Statistical Evaluation of Trace Metals, TSH and... - Thyroid UK

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Statistical Evaluation of Trace Metals, TSH and T4 in Blood Serum of Thyroid Disease Patients in Comparison with Controls


Really not sure what to make of this paper. As we cannot see the full paper, we are left making assumptions about what they did. But finding higher levels of so many metals in hypothyroidism is somewhat surprising to me.

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018 May;183(1):58-70. doi: 10.1007/s12011-017-1137-5. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

Statistical Evaluation of Trace Metals, TSH and T4 in Blood Serum of Thyroid Disease Patients in Comparison with Controls.

Hanif S1, Ilyas A1, Shah MH2.

Author information


The present study is based on the measurement of concentrations of selected trace metals (Fe, Zn, Cu, Co, Mn, Ni, Cr, Cd and Pb) and thyroid hormones (TSH and T4) in blood serum of hypothyroid and hyperthyroid patients in comparison with healthy donors/controls in order to establish the imbalances of the trace metals in diseased subjects. The serum samples were digested in HNO3-HClO4 mixture and quantification of the metals was performed by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Average levels of Fe, Ni, Cu, Cr, Pb and TSH were found to be significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the serum of hypothyroid patients compared with other donor categories, while mean concentrations of Mn, Cd and T4 were significantly elevated in the serum of hyperthyroid patients compared with other donor groups (p < 0.05). The correlation pattern of trace metals in the serum of patient groups revealed significantly different mutual associations compared with the controls. PCA and CA pointed out the interferences of the toxic metals with essential metals in the serum of both patient groups compared with the controls. Most of the metals exhibited noticeable disparities in their concentrations based on gender, food habits and tobacco use for all donor groups. Thus, the pathogenesis of thyroid diseases is significantly affecting the essential trace and toxic metals balance in both patients groups.


AAS; Blood serum; Pakistan; Statistical analysis; Thyroid diseases; Trace metal

PMID: 28836155

DOI: 10.1007/s12011-017-1137-5

10 Replies

It is odd since often hypothyroid people are iron deficient. In the paper it did mention people who smoke in a fashion so perhaps too many factors are involved in this study to give us a true picture. However this is my humble opinion... Perhaps some more knowledgeable people will be able to enlighten us.

I wonder about the trace metal content of Levo, NDT and T3? Also trace metal content of supplements hypos may be taking? Whether reduced absorption of iron gives opportunity for increased absorption of other trace metals? Who knows?

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Aurealis

Supplements - yes. But I have my doubts there are significant trace metals in levothyroxine tablets (other than the acknowledged things like magnesium stearate). Maybe it is actually a minority of hypothyroid patients who actually take supplements despite the discussions here?

JGBH in reply to helvella

Actually there was an interesting programme on BBC2 on Thursday at 9 pm: Vitamins Pills: miracle or myth? It actually demonstrated that people who take too many do endanger their lives. A man needed a liver transplant and is now having serious problems with his kidneys.

While I feel we might need to take supplements I also think too many people are overloading their system with these supplements. I try and be cautious.

On a similar line I have read it is not necessary for most people to be gluten free. In an article I read (can’t remember where exactly, read a lot, but it was “serious” stuff) several persons related that they felt better initially without gluten but then no difference at all after quite a while. Symptoms came back with or without gluten. Some others reported they felt absolutely no difference once gluten free for a long period of time, in that any symptom they felt before stopping eating gluten did not improve an iota, so back onto their usual diet and no chance either way. So that is another difficult area to manage.

If one is coeliac then gluten free diet is important, otherwise I don’t think it makes much difference. People who had Hashimoto ‘s did not see a fall in their antibodies , even after being gluten free for many months. It’s a mine field.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to JGBH

Yes - saw the program. Nothing too bad about the program but its content could have fitted half an hour quite easily.

We very much need some high quality research into diet including vitamins and minerals in the context of thyroid disorders. I'd be amazed if such research didn't find issues but possibly not quite what any of us expect.

I am very quiet on the gluten and wheat fronts because I am very unsure. I'd rather not wade in on either side. Similarly dairy.

Not for one minute would I wish to suggest that people haven't experiences changes and reported honestly. But whether one person's experience can translate to others is far more difficult.

JGBH in reply to helvella

Agree about length of programme. Not wishing to upset anyone who firmly believe in a gluten free diet but hope this can be an intelligent “grown ups” conversation.

It’s possible that the placebo effect (and for many other things too, not just gluten) plays a big role here.

However certain people need to be gluten free. Not everyone. Same with lactose or milk. In my case milk consumption will make my joints swell up and cause pain. I discovered this about a year or so after diagnosis of RA. I experimented and have concluded it’s best for me to avoid cows milk. Unfortunately I cannot drink ewe’s nor goat’s milk, so it’s almond milk but there is not enough almond in the product. What is a little odd is I can eat some cheeses and yoghurts but not overdo it. In fact, my body had been telling me I couldn’t tolerate cows milk since I was a child: I always felt sick after consuming milk.

All trials and errors.... but I somehow feel we need to be watchful, to listen to our bodies, the way people used to before “modern medicine” erupted... and big pharmas realised they could make a fortune out of people worries.

For the full paper, see this link :

JGBH in reply to humanbean

Thanks humanbean, no time now but will read it, it’s a must.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to humanbean

Thank you.

How very, very strange. They say these are newly diagnosed so they are not being treated. And the reported results vary like this:


TSH 2.900 to 77.30

T4 1.300 to 40.00


TSH 0.010 to 8.010

T4 10.01 to 80.4

Healthy donors

TSH 0.600 to 9.800

T4 3.000 to 19.1

I have to ask:

How was someone with a T4 of 40.00 diagnosed hypothyroid?

How was someone with a TSH of 8.010 diagnosed hyperthyroid?

How was someone with a TSH of 9.800 categorised as a Healthy donor?

humanbean in reply to helvella

Well, we have heard many times of treated hypothyroid people who have had a TSH of between 5 and 10 being told they are adequately treated and they can't get an increase. And knowledge of the effects of antibodies on TFT numbers seems to be extremely sparse.

I have seen people on the forum writing in to say they are hyperthyroid when it eventually turns out they were put on carbimazole as a result of a temporary hashi's flare.

In the US in particular where they seem to treat any low TSH as hyper and go straight for RAI or thyroidectomy rather than using anti-thyroid drugs, I suspect that lots of women lose their thyroids unnecessarily. But oddly enough I've seen some people writing in to the forum for help who have become enraged at the suggestion they might not be hyperthyroid, and they'd rather be treated that way instead of finding out for certain what their situation is before doing something irreversible. And people in this situation often refuse to answer questions.

Someone feeds patients like this some absolute garbage, and it must be doctors. But this means I'm not surprised by the numbers for untreated people. I would expect them to be all over the place.

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