Hypothyroid and Female Infertility
Nutrient Correlation to Disease Processes – Hypothyroid and Female Infertility
Did you know that deficiency of certain nutrients can contribute to disease processes in the body? That’s right, each nutrient (vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, phytonutrient) is a cofactor or “tool” in a biochemical pathway. This means that when trying to get from point A to point B in a body function, like thyroid balance for energy production and metabolism, the body requires nutrients as the tools to move it along. But if your cells are deficient in one or several nutrients the pathway slows and this can lead to imbalance and eventually a disease process.
In the upcoming blog series we are going to be talking about the nutrients needed in two very common disease processes, Hypothyroidism and Female Infertility. In a follow up post our Registered Dietitian, Lauren Larson, will be giving food options for the nutrients we discuss and simple ways to include these nutrients in your daily meal planning.
Knowing what nutrients your body is deficient in and how to properly restore balance is a key functional treatment point when addressing these conditions. Colorado Center of Health and Nutrition offers intracellular micronutrient testing through Spectracell to help create the most unique treatment plan for our patients to optimize results.
Key Nutrients for Female Infertility:
• Folate – Protects genes during rapid cell division which increases the likelihood of a healthy embryo. Deficiency raises homocysteine which damages reproductive cells.
• Minerals – Several enzymes needed to protect a womens reproductive organs are dependent on the trace elements zinc, copper and magnesium
• Antioxidant Status – Reproductive cells, including embryos are very susceptible to damage from oxidative stress due to the rapid rate of growth; Low antioxidant status can cause infertility or miscarriage.
• Cysteine – N-acetyl cysteine can improve ovulation and pregnancy rates in women with infertility due to PCOS that do not respond to fertility drugs; improves viability of endometrial cells in vitro. Precursor to glutathione.
• Glutathione – Protects eggs (fertilized or not) from damage by reactive oxygen species; protective action of follicle stimulating hormone on embryonic development is due largely to glutathione synthesis.
• Selenium – Deficiency implicated in miscarriage and infertility; In one trial 100% of infertile women achieved pregnancy after supplementation.
• Vitamin E – Protects reproductive cells; may improve endometrial response (ability of fertilized egg to implant into uterine wall properly) during IVF
• Vitamin D – Higher levels linked to better success rates of IVF; Influences production of sex hormones estradiol and progesterone.
• Vitamin C – Increases serum progesterone levels; Induces ovulation in some women. Enhances effects of the fertility drug clomiphene
• Vitamin B6 and B12 – Both are needed to convert toxic homocysteine to a benign form; Loe homocysteine levels linked to a better chance of pregnancy.
Key Nutrients for Hypothyroidism:
• Glutathione – Hypothyroidism decreases efficacy of some antioxidants such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase.
• Choline – hypothyroidism negatively affects choline function in the brain which can affect mood and cognition (brain fog)
• Lipoic Acid – improves endothelial function in people with subclinical hypothyroidism; protects thyroid cells from oxidative stress; May interfere with T4 therapy.
• Carnitine – decreased tissue levels of carnitine in both hypo- and hyperthyroidism contribute to muscle fatigue.
• Asparagine – this amino acid is part of the structure of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which regulates communication with other hormones.
• Selenium – Converts thyroid hormones T4 into T3; deficiency reduces T3 levels causing classic hypothyroidism symptoms such as fatigue, depression and/or weight gain.
• Copper – Low levels seen in experimentally induced hypothyroidism’ Indirectly affects thyroid status by its antioxidant role via superoxide dismutase.
• Zinc – Increases thyroid hormone T3 in deficient subjects.
• Vitamin A – Activates gene that regulates TSH
• Vitamin C and E – Partially restores thyroid function when liver detoxification ability is compromised.
• B Vitamins – A deficiency in B6, B12 or B9(folate) can cause elevated homocysteine, which is linked with hypothyroidism. Folic acid levels have been linked to levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
Fertility and Thyroid Testimonials:
“I have been working with Dr. Kim Bruno for the past 5 years on improving my gut health. I’ve had long standing issues with food intolerance and she has helped me navigate through those challenging times and helped me live a healthier, more energetic and better yet, stomach-pain-free life.
Two years ago when my husband and I were ready to start our family, I discovered that it was going to be more difficult to get pregnant than I thought. When my OB-GYN immediately jumped to prescribing fertility drugs, I knew I wanted to meet with Kim first to see if there were other drug-free options to improve my hormone levels. She helped me get to the root of WHY I wasn’t making hormones, rather than simply adding them through drugs. We discovered that I had numerous nutrient deficiencies as well as a gene mutation, making it challenging for me to absorb and process key nutrients. Once these deficiencies were identified, she found appropriate natural supplements that my body could absorb. I also started using a natural hormone supplement. Within 6 months of regular supplementation, my cycle got back on track, my energy levels skyrocketed and I became pregnant! I continued working with Kim through my pregnancy and she guided me with healthy advice, as well as advised me on my supplement schedule. I am now a new mama to a healthy, happy baby girl!
Kim’s knowledge of nutrition and its impact on our other body systems is beyond any medical doctor I have spoken with. I credit her with my successful pregnancy, and am so thankful that I could do it without the harmful side effects of prescription drugs. I learn something new about the human body every time I talk with Kim and I love how she empowers her patients to take control of their health.”
– A. S. 2014
“I suffered for ten years with a Hashimotos diagnosis. In hindsight, I now know I had Hashimotos for most my life. However, for the past ten years, my treatment has been the standard of only taking synthetic thyroid replacement hormone. That initially made me feel better but was not a long term solution. Over the past 5 years, my body spiraled downhill to the point of chronic widespread inflammation, major stomach digestive issues and chronic constipation, insomnia, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and infertility…the symptoms too numerous to list here. When my former PCP (I have a great doctor now thanks to a referral by Dr. Bruno) only recommended to increase my levothyroxine dosage, I decided I needed an alternative approach. I met with Dr. Bruno and within a few visits, we had done a few tests to determine nutrient deficiencies and were able to pinpoint the “root” of my issues. I needed to heal my gut and eliminate foods that were causing reactions and inflammation so that I could then properly absorb the nutrients and vitamins from the food I was eating. By doing so, my hormones would also start to normalize (don’t remember exactly how it all works but if you are curious, see Dr. Bruno…she can explain it to you). Anyway, I followed her recommended plan with nutrition and within a year, the repeat tests showed considerable improvement. Mostly, I felt better than I had in years! I have stuck with my “diet” for nearly three years now. The big surprise in all of this was that I had not initially connected infertility to all of this. When we were not able to conceive, we decided we were “one and done”. Then last year we had a surprise when I became pregnant and now have a beautiful, healthy, happy little 5 month old boy. Turns out it was all connected and by healing my body through nutrition, I was able to balance out other aspects that were not working. I remember I called Kim before anyone else knew and asked “Can this be because I am getting better? Is my cycle back on track because of all the changes I made?” She gave a resounding “YES!” So if you don’t want to get pregnant and are healing your entire body through Dr. Bruno’s integrative approach, take preventative measures!”
– T. N. 2015