December 05, 2022 4 min read

In this article

    The Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders: What to look out for

    The side effects of thyroid problems can be difficult to connect or trace back to the true cause. Depending on what kind of thyroid issue you have, it can result in a number of unique symptoms caused by fluctuating thyroid hormone levels.

    Fluctuating Hormone Levels

    • The symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
      • Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
      • Restlessness
      • Mood swings
      • Difficulty sleeping
      • Fatigue
      • Heat sensitivity
      • Muscle weakness
      • Diarrhea and indigestion
      • Frequent urination
      • Persistent thirst
      • Itchiness
      • Decreased sex drive
    • The symptoms of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid):
      • Fatigue
      • Cold sensitivity
      • Weight gain
      • Constipation
      • Depression
      • Slow movements and thoughts
      • Muscle aches and weakness
      • Muscle cramps
      • Dry skin
      • Brittle hair and nails
      • Low sex drive
      • Pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and fingers
      • Irregular or heavy periods
    • The symptoms of thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland)
      • Feeling worried, anxious, and nervous
      • Being irritable
      • Trouble sleeping
      • Fast heart rate
      • Fatigue
      • Weight loss
      • Heat intolerance
      • Increased appetite
      • Tremors
      • Dry skin
      • Decreased mental ability to concentrate and focus
    • The symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland)
      • Fatigue
      • Cold sensitivity
      • Constipation
      • Pale, dry skin
      • A puffy face
      • Brittle nails
      • Hair loss
      • Swollen tongue
      • Weight gain
      • Muscle aches, weakness, and stiffness
      • Joint pain and stiffness
      • Heavy menstrual bleeding
      • Depression
      • Memory lapses

    Collagen and the Thyroid: What's the connection?

    Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. The collagen protein, a fibrous structural protein, can be found all throughout the body in the connective tissues. This includes the skin, muscles, joints, blood vessels, gut lining, and more. Collagen levels are highest leading up to our mid-twenties. From there, collagen production slows and the common signs of aging start to show up. Joint pain, muscle atrophy, digestive issues, wrinkled skin, and hair loss can often be correlated with a decrease in collagen. Many of these symptoms/signs of aging also overlap with the symptoms of thyroid disorders.

    The thyroid, on the other hand, is a small gland located in the neck. It produces two hormones called triiodothyronine, also called T3, as well as thyroxine, or T4 for short. Some studies have shown that poor thyroid health and an imbalance of these hormones can inhibit collagen synthesis and may explain why many of the symptoms of thyroid disorders mirror those of collagen deficiency.

    Poor Thyroid Health and Collagen Synthesis

    How does collagen help with thyroid disorders?

    Collagen supplements made of pure hydrolyzed collagen contain amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. When consumed, collagen is broken down into these amino acids and absorbed by the body. These amino acids then stimulate further collagen synthesis and may help to increase collagen production levels overall. Collagen may be able to help manage thyroid disorders and their symptoms by:

    • Managing blood sugar levels: Many patients with hypothyroidism are glycine deficient. Glycine may reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin response in people with type 2 diabetes. By supplementing with a glycine-rich dietary supplement such as collagen, it may improve insulin response and boost metabolism.
    • Reducing the risk of osteoporosis:Since people with thyroid disorders typically have lower levels of collagen, they are also at an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Excessive amounts of T4 accelerate bone loss. Studiesconducted on postmenopausal women illustrated that collagen peptides may increase bone mineral density, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

    Collagen Peptides May Increase Bone Density

    • Improving digestion: Digestive issues are commonly associated with thyroid disorders. The thyroid hormones facilitate digestive functions such as muscle contraction in the digestive tract. Collagen also helps to strengthen the gut lining. Supplementing with collagen may improve the gut barrier function and prevent harmful pathogens from entering the bloodstream.
    • Managing inflammation:Collagen's anti-inflammatory powers can be traced back to its ability to strengthen and heal the gut. By managing inflammation, those with thyroid disorders may find that their symptoms are improved or less severe.
    • Reducing cortisol levels:Cortisol, the stress hormone, can inhibit the liver from converting T4 into T3. However, glycine, an amino acid found in collagen, is known to reduce the harmful effects of cortisol.

    The Stress Hormone Cortisol

    What is the best type of collagen to take for thyroid disorders?

    Today, collagen supplements come in many different forms. Bone broth is one of the few, true dietary sources of collagen. However, collagen can be hydrolyzed into powders that can suit your dietary preferences and applications.

    • Gelatin, a partially cooked form of collagen, delivers all of the benefits of collagen while providing a gelling property to add firmness to your favorite desserts, smoothies, and stews.
    • Marine Collagen is the most bioavailable form of collagen and is derived from the skins of fish. It is also pescatarian-friendly!
    • Bovinecollagen is collagen sourced from cows. Grass-fed collagen powder is easy to add to coffee and tea with no aftertaste!

    Forms of collagen that should be passed up include liquid collagen (diluted collagen), collagen creams (cannot penetrate the skin barrier), and bottled collagen (easy to DIY).

    If you are already taking thyroid medication, you should consult a healthcare professional before adding a collagen supplement to your diet. Blood tests can be performed to see if you are deficient in other nutrients such as vitamin D or calcium. Together, these supplements and a few healthy habits may be able to improve the symptoms of thyroid disorders without the side effects commonly paired with thyroid medications.

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    Summary Points:

    Poor thyroid health and an imbalance of these hormones can inhibit collagen synthesis and may explain why many of the symptoms of thyroid disorders mirror those of collagen deficiency.

    Supplementing with collagen may improve the gut barrier function and prevent harmful pathogens from entering the bloodstream.

    Cortisol, the stress hormone, can inhibit the liver from converting T4 into T3; however, glycine, an amino acid found in collagen, is known to reduce the harmful effects of cortisol.

    Marine Collagen is the most bioavailable form of collagen and is derived from the skins of fish. It is also pescatarian-friendly.

    Not all collagen is created equal. Liquid collagen (diluted collagen), collagen creams (cannot penetrate the skin barrier), and bottled collagen (easy to DIY) are often not worth the money.

    Article References:

    1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659
    2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/underactive-thyroid-hypothyroidism/symptoms/
    3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15455-thyroiditis#symptoms-and-causes
    4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20351855



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