Thyroid conditions can be very frustrating and uncomfortable for those affected. Hypothyroidism in particular can cause disruptions in daily living through symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty losing weight, and depression. Additional symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- feeling colder
- drier skin
Since hypothyroidism involves an underactive thyroid, traditional treatments have focused on replacing the hormone that your body cannot make. Therefore, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels should be checked often to make sure hormone levels are brought into and maintained into normal levels.
The gold standard for treating hypothyroidism is levothyroxine. This is because levothyroxine is easy to use, its low risk of side effects, good intestinal absorption, long serum half-life, and low cost. This medicine works to help normalize thyroid and TSH levels in the body.
If a patient’s levothyroxine dose is higher than expected, the healthcare provider should check for other conditions. These conditions include Heliobacter pylori, gastritis, or celiac disease. Treatment of any such conditions could help lessen the symptoms of low thyroid levels in some individuals.
B12 deficiency may cause symptoms of hypothyroidism
Another condition that may affect thyroid levels in the body is B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products as well as in fortified products such as cereals and breads. Therefore, those most at risk include those that do not eat these foods such as vegans and vegetarians. In addition, those who are older adults, pregnant and lactating women, and those with malabsorption issues may be low in B12.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency that may parallel those symptoms of impaired thyroid include fatigue and weakness. In addition, B12 deficiency can cause anemia, constipation, loss of appetite. And if uncontrolled or severe, lack of B12 may cause neurological symptoms such as confusion or numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- difficulty balancing
Since B12 has been found to be lacking in many people with the condition, it is suggested that those diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism should be tested for B12 deficiency.
Thyradol is a supplement blend containing vitamin B12 as well as alternative medicine compounds like ashwagandha thought to improve thyroid health. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment. This is because it is important to make sure this supplement does not interfere with your current medical treatment.
If you want to find out more about the condition and how you can support research efforts, visit the American Thyroid Association website at thyroid.org for more details.
–by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN
American Thyroid Association (accessed 2017 Jan) “Hypothyroidism (Underactive)” http://www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism/
Collins, AB and R Pawlak (2016) “Prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among patients with thyroid dysfunction.” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 25(2): 221-6.
Jabbar, A., et al. (2008 May) “Vitamin B12 deficiency common in primary hypothyroidism.” The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 58(5): 258-61.
Medline (2015 Jan 15) “Levothyroxine” https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682461.html
National Institutes of Health (2016 Feb 11) “Vitaman B12: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/