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Thyroid Disorders and their Causes

 

Thyroid Disorders

 

   What is the thyroid and what does it do?

   When the thyroid malfunctions

Hypothyroidism

Hyperthyroidism

Thyroiditis

Autoimmune thyroid disease – incl. Hashimoto’s Disease, Postpartum Thyroiditis, Grave’s disease

Goiter

 

What is the thyroid and What does it do?

 

      The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that produces thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) the thyroid sits at the front of the neck below the Adam's apple and wraps around the windpipe (trachea).

 

The hypothalamus (in the brain) releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), which triggers the pituitary gland (also in the brain) to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH causes the thyroid gland to make two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which control the metabolism rate of the body's cells, and therefore the pace of body processes.

 

 

      Thyroid hormones (THs) influence every organ, tissue and cell in the body – controlling:

 

   Heart rate

   Body weight

   Connective tissue integrity

   Energy level,

   Muscle strength

   How fast food moves through GI tract

   Menstrual regularity

   Body temperature

 

 

 

      The thyroid requires certain ingredients to manufacture T3 and T4 hormones and to convert T4 to its active form T3 - including:

 

-       Raw materials iodine and tyrosine (an amino acid)

 

-       Thyroglobulin (Tg) and Thyroperoxidase (TPO) enzyme – inside thyroid follicles, the Tg protein molecule converts iodide to iodine via TPO enzyme for incorporation with amino acid tyrosine residues.

 

-       Antioxidants and antioxidant-supporting nutrients - including selenium, manganese, and zinc, are necessary to control potentially damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS), including free radicals, inherently created in TH production and activation processes.

 

      A damaged thyroid may not be able to produce enough hormones (called hypothyroidism) or may “leak” hormones leading to thyrotoxicosis (high blood levels of TH).

For more information on the thyroid hormones:

Thyroid Hormones


       Support Nutrients Required for Thyroid Hormones

 

 

When the thyroid malfunctions

 

Hypothyroidism

(Under-active thyroid)

Hyperthyroidism

(over-active thyroid)

 

The thyroid can produce too little thyroid hormone, known as hypothyroidism - which lowers the metabolism rate of the body’s cells.

 

Hypothyroidism


Hypothyroidism
is seen:

 

    When there is an insufficiency of raw materials - such as iodine, selenium, and/or the amino acid tyrosine for the thyroid to make sufficient thyroid hormones;

 

   In thyroiditis.

 

Thyroiditis

 

 

The mainstream medical treatment for hypothyroidism is to supplement thyroid hormones

-   However, the better solution may be to simply provide the missing raw ingredients (such as iodine/iodide), antioxidants and antioxidant-support nutrients (E.g. selenium, manganese, and zinc) - to enable the thyroid to increase its own production of thyroid hormones without creating uncontrolled, damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS).

 

-   Over time, supplementing thyroid hormones can result in a “lazy” thyroid

 

-   And worse, supplementing with SYNTHETIC hormones has been shown to significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.

 

Thyroid Replacement Hormones

 

 

The thyroid can produce too much hormone, known as hyperthyroidism - which speeds up the rate at which each cell functions.

Hyperthyroidism

 

Hyperthyroidism is seen:

 

   In patient’s with Grave’s Disease

 

Graves Disease

 

 

   In certain phases of thyroiditis:

 

Thyroiditis

 

 

 

 

Thyroiditis

(includes autoimmune thyroid disease)

 

      Thyroiditis is generally an attack on the thyroid gland causing inflammation, damage and possible death of thyroid gland cells – causes include:

 

         Anti-thyroid antibodies  (most common cause of thyroiditis) – involved in Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

         Infectious microbes

         Toxic substances

         Radiation exposure

 

Thyroiditis

 

Autoimmune thyroid disease

 

      Thyroid problems can develop when damage to thyroid gland components /thyroid inflammation causes the body to produce anti-thyroid antibodies - which can result in malfunctioning thyroid hormone production.

 

 

Anti-thyroid antibodies

 which reduce thyroid hormone production ↓↓↓

 

 

      Antibody against TPO  (TPOAb) - damage the TPO enzyme responsible for adding iodine to thyroglobulin protein in TH production; usually a consequence of iodine and/or selenium deficiencies; high TPO Ab found in ~90% of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

 

      Antibodies against thyroglobulin (TgAb) – These antibodies block thyroglobulin (Tg),  a protein made by the thyroid, necessary for making thyroid hormones (T4 and T3).  High TgAb levels seen in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

 

-       Also, women’s high level TgAb linked to Infertility/miscarriage – for currently unclear reasons, TgAb can interfere with implantation of the embryo in the uterus.

 

 

 

Anti-thyroid antibodies

 which increase thyroid hormone production ↑↑↑

 

      TSH Receptor Antibodies (TRAb) – found in ~95% of those with Grave’s hyperthyroidism. These antibodies stimulate thyroid hormone production by binding to thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) receptors.

 

 

CHART OF ANTI-THYROID ANTIBODIES and Associated DISEASEs

ANTI-THYROID ANTIBODIES

ACRONYM

PRESENT IN

Anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody

TPOAb

Autoimmune Thyroiditis (E.g. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (found in ~90% of cases), Postpartum thyroiditis)

 

Graves Disease  (found in ~75% of cases)

 

 

 

Anti-thyroglobulin antibody

TgAb

Thyroid cancer; Autoimmune Thyroiditis (E.g. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Postpartum thyroiditis)

 

Anti-Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) receptor antibody

TRAb

Graves Disease (found in ~95% of cases)

 

 

For more information on thyroiditis damage caused by autoimmune anti-thyroid antibodies:

 

Thyroid damaged by anti-thyroid antibodies -Thyroid Disorders

 

 

 

Goiter

 

      Goiter development – colloid thyroglobulin (Tg) will be produced inside thyroid follicles when low hormone levels are detected (as in hypothyroidism) or as a result of autoimmune stimulation (as in Grave’s disease).

 

With inadequate iodide levels or a malfunctioning/damaged thyroid (possibly resulting from insufficient iodide), the thyroid gland will continue to produce Tg, the precursor to thyroid hormones, but will not be able to completely synthesize thyroid hormones (Tg organifies iodine to make T4). Since thyroid hormones are not produced, they are not present in the blood to “turn off” the Tg production

As the thyroid is stimulated to make more hormones and Tg, the thyroid will often swell as the thyroid follicles fill with colloid Tg, and subsequently become what is known as a goiter.

 

 

      Most common causes of goiter:

 

-       Iodine deficiency – worldwide;

 

-       Graves disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (particularly in N. America);

 

-       Ord’s thyroiditis - in Europe; an atrophic form of autoimmune thyroiditis;

 

 

      Types of Goiter:

 

-       Non-toxic Goiter - caused by hypothyroidism (an under-producing thyroid); not associated with overproduction of thyroid hormone or malignancy.

 

-       Diffuse Toxic Goiter – caused by hyperthyroidism;

THYROID Links

THYROID DISORDERS  Related links:

Thyroid Disorders -  Main Page

Thyroid Hormones (T3/T4)

-TH production - In detail

Thyroid Hormone Tests

-DIY Thyroid Metabolism Test

Hypothyroidism

-Supposed Hypothyroidism could actually be Estrogen Dominance

Hyperthyroidism

Thyroiditis

Graves Disease

Thyroid damaged by anti-thyroid antibodies - Thyroid disorders

Support Nutrients Required for Thyroid Hormones

-Iodine against thyroid disorders

-Selenium for thyroid

-Manganese for thyroid

How to treat thyroid disorders

 Thyroid Replacement Hormones