Are you avoiding the sun? It may harm your thyroid!
The current obsession with shielding from all sun exposure may be dangerous* if you have a family history of any autoimmune condition.
Our bodies have been created with the ability to turn sunshine into Vitamin D and our immune systems need Vitamin D to work properly and well.
Vitamin D and Autoimmunity
In fact scientists have found people with low Vitamin D levels may have an increased risk of developing autoimmune thyroid diseases including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease as well as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and even Type 1 Diabetes.
If you have a family history of any type of autoimmune disease keeping your Vitamin D level healthy may be even more critical for you than the average person. Investigate more than just mum, dad, grandma & grandad to find out if any aunts, uncles or cousins have an autoimmune conditions.
Vitamin D and Your Thyroid
Your thyroid gland is found in your neck just under where your Adam’s apple sits.
Your thyroid gland has specific locations built for vitamin D called Vitamin D receptors. New research has also found your thyroid might actually make Vitamin D itself!
Does SunBathing Mean My Vitamin D Level is Enough?
Unfortunately some people struggle to make Vitamin D from the sun. Most at risk of this are those with autoimmune conditions, the overweight and obese and the elderly.
In fact in sunny Crete, an island in Greece, people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism were given a Vitamin D supplement and their thyroid antibody levels reduced. This suggests even when you are in the sun regularly if you have an autoimmune thyroid condition you may need extra support from a supplement.
Should I Take a Pill?
I suggest to my clients to get their Vitamin D level tested at the end of summer with a simple blood test as one size does not fit all when it comes to sun exposure, supplementation and Vitamin D!
If you would like more information contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Always use your common sense in the sun. Avoid looking directly into the sun, always protect your face and get out of the sun before you get burnt / turn pink.
* If you have been given specific medical advice to avoid the sun you must follow the advice given by your treating medical professional.
Boelaert, K., Newby, P. R., Simmonds, M. J., Holder, R. L., Carr-Smith, J. D., Heward, J. M., … & Franklyn, J. A. (2010). Prevalence and relative risk of other autoimmune diseases in subjects with autoimmune thyroid disease. The American Journal of Medicine, 123(2), 183-e1. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.06.030
Hong Zhang, Lingyun Liang, and Zhongjian Xie (2015) Low Vitamin D status is associated with increased thyrotropin-receptor antibody titer in Graves Disease. Endocrine Practice, 21(3), 258-263. doi:10.4158/EP14191.OR
Mazokopakis, E. E., Papadomanolaki, M. G., Tsekouras, K. C., Evangelopoulos, A. D., Kotsiris, D. A., & Tzortzinis, A. A. (2015). Is vitamin D related to pathogenesis and treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hellenic Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 18(3), 222-227.