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Low calcium and the risk to your thyroid and bone health.
Despite having similar names and being adjacent in your neck, the parathyroid glands and the thyroid are very different organs. PTH helps regulate the levels of calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus in your bones and blood.
Intake of too little dietary calcium increases women’s risk of a thyroid condition that can cause bone fractures and kidney stones, scientists claim. Researchers found women with the highest intake of dietary calcium had a 44 percent reduced risk of developing primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), compared with the group with the lowest. They suggest increasing calcium intake cuts the risk of this thyroid disease, the ‘BBC News’ reported.
Milk and other dairy foods, nuts and fish such as sardines and pilchards (where the bones are eaten) are some dietary sources of calcium. However, taking too much could cause stomach pains and diarrhea. Additionally, milk and the gluten effect may not be great for thyroid patients. PHPT is caused by overactive parathyroid glands secreting too much parathyroid hormone.
The US team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked at 58,300 women who were taking part in a much broader ongoing piece of research called the Nurses’ Health Study. All were aged between 39 and 66 in 1986, when the study began, and had no history of PHPT. The women were given food questionnaires to record how frequently they ate particular foods or supplements, including calcium, every four years, with the latest being completed in 2008. Over that 22 year period, 277 cases of PHPT were confirmed. PHPT affects around one in 800 people during their lifetime and is most common in post-menopausal women.
Hyperparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands make too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized endocrine glands located in your neck, near or attached to the back of your thyroid. Endocrine glands secrete hormones necessary for the normal functioning of the body.
Two Types of Hypoparathyroidism (Too Little Parathyroid Hormone Production)
- Deficient parathyroid hormone secretion
- Inability of the kidneys and bones to respond to PTH
“Increased calcium intake, including both dietary and supplemental calcium, is independently associated with a reduced risk of developing primary hyperparathyroidism in women,” researcher Dr Julie Paik, said.Despite having similar names and being adjacent in your neck, the parathyroid glands and the thyroid are very different organs. Click To Tweet
Finally, if a woman with overactive parathyroid glands and high calcium levels (hyperparathyroidism) becomes pregnant, the excess calcium can enter the fetus and suppress the baby’s parathyroid gland development. These babies are at risk of being born with under-developed parathyroid glands. This is why it recommended that pregnant females with high blood calcium levels have their parathyroid operation before the middle of the second trimester of pregnancy, to decrease the chance of the child being born with poorly formed parathyroid glands.
See Congenital Hypothyroidism for more on this subject.