Yes, there has been significant linkage between Candida and the problems associated with thyroid malfunctioning. Let’s see how Candida overgrowth affect our thyroid activities.
The thyroid gland is positioned at the lower portion of the neck. It is important from the fact that it releases hormones like triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and calcitonin. The inactive T3 needs to be activated into an active T4 form. You might have often come across the terms T3 and T4 when your doctor would have prescribed to check their levels. These hormones control a variety of physiological functions in our body and hence are that much significant for the proper functioning of our body. A right balance of the hormones is a prerequisite for this purpose and either a low (hypothyroidism) or high (hyperthyroidism) release of the hormones has been found to cause diversified adverse effects to the human body. Recent observations by medical practitioners have suggested that there might be a significant correlationship between Candida overgrowth and hypothyroidism.
Candida overgrowth, immune-modulation and hypothyroidism:
As the host body gets overloaded with an increased population of the Candida, the immune system sensing the problem tries to rectify the situation. In this attempt it releases a number of proinflammatory cytokines and other immune agents that can modulate the thyroid. According to Dr. Michael McNett, many patients with hypothyroidism infact are Candida hypersensitive positive. Accordingly, a treatment for the reduction of hypersensitive cases of Candida has been found to be beneficial in the alleviation of a significant proportion of the problems with hypothyroidism. After an exaggerated attack by the immune system the dying off and the dead Candida cells release toxins. Till now 79 different types of such Candida toxins have been recognized including the glycoprotein types (Iwata et al.). The cells also release different other chemical compounds. All these compounds can show immuno-modulatory effects and play havoc with the way our immune responses work.
Candida and hormonal imbalance:
The release of many of our hormones is based on a feedback mechanism. As the hormone level in the body reaches a sufficient threshold point, the endocrine system ceases to provide the body with anymore input of the hormone. The Candida hypersensitivity can result in significant hormonal imbalance within the body as suggested by Dr. Cook in “The Yeast Connection”. Already, it was an established fact that the waste products released by Candida can mimic a number of hormones and their binding partners in their chemical structures. According to the work of Skowronski and Zhao, it synthesizes a compound called EBP (Estrogen Binding protein) that can bind estrogen and sequesters it. This sends false signals to the hormonal system suggesting that it has not produced the adequate levels of the required hormone and continues its secretion.
Donald P. Ellsworth, M.D, University of South Carolina has also suggested for the existence of bioidentical hormones. As a result, there arises a condition called estrogen dominance. The condition promotes the production of increased levels of thyroid binding globulin that inhibits the fruitful utilization of the thyroid hormones by the host body. It also seems to impair the conversion of T3 into the active T4 form. Estrogen dominance causes our liver to make more thyroid binding globulin which will make less thyroid hormone available for use by the cells. On similar lines, recent reports suggest that wrong message about higher thyroxine levels in the body can be sent to the thyroid gland and result in the development of hypothyroidic conditions.
Difficulty in the detection of the unhealthy nexus:
The Candida mediated imbalance in the thyroid hormones has often been difficult to detect through blood tests. The thyroid receptors (the sites where the hormones sit and elicit the effector responses) are of multiple types. The one that plays a central role is present in the thyroid gland, pituitary gland and some portions of the brain which controls the level of the hormone in the blood and is different from the ones that are present in the other parts like connective tissues, bones, muscles, parts of brain, skin and so on. It is highly possible that the Candida chemicals causing the change in thyroid levels affect only the latter receptor types and thereby the changes are avoiding detection through blood tests.
Symptoms similar to Candida and hypothyroidism:
According to David Cooper, MD hypothyroidism can cause a wide range of health complicacies in humans. There are a number of symptoms that are common between Candida overgrowth and the impairment in thyroid responses: early fatigue, gain of weight, lack of concentration, headache, insomnia, drowsiness, fibroids, cold feet and hands, menopausal symptoms, skin problems, etc. The overlapping of these symptoms from the two cases points towards a greater implication of Candidiasis in thyroid complications that makes it imperative to check for Candida hypersensitive conditions when a person suffers from hypothyroidism.
Therapeutic interventions to control the damage:
According to the experts in the field, the strategies to be taken to prevent and limit the situation of the Candidiasis and thyroid problems should follow natural therapeutic regimens rather than the intake of drugs for long term benefits. Approaches may include: (i) starvation of the yeast- administration of easily digestible sugars should be avoided in the diet as the yeast thrives on that medium rather complex indigestible polysaccharides could be provided which also removes much of the toxins released by Candida. (ii) Eating habits should include more of natural foods and also in regular intervals. (iii) The supplementation of probiotic product like L. acidophilus could provide much benefit under this condition. The administration of such probiotic strains would result in reducing the pH of the medium to such an extent that will result in a non-congenial condition for the growth of the yeast. (iv) A combination of prebiotics and probiotics can work wonders to combat the situation.
Therefore, it can be said beyond doubt that the Candida overgrowth can aggravate the problems of hypothyroidism and in many circumstances might as well be the reason behind it. From the opinion of the experts as well as scientific evidences, it is quite clear that both the conditions share a significant number of symptoms between them. The use of antibiotic and related drugs to control Candida might increase chances of hypothyroidism through the release of toxins by the dead cells and natural therapeutic interventions should be the safer choice.
The use of probiotic formulations which contains the right balance of probiotic strains in the desired quantities can be beneficial in curbing Candida overgrowth. For instance the probiotic product ‘Probacto’ has been prepared through years of rigorous research and is highly recommended under such conditions to outgrow the yeast and alleviate the problems of hypothyroidism and promote an overall health benefit.
Crook WG. The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough. Jackson, Tenn., Professional Books, 1983, 1984, 1986.
Cheng G, Yeater KM and Hoyer LL. Cellular and Molecular Biology of Candida albicans Estrogen Response. Eukaryotic Cell. (2006); 5: 180-191. http://ec.asm.org/content/5/1/180.long
Cooper D, MD, McDermott M, MD and Wartofsky L, MD. Hypothyroidism. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (2004); 89 (11). http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/89/11/0.2.full
Iwata, K.; Yamamoto, Y Glycoprotein Toxins Produced by Candida albicans. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the Mycoses, PAHO Scientific Publication #356, June 1977.