New Research Says Vitamin B12 Deficiency Is Linked With Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases
It's no secret that our bodies require a host of different vitamins and minerals to function at their best. One of those essential vitamins is B12—and when you aren't getting enough of it, you might feel anywhere from irritable to exhausted.
And according to a new study published in the journal Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets, a B12 deficiency could be linked with autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) as well. Here's what the researchers found.
Understanding the connection between vitamin B12 and autoimmune thyroid diseases.
For this research, the study authors point out that AITDs are the most prevalent organ-specific autoimmune disorders. And given that vitamin B12 plays a critical role in proper functioning of the immune system, they wanted to look closer at the correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and AITD.
In an observational study of 306 people, the participants were divided between those who were and were not deficient in B12, as well as those who had an AITD and those who did not.
Upon the researcher's analysis of the data, they observed that patients with AITDs had "significantly lower" levels of vitamin B12 compared to those without. Further, those who were deficient in B12 also had significantly higher mean values of anti-TPO.
TPO, or thyroid peroxidase, is an enzyme normally found in the thyroid gland. With TPO antibodies, the body has a harder time keeping the thyroid functioning optimally.
"The vitamin B12 level correlates significantly to AITD," the study authors conclude, adding, "The concentration of vitamin B12 should therefore be determined in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis as a diagnostic test with high sensitivity and good specificity."
What to do about it.
These results highlight the importance of having sufficient B12 levels to keep your body running smoothly.
And while vitamin B12 is high in foods like beef, organ meats, seafood, and eggs, it can still be difficult to make sure you're getting enough—especially if you're vegan or vegetarian!
To that end, finding a quality multivitamin supplement loaded with B12 is never a bad idea. (Check out our favorites here.) You can also look for supplements that support methylation, a biochemical process on the cellular level that plays a role in detoxification, cardiovascular and neurological health, energy production, and more.
In fact, it's methylation that makes it possible for the production of certain bioactive vitamins (like B12) to actually benefit the body.
Getting adequate amounts of B12 is essential for converting food to energy and even forming red blood cells and DNA. Without enough, not only will our energy suffer, but according to this research, it could impact your thyroid and risk for autoimmune thyroid diseases as well.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.