Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for March 31, 2007


Found some interesting stuff today on the relationship between the thyroid and a zinc deficiency. Also found a connection taking Selenium and Niacin supplements having an effect on thyroid function.

Zinc deficiency and thyroid function

Laboratory animals with severe, experimentally induced zinc deficiency developed hypothyroidism, whereas moderate zinc deficiency did not affect thyroid function. In a small study of healthy people, thyroid hormone (thyroxine) levels tended to be lower in those with lower blood levels of zinc. In people with low zinc, supplementing with zinc increased thyroxine levels. One case has been reported of a woman with severe zinc deficiency (caused by the combination of alcoholism and malabsorption) who developed hypothyroidism that was corrected by supplementing with zinc. Although the typical Western diet is marginally low in zinc, additional research is needed to determine whether zinc supplementation would be effective for preventing or correcting hypothyroidism.

Selenium deficiency and thyroid function

The essential trace mineral selenium works as a co-factor for various enzymes in the body. One of these is an enzyme that converts thyroxine (T4) into T3. A low dietary selenium intake may create a hypothyroid-like condition due to impaired conversion of T4 to T3. Low levels of selenium may accelerate the depletion of iodine from the thyroid gland. Selenium deficiency may worsen some of the problems caused by a lack of iodine. Selenium deficiency may also be involved in the occurrence and development of some iodine deficiency disorders.

People who are deficient in both iodine and selenium should not take selenium alone, as selenium may activate an enzyme that breaks down thyroxine. Taking selenium without iodine could make hypothyroidism worse for these individuals. If you think you may have low thyroid, have you doctor test for iodine deficiency before taking a selenium supplement.

Niacin supplementation and thyroid function

Preliminary data indicate that vitamin B3 (niacin) supplementation may decrease thyroid hormone levels. In one small study, 2.6 grams of niacin per day helped lower blood fat levels. After a year or more, thyroid hormone levels had fallen significantly in each person, although none experienced symptoms of hypothyroidism. In another case report, thyroid hormone levels decreased in two people who were taking niacin for high cholesterol and triglycerides; one of these two was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. When the niacin was discontinued for one month, thyroid hormone levels returned to normal.

Magnesium is also typically deficient in hypothyroidism.

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March 31, 2007 - Posted by | Health | , , , ,

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