Thyroid Antibodies: Measuring Autoimmunity

The thyroid gland is the master of our metabolism. It controls the production of ATP, our fuel source, and therefore impacts every system within the body if it is not functioning optimally.

In conditions of hypothyroidism, we see T4 and T3 hormones lower and TSH rise. In conditions of hyperthyroidism, we see T4 and T3 hormones rise and TSH lower. As you can imagine, being the master of energy production and metabolism, a significant change in the amount of thyroid hormone in circulation can lead to a large assortment of signs and symptoms.

What causes a change in thyroid hormone production can be unique from one individual to the next. Possible causes include; iodine excess, iodine deficiency, exposure to toxins such as perchlorate or mercury, and certain medications such as Amiodarone. However, the most common cause of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in North America is autoimmunity.

An autoimmune condition is one in which the body loses its ability to identify what is self and what is foreign. The body then creates antibodies to attack and destroy what it has flagged as foreign. This leads to tissue destruction and hormonal imbalance in the case of autoimmune thyroid disease.

If you are struggling with a thyroid hormone imbalance, it is important to know if you have an autoimmune thyroid condition. Having one autoimmune condition is associated with an increased likelihood of getting another autoimmune condition. If your thyroid condition is autoimmune, your treatment should also include management of the immune system dysfunction.