Vitamin D and Weight Loss: The Hypothyroid Connection.

Alopecia on the tail typical of canine hypothy...
Alopecia on the tail typical of canine hypothyroidism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a recent study researchers connected those with hypothyroidism with low vitamin D levels. Male control subjects had the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood, while chronic female hypothyroid patients had the lowest levels of vitamin D.

Now, anyone who has dealt with hypothyroidism knows that it is darn near impossible to lose weight while low thyroid. Your body’s metabolic rate goes way down, and you have no energy to exercise.

So it makes sense that low vitamin D levels, which correlate to down regulation of the immune system, might lead to increased antibodies to thyroid hormones.  Those increasing antibodies could in turn worsen hypothyroidism and lower the metabolic rate further.

Which leads me to the supermarket tabloid headline:  Vitamin D Helps You Lose Weight!  Of course, in order for me to get on the cover I’d have to say something inane like:  Vitamin D helps you lose 3.14159 pounds a day!  Which is ridiculous, but evidently sells magazines.  The key for those of us looking at hormonal relationships to weight loss is that vitamin D is a factor.  Here’s the study abstract:

Endocr Pract. 2013 Jan 21:1-14. [Epub ahead of print]

The Association Between Severity of Vitamin D Deficiency and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.


Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Diskapi Yildirim Beyazit Training and Research Hospital.


Objective: The relation between vitamin-D and autoimmune disorders has long been investigated regarding to important roles of this hormone in immune regulation. We evaluated 25-hydroxy-vitamin-D (25OHD) status of subjects with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) and healthy controls.Methods: Group-1 consisted of 180 euthyroid patients (123 females/57 males) with HT who were on stable dose of L-thyroxine (LT). Sex, age and BMI matched 180 euthyroid subjects with newly diagnosed HT were considered as Group-2 and healthy volunteers (n=180) were enrolled as controls (Group-3). All subjects (n=540) underwent thyroid ultrasound and were evaluated for serum 25OHD, anti-thyroid peroxidase(anti-TPO) and anti-thyroglobulin (anti-TG) levels.Results: Group-1 had the lowest 25OHD levels (11.4±5.2 ng/mL) compared to newly diagnosed HT subjects (Group-2) (13.1±5.9 ng/mL, p=0.002) and to control subjects (15.4±6.8 ng/mL, p<0.001). Serum 25OHD levels directly correlated to thyroid volume (r=0.145, p<0.001) and inversely correlated to anti-TPO (r=-0.361,p<0.001) and anti-TG levels (r=-0.335,p<0.001). The 48.3% of group-1, 35% of group-2, and 20.5% of controls had severe vitamin-D deficiency (25OHD <10ng/ml). Female chronic HT patients had the lowest serum 25OHD levels (10.3±4.58ng/mL), while male control subjects had the highest (19.3±5.9ng/mL) (p<0.001).Conclusions: We showed that serum 25OHD levels of patients with HT were significantly lower than controls and severity of vitamin-D deficiency correlated with duration of HT, thyroid volume and antibody levels. These findings may suggest a potential role of 25OHD in development of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and/or its progression to hypothyroidism.

PMID: 23337162

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