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Can A Slow Thyroid Cause Low Bone Density?

thyroid-osteoporosis

The incidence of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, has reached epidemic proportions. Synthroid (levothyroxine), typically prescribed to accelerate the gland’s activity, is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, especially for people over the age of 50.

Besides the frustrating symptoms and overall effect on your health, a slow thyroid is also damaging to your bones. Let’s explore why, but first…

Just What is Hypothyroidism?

When the thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck, does not produce enough thyroid hormone, it’s said to be slow or underactive.

Hashimoto’s disease is not the same thing as hypothyroidism, although Hashimoto’s can result in an underactive thyroid. Hashimoto’s refers to a specific condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid.

What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

A slow thyroid may cause pain and discomfort in the throat, especially when swallowing. In addition, here is a partial list of other symptoms that may be present:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Puffy face
  • Dry skin
  • Weak muscles
  • Hoarse or “gravely” voice
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Hair loss
  • Joint pain and/or stiffness

Any time a major gland in the body is not working well, it is cause for concern.

Your Doctor Will Never Tell You This: Osteoblasts “Communicate” With Thyroid Hormone!

To understand the role your thyroid plays in bone metabolism, we need to back up a little and talk about how the thyroid works.
Your thyroid gland is stimulated by a hormone called TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), which is secreted by the pituitary gland. The thyroid then produces its main hormone, T4.

But recent research has shown that TSH has a dual function: it also communicates with osteoblasts, the bone-building cells.

Osteoblasts actually have TSH receptors, and they are constantly “listening” for signals from TSH, which “tells” them whether to build bone or back off a bit. It’s a fascinating balancing act, and …

Too Much or Too Little TSH Can Throw a Wrench in the Whole Process

Excessive TSH can result in too much thyroid hormone, which in turn can stimulate excessive bone resorption. An Australian study showed that “thyroid hormone can act on osteoblasts to indirectly stimulate osteoclastic bone resorption.”1

Hormone Conversion: a Delicate Balance For Proper Bone Mineralization

Your thyroid’s main hormone, T4, must be converted to T3 to be of use in bone metabolism. T3 acts as an energy regulator for the osteoblasts, providing them with the fuel they need to manufacture and build bone. In addition, T3 stimulates the production of alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme produced in the liver and crucial to bone mineralization.

In Other Words, T3 Sets the Bone-Building Tempo

And like all tempos, it needs to be consistent and regular to produce harmonic results, and it involves many key players. For instance, osteoblasts actually “play an important role in mediating the thyroid hormone stimulation of osteoclastic resorption,”2 according to a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology. This means that osteoblasts act as mediators between thyroid hormone and osteoclasts (the cells that tear down bone).

Without sufficient T3, then, normal bone remodeling is disrupted, and bone resorption happens at a more rapid rate than bone building. The result: decreased bone density and osteoporosis.

Both an Over- and an Under-Active Thyroid Can Hurt Your Bones

But an under-active thyroid – hypothyroidism – is much more prevalent. Why?

There are various potential culprits behind the hypothyroidism “epidemic,” but one of the biggest ones is…

Fluoridated Tap Water

As I write in The Missing Link, a free report on water that is included with the Save Our Bones Program, “scientists hypothesize that fluoride may be the culprit of the recent hypothyroidism epidemics, as it interferes with iodine metabolism.”3

Fluoride’s ability to slow down the thyroid has actually been well-known for some time. In fact, “Not so long ago, fluoride was used as an anti-thyroid medicine specifically to slow down an overactive thyroid. For instance, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology published an article by Drs. Galetti and Goyer confirming that fluoride slows down thyroid activity.”3

How much fluoride did doctors give their patients? Doctors found that only 2 milligrams a day of fluoride was sufficient to decrease thyroid activity.4 But here’s a startling fact – if you drink fluoridated tap water, you’re likely ingesting more than 6 milligrams of fluoride per day!4 That’s more than enough to slow down your thyroid.

In The Missing Link, which is part of the Save Our Bones Program, you can read more about the ravages of fluoride.

The Correct Dosage of Synthetic Thyroid Hormone is Tricky

Remember the delicate balance discussed above? Quite a few players are required to create the harmonious “symphony” of thyroid hormone balance and, consequently, healthy bones. Patients can easily end up taking too much or too little thyroid medication, causing accelerated bone loss.

For example, the dose you’ve taken for the last year may be too large or too small the following year. Changes in lifestyle, diet, medical conditions, and a host of other factors can all influence thyroid levels. Some doctors recommend 6-month evaluations in an attempt to maintain normal levels of thyroid hormone, and yearly check-ups are considered the minimum. If you change dosage or brands, your doctor will likely want to see you back in 6 weeks for another evaluation.

This is a far cry from a healthy body’s constant, around-the-clock regulation of thyroid hormone. So if you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, make sure you avoid fluoride as much as possible.

Till next time,

References

1 Britto, J.M., et al. “Osteoblasts mediate thyroid hormone stimulation of osteoclastic bone resorption.” Endocrinology. Jan. 1994. 134(1): 169-76. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8275930
2 Langdahl, Bente L. and Eriksen, Erik F. “The influence of thyroid hormnones on bone nturnover in health and osteoporosis.” European Journal of Endicrinology. 1998. 139 10-11. Pdf
3 The Missing Link.
4 National Research Council. (2006). Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards. National Academies Press, Washington D.C. p 197.

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31 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. John October 11, 2013, 3:31 am

    Thanks for the recent information on the Thyroid. I ordered a supplement called Iodine Plus-2 from 1-Natural-Living.com, planning to take one capsule a day for general purposes. The ingredients are listed below, but the print on the lable is so small there may be some inaccuracies in my typing. Does it seem worthwhile to take this? And I was puzzled by the Shellac.

    Thanks very much,
    John
    Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 15 mg
    Total Iodine/Iodide – 12.5 mg
    Iodine 5 mg
    Iodide (as potassium salt) 7.5 mg
    Selenium (AAC) 15 ??
    Other Ingredients DiCalcium Phosphate, Cellulose, Stearic Acid, CMC, Silica, Magnesium Stearate, Shellac, Talc, Carnauba wax.

  2. Marie Wilson October 8, 2013, 5:44 pm

    Hi Vivian – I have hypothroidism and have never had fluoride in my water. We always have had well water. My mother and five of my siblings have the same condition so I feel there is a strong hereditary factor. I am on Eltroxin and it works very well for me. I look forward to your e-mails every week. Thanks! Marie Wilson

  3. Jane Conibear October 6, 2013, 2:10 pm

    As always an informative email about low thyroid function.
    However, I’m not convinced that this report would help me (or any other women in the same boat) as my thyroid gland was burned out when I had radiotherapy years
    ago.
    I will be interested to see if ohter women find the report useful.

  4. Sue Bonehill October 5, 2013, 1:37 am

    Good Morning

    Can you please advise how common is Hyperthyroidism (over-active) , especially in young (22yr old) males.? Is there anything natural he could be taking or eating to benefit the medical treatment he is receiving please? appreciate your advice, comments. thanks

    • June February 20, 2014, 5:37 pm

      Regarding over active thyroid in young people, I myself was affected by this when I was 18 years old, I apparently had had the condition since I was 10 but it was not until I fell asleep at work one day and sought medical help that I discovered I had it. I was lucky to have found not only a doctor who injected me several times a week but also upon completion of the medical side of it told me to take Kept tablets, two three times a day before meals to stop me falling asleep and to give me energy. He was way before his time and it worked marvellously for me. I have looked at iHerbs.com and found A Vogels Thyroid Support Tablets, 120 tabs for $14.40, they are in short supply that speaks for itself and I think that this would help your son tremendously as it did for me. I am now in my late 60′s and have the under active thyroid now and take Now Thyroid Energy 180 veg caps and this works well for me too. Check the former Vogels tablets out he has nothing to lose but his bad health. It is not often you hear of this in young people but having been there and lived through it I know it works. I live in Australia but get all my supplements from iHerbs.com as recommended by my therapist. Am very happy with their service would be even quicker in the States. Good luck, please write again if you have a great experience. This product makes you lose weight if you need to, another added bonus for some.

      June from down under.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 7, 2013, 4:31 pm

      Hi Sue,
      I did not research that specific aspect of hyperthyroidism, so I can’t tell you how prevalent it is among young males. If you’re happy with your doctor, he or she can help answer your questions about treatment protocol – hopefully, you have access to a naturally-minded physician who will help you seek more natural solutions (if that’s what you’re looking for). I hope you’re able to find the solutions you need!

      • Mary December 17, 2013, 2:24 am

        This is the problem, Vivian. No one researches hyperthyroidism. There is so much info on hypothyroidism so I guess it is much easier to treat. I wish you would study up on hyper….. as I like and trust your comments

        • Mary April 21, 2014, 9:40 pm

          I have found the same problem. There is very little info on hyperthyroidism

  5. inell October 4, 2013, 6:27 pm

    thanks “SAVE OUR BONES” book has helped me to feel so much better. PLEASE write about HYPERPAROTHYROIDISM AND broaderline Diabetics. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR WONDERFUL INFORMATION. INELL

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 7, 2013, 4:18 pm

      Thank you for the suggestion, Inell! I am so glad to hear the Program has helped you feel better. :)

  6. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) October 4, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Hi! Vivian,

    How Can You Tell If You Have A Slow Thyroid? I Have Many Of The Symptoms. But Other Things Could Have A Lot Of Those Same Symptoms? So How Can I Know For Sure?

    Thank You Very Much, In Advance, For Answering This Question For Me.

    Until Next Time- Take Care Of Yourself, And Stay Well!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

  7. Trudy October 4, 2013, 9:05 am

    It is scary that the Australian Government (doctors!) endorses fluoride in our drinking water, except for a few – smarter! – communities that refuse to add it. How can doctors (our health authorities!) be so ignorant about the dangers of fluoride?! They are adamant, when challenged, that fluoride is essential for our dental health, therefore the whole country has to accept it! Don’t worry about the health problems it causes; cp. Vivian’s article. I wonder if these so called doctors ever read about the latest research. Most European countries have eliminated fluoride from their drinking water years ago; that’s when Australia started adding it. Smart?! I don’t think so!!! Who can talk sense into these doctors; the general public obviously can’t. I am not happy about spending a lot of money on water which should be available free of fluoride.

    • Mary April 21, 2014, 9:46 pm

      I just found this article:

      Coalition votes down Bill to force councils to fluoridate
      Comments (37) »

      27th Feb 2014 2:17 PM

      A BILL that would have forced all NSW councils to allow fluoridation of their water supplies has been voted down in the State Parliament.

      The Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Ammendment Bill 2013 went before the NSW Legislative Assembly today, where it was rejected by the combined vote of the Liberal and National parties.

      The Bill had been introduced to the Parliament by the Labor party after Byron Shire Council last year voted against fluoridation and would have given the government the power to order councils to add fluoride to their water. It would also have prevented councils from stopping water fluoridation without first gaining approval of the NSW Health director general.

      In a statement released a short time ago, Labor Health spokesman Andrew MsDonald lamented the failure of the Bill to pass the Lower House.

      “It is a tragedy for the dental health of the people of NSW that the Liberals and Nationals have used brute numbers to block this vital reform,” Dr McDonald is quoted saying in the statement.

      “From today, no community or local council in NSW is safe from attack from the anti-fluoridation lobby.

      “The scientific evidence is in – every day that our drinking water does not contain fluoride, our teeth and our children’s teeth are at risk of preventable decay.

      “Labor does not want to see the situation on the north coast repeated across NSW – where local councils can be intimidated into opposing fluoridation by a fringe element of the community.

      “The O’Farrell Government had a once-in-a-generation chance to protect the dental health of every child in NSW. Instead Barry O’Farrell and nine other Coalition MPs did not even bother to vote.

      “By hitching themselves to the anti-fluoridation circus, the NSW Liberals and Nationals have failed our children’s dental health.”

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 7, 2013, 4:15 pm

      I understand, Trudy. It is frustrating! Hopefully, though, the tide is turning in the non-fluoridated direction!

  8. Dorothy October 3, 2013, 10:23 pm

    I don’t feel the information included in this hypothryroid “book” is worth #20, and the extreme ‘sales push’ to get another sale for $57 was infuriating. Please don’t associate yourself with people like this, Vivian.

  9. Gay Ihaia October 3, 2013, 9:19 pm

    Thank you so much for your wonderful program. When I first joined the Save Our Bones Program I had a bone density of -2.8, two yeas later my bone density was -2.4. Needless to say I was as happy as a pig in mud. The following two years I was not quite as good at staying with the program but certainly aware of what I should and should not be eating. Last week I had my Bone Density again and would you believe it is now -2.00. I no longer have Osteoporosis. I now have to work on the Osteopenia. I am over the moon. Thank you Vivian

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 7, 2013, 4:14 pm

      How exciting, Gay! Thanks for letting us know, and congratulations! :D

  10. Linda October 3, 2013, 5:20 pm

    I commend you for your bone advice, but you are way off on endorsing this natural thyroid program. As I have been a Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patient for ten years, I am a total expert on reading every book on the subject and being on every blog and web site group. I have tried every natural and alternative means possible as well as tried every medicine and combination of medicines out there. You have no expertise on thyroid and should not be endorsing this useless thyroid report. Instead, educate yourself by going on the Mary Shomon web site http://thyroid.about.com or read one of her books. She is both a thyroid patient and an advocate. Stop the thyroid madness group is another. One of the best new books is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, The Root Cause by Izabella Wentz. There are doctor recommendations on both of these sites. There are many other hypothyroid resources, many of them free.

    • Ruth October 6, 2013, 1:02 am

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks for the referral to Mary Shomon’s work.
      I find her website cluttered, full of ads, confusing, and a real challenge to find what you’re looking for. But her books (available on Kindle and probably many other places) are spectacular. They are beautifully written – detailed but easy to understand. And there seems to be one book for each specific hypo/hyper-thyroid situation whether it’s Hashimoto’s or menopause or Graves, etc, etc, so you can zone in on the one that’s most appropriate for you and avoid being inundated with the other extraneous-to-you information.
      Much appreciated.
      Ruth

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 3, 2013, 5:51 pm

      Thanks for the information, Linda. I am glad you’ve found the help and support you need for your particular situation. :)

  11. Jerris October 3, 2013, 5:12 pm

    Ordered the thyroid book. Just so you know, it winds up being $37 if you want a printed copy mailed to you.

  12. Nananine October 3, 2013, 3:53 pm

    I just wanted you to know that I have been following your recommendations (sort of) for the past 2 years. I am not very good about doing enough exercise or eating exactly as I should, but I am aware of good bone health and make an effort. :)

    I just had my every-two-year bone scan and bone density has increased 5% in the hip region. I did have a very slight decrease in the upper spinal area (0.1%). Any suggestions of how to increase bone density in this area?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 3, 2013, 5:50 pm

      Nananine, congratulations on your commitment to the Program – it doesn’t have to be exact to be successful! :) Do you have Densercise? There are exercises specifically for that area of your spine described in Densercise. In fact, one such exercise is described in this post:

      http://saveourbones.com/top-3-ways-to-prevent-height-loss/

  13. Terry October 3, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Wonderful Article. When I was first diagnosed with osteo, he also told me that my thyroid was a little slow and that if it didn’t come up then he wanted to put me on meds. Well, it came back up after I went on your program. I don’t know why, it very well could be the removal of fluoride. Thanks again for great information! You just keep making my life better!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 3, 2013, 5:45 pm

      Terry, that’s fantastic! Thanks for sharing that wonderful news. :D

  14. Marjorie Mangrum October 3, 2013, 1:30 pm

    more than 10 years ago, my Dr. had me take radio-active iodine to kill my very over active thyroid glan, so I am asking what I can do other than taking my .0125mg of Synthroid every day. My Dr. does do reqgular blood work to be sure the thyroid levels of T4 and T3 and where they should be. I have the save our bones program and have reversed bone loss the first year, and I am maintaining the diet so I hope to reverse more bone loss. I am a Fossomax victime of a broken femur so I do not ever take any bone medications……only good food and the Synthroid I must have to live now…..

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 3, 2013, 5:46 pm

      Marjorie, you’re doing great! Your bones are stronger and you’re healthier than you were before. So just keep doing what you’re doing and make sure you have regular check-ups to keep the thyroid levels as balanced as possible.

  15. Sufferer October 3, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Im 22 year old male.
    I write in cry and need for help.
    Recently my doctors have found out by tests that i have problem with my thyroid(its on the last
    limit on norm basically) and my spleen is too large also.

    My bones(especially finger bones) literally i have lose bone mass
    for a half a year.(i have done x ray and even after that they said it was okey!)

    The symptoms you wrote-i have them all.

    Mentally i´m very positively minded person.

    Different doctors don´t take me seriously and say its normal.
    They are wrong(i have many experiences with doctors about being wrong and i have blood tests
    to prove it).

    I want to be fully strong and in health again.

    So now i have decided to really heal and get help from real doctors who are educated.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 3, 2013, 5:39 pm

      Dear Sufferer,
      Thank you so much for stopping by, and I am sorry to hear about your current health issues. Unfortunately, feeling “unheard” by doctors is not uncommon. :( But you’ve already started on your path to wellness, because you are doing your own research and taking your health into your own hands. I truly hope you find the information you need to move forward!

    • Annette October 3, 2013, 3:47 pm

      I am shocked about the thyroid article. In May, this year2013, I had a Total Thyroidectomy.
      I had been tested and found to have 1 half of my thyroid was a single cyst. The other half contained multiple cysts. Then I had both halves (all) of my thyroid was a solid gland and could not be aspirated.
      Because of my age (60) and a complex medical history, it was decided to have it removed, as there was a very low TSH and T3 & T4 counts. They want me to take Calcium supplements. What should I do Vivian ?
      Thanks for your opinion, Annette

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 3, 2013, 5:44 pm

        Annette, your decision to explore, research, and make your own health decisions is commendable. You’re doing the right thing by seeking more knowledge. Knowledge is power!

        Keep in close contact with your doctor so he/she can help you regulate your hormone levels, and give your body what it needs to function in as balanced a way as possible. (That’s what the Save Our Bones Program is designed to do!) You can move forward as healthfully and happily as anyone else. Best wishes!

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