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Multiple Sclerosis and Hypothyroidism

Annesse Brockley/Kristin Urdiales,
Thyroid Nation

Recently we demonstrated that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) lack the essential amino acid “phenylalanine” and also the amino acid “tyrosine” and the neurotransmitter “dopamine”, both of which are derived from phenylalanine. The lack of dopamine would explain the brain gray matter loss found in patients with MS.

As the graph below shows, both of the thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine) are also derived from tyrosine, so we would expect to see an association between MS and hypothyroidism (a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone).

In the following study published in Neurology researchers found that thyroid disorders, which were accounted for mainly by the prevalence of hypothyroidism, were at least “three times” more common in women with MS.

“…We found that thyroid disorders were at least three times more common in women with MS than in female controls. This was accounted for mainly by the prevalence of hypothyroidism among the female MS patients.”

We would also expect to find evidence of a lack of tyrosine in patients with hypothyroidism. Just as we would expect, researchers in the following study found low levels of tyrosine in patients with hypothyroidism.

The serum tyrosine level as an index of thyroid function.

“Serum tyrosine was measured in 22 normal subjects…10 patients with hypothyroidism… Low values were obtained in hypothyroidism…”

Symptoms of hypothyroidism:

• Sensitivity to cold
• Thin, brittle hair and fingernails
• Constipation
Weight gain
• Depression
• Joint or muscle pain
• Heavier menstrual periods
• Dry, pale skin

Take home message:

Patients with multiple sclerosis lack the enzymes that digest dietary proteins. Proteins contain essential amino acids such as phenylalanine. Research confirms that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) lack phenylalanine and the amino acid tyrosine, which is derived from phenylalanine. Tyrosine is needed to produce both of the thyroid hormones. The lack of tyrosine would explain the association between multiple sclerosis and hypothyroidism.

41-HhbXOuSLAlso, notice from the graph what else we should find lacking in patients with MS. Dopamine is needed to produce adrenaline and noradrenaline. We will discuss the lack of adrenaline and noradrenaline in patients with MS in our next post.

In our previous post we demonstrated that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) lack the essential amino acid ‘phenylalanine’, the amino acid ‘tyrosine’, and the neurotransmitter ‘dopamine’, both of which are derived from phenylalanine. The lack of dopamine would explain the brain gray matter loss found in patients with MS.

-Karni A, et. al. Neurology. 1999 Sep 11;53(4):883-5.
-Malamos, B., C.J. Miras, J.N. Karli-Samouilidou, D.A. Koutras. 1966. J Endocrinol. July 1, 35 223-228 doi: 10.1677/joe.0.0350223.

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About the Authors

Kristin Urdiales and Annesse Brockley share that as a family, they suffered for years with the debilitating symptoms of autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia. Their days were characterized by extreme pain, fatigue, headaches and a catalog of other seemingly unexplainable symptoms that plague so many autoimmune sufferers daily.  They knew they had to understand the “why” behind their worst symptoms before they could begin to heal from them.  So they began researching, and they never stopped! Over the last 20 years they have brought the best of science and nature together to heal themselves and help others. This has led to them publishing two books Autoimmune The Cause and The Cure and Fibromyalgia The Cause and The Cure. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and check out their website

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Questions or anything to add about the link between Hypothyroidism and Multiple Sclerosis? We want your thoughts in the comments section–Please!



  1. I have had MS for 27 yrs have had an underactive thyroid since primary schoo; . I am 56yrs old have had had 2 double MRI,S over the last 4yrs results no change or deterioration over the time my nerou informs me i am a mystery . Its so very clear i have all the symptoms to thyroid disease but my weight is only 48kg . i live on my own care for myself cooking , cleaning etc buy am very very heat sensitive I have been taking glineya and fampyra for some years now . Would really like to hear from anyone who has any comment RE this Sharon Victoria Australia

  2. Rebecca Katonica on

    I have had Ms for the past 27 years I just learned about the relationship b/w hypothyroidism and MS. I was glad to find your website great information!

  3. Pingback: The Link between MS and Hypothyroidism – georgedaleblog

  4. Rebecca H Russell on

    I am 63 years old.. I have hypothyroidism and am being checked now for MS.. I have been sickly most of my life, but the illnesses would come and go.. I am so tired all the time, drink water insistently . My doctor told me not to drink more that two gallons a day. I am very close to that..I am also now taking B12 1000 units twice monthly for my very low b12 .. my body doesn’t seem to absorb it..I have numerous other issues, heart patient, diabetic, had multiple left knee replacements and one left hip.. now I am thinking was all the joint issues more MS related…when I was a teenager I had horrible leg pains, they would even change to the color purple..I have good blood flow so not sure why? Maybe someone here can tell me.. my muscles are sore down to the bone.. I am losing strength in my arms and legs.. I have been falling and have no feeling of falling Pryor to the fall.. am picking up wheelchair today due to unsteadiness.. even with my walker, I have to Len way over to not falling and causing my arms and leaning makes my back hurt..what’s the answer..thankyou, Rebecca Russell

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