There is a direct relationship between our thyroid and calcium. Specifically, the parathyroid gland is regarded as the “calcium-regulating” gland which is important in keeping our bones strong and healthy.

Have you ever wondered why there are some people who remain skinny even if they eat a lot of food? What is the role of calcium in the development of osteoporosis and thyroid problems?

Get to Know More About the Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is a two-lobed organ located in front of the neck, just beneath the Adam’s apple. It secretes three types of hormones which are the thyroxine or T4, triiodothyronine or T3, and calcitonin. These hormones are important in the promotion of normal calcium levels in the blood.

The first two are responsible for the body’s metabolism. Iodine found in our diet is very important in the production of thyroid hormones.

You might have heard people saying that they have either a “fast” or “slow” metabolism, which is actually the rate of how the body uses the stored energy. Thyroid hormones enable the cells to consume more energy and they are important in protein production as well as glucose and fat consumption.

Calcitonin plays an important role in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies, that’s why thyroid and calcium work together. It is released into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland if there is a high level of calcium in the blood. It decreases the calcium and phosphorus blood level and increases their absorption in the bone.

Get to Know More About the Parathyroid Glands

The parathyroid glands are found in the lower neck region behind the thyroid. They are four small glands that are the shape and size of a grain of rice. The parathyroid is responsible for secreting the parathyroid hormone which is used in regulating the blood calcium levels.

What is the role of parathyroid hormone? It is very powerful because it influences our bones to release more calcium into the blood. It regulates the calcium that is absorbed from the food we eat. It determines the amount of calcium that should be excreted via our kidneys.

The parathyroid hormone also dictates the amount of calcium stored in our bones. Moreover, it increases the active Vitamin D formation, thus increasing intestinal phosphorus and calcium absorption.

How Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands Work With Calcium

The release of parathyroid hormone is triggered when the blood calcium level is low. If the serum calcium is high, the parathyroid hormone release is suppressed. Calcitonin and parathyroid hormones work together to regulate blood calcium levels.

When will these hormones be released? The calcium level in the blood is the primary stimulus for the parathyroid hormone and calcitonin to be released. When the blood calcium serum level is high, the thyroid gland secretes calcitonin, slowing down the activity of osteoclasts in the bone.

If the blood calcium level is low, it stimulates the parathyroid glands to secrete parathyroid hormone, encouraging the normal and natural process of bone breakdown.

This is crucial for the growth and maintenance of bones. Thyroid and calcium levels work together with the hormones to achieve normal blood calcium levels.

The parathyroid and calcium work together. Calcitonin and parathyroid hormones have opposing actions, and these regulate the calcium levels in the blood. This is why disorders of the parathyroid hormone such as parathyroid adenoma (tumor of the parathyroid glands) may result in hypercalcemia (increased blood calcium levels).

What Studies and Research Show

Calcium and thyroid function work hand-in-hand. In 2005, the Department of Medicine of the University Hospital of North Norway reported a case about a young man who has extreme hypercalcemia associated with parathyroid adenoma. The young man manifested hypercalcaemic syndrome.

The patient underwent parathyroidectomy which quickly resolved the clinical symptoms. It prevented the occurrence of hypercalcaemic crisis, which is a life-threatening condition as a complication of primary hyperparathyroidism. It is manifested by muscle weakness, gastrointestinal problems, and cerebral symptoms.

Hypothyroidism and calcium levels have a direct correlation. How is this possible?

Thyroid and calcium play an important role together and having an imbalance in one affects the other.

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, there are various studies showing that hypothyroid subjects who were given an acute dose of calcium retained elevated serum calcium levels for a longer period of time as compared to controlled subjects.

In the reported case of a woman having hypothyroidism and hypercalcemia, as published in the Southern Medical Journal, thyroid replacement therapy greatly improved the woman’s condition. However, in order to determine if the association of hypercalcemia and hypothyroidism is real, further research and studies should be carried out.


In the interplay of thyroid and calcium, as the parathyroid hormone function also plays a crucial part in achieving normal blood calcium levels.

They have a direct relationship in the maintenance of proper hormonal and cellular activity, primarily blood calcium regulation.

Thyroid and calcium play a crucial role in the promotion and maintenance of health.


You may not realize it, but your thyroid gland plays a huge role in your overall health.  Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of neck, and it produces hormones that are responsible for maintaining most of your body’s natural processes.  These hormones are called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).  T3 and T4 are essential in order for your body’s metabolism to function efficiently, and also lend a hand in controlling your cholesterol levels, monitoring your breathing and heart rate, normalizing your body temperature, and more.  Without your thyroid, your entire endocrine system would fall apart.

There are a number of minerals that help keep your thyroid running smoothly, and one of the most important ones is selenium.  Keep reading to discover more about how selenium specifically aids thyroid function and why it is one of the dietary minerals we just can’t do without!

What Happens When Your Thyroid Isn’t Working Properly?

Thyroid conditions are much more common than most people realize; in the U.S. alone, over 20 million people are affected, with the vast majority being women.  Statistically, one man will be diagnosed with a thyroid condition for every 5-8 women who receive the same diagnosis.  Your body requires very precise levels of thyroid hormones, so anything that sets off that balance in going to cause a problem.  The most common form of thyroid dysfunctions are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism[i].

Hyperthyroidism is when your body produces too much T3 and T4.  Typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism include sensitivity to heat/ feeling too warm all the day, high levels of stress and anxiety, heart palpitations, thinning skin and hair, weakened muscles, insomnia, and menstrual irregularities.  The most common causes behind this condition are autoimmune disorders like Graves’ Disease, thyroiditis (usually a temporary inflammation caused by a viral infection), or nodules growing on the thyroid.  Occasionally, hyperthyroidism can also be caused by taking too much of a thyroid hormone in tablet form[ii].

Hypothyroidism is the opposite problem; this is when your body produces too little T3/T4 hormones.  People who are hypothyroid usually report feeling cold, insomnia, having difficulty losing weight, cognitive dysfunction (i.e. trouble remembering, etc.), chronic fatigue, and more.  Hypothyroidism can be caused by a genetic predisposition but may also be caused by external factors such as thyroid cancer, chemotherapy treatments, certain medications, and autoimmune disease.  Because the symptoms of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are myriad, they can be difficult to identify.  But once you or your doctor suspect that your thyroid is the source of your health troubles, both conditions are easily diagnosed with a simple blood test[iii].

How Does Selenium Support the Thyroid?

Selenium is a mineral that is essential to our nutrition and can be found in many foods (or taken in tablet form as a dietary supplement).  Selenium is mostly stored in our skeletal muscles; it helps our bodies defend against cancer, boosts immunity and fertility, improves cardiovascular health, and also helps regulate our thyroid function[iv].

Multiple studies, like this one done at the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra in Portugal in 2016[v], have confirmed selenium’s role in maintaining thyroid function.  Our thyroids actually contain more selenium by weight than any other organ in our body.  All of that selenium acts as a component of the enzyme that helps to remove iodine molecules from the hormone T4, which is biologically inactive in the body; this converts that hormone into T3, which is biologically active and can be used for the body’s various metabolic processes.  Without any selenium, we would not be capable of converting T4 into T3 on our own.  That can very swiftly lead to major health problems, including hypothyroidism or conditions like Hashimoto’s Disease[vi].

It is prudent to note that it is possible to consume too much selenium, so it is not advisable to seek out selenium dietary supplements until you first consult your doctor.  High levels of selenium (anything above 400 micrograms, or mcg, per day) can lead to symptoms such as irritability, bad breath, digestive upset, brittle hair/ nails, discolored teeth, and even occasionally nervous system problems.  Extremely high levels of selenium can produce more severe problems such as respiratory difficulty and kidney or heart failure.  However, the level of selenium required to be at risk for those outcomes is exceptionally high and would require an excessive consumption of the mineral over a period of some time[vii].

Ordinarily, we can consume adequate levels of selenium (around 55 mcg per day for adults) with a diet that has a good balance of natural proteins (seafood, meat/poultry, eggs, dairy, etc.) and grains.  People who suffer from Celiac Disease/ gluten intolerance, or who stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet, may require additional selenium supplements to replace these other natural sources of the mineral.

Whether you’re perfectly healthy or suffering from a condition like hyper- or hypothyroidism, it is essential to make sure that you are consistently getting good levels of selenium into your body so that your thyroid can keep doing its job.  Luckily, that is relatively easy most of the time, and is easily accomplished with a well-balanced diet.  If you have any concerns about your thyroid function or your ability to get enough selenium on a regular basis, consult your doctor right away.  And of course, never begin a supplement or medication regimen without talking to your doctor first.