Thyroid UK
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Newbie - TSH and Vitamin D levels

Hi all, I'm new here with a few questions that I hope you won't mind me asking :)

I started to get painful joints and upper arm pain through the summer - by the middle of August it was really very noticeable and uncomfortable, waking me up at night or preventing me getting to sleep until the early hours. I was also getting pain in the back of my neck and had been feeling quite weak in my limbs and a bit tired. My fingers were going numb sometimes, especially at night, my hands often felt swollen but didn't look swollen.

At the end of September I saw some family members I hadn't seen for a couple of months and they all commented that I had noticeably lost weight and looked ill. 2 days later I saw a friend who had not seen me in a while who was also very concerned by my appearance, so I made a doctors appointment.

GP tested my blood for lots of different things in the first week of October and I finally got my results yesterday, apparently the Vitamin D and TSH result mean the doctor needs to see me again. I couldn't get much out of the receptionist so I have no numbers and my appointment isn't until the beginning of November (so obviously not urgent!), therefore as yet I don't have much information but I do have some questions!

I am assuming the Vit D is too low - which seems odd given these symptoms started during one of the sunniest summers in some time in the UK :) So my questions are:

Are the Vit D levels and TSH levels linked and sorting out one will resolve the other?

If so, does a low Vit D level cause abnormal TSH levels or does the abnormal TSH levels cause the low Vit D - or can it be either way round?

I want to be prepared when I see the GP, as at my first visit he was quite dismissive (I told him I wasn't taking anything for the pain - but to quantify, I also went through childbirth with no pain relief so I can take pretty high levels of pain!) so would really appreciate any knowledge you can pass on from your own experiences - thank you for reading :)


7 Replies

If the TSH is high, it doesn't cause anything at all. It is just a sign that your thyroid isn't working properly.

TSH - Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. It is produced by the pituitary when it senses that there isn't enough thyroid hormone in the blood to keep you well. TSH is supposed to stimulate the gland to make more hormone. If the gland, for whatever reason, cannot respond, the TSH gets higher and higher. And to bring it down, and also raise your levels of thyroid hormones, you will need to take thyroid hormone replacement of some sort.

Low vit D can be caused indirectly by low thyroid hormones. If your thyroid hormones are low, then lots of other things will be low - so you should really ask for your vit B12, folate and ferritin to be tested, too. However, raising the vit D will not necessarily raise the level of thyroid hormone, nor will raising levels of thyroid hormone necessarily raise your vit D. They both have to be treated separately. But, it's nothing to be worried about, no drugs, just thyroid hormone replacement and supplementary vit D3. :)

Do let us know how you get on with the doctor, and what the results are. :)


Thank you - you pre-empted my next question of do I need to ask for any other tests! And excellent explanation of what all these things that are new to me mean!

1 like

You're welcome. :)


Also ask to have your thyroid antibodies checked There are two sorts TPO Ab and TG Ab. (Thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin) Both need checking, if either, or both are high this means autoimmune thyroid - called Hashimoto's the most common cause in UK of being hypo.

NHS rarely checks TPO and almost never checks TG. NHS believes it is impossible to have negative TPO and raised TG. It's rare, but not impossible, there are a few members on here that have this.

Make sure you get the actual figures from tests (including ranges - figures in brackets). You are entitled to copies of your own results. Some surgeries make nominal charge for printing out.

Alternatively you can now ask for online access to your own medical records. Though not all surgeries can do this yet, or may not have blood test results available yet online.

When you get results suggest you make a new post on here and members can offer advice on any vitamin supplements needed

As greygoose says .....very common to also have low vitamins and important to improve them to good levels


Thank you for responding - this is very interesting. I wasn't aware there could be another type of thyroid problem - was only aware of hypo and hyper-thyroidism, mainly because I am often asked by anyone in the health profession that I come across if I have had my thyroid checked (I have prominent eyes!) I know I did have a result once that was slightly "hyper" but apparently not enough to warrant any medicine. I will definitely ask for a copy of all my test results and post them - what would we do without forums?!


Read and learn all I can say

I wouldn't have got anywhere without help on here (more on my profile)


Oh my goodness - this is a steep learning curve!


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