Why thyroid patients can find themselves with low levels of iron, B12, Vit D and more
My iron is too low! My B12 isn’t optimal! My Vit. D is the pits!
A huge revelation over the years by thyroid patients is about our poor absorption issues. i.e. we tend to find ourselves low in important nutrients. And when we bring them back up, we’ve learned the hard way that we have to stay vigilant to keep them up. Here is a list of all the reasons you might find yourself with low levels, or might see them drop again:
- LOW LEVELS OF STOMACH ACID: This is by far the most common reason each thyroid patient should explore. Having continued hypothyroidism (whether due to being on T4-only meds, being underdosed on NDT, being held hostage to the TSH, having low cortisol, etc) results in low levels of stomach acid for all too many. You dry out on the inside! And why is that problematic? Because you need acid for nutrients and micro-nutrients to be absorbed well, to help with the digestion of protein, to kill bacteria and yeast, and to assist your stomach to empty correctly. The right amount of acid will even stop acid reflux. The solution has been to add one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs is a popular brand, but there are others) to your morning juice or water and drink down your supplements with that mixture. Some add it again to an evening drink. Or take man-made hydrochloric acid. (Betaine HCL is a well-known brand, but there are others). Even adding fresh-squeezed lemon juice to your drinks will help. And guess what: aging doesn’t help with the production of stomach acid, either. Many patients see their levels go up far quicker when they add an acid to their drinks! Read more here.
- CANDIDA YEAST OVERGROWTH: Long-term low stomach acid as explained above can also cause an imbalance of your yeast levels, which in turn can make nutrient absorption worse, reducing the “absorption surface area” in your small intestines. You are also at a higher risk of a yeast problem if you have used a lot of antibiotics, eat a lot of sugar or white flour products, over-consume alcohol, have an impaired immune system or have been on long-term birth control meds. Symptoms of a yeast problem are pretty diverse, ranging from fatigue, sugar or carb cravings, irritability, feeling bloated, constipation, white coating on your tongue, and so many more. To see if you have a yeast problem, ask about the Organic Acids Test (OAT) which will reveal specific chemicals which would only be in your urine in the presence of Candida. Dr. Mercola has a great page on holistic ways to treat candida (if you can stand the irritating pop-up)
- UNDIAGNOSED/UNTREATED CELIAC DISEASE (SPRUE): Celiac is a immune reaction against the gluten you eat. The inflammation and damage to your intestines caused by Celiac disease can result in nutrients not being absorbed well, or speeding right through you via diarrhea, unabsorbed. i.e. Celiac causes the villi in your intestine (those tiny finger-like projections) to be inadequate in getting in all those nutrients. If you catch your celiac soon enough, this damage can be reversed!
- MTHFR gene defect: This genetic mutation of the enzyme “methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase” will tend to affect the conversion of the inactive forms of Folic Acid (B9) and B12 to the active levels…thus a chronically low level of these nutrients. You can ask your doctor for a lab test to determine if you have a MTHFR enzyme mutation and which one, which will be the “C677T” or the “A1298C”…or both. “Repairing the digestive system and optimizing the flora should be one of the first steps in correcting methylation deficiency” says Dr. Ben in his blog post from the MTHFR website.
- PARASITES: Turns out this isn’t just a third world problem. We can have those pesky little, uninvited invaders if we have traveled overseas or eaten food that came in from other countries. And they cause inflammation in your digestive tract, which hinders the absorption of your iron, vitamins and more. Parasites can also cause a yeast overgrowth–another absorption issue. You can suspect parasites if you have gas, diarrhea or constipation, yeast infections, depression, weight gain and difficulty losing and more. Note these are similar to other issues above, and some in common with being hypothyroid. So testing will be important to rule this out or not.
- OVERCONSUMPTION OF CALCIUM: This happened to Janie Bowthorpe. She was using high doses of calcium to remove excess oxalates from her body, and ended up with miserably low iron. i.e. calcium interferes with iron absorption.
- INTERNAL BLEEDING: Probably the most rare of reasons above, but it can happen. Undiagnosed bladder cancer (or other related organs) can cause this, as can taking too much aspirin, being in an automobile accident, ovarian cysts, and even a severe Vit. K deficiency.