Quote of the Week: More on Thyroid

A lot of you have thyroid issues, so I thought this statement might be useful for you.

The two main antibodies used to screen for Hashimoto’s are thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (Tg). It’s important to check both because either one can be elevated, although TPO is more commonly elevated.

An important thing to understand about thyroid antibodies is that your lab level doesn’t necessarily indicate severity of disease.

For example, let’s say one person has a TPO antibody level of 50, another has a level of 500, and a third has a level of 5,000.

The person with a TPO antibody level of 5,000 does not necessarily have the worst expression of the disease. In fact, the person with an antibody level of 50 could have much greater destruction and inflammation of their thyroid gland and more severe symptoms.

This is because antibodies themselves don’t destroy the thyroid gland. Instead, they bind to tissues and signal T cells to attack the tissue. This T cell response varies from person to person.

Some people may have high antibodies but low T cell activity and hence they don’t have significant tissue destruction. 

Or someone could have low antibody levels, such as 50, but their T cells are so aggressive they cause massive tissue destruction.

Knowing your antibody baseline — what’s normal for you — is more important in determining progression of the autoimmune destruction than looking at how your antibody levels compare to other people’s. 

For example, if your antibodies are always around 200 but then suddenly go up to 2,000, then you know something triggered a flare up.

On the other hand, if your antibody count went down to 70, then you may have had a beneficial response to a protocol or dietary change.

But remember, only looking at antibodies does not give you the whole picture. The T cell response also plays a role in the severity of your autoimmunity. 

Datis Kharrazian, author of  Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Results Are Normal?

So, useful, huh? Especially the bit about not comparing your antibody levels with other people’s. It makes sense in that I often see quite low-ish antibody levels, yet the thyroid symptom picture is quite marked. Now I know why – y’see I learn all the time too!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: