Effects of Cadmium on thyroid gland

Effects of Cadmium on thyroid gland

What is the connection between cadmium metal and thyroid?

Cadmium (Cd) is a silvery metal sitting next to zinc on a periodic table. The metals often appear together in nature. Unfortunately, unlike zinc, cadmium is a toxic and carcinogenic. Even though cadmium release into environment is closely controlled by government legislation, cadmium is impossible to avoid. More and more people are getting closer to reaching toxic levels, especially with increased age and those who had occupations exposing them to cadmium or exposed to cigarette smoke. Cadmium accumulates in the body and is difficult to excrete. Cadmium is found in soils (especially those industrially polluted), artists’ paints (orange, yellow and red), pigments, bake ware, nickel cadmium batteries, phosphorous fertilizers, plastics stabilizers, corrosion-resistant metal plating, metal alloys, brake lining of cars, pollution from power plants, mining and smelting and from production of some foods like margarine. Cd may be present in some plants (especially grown on soils contaminated with industrial pollution, green leafy plants tend to uptake it more easily), some organ meats (liver and kidneys), molluscs and other shellfish in some areas (as they tend to accumulate it) and large ocean fish. Some plants such as tobacco, marijuana and rice tend to uptake Cd more readily. Coffee and black tea may also contain some cadmium. Cigarettes are a significant source of cadmium exposure as lungs take up cadmium more readily than the digestive system. It is considered a substantial source of cadmium toxicity in humans. It generally doubles the cadmium intake. We also have to remember that cigarette smoke also contains other substances including thiocyanate that inhibits iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. Nicotine in cigarettes increases the synthesis of T3 from T4 in the brain, which might explain the difficulty in quitting smoking as higher T3 levels correspond to higher serotonin (feel good chemical) levels in the brain. However since cadmium is such a toxic metal, its influence on thyroid cannot be overlooked. Thyroid is one of organs that tends to accumulate cadmium.

What is the relationship between cadmium, thyroid and autoimmunity?

Cadmium and other toxins present in cigarettes interfere with thyroid gland function and thyroid hormone T4 to T3 conversion; they may cause damage to the thyroid resulting in the generation of autoantibodies. Cadmium exposure is associated with thyroid autoimmunity (both Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) in genetically predisposed people. A study of 132 pairs of twins showed that cigarette smoke exposure was connected with thyroid autoimmunity with higher rates (about 2.5X higher) for Graves’ disease than Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It was also less significantly associated with non-autoimmune thyroid diseases (simple goiter and nodular toxic goiter) (17).

There is some suggestions in literature that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may be triggered by cadmium especially when iodine and selenium levels are low. People with Graves’ disease may have adequate iodine levels (although not always) but are also usually low in selenium.

Graves’ disease is strongly connected to cadmium toxicity. It is especially connected to Graves’ disease with TED (eye involvement). Smoking has been connected with higher incidence of GD in females (26). It is believed that cigarette smoke may increase the risk of GD as much as two fold. Acropachy association with TED tends to represent the most severe form of autoimmune thyroid disease, with patients having very high levels of thyroid stimulating antibody. Cigarette smoking rates were found to be high in these individuals. Cd disrupts the ratio of copper and zinc which are vital for thyroid function. It contributes to copper deficiency, condition which accelerates thyroid function. Copper deficiency can occur when the body uses copper very fast (perhaps when children and teens get Graves’ disease) or when it cannot use copper efficiently and stores it in unusable form. Cadmium also interferes with zinc metabolism and competes with copper and zinc for binding on a transport protein called metallothionein. Also, in the cause of adrenal exhaustion, due to chronic stress for example, metallothonein is not produced in sufficient quantities. When this happens, copper is not metabolized properly. Copper deficiency affects the immune system and can also result in hyperactivity, high blood pressure and overuse of the sympathetic nervous system. According to Dr. Willson (9) cadmium toxicity may contribute to violent human behavior. Cd exposure may cause GABA imbalances (calming molecule in the brain). Cd also interferes with metabolism of vitamin D which is important for the balance of the immune system. It also decreases magnesium levels (common deficiency with autoimmune thyroid conditions). Cadmium can also induce iron deficiency anaemia. Cadmium damages mitochondria, organelles where energy is produced. Dysfunctional mitochondria are connected to autoimmunity. Cd toxicity has also been connected to rheumatoid arthritis and Multiple sclerosis. Cadmium may also bind to glutathione making it ineffective. Glutathione is a free radical scavenger, important for the health of the thyroid gland.

Reducing Cadmium levels may be important for some people in achieving a remission from thyroid autoimmunity.

Do some people absorb Cd more easily?

This predisposition to accumulate those specific metals might be connected to individual’s genetics. It is also relates to a poor stress management. Females tend to absorb Cd more easily due to higher levels of oestrogen hormone (necessary for ovulation and pregnancy). Oestrogen may act as an accelerator of mineral uptake into the body; it may act to enhance cadmium absorption. Women who have insufficient levels of progesterone to balance oestrogen may accumulate Cd more easily. People with low iron stores are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of cadmium. As cadmium tends to accumulate with age (it is difficult to get rid of), it causes lowered levels of zinc which is needed for thyroid hormonal binding to their receptors. This may explain higher risks of hypothyroidism in older people, especially women. Also, older cells have a reduced capacity to produce Metallothioneins (MTs) which is are protective against Cd toxicity and proper levels of zinc and copper. Adrenals glands need to strong for sufficient production of this molecule.

Stress and cigarette smoke exposure can induce Graves’ disease as it lowers production of metallothioneins and increased Cd exposure. This trigger might be especially powerful in younger people as they tend to use copper fast. Copper deficiency accelerates thyroid function and damages the energy producing mitochondria. It was found to interfere with Coenzyme A, which helps to transport free fatty acids to mitochondria for energy production.

What Cadmium does in the body?

Cadmium tends to accumulate in the thyroid gland and therefore may cause thyroid damage due to its toxicity. It is one of the triggers for thyroid autoimmunity in individuals who are genetically predisposed to autoimmunity. In significant levels, it depletes selenium mineral which is extremely important for the health of the thyroid gland as it important for the glutathione peroxidase system which removes free radicals from the thyroid gland. In the thyroid gland, free radicals are produced continuously due to oxidation of iodine by hydrogen peroxide for the production of thyroid hormones. If free radicals are not properly controlled by glutathione peroxidase in the thyroid, they damage the thyroid cells and the lipid membranes. Cadmium toxicity increases free radicals in the body overall. Cd was shown to inhibit superoxide dismutase (copper, zinc based), two antioxidant enzymes. Cd toxicity may therefore play a role in other autoimmune disorders.

Cd was found to decrease T4 levels and increase T3 levels in a Japanese study comparing residents of the Cd-polluted Kakehashi River basin with residents of a nonpolluted area (1). Therefore Cd can induce T3 thyrotoxicosis and hyperthyroidism which was also demonstrated in animal studies (5). In people predisposed to autoimmunity, it can cause thyroid autoimmunity. High levels of cadmium exposure were associated with changes to thyroid hormonal levels. A large human study (29) showed that blood Cd was positively associated with FT3 and urinary Cd was positively associated with FT4.

It may also lower levels of both T4 and T3 (perhaps if iodine and selenium are low) which was shown in animal studies. Obviously as Cd levels accumulate, eventually T3 levels will be decreased due to lowered levels of T4 and selenium resulting in hypothyroidism. A study in children demonstrated that Cd increases TSH levels and decreases thyroid hormone T4 (15).

People who had a thyroidectomy might be more vulnerable to lung damage by exposure to Cd (11). Smoking would not be recommended.

Other thyroid changes and thyroid cancer (22) may also be seen with cadmium toxicity. Cancer may also be more advanced with cadmium toxicity.

“The accumulation of cadmium in thyroid tissue may be one of important etiologic factors for the thyroid cancer progression and aggravation in Korean women.”(21)

“Colloid cystic goiter, adenomatoid follicular hyperplasia with low-grade dysplasia and thyroglobulin hypo- and asecretion, and parafollicular cell diffuse and nodular hyperplasia and hypertrophy are often found in chronic cadmium toxicity.” (20)

Test for Cadmium:

Comprehensive Urine Profile (better for detection of long time Cd exposure), serum Cadmium and mineral hair analysis

How to reduce Cadmium in the body:

The medical system uses chelators such as DMPA for cadmium removal from the body in case of detected toxicity.

However, there are ways to decrease Cd uptake and increase removal in the body and they are:

  • Consider stopping smoking, avoid secondary cigarette smoke
  • Limit occupational/environmental exposure
  • Support glutathione production in the body (glutathione requires selenium and precursors such as glycine, glutamine, cysteine).
  • Support glutathione conjugation in liver which detoxifies body from heavy metals. The nutrients required for this step are methionine, amino acids cysteine and taurine, glycine, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Brassica vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli and allium vegetables, such as onions, garlic, shallots also help. Vitamin E, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), bioflavonoids supplementation and fermented vegetables may also be helpful to improve glutathione conjugation. Brewers’ yeast has glutathione building nutrients. One of the best ways is to consume fermented vegetables with liver cleansing herbs. Dandelion root, milk thistle, coriander herb, horseradish and wasabi may also be helpful. Probiotics may also help.
  • Avoid environmental exposure in food (organic diet, increasing fibre, detoxifying vegetables, herbs, avoiding refined food). Fibre removes toxins by binding to them.
  • Chlorella, sea algae may help but since it is high in iodine, it can aggravate Graves’ disease but may help people with low iodine. Selenium levels needs to be adequate. MetalAway is one of the products a holistic doctor may prescribe in case of metal toxicity.
  • Hormone balancing (for example, insufficiency of thyroid hormones compromises liver function and detoxification).
  • Adrenal support, stress reduction and better stress management may help.
  • Coenzyme Q10 may play a positive role as an agent for treatment of CD poisoning (6)
  • Carotenoids were found to increase Cd excretion from the body in study in rats (7), (present in red and orange vegetables, if you use carrots for carotenoids source, use organic carrots and peel them before use)
  • Diet which includes selenium and glutathione producing nutrients.
  • Vitamin C (28)
  • Vitamin D
  • Correcting iron deficiency
  • Checking zinc and copper levels
  • Reducing alcohol consumption as alcohol can increase cadmium uptake
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Fruit pectin (soluble fibre), psyllium
  • Olive leaf supplement
  • Willson recommends near infrared sauna for cadmium removal
  • Milk consumption may increase Cd uptake (as it is rich in hormones), especially with iron deficiency.

 

This post is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor in regards to cadmium and before taking any supplements and dietary changes.

References:

  1. Nishijo M, Nakagawa H, Morikawa Y, Tabata M, Senma M, Miura K, Tsuritani I, Honda R, Kido T, Teranishi H. A study of thyroid hormone levels of inhabitants of the cadmium-polluted Kakehashi River basin]. Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 1994 Jun; 49(2):598-605.
  2. Hammouda F, Messaoudi I, El Hani J, Baati T, Saïd K, Kerkeni A. Reversal of cadmium-induced thyroid dysfunction by selenium, zinc, or their combination in rat. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2008; 126(1-3):194-203.
  3. S Salminen, et al. Probiotic bacteria as potential detoxification tools: assessing their heavy metal binding isotherms. Can J Microbiol. 2006 Sep; 52(9):877-85.
  4. JN Bhakta, et al. Characterization of lactic acid bacteria-based probiotics as potential heavy metal sorbents. J Appl Microbiol. 2012 Jun; 112(6):1193-206.
  5. Ghosh N; Bhattacharya S. Thyrotoxicity of the chlorides of cadmium and mercury in rabbit. Department of Zoology, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, India. Biomed Environ Sci, 1992 Sep; (3):236-40.
  6. Patrick J. Kennedy, Ajay A. Vashisht, Kwang-Lae Hoe, Dong-Uk Kim, Han-Oh Park, Jacqueline Hayles, and Paul Russell6. A Genome-Wide Screen of Genes Involved in Cadmium Tolerance in Schizosaccharomyces pombe Toxicol Sci. 2008 Nov; 106(1): 124–139
  7. El-Missiry, M.A. and F. Shalaby, 2000. Role of β-carotene in ameliorating the cadmium-induced oxidative stress in rat brain and testis. J. Biochem. Mol. Toxicol., 14: 238-243.
  8. A. Bashandy and I. M. Alhazza. The Hepatoprotective Effect of β-Carotene against Cadmium Toxicity in Rats. Science Alert. URL: http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=jpt.2008.457.463&org=10
  9. http://drlwilson.com/Articles/CADMIUM.htm
  10. Sharma G; Sandhir R; Nath R; Gill K. Effect of ethanol on cadmium uptake and metabolism of zinc and copper in rats exposed to cadmium. Department of Biochemistry, Postgraduate Institute, Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. 1991 Jan; J Nutr. 121(1):87-91
  11. Palmer KC; Mari F; Malian MS. Cadmium-induced acute lung injury: compromised repair response following thyroidectomy. 1986 Dec Environ Res, 41(2):568-84
  12. Nishiyama S; Onosaka S; Taguchi T; Konishi Y; Tanaka K; Kinebuchi H Stimulation of cadmium uptake by estradiol in the kidney of male rats treated with cadmium. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Kochi Medical School, Japan. 1988 Aug 15. Biochem Pharmacol, 37(16):3091-6.
  13. Fiala J; Hrub´a D; R´ezl P. Cadmium and zinc concentrations in human placentas. Institute of Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. Cent Eur J Public Health, 1998 Aug; (3):241-8.
  14. Soldatovi´c D; Matovi´c V; Vujanovi´c D; Stojanovi´c Z. Contribution to interaction between magnesium and toxic metals: the effect of prolonged cadmium intoxication on magnesium metabolism in rabbits. Department of Toxicological Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Magnes Res, 1998 Dec.11(4):283-8
  15. Osius N, Karmaus W, Kruse H, Witten J. Exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and levels of thyroid hormones in children. Environ Health Perspect 1999 Oct; 107(10):843-9.
  16. Sumathi R, Baskaran G, Varalakshmi P. Relationship between glutathione and DL alpha-lipoic acid against cadmium-induced hepatotoxicity. Jpn J Med Sci Biol 1996 Apr; 49(2):39-48.
  17. Thomas Heiberg Brix, MD; Pia Skov Hansen, MD; Kirsten Ohm Kyvik, MD, PhD; Laszlo Hegedüs, MD Cigarette Smoking and Risk of Clinically Overt Thyroid Disease. A Population-Based Twin Case-Control Study. Arch Intern Med. 2000 Mar 13; 160(5):661-6.
  18. Z Ernahrungswiss The toxicological estimation of the heavy metal content (Cd, Hg, Pb) in food for infants and small children 1990 Mar;29(1):54-73.
  19. Stohs SJ, Bagchi D, Hassoun E, Bagchi M. Oxidative mechanisms in the toxicity of chromium and cadmium ions. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2000; 19(3):201-13.
  20. Jancic SA, Stosic BZ. Cadmium effects on the thyroid gland. Vitam Horm. 2014; 94:391-425.
  21. Chung HK, Nam JS, Ahn CW, Lee YS, Kim KR. Some Elements in Thyroid Tissue are Associated with More Advanced Stage of Thyroid Cancer in Korean Women. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 May;171(1):54-62
  22. John Kovach, Maisie Shindo, Sharon Liang, Jingxuan Liu, Joy Roelfs, John Chen, David Bellis and Patrick Parsons. Environmental cadmium as a potential risk factor for thyroid cancer. Cancer research. URL: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/68/9_Supplement/5593
  23. Yangho Kim, MD and Sangkyu Park, MD. Iron deficiency increases blood concentrations of neurotoxic metals in children. Korean J Pediatr. 2014 Aug; 57(8): 345–350
  24. Ithyroid.com Cadmium. URL: http://www.ithyroid.com/cadmium.htm
  25. Oualid Hamdaoui. Removal of cadmium from aqueous medium under ultrasound assistance using olive leaves as sorbent. Chemical Engineering and processing: process intensification. Volume 48, Issue 6, June 2009, Pages 1157-1166.
  26. Yoshiuchi K, Kumano H, Nomura S, Yoshimura H, Ito K, Kanaji Y, Ohashi Y, Kuboki T, Suematsu H. Stressful life events and smoking were associated with Graves’ disease in women, but not in men. Psychosom Med. 1998 Mar-Apr; 60(2):182-5.
  27. Hegedus, T.H. Brix and P. Vestergaard. Relathionship between cigarette smoking and Graves’ ophthalmopathy. J. Endocrinol. Invest. 2004. 27:265-271.
  28. Gupta P, Kar A. Role of ascorbic acid in cadmium-induced thyroid dysfunction and lipid peroxidation. J Appl Toxicol. 1998; 18:317–20.
  29. Aimin Chen, Stephani S. Kim, Ethan Chung, and Kim N. Dietrich. Thyroid Hormones in Relation to Lead, Mercury, and Cadmium Exposure in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007–2008. 2013. Volume 121. Issue 2. URL: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1205239/

 

 

 

 

 

Gut and autoimmunity connection

Gut and autoimmunity connection

The health of digestive system is very important for people with autoimmunity problems. Our immune system is closely connected with our gut. The intestines can be compared to the roots of plants that absorb nutrients for them to grow. If the soil is poor and roots weak, the plant will be struggling to survive. Unhealthy gut has been connected to autoimmunity.

There are few factors which can benefit the health of our digestive system. These are: healthy diet, lots of vegetables (including some cruciferous ones like broccoli, cabbage, horseradish, wasabi), herbs, fiber, fermented food, limiting processed food, avoiding foods one is sensitive too (like gluten) and avoiding stress. Frequent use of antibiotics and some other medications (like steroids, NSAIDs- aspirin, ibuprofen and others ) can also affect the balance of bacteria in our gut and promote imbalances with a loss of beneficial bacteria. Antibiotics and some other medications can damage the lining of our intestines. Frequent infections may also have a negative effect. Hormonal balance is also very important for gut health. Imbalance of thyroid hormones for example may lower the stomach acid, digestive enzymes and bile and change the time food travels through the digestive system, ultimately causing an imbalance in gut bacteria, nutrient deficiencies and health issues.

The gut flora consists of over 500 species of bacteria (Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes most common), fungi and viruses. Beneficial bacteria help to digest food, absorb and make vitamins (B and K2), help to metabolize hormones and other chemicals (such as short-chain fatty acids used for energy by our body) that keep our body healthy and our immune system balanced. They help to remove toxic heavy metals (6, 7). Lactobacillus strains were found to be able to absorb and remove cadmium from culture mediums in a study (8). Cadmium toxicity has been implicated in thyroid autoimmunity.

We live in a symbiotic relationship with our gut microflora as it interacts with the cells of the intestines. The live microorganisms in our gut interact with our nervous system and our immune system as well, they can induce a production of certain immune-regulatory molecules which are also absorbed by our intestines. Balanced gut flora can help the immune system not to over-react. Most of our immune system is associated with our gut. Serotonin, happy molecule is produced predominantly by our gut. Beneficial microorganisms in our gut protect our body from bad, pathogenic organisms. If there is imbalance of gut flora and ‘bad’ inhabitants predominate over ‘beneficial’ inhabitants, the nervous system and the immune system of an individual will be affected. Some bacteria can influence our mood for the better, there is a saying healthy gut, happy person. It was found in animal study (2) that Lactobacillus rhamnosus (beneficial bacteria) in our gut can reduce anxiety by producing molecules which directly interact with our brain. Interestingly, Lactobacillus species can be depleted by overgrowth of Candida yeast. Even though having some Candida in the gut is normal, overgrowth can be a problem. Many people with autoimmunity may have imbalances in their gut microbiota (dysbiosis). An example of that is the lack of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium species in the gut. As mentioned before, lack of Lactobacillus can make a person more anxious. Different bacteria can have a specific effect on our body, for example Styreptococcus thermophiles may improve lactose intolerance.

Low stomach acid may play a havoc with the balance of bacteria in the digestive and immune system. Low stomach acid may be seen with thyroid hormonal imbalance and stress. Low stomach acid may allow harmful bacteria like H. pylori to survive (this bacteria may cause stomach ulcers). Low stomach acid is connected to a poor absorption of minerals and vitamins. This then causes loss of essential nutrients. Eating processed packaged food and food with preservatives (after all, preservatives do not allow bacteria to reproduce) will affect our gut flora. Diet high in sugar, high carbohydrate diet, predominantly wheat flour based products, fatty food, low in vegetables, fiber and low in fermented food and essential fatty acids can lead to an unhealthy gut. One more reason for imbalanced gut flora is stress. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system in place of parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for proper digestion of food. We cannot also forget about vitamin D which is absolutely vital for people with autoimmunity as it activates pathways to make antibacterial molecules which are designed to kill harmful bacteria in our gut and generally in the body. Vitamin D balances the immune system. Frequent use of some medications like the anti-inflammatory NSAIDs, steroids and antibiotics negatively alters the gut microbiota. High consumption of alcohol also alters the balance of bacteria in the gut.

Complete stool analysis test can determine the health of the digestive system, digestion and gut health. This test is generally requested by the integrative medical doctors so that the specific problems can be rectified. If you have bacterial gut imbalance (or parasites), you might be given specific probiotics or herbal remedies by your holistic doctor (such as those containing oregano, thyme, licorice, slippery elm, marshmallow root, olive leaf, garlic and other herbs) to correct the problem. If you have digestive problems, HCl-betaine (for a low stomach acid) or enzymes may be prescribed.

Gas, burping, bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion would be the obvious signs that there is something wrong with your digestion. However other signs can be allergies, itching and anxiety. Therefore, signs of gut microbiota imbalance can be difficult to recognize. Obviously if you suffer from thyroid problems, have imbalanced of deficient hormones, the digestive system will not work well. It is common problem with hypothyroidism. I had poor digestion and stomach ulcers as a direct consequence of being on sub-optimal thyroid hormonal treatment. Personally, I saw a great improvement in my gut health by adding NDT to my levothyroxine hormonal replacement, making sure my hormonal balance was the best I could achieve. My integrative medical doctor put me on a quality probiotic for a month.

Fermented food can help to balance gut bacteria (such as sauerkraut, other fermented vegetables). Eating organic, non- processed and non-preserved food can help. Soluble fiber was found to benefit intestines (found in oats, beans, lentils, peas, flax seeds, other seeds and some fruits and some vegetables). Supporting your adrenals, good sleep, rest and relaxation can help with stress and limiting frequent infections requiring antibiotics. Some people find colostrum beneficial for balancing their gut flora. Apple cider vinegar also helps to re-balance the gut. Hormonal balance is also very important. The health of the gut can be achieved back through a healthy diet, fermented foods, probiotics, herbal remedies, improving digestion with specific supplements (glutamine), avoiding food one is sensitive to, balancing hormones and limiting stress. Glutamine is great for a leaky gut but some people should avoid it, especially if they get more nervous after taking glutamine and in specific conditions) so consult your doctor regarding glutamine. I personally took glutamine supplement for a month (1 tsp) per day to improve my gut. The positive steps you will take in the direction of your gut health, can greatly benefit your overall health and help with autoimmunity problems.

This post in for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor/ health practitioner if you experience any digestive and gut issues and regarding any supplements and remedies.

References:

  1. Eamonn M. M. Quigley, MD, FRCP, FACP, FACG, FRCPI. Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2013 Sep; 9(9): 560–569.
  2. Javier A. Bravo, Paul Forsythe, Marianne V. Chew, Emily Escaravage, Hélène M. Savignac, Timothy G. Dinan, John Bienenstock and John F. Cryana. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20; 108(38): 16050–16055.
  3. Candida and Gut Dysbiosis. URL:http://www.ei-resource.org/illness-information/environmental-illnesses/candida-and-gut-dysbiosis/
  4. Geraldine O. Canny and Beth A. McCormick. Bacteria in the Intestine, Helpful Residents or Enemies from Within? Infect Immun. 2008 Aug; 76(8): 3360–3373.
  5. Françoise Rul, Leila Ben-Yahia, Fatima Chegdani, Laura Wrzosek, Stéphane Thomas, Marie-Louise Noordine, Christophe Gitton, Claire Cherbuy, Philippe Langella, and Muriel Thomas. Impact of the Metabolic Activity of Streptococcus thermophilus on the Colon Epithelium of Gnotobiotic Rats. J Biol Chem. 2011 Mar 25; 286(12): 10288–10296.
  6. S Salminen, et al. Probiotic bacteria as potential detoxification tools: assessing their heavy metal binding isotherms. Can J Microbiol. 2006 Sep; 52(9):877-85.
  7. JN Bhakta, et al. Characterization of lactic acid bacteria-based probiotics as potential heavy metal sorbents. J Appl Microbiol. 2012 Jun; 112(6):1193-206.
  8. Anna V. Kirillova, Anna A. Danilushkina, Denis S. Irisov, Nataliya L. Bruslik, Rawil F. Fakhrullin, Yuri A. Zakharov, Vladimir S. Bukhmin, and Dina R. Yarullina. Assessment of Resistance and Bioremediation Ability of Lactobacillus Strains to Lead and Cadmium. International Journal of Microbiology. 2017. URL: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijmicro/2017/9869145/

Olive leaf may help with symptoms of hypothyroidism

Olive leaf extract may help with symptoms of hypothyroidism

Olive leaf extract was found to enhance thyroid function as it helps with the conversion of T4 into its active form T3. Therefore, it boosts the levels of T3. It was found to stimulate the thyroid gland in animal study (1) in a dose depended manner.

Olive leaf extract contains many health beneficial molecules including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol and flavonoids (rutin), polyphenols (apigenin, luteolin) among others.

The molecule hydroxytyrosol in olive leaf was shown to inhibit pro-inflammatory molecules such as IL6 and TNF- alpha in mice studies (8) and in human studies (9, 10). It also reduces many other inflammatory molecules.

IL6 levels were found to be high in post- menopausal women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (5). Also, a study in animals (6) showed that autoimmune thyroiditis could be prevented by blockade of IL6.  One of the problems in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the high level of inflammation which interferes with the conversion and action of thyroid hormones. Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are often on high doses of thyroid hormonal replacement. One of the reasons for that is to counteract the effects of inflammation in their bodies. Olive leaf extract may help to reduce these thyroid blocking molecules.

A study of Hashimoto’s patients (4) stated that: “These results are possibly attributable to the inhibitory effect of IL6 on deiodination of T3 and imply a role for IL6 in determining thyroxine replacement dose among these patients.”

Hydroxytyrosol in olive leaf is a powerful free radical scavenger, protecting the energy houses in cells called mitochondria. It is believed to be protective for the central nervous system. Other positive effects of olive leaf extract (among many others) are reported to be: reduction of blood pressure, anti-microbial and anti- bacterial, anti-fungal activities, anti-parasitic activities, anti-carcinogenic effects, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, powerful anti-oxidant activities (believed to be more powerful than vitamin E), beneficial for cardiovascular system, eye health, helping with allergies, asthma, colds, protecting against UVB radiation, benefits for people with osteoporosis, benefits for some autoimmune disorders, anti-aging, helps to remove heavy metals such as lead from the body and energy increasing properties.

Olive leaf extracts are regarded to be quite safe. Effective dose of powdered leaf extract is likely to be 500-2,000 mg daily. It is available in capsules.

This post is for educational purposes only.

References:

  1. Al-Qarawi AA, Al-Damegh MA, ElMougy SA. Effect of freeze dried extract of Olea europaea on the pituitary-thyroid axis in rats. Phytother Res. 2002 May; 16(3):286-7.
  2. Olive leaf. Alternative Medicine Review. 2009. Vol 14 (1):62-66. Monograph. URL: http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/14/1/62.pdf
  3. Hao J, et al. Hydroxytyrosol promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial function in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Jul; 21(7):634-44.
  4. Papanas N., Papazoglou D., Papatheodorou K., Antonoglou C., Kotsiou S., Maltezos E. Thyroxine replacement dose in patients with Hashimoto disease: A potential role for interleukin-6: Cytokine. 2006:35(3-4): 166-170.
  5. Lucyna Siemińska, Celina Wojciechowska,, Beata Kos-Kudła,, Bogdan Marek, Dariusz Kajdaniuk, Mariusz Nowak, Joanna Głogowska-Szeląg, Wanda Foltyn, Janusz Strzelczyk. Serum concentrations of leptin, adiponectin, and interleukin-6 in postmenopausal women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Endokrynologia Polska/Polish Journal of Endocrinology; Jan-Feb 2010:61(1):112-116.
  6. Kouki Mori, Katsumi Yoshida, Masahiko Mihara, Yoshiyuki Ohsugi, Yoshinori Nakagawa, Saeko Hoshikawa. Effects of interleukin-6 blockade on the development of autoimmune thyroiditis in nonobese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity Volume 42, 2009 – Issue 3: 228-234. |
  7. Julien Peyrol, Catherine Riva and Marie Josèphe Amiot. Hydroxytyrosol in the Prevention of the Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders. Nutrients. URL: file:///C:/Users/jkrywult/Downloads/nutrients-09-00306%20(3).pdf
  8. Cao, K.; Xu, J.; Zou ,X. ;Li, Y. ;Chen, C.; Zheng, A.; Li, H.; Szeto, I. M. -Y. Hydroxytyrosol prevents diet-induced metabolic syndrome and attenuates mitochondrial abnormalities in obese mice. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2014, 67, 396-407.
  9. Tzoulaki I, Murray GD, Lee AJ, Rumley A, Lowe GDO, Fowkes FGR. C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and soluble adhesion molecules as predictors of progressive peripheral atherosclerosis in the general population. Circulation (2005) 112:976–83.
  10. Richard N, Arnold S, Hoeller U, Kilpert C, Wertz K, Schwager J. Hydroxytyrosol is the major anti-inflammatory compound in aqueous olive extracts and impairs cytokine and chemokine production in macrophages. Planta Med (2011) 77(17):1890–7.
  11. ProHealth. The Most Powerful Natural Antioxidant Discovered to Date – Hydroxytyrosol. URL: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=17054

 

 

 

 

Bugleweed- primary herb for hyperthyroidism

Bugleweed- primary herb for hyperthyroidism

Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus or Lycopus europaeus-gypsywort)

It is a primary herb for Graves’ disease and a member of the mint family. It might help in mild forms of hyperthyroidism. Bugleweed has been approved by German Commission E for use in mild hyperthyroidism. It is used in Europe for a mildly overactive thyroid, usually in the early stages and often with combination of Melissa. The herb is considered safe for long term administration. It is traditionally used to stop iodine conversion in the thyroid gland.  Bugleweed also inhibits the conversion of T4 into T3 in peripheral tissues. It might also inhibit the action of thyroid-stimulating antibodies. Bugleweed is helpful for symptoms such as palpitations and convulsions; it can lower heart rate and help with insomnia. It helps with relaxation. There has been a human study of Bugleweed for use in hyperthyroidism. The study involved 62 patients and its findings confirmed positive effects of Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus) in mild forms of hyperthyroidism (1) without adverse reactions. German Bugleweed europaeus preparation is called Thyreogutt mono tablets or drops. Scientific studies of this preparation showed statistically significant improvements for mild hyperthyroidism for over 300 patients without side effects. Best results were seen in people receiving more than a 4 week course of preparation (2). Other German preparation is Mutellon (Lycopus Europaeus, Motherwort and Valerian).

Aqueous extracts of Bugleweed are also commonly used as well as alcohol extracts (prescribed by naturopathic professionals). Tea can be prepared by infusing 2-3 teaspoons of air-dried herb in a cup of hot water drank three times daily.

Talk to your doctor before using Bugleweed. It is not indicated with iodine supplements or iodine I-125 (used for Iodine Uptake Test) and with certain medical conditions. Bugleweed should not be taken in condition of osteoporosis. It is not advisable in pregnancy or lactation.

This post is for educational purposes only.

References:

  1. Beer AM, Wiebelitz KR, Schmidt-Gayk H. Lycopus europaeus (Gypsywort): effects on the thyroidal parameters and symptoms associated with thyroid function. Phytomedicine 2008 Jan; 15(1-2):16-22.
  2. Eiling R, Wieland V, Niestroj M. Improvement of symptoms in mild hyperthyroidism with an extract of Lycopus europaeus (Thyreogutt® mono). [Article in German]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2013 Feb; 163(3-4):95-101.

Amazing flax seed oil

Amazing flax seed oil

In my book: “Thyroid and Graves’ disease unmasked” I have talked in great detail of many helpful supplements for Graves’ disease. One of them is flax seed oil. I had found flax seed oil to be very helpful for me during my thyroid travels. It was an amazing supplement for me when I was thyrotoxic on levothyroxine hormonal replacement only. It was also very helpful for PMT relief and generally great for my well being. Years back, before I added NDT to my levothyroxine hormonal therapy, I had too much T4 and not enough T3 and suffered through a madness of negative symptoms. The only thing that helped me relieve those symptoms was flax seed oil. I was so desperate sometimes, I was taking it by table spoon even in the middle of the night. It had never failed to calm my nervous system. It helped with my heart palpitations, anxiety, working in about half an hour after taking it.

Flax seed oil may be very beneficial for those with Graves’ disease (about a teaspoon daily, depending on your tolerance). A scientific literature (1) reports a case of remission from Graves’ disease using omega3 fatty acids in flax seed oil. Flax seed oil is not a treatment for Graves’ disease but as supplement it may assist with remission.

It still helps me, even after my thyroid surgery. I use it only when I feel tense and nervous (great for PMT). It is like a soothing balm for my nerves and it makes sleeping easier.

Let’s then talk about flax seed oil.  I believe it is a super star of oils. Flax seed oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and has a good omega- 6 to omega- 3 ratio as well as vitamin E. It is the richest source of omega 3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), which our body can then convert into molecules DHA and EPA as required. ALA fatty acid by itself is very protective for our health. DHA and EPA are the major anti-inflammatory oils being the essential building blocks for prostaglandins (immuno-regulatory molecules). The lack of prostaglandin E3, for example, has also been implicated in migraine headaches and high blood pressure. EPA oils are capable of turning off body’s pro-inflammatory cytokines. Components of flax seed oil were found to reduce inflammation which may be very helpful for autoimmunity problems. Flax seed oil helps with detoxification processes in liver and helps to balance sugar. It has a calming effect on the heart and nervous system as the heart muscle likes to use fatty acids for energy production. Flax seeds are also packed with minerals such as manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.

Flax seed oil (in excessive amounts) can inhibit T3 nuclear binding which benefits those with Graves’ disease. Flax seed oil can also mildly suppress thyroid function. It may help to release endorphins in the body. It is also great for PMT. Flax seed oil is a phytoestrogen which mean it can help with estrogen dominance and PMT, replacing strong estrogen in the body for mild phytoestrogens. It is believed to be anti-cancer food.

Flax seed oil is a fragile oil as it get oxidized easily so it needs to be fresh and kept in the fridge. It is not suitable for cooking.  It needs to be cold pressed and is usually sold in dark containers from fridges. It can be purchased from pharmacies and health shops. Flax seed oil helps with lubricating the intestine wall and absorbing toxins for elimination from the body and in some people it may have a slightly laxative effect. It is best to take flax seed oil with food (it can be added to salads).

Consult your doctor before using flax seed oil, especially if you have a history of chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, oesophageal and gastrointestinal stricture, bowel obstruction, bleeding disorder or take medications that increase the risk of bleeding, in conditions of breast cancer, uterine cancer and endometriosis. Speak to your doctor about flax seed if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid if allergic to flax seed or other plants of the Linaceae family. Flax seed oil is a blood thinner and should not be used before a surgery.

This blog is for educational purposes only.

References:

  1. Sarah J Breese McCoy. Coincidence of remission of postpartum Graves’ disease and use of omega-3 fatty acid Thyroid. 2011. URL: https://thyroidresearchjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-6614-4-16.
  2. Kaithwas G, Mukherjee A, Chaurasia AK, Majumdar DK. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activities of Linum usitatissimum L. (flaxseed/linseed) fixed oil. Indian J Exp Biol. 2011 Dec; 49(12):932-8.
  3. Wiersinga WM, Chopra IJ, Teco GN. Inhibition of nuclear T3 binding by fatty acids. Metabolism. 1988 Oct; 37(10):996-1002.
  4. Wiersinga WM, Platvoet-ter Schiphorst. Inhibition of nuclear T3 binding by fatty acids: dependence on chain length, unsaturated bonds, cis-trans configuration and esterification. M.Int J Biochem. 1990; 22(3):269-73.

 

 

 

 

 

Taurine and hypothyroidism

Taurine and hypothyroidism

Taurine is a compound (a type of amino acid) occurring in a human body (brain, heart, eye, muscles, bile and small intestine) which may be beneficial in hypothyroidism. Low taurine levels have been seen in hypothyroidism, anxiety and depression. Taurine levels have been linked with thyroid function. Vegetarians are also at a higher risk of taurine deficiency.

Taurine has many roles in the body. It is important for thyroid hormonal function. It is not exactly clear how it does that. My understanding is that potassium mineral is needed for activating energy production by thyroid hormones in energy houses of cells and taurine keeps potassium inside of cells and therefore helps the thyroid hormones start that energy production. Also taurine is important for glutathione production and is a powerful antioxidant which controls free radial damage inside the cells. It is also involved in liver detoxification processes and helps to remove toxic metals such as mercury and cadmium which interfere with thyroid function. It may also help to displace toxic halogens in the body and replace them with iodine and that way improve the thyroid function. Taurine is also important for gallbladder function, stabilizing cell membranes and heart health. It helps with obesity and the function of the immune system. Taurine may help to utilize copper. It increases insulin sensitivity. It also may reduce anxiety. Taurine acts like mild diuretic, removing excessive fluid from the body as it balances potassium, magnesium and sodium. Taurine may therefore be useful for women suffering from oestrogen dominance and fluid retention. It may also reduce blood pressure. A common problem seen in people with thyroid autoimmunity and hypothyroidism is low iron storage level and helps to improve absorption of iron.

Our bodies can produce some taurine or obtain it from food. Taurine is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, cottage cheese, cheese, brewer’s yeast, colostrum and some energy drinks but not in vegetables. Taurine is made from cysteine amino acid in the body. Turkey meat, eggs and cottage cheese are high in cysteine. Sunflowers seeds and oats also contain cysteine. A combination product, such as magnesium taurate may help with common deficiencies of taurine and magnesium, both commonly found in hypothyroidism.

Most of us with autoimmunity and hypothyroidism needed to take iron supplements at some point and it takes a long time to obtain optimal levels. A study (1) of 52 women with iron deficiency anaemia has shown that women who took taurine 1g/day, 6-8 hr after iron sulphate supplements, had significantly better serum ferritin levels and mean serum haemoglobin concentrations compare to controls who did not take taurine with their iron supplements. The mechanisms of actions of taurine to enhance iron levels are not clearly understood. Iron deficient women were shown to have lower levels of taurine before the study when compared to normal subjects.

Taurine is an antioxidant and stabilizes cell membranes and therefore might help iron absorption into the cells that way. It might also increase survival of red blood cells. Women supplementing with taurine showed no side effects of supplementation. My personal theory is that iron competes with copper for absorption in the small intestine. As taurine may help to utilize copper, the need for copper absorption is decreased and iron absorption increases. Both iron and copper are vital for thyroid hormones to work properly.

Another study (2) has found that vitamin B12 levels were lowered with iron deficiency anemia in females. Therefore it is important to have normal iron levels.

Taurine may play a protective role against the increased oxidative stress resulting from hypothyroidism as shown in study in rats (3). Taurine also increases platelet glutathione levels (6). The levels of taurine in platelets are lower in hypothyroidism which seems to be connected to increased aggregation of platelets, higher viscosity of blood and inflammation which may possibly increase the risk of thromboembolism (obstruction of a blood vessel by a blood clot) (9).

Please consult your doctor before taking taurine as supplement. Taurine supplements may have negative effects in people with blood clotting or bleeding disorders as it thins the blood. You can get your levels tested and whole blood taurine is regarded as most accurate test (8). Taurine deficiency may be associated with vitamin B6 deficiency (7).

Doses of 1g/day of taurine generally are not a problem. After all, that is the average dose of taurine in an energy drink can. However, like with everything else, the taurine effects depend on what else is going in the body and may be individual. Taurine was mentioned in some forums as having negative effects on symptoms of Graves’ disease in some individuals as it increases energy. It is recommended in the literature to have natural sources of taurine, not supplements in case of Graves’ disease.

This blog is for educational purposes only.

References:

  1. Sirdah MM, El-Agouza IM, Abu Shahla AN. Possible ameliorative effect of taurine in the treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia in female university students of Gaza, Palestine. Eur J Haematol. 2002 Oct; 69(4):236-42.
  2. Mahmoud Mohammed Sirdah, Maged M. Yassin,b Sabreen El Shekhi,b and Abdel Monem Lubbadb. Homocysteine and vitamin B12 status and iron deficiency anemia in female university students from Gaza Strip, Palestine. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2014 May-Jun; 36(3): 208–212.
  3. Tas S, Dirican M, Sarandöl E, Serdar ZThe effect of taurine supplementation on oxidative stress in experimental hypothyroidism Cell Biochem Funct. 2006 Mar-Apr; 24(2):153-8.
  4. Hiroshi Ogawa, Tomoyo Nishikawa and Sukenari Sasagawa. Effects of Taurine on Lipoprotein Metabolism in Hypercholesterolemic SHRSP Associated with Hypothyroidism. Japanese Heart Journal. 1987; 28(4): p 643.
  5. Baskin S, Klekotka SJ, Kendrick ZV, Bartuska DG. Correlation of platelet taurine levels with thyroid function. J Endocrinol Invest. 1979 Jul-Sep;2(3):245-9.
  6. Hayes KC, Pronczuk A, Addesa AE, Stephan ZF. Taurine modulates platelet aggregation in cats and humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jun; 49(6):1211-6.
  7.  Lombardini JB. Taurine levels in blood and urine of vitamin B6-deficient and estrogen-treated rats. Biochem Med Metab Biol. 1986 Apr; 35(2):125-31.
  8. Trautwein EA, Hayes KC.  Taurine concentrations in plasma and whole blood in humans: estimation of error from intra- and interindividual variation and sampling technique. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Oct; 52(4):758-64.
  9. McCarty MF. Sub-optimal taurine status may promote platelet hyperaggregability in vegetarians. Med Hypotheses. 2004; 63(3):426-33.
  10. How This Particular Supplement Can Improve Your Adrenals https://www.drlam.com/blog/taurine-supplement/1223/
  11. Life Extension Magazine. The Forgotten Longevity Benefits of Taurine. URL: <http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2013/6/The-Forgotten-Longevity-Benefits-of-Taurine/Page-01?checked=1
  12. Are You Dangerously Deficient in Taurine? Part 2: Testing & Supplementation https://bodyecology.com/articles/deficient_in_taurine_part2.php