The thyroid is important in producing various hormones, regulating metabolism and maintaining calcium balance. The thyroid gland is on each side of the windpipe in the neck and consists of two small lobes connected by tissue. Behind the thyroid gland lay four smaller parathyroid glands and together the glands work to maintain balance of the hormones calcitonin and parathyroid hormone, or PTH. Disorders of the thyroid or parathyroid glands can result in excess hormone secretion, which alters calcium and vitamin D absorption.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Thyroid
Vitamin D is not directly involved in the synthesis or secretion of the thyroid hormones. However, vitamin D is significant in promoting calcium absorption, which is directly linked to the thyroid gland. Calcium is unable to adequately synthesize in the body without the presence of vitamin D. There is a direct correlation between the amounts of vitamin D in your body to calcium. A deficiency in vitamin D results in less absorption of calcium. Consequently, low blood calcium, causes an overproduction of the parathyroid hormone, or hyperparathyroidism. Symptoms associated with this thyroid issue include fragile bones, bone or joint pain and weakness.
Hyperthyroidsim and Parathyroid Issues
The pituitary gland and hypothalamus portion of your brain controls the production and amount of thyroid hormone released by the glands. Autoimmune disorders or noncancerous lumps on your thyroid can signal your brain to produce too much thyroxine, the primary thyroid hormone, resulting in hyperthyroidism. Symptoms associated with this thyroid issue include sudden weight loss, enlarged thyroid gland and fatigue. In a related condition of the parathyroid glands, noncancerous lump formation and inflammation lowers calcium levels, resulting in deficient levels of vitamin D. The lack of vitamin D and altered calcium levels has a synergistic effect resulting in nutrient deficiency and overproduction of thyroid and parathyroid hormones.
Nutrition and the Thyroid
Nutritional changes to your diet can help decrease thyroid issues relating to vitamin D deficiency and low calcium. Maintain adequate calcium metabolism by getting enough vitamin D in your diet through food sources or sun exposure. The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that adults over the age of 19 obtain 200 to 400 IUs of vitamin D daily. Food sources include the flesh of salmon, tuna, beef liver and egg yolks. Whole milk, which is typically fortified with vitamin D contains 124 IUs per on 1-cup serving. Direct sun exposure three times a week for 15 minutes, is another option for getting vitamin D; however, this comes with the risk of skin cancer.