Thyroid UK
90,433 members104,800 posts

Just in case anyone doesn't know already... ;) Why Is Vitamin D So Important to Thyroid Patients?By Mary Shomon

Why Is Vitamin D So Important to Thyroid Patients?

verywell.com/why-is-vitamin...

You have probably heard about the importance of vitamin D and that more health experts are recommending that you get more of this important vitamin. In particular, testing for and supplementing with vitamin D have been increasingly recommended for thyroid, autoimmune, and obesity patients.

But what's the thinking and science behind these recommendations?

I had a chance to have a brief Q&A with Richard Shames, MD—a practicing physician, author of a number of popular books on thyroid disease, and a thyroid coach—on the topic of why he considers vitamin D so crucial for thyroid patients.

1. Why do you feel vitamin D is so important for people with thyroid conditions?

Richard Shames, MD: This particular vitamin is so crucial to thyroid function that its status has now been elevated by researchers to co-hormone or pro-hormone. We now know that the variability of thyroid to work or not work in your body is dependent upon the presence of vitamin D, making it not just of benefit, but absolutely essential to thyroid health.

2. Where does vitamin D fit, in terms of the other nutrients that can be useful for thyroid health, for example, selenium, copper, and zinc, and issues like avoiding too much soy, and balancing iodine intake?

Richard Shames, MD: Recently I was coaching a very careful and conscientious patient with hypothyroidism. She was taking optimal amounts of the minerals just mentioned; and in addition, was taking herbal medicines to promote her thyroid health, as well as the pro-hormone pregnenolone, to increase the availability of the adrenal hormonecortisol.

Moreover, she was also taking prescription thyroid medicine, consisting of a T4 / T3 combination, with a small amount of natural desiccated thyroid for completeness.

Even with all of this effort, she was not getting good results in terms of symptom relief. After checking her vitamin D level, I found it to be in the low-normal range, and we boosted it up to mid-to-high normal range.

Only then did she begin to fially do well.

3. Why do you think this worked?

Richard Shames, MD: Thyroid treatment isn't optimal—and may not work—if you do not have adequate vitamin D for the crucial final metabolic step, which takes place at the site where thyroid hormone actually works. This happens inside the nucleus of the cell. Vitamin D needs to be present at sufficient levels in the cell in order for the thyroid hormone to actually affect that cell. That is why vitamin D is so crucial.

4. Do we get enough vitamin D from sunshine or multivitamins, or do we need to supplement?

Richard Shames, MD: These days people are using sunblocks, and staying inside working at their computers much more frequently. Therefore, we are getting less vitamin D from the sun. In addition, multivitamins typically have about 400 IU of Vitamin D, which was the RDA standard from research done back in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, this research is being questioned, with many researchers now recommending a minimum of 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily, an amount that far exceeds what's found in most multivitamins. In the case above, for example, my patient needed 4,000 IU daily to achieve her good results.

5. How can vitamin D be tested?

Richard Shames, MD: I believe that a blood test for vitamin D is essential for anyone dealing with hypothyroidism.

The typical normal range for vitamin D levels is from around 30 to 100. Keep in mind that just being in the low end of normal range will not do an adequate job for someone with an underactive thyroid. Thyroid patients need to be "replete"—and that means a level of at least 50-60 level, or greater.

6. If you are low or low-normal, is there a particular type of vitamin D you recommend?

Richard Shames, MD: Make sure it is vitamin D3. I usually recommend that my patients take at least 2,000 IU per day for maintenance, 4,000 per day if they are at the lowest end of the low-normal range, and 6,000 per day if their tests showed vitamin D levels below normal.

I typically recommend patients supplement for two to three months, and then get retested to monitor improvement. I usually have patients who were low or borderline move to the 2,000 IU maintenance dose when blood levels have reached 50 to 60 or better.

Source:

Email interview with Richard Shames,MD, October 2015

NB: From SeasideSusie :

Just want to point out that the level recommended in this article ie 50-60 is the US unit of measurement which is ng/ml. The UK unit of measurement is nmol/L and that level translates to 125-150.

So the level recommended is

50-60ng/ml

OR

125-150nmol/L

Just adding Marz's vitamin D post, too: healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

20 Replies
oldestnewest

I really needed this, thank you.

1 like
Reply

Many thanks for posting.

1 like
Reply

No mention of finding out why vitd is low before taking supplements. Everyone who has a low vitd result should have calcium level checked before supplementing.

2 likes
Reply

Hello bantam,

Thank you for your remark. I have a question about this . Last Wednesday I was in Marburg university clinic, dept. of endocrine surgery, because I have high ( sometimes top end range, sometimes slightly above) calcium and PTH levels. I keep Vit D3 to about 50...55 ng-ml. Now the doc said I should leave D3 supplementation for at least 1week and then have a new 24 hr urine calcium excretion test done ( which was high before, with D3). Do you have any idea what this means, how the connection is? What should be the outcome? I feel this is all very complicated. I switched to NDT since about 6 months and have now mid-range ft4 and ft3, TSH is suppressed . I have a lot of symptoms that could be from hyperparathyroidism.

Kind regards,

Renate

Reply

Hi Renate

If your calcium and PTH are high the doctors are looking at Hyperparathyroidism which is usually caused by a benign adenoma on one or more of the four parathyroid glands (which are nothing to do with the thyroid).

In hyperparathyroidism the vitd is low because the calcium is high, obviously by supplementing with vitd the calcium would be increased further which is not good.

The urine excretion test is just another way of measuring the calcium level.

If they suspect hyperparathyroidism you will need some scans done then once the problem gland has been identified an operation to remove it. The surgery is usually quick and simple but you would need to find a surgeon very experienced in parathyroid surgery.

I hope that helps answer your questions, good luck.

5 likes
Reply

Hello bantam,

thank you so much for your answer. So I should not supply Vit D3 obviously in spite it is needed for the hypothyroidism or rather thyroid substitution?!

Regards, Renate

Reply

If your calcium is high you don't want to make it higher by taking vitd. Your level of 50-55 is pretty good anyway, when I had hyperparathyroidism my vitd level was 12 and although my surgeon would have preferred it higher it wasn't possible because my calcium was way to high.

If you do have hyperparathyroidism the priority is to get that treated then once calcium is back in range you can supplement again, obviously this is just my opinion and you should do what you feel is best.

There is a lot of info and patient experiences on the parathyroid forum I run if you want to take a look, the actual chat forum will be closing down soon but the information will still be there to read.

hyperparathyroid.org.uk

2 likes
Reply

Just want to point out that the level recommended in this article ie 50-60 is the US unit of measurement which is ng/ml. The UK unit of measurement is nmol/L and that level translates to 125-150.

So the level recommended is

50-60ng/ml

OR

125-150nmol/L

15 likes
Reply

Thankyou this makesa lot of sense.

1 like
Reply

This is an excellent add on to the piece, which I thought was very useful overall. But it might be misleading to someone who uses it but doesn't see this comment.

Maybe @badhare or a mod should edit this into the bottoms of the post as a note?

1 like
Reply

I've done that, thanks SeasideSusie & SilverAvocado!

2 likes
Reply

This is fantastic, just what I needed xx

1 like
Reply

Didn't know you were on here too! :)

Reply

Yes, this was the one I originally started with. I have had a lot of heath issues to deal with x

Reply

Me too. Just surprised as you eat soy. My THs wouldn't work effectively till I stopped all unfermented Tempeh's b****y expensive! :'(

Reply

I haven't found Soya to be bad for me to be honest, I find that hormone imbalances have a bigger effect and of course Candida

1 like
Reply

Thank you for posting this, I had no idea that Vit D played such an important role in utilising thyroid hormone and wondered why I'd been prescribed it!😄

1 like
Reply

Make sure you're getting enough as the usual prescribed amount is insufficient. :-/

Reply

Thanks BadHare, this lays out the case for Vitamin D really clearly, with some useful dosing guidelines. I’ll read that article too.

BBxx

1 like
Reply

very informative article. Thank You

Reply

You may also like...