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Cell Mitochondria VS TSH Values

By Elaine Moore on 4/18/2018

Austrian researchers have proposed that an intact mitochondrial function can guard the normal endocrine function of both the thyroid and ovarian feedback axis systems. Mitochondria are the energy and respiratory producing organelles found in most cells. Feedback mechanisms include hormones such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) that help regulate thyroid function. For instance, when thyroid hormone levels fall, the pituitary gland secretes TSH to increase thyroid hormone production.

Mitochondrial health of thyroid cells depends on having an adequate number of various substances, primarily iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and CoQ10. In thyroid cells, magnesium works with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to properly absorb iodine and the heme protein peroxidase to produce thyroid hormone. In similar fashion, magnesium is also critically important for maintaining fertility in ovarian cells.

The authors of this study have used 3D sonography to identify patients needing selenium and/or coenzyme Q10. They report that contemplating only TSH is reductionistic because a TSH falling in the normal range does not show that thyroid cells are working efficiently. The authors explain that typical criticism of this reductionism in evidence based medicine lies in the fact that it doesn't work for patients. Especially in thyroid patients, clinical therapies need to be individualized, balancing the parts of the system and the response of the patient.

Of interest to patients with Graves' ophtalmopathy (thyroid eye disease or TED) these researchers have found that this disorder often occurs after an ankle sprain, which causes a deviation of the body axis that results in a negative correlation between calcium and magnesium.  It would be interesting to know if any of the readers with TED had experienced falls or ankle sprains prior to disease development. I personally broke my kneecap before developing Graves' disease and TED. In addition the researchers found that patients with thyroid disease also presented with selenium and CoQ10 deficiencies.

The authors also discuss the numerous patients with symptoms of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism despite having normal lab results. The most common symptoms were exhaustion, muscle cramps, muscle aches, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, perspiration, irritability, depression, inattention, poor memory, vertigo and headache.

Due to space constraints the results of various nutrients and the recommended doses aren't described here but can be found in the full text article and include information on zinc, iron, magnesium, selenium, CoQ10 and the sterol regulatory element of LDL receptor promoter or the role of cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) in thyroid disease.

Resource: Roy Moncayo and Helga Moncayo. 2017. "Applying a systems approach to thyroid physiology: Looking at the whole with a mitochondrial perspective instead of judging single TSH values or why we should know more about mitochondria to understand metabolism." Biochemical and Biophysica at Science Direct. June 7: 127-40.  Full Text Article Available at:

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