in range (11 <34) but my Tg Ab was high (192.2 <115).

    But I haven't found anything to tell me what that means since Hashimotos diagnoses all talk about TPO Abs being high. Do you know what high Tg Abs alone implies? (I also had high reverse T3 if that is relevant)

    I'm addressing Vit D, iron & B12 levels and have recently gone gluten free but I'm interested in the fact you say you can do a ketogenic diet and be vegetarian as I thought it would be almost impossible. In fact i've wondered if i should actually start eating meat again after 30yrs!

  • Being a veggie or vegan can often be very positive for health, however, I have found that some people have to go back on protein if they have thyroid issues as they lack the metabolism to process plant foods into useful protein.

    It may be that you should consider the oily fishes until you regain functional health.

    R

  • Hm I actually find the thought of fish harder than meat for some reason (although I cook both for my son). I turned veggie at 16 (I'm now 48) for moral reasons not to do with health which is why it is harder for me to contemplate going back. I once ate fish accidentally some years ago and it made me gag!

  • Lamb is the best performing meat.

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