Thyroid and Fertility Connection

infertility-thyroid

Do you know that there is a strong link between thyroid and fertility in women? Even a slightly underactive thyroid function could still negatively affect fertility in women (1). Recent research shed some light on why the two dysfunctions are connected. But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s learn some background information.

What is the Thyroid hormone?

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below Adam’s apple. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormone T4 by combining Iodine with amino acid Tyrosine. By using enzymatic processes, our body will convert T4 into T3 which is up to four times more potent than T4. Thyroid hormones are then released into the blood and circulate to enter organ cells that require the hormones.

When T4 and T3 are low, the pituitary gland located at the centre of the brain will release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to stimulate T4 production.

Thyroid hormone is a crucial hormone because just every organ in the body need it. The brain requires thyroid hormone to maintain concentration and retain short term memory. The skeletal system requires thyroid hormone to grow and maintain strong bone integrity. In short, the thyroid hormone is a big deal.

What does Thyroid hormone get to do with fertility?

A 2016 research by the University of Pisa in Italy, shows that T4, T3 and TSH are present in the fluid of ovarian follicles (2). The luteinised granulosa cells in healthy fertile young women found to contain thyroid hormone receptors.

The research shows strong evidence that Thyroid hormones, as well as serum Iodine, are essential factors in egg cells maturation in women. The ovarian cell surface expresses enzymes that convert T4 into T3. In other words, the ovaries can convert T4 into T3 for their own needs independently, thus acting as a secondary ‘thyroid gland’. Furthermore, the small and growing ovarian follicles can take up iodine molecules circulating in the blood more than the matured ovarian follicles. This fact suggests the importance of serum Iodine in the maturation of human egg cells.

When it comes to female fertility, the importance of healthy functioning thyroid glands, and an optimal level of blood iodine cannot be understated. Unfortunately, Iodine and fertility connection is often an overlooked factor in the treatment of female infertility.

How much Iodine do I need?

Australian Ministry of Health recommends between 150 micrograms to 1,000 micrograms (1 mg) daily Iodine intake. Japanese culture has the highest Iodine intake in the world. A 2011 study found that Japanese population Iodine intake is averaging at 1,000-3,000 micrograms (1-3 mg) daily (3).

A recent Australian survey found the average adult iodine intake is 128 micrograms daily (4) which is even below the government recommended daily intake. At the lowest Japanese iodine intake of 1,000 micrograms, Japanese is nearly eight times higher than the average Australians in daily Iodine intake.

With so many conflicting information, it gets very confusing for a lot of people. So how much Iodine should we take daily? Taking too much iodine supplementation can be as problematic as iodine deficiency.

It is difficult to gauge how much Iodine our body needs from day to day and whether we are deficient in the first place. There are tests to examine the serum iodine level. Still, these tests are expensive, and their reliability is uncertain. Therefore, since we don’t know how much Iodine we need at any given day, taking the iodine supplement can be tricky.

The safer way to take Iodine

My suggestion is to take Iodine topically using liquid iodine skin paint method; the skin will absorb the Iodine as needed. Simply use 5% Lugol’s Iodine to paint about a palm-size iodine patch on your skin (inner arm, inner thigh, back of knees, back of elbows, neck, abdomen). Apply the skin iodine patch on a different part of your body every day.

Observe the iodine patch on your skin every hour. If the iodine patch disappears in less than 4 hours, this means you have a marked deficiency of Iodine. If between 4-8 hours, you have a slight iodine deficiency. If the patch is still visible after 8 hours, you have an optimal level of serum iodine.

Iodine deficiency is just one factor in a long list of reasons behind thyroid disorder and infertility. There are so many contributing factors to infertility, and the situation can be quite complicated. There are many factors which can contribute to infertility; Iodine deficiency is only one of them. For this reason, I recommend booking a consultation with us at Green Heart Natural Health, a naturopathic clinic based in the Inner West area of Sydney, Australia.

Disclaimer

Iodine use may be inappropriate in some autoimmune thyroid disease such as Hashimoto thyroiditis and many others. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before embarking on any health protocol.

If you have a thyroid or infertility condition, please contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.

 

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Seaweed Salad Roll

This seaweed salad roll recipe is a delicious and healthy low carb, paleo and ketogenic friendly recipe and super convenient to carry in a lunch box.

 

infertility-thyroid

Do you know that there is a strong link between thyroid and fertility in women? Even a slightly underactive thyroid function could still negatively affect fertility in women. Recent research shed some light on why the two dysfunctions are connected. But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s learn some background information.

What is the Thyroid Hormone?

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below Adam’s apple. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormone T4 by combining Iodine with amino acid Tyrosine. By using enzymatic processes, our body will convert T4 into T3 which is up to four times more potent than T4. Thyroid hormones are then released into the blood and circulate to enter organ cells that require the hormones.

When T4 and T3 are low, the pituitary gland located at the centre of the brain will release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to stimulate T4 production.

What does Thyroid hormone get to do with fertility?

A 2016 research by the University of Pisa in Italy, shows that T4, T3 and TSH are present in the fluid of ovarian follicles. The luteinised granulosa cells in healthy fertile young women found to contain thyroid hormone receptors.

The research shows strong evidence that Thyroid hormones, as well as serum Iodine, are essential factors in egg cells maturation in women. The ovarian cell surface expresses enzymes that convert T4 into T3. In other words, the ovaries can convert T4 into T3 for their own needs independently, thus acting as a secondary ‘thyroid gland’. Furthermore, the small and growing ovarian follicles can take up iodine molecules circulating in the blood more than the matured ovarian follicles. This fact suggests the importance of serum Iodine in the maturation of human egg cells.

When it comes to female fertility, the importance of healthy functioning thyroid glands, and an optimal level of blood iodine cannot be understated. Unfortunately, Iodine and fertility connection is often an overlooked factor in the treatment of female infertility.

Supplementation Iodine

Other than dietary iodine source, you can take supplementation iodine to increase your iodine intake. The best way to do this by taking Iodine topically using liquid iodine skin paint method; the skin will absorb the Iodine as needed. Simply use 5% Lugol’s Iodine to paint about a palm-size iodine patch on your skin (inner arm, inner thigh, back of knees, back of elbows, neck, abdomen). Apply the skin iodine patch on a different part of your body every day.

Observe the iodine patch on your skin every hour. If the iodine patch disappears in less than 4 hours, this means you have a marked deficiency of Iodine. If between 4-8 hours, you have a slight iodine deficiency. If the patch is still visible after 8 hours, you have an optimal level of serum iodine.

If you suspect you may be lacking in iodine and have iodine deficiency-related illness, please contact us for an obligation-free discussion.

If you have a thyroid or infertility condition, please contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.