What is Hypoparathyroidism?
Parathyroid glands are part of the endocrine system and consist of four rice grain sized glands located behind the larger thyroid gland in the neck. It generates the parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates phosphorus and calcium levels in the body, along with producing the active form of vitamin D. If too little PTH is secreted, calcium levels fall and phosphorus levels rise beyond safe levels. This is known as Hypoparathyroidism (HPT). HPT is not a serious medical condition. However, it is important to detect this early on and requires constant monitoring.
How to know if you have Hypoparathyroidism?
If calcium levels are low, you may notice a few or more of the following symptoms:
- Dry skin
- Hair loss in the patch pattern
- Brittle nails
- Muscle cramps and aching
- Fingertips, lips, and toes burn, tingle or turn numb
- Depression and anxiety
- Painful menstruation
In children, this manifests as weak tooth enamel or poor teeth development, vomiting, and headaches.
So what causes Hypoparathyroidism?
- Injury – If the parathyroid gland suffers an injury from which it does not fully or partially recover, or if it has to be removed.
- Genetics – Certain genetic disorders may cause parathyroid glands to malfunction.
- Autoimmune disorders – These may cause the body to turn against its own organs and glands.
- Medical treatments – Certain medical treatments such as radiation for cancer may prevent parathyroid gland from functioning properly.
- Deficiency of nutrients – Low magnesium levels may disrupt parathyroid glands.
How can you combat Hypoparathyroidism?
An excellent way to reduce HPT is through diet. A dietitian will be able to recommend a suitable diet to plug the nutrient deficiencies causing HPT.
- Calcium – Foods that stimulate calcium production in the body are milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, beans, green leafy vegetables, oats, apricots, prunes, fortified cereals, and juices.
- Protein – Prefer lean meats, tofu, deep water fish such as tuna or cod and beans.
- Healthy fats – Olive oil and almond oil should be preferred to get Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Hydrate – Drink at least eight glasses of water, freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices without artificial additives.
- Supplements – A doctor will prescribe vitamin D or calcium supplements based on the results of blood tests. A multivitamin tablet daily containing vitamins A, B complex, C, E, magnesium, selenium, and zinc will also be of tremendous benefit.
- Food allergens – If you have food sensitivities, take care that you avoid these food items. Some potential allergens which affect a large number of people are dairy, soy, preservatives, corn, additives, and wheat.
- Refined foods – Sugar and white starch products such as bread and pasta.
- Transfats – These are a common component of processed foods such as cakes, cookies, French fries, margarine, donuts, onion rings, and fried foods.
- Caffeine – Stimulants that contain caffeine such as coffee and tea.
- Carbonated beverages – These contain high amounts of phosphates which take away calcium from your bones.
Some natural remedies to combat Hypoparathyroidism
- Apple cider vinegar – Adding this to your diet can help you regulate hormones and increase metabolism. This is because it ensures that the acid-alkaline balance in the body is maintained. It also ensures that weight loss is slow and steady so that the body can adjust.
- Ginger – Ginger is packed with minerals such as zinc, potassium, and magnesium all of which combat inflammation in the body. It helps in the proper functioning of parathyroid glands. The best part is that you need to take a very small amount of ginger every day. This versatile herb can be included in your diet in many forms such as vegetables, teas, salads, and soups.
These are some of the ways in which Hypoparathyroidism can be combated. It is important to remember that in general, what is good for the entire body is also good for the parathyroid gland. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and mental wellbeing are crucial for an optimal level of health. You should also take time out to practice yoga and meditation regularly as stress can sometimes cause the endocrine system to malfunction.
Good luck, and healthy happy living to you!