Among the many things your thyroid can affect is shown in the relationship between hypothyroidism and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Your multiple sclerosis treatments may not be sufficient if you have an underlying thyroid condition that’s making your situation worse. Read on to find out how your thyroid can affect your MS.
The Hypothyroidism and Multiple Sclerosis Connection
1. Studies Show a Co-Occurrence
According to a medical journal, hypothyroidism and multiple sclerosis have similar pathogenic mechanisms, and there is a significant co-occurrence between them. This study also showed that MS has similarities to an autoimmune disease. Some studies even showed that autoimmune disorders have a tendency to congregate, which can explain why thyroid disorders seem to be present in people with MS.
2. Tyrosine Deficiency
People with MS have low levels of the dopamine and the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. Low levels of tyrosine can affect your thyroid gland because both the T4 and T3 hormones derive from this amino acid. Balanced levels of T3 and T4 are essential to keep the thyroid gland healthy. This association shows the connection between hypothyroidism and multiple sclerosis.
3. Problems With Digesting Proteins
People with MS have insufficient enzymes that help dissolve dietary proteins. These proteins, like phenylalanine and tyrosine, are vital amino acids the body needs to function. This difficulty in digesting proteins caused by MS may lead to hypothyroidism because the thyroid gland cannot produce thyroid hormones without tyrosine.
4. Myelin-Producing Cells
Hypothyroidism may also cause MS because of its overall effect on the body and low levels of thyroid hormones. An underactive thyroid may also cause a deficiency in the maturation of precursor cells to myelin-producing cells which insulate the sheath of the brain neurons. An MS condition is from by the deterioration of this sheath.
Most people with MS are also dopamine deficient. Dopamine triggers the brain’s pleasure, as well as your emotions and movement. Since symptoms of fatigue and loss of energy are prevalent in hypothyroidism and multiple sclerosis patients, dopamine may help restore energy and motivation, preventing further complications such as thyroid cancer.
6. Activated T Cells
One of the characteristics of MS is that it’s a disease with significant levels of T cells. T cells are responsible for producing various cytokines, including IFN-γ which may trigger the autoimmune process similar to Hashimoto’s disease. An MS patient’s T cells may trigger an underlying autoimmune disease of the patient.
7. Identical to Autoimmune Diseases
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society indicated that MS manifestations are unpredictable. No two patients have exactly the same symptoms, and symptoms vary over time.
MS shares a lot more similarities with autoimmune diseases, specifically with its symptoms. MS is found in the central nervous system, and it can cause chronic inflammation. Some more of its very common symptoms similar to thyroid disorders include:
- tingling or numbness
- bowel problems
- visual impairment
- autonomic nerve disorder
- visual impairment
Watch this video from Diana de Avila to find out the symptoms of fatigue in both MS and hypothyroidism!
Multiple sclerosis doesn’t just share pathogenic similarities to hypothyroidism, it also shares similar symptoms to an autoimmune disease. The very characteristics of MS may lead to hypothyroidism and an underactive thyroid, and may also be the cause of your MS. If you think your MS may be affecting your thyroid health, you should consider consulting your physician for a thyroid test and a more optimized treatment plan and medications for both conditions.
Have you been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and MS? Share your experience with us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on October 26, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.