Did you know that there is a ratio one can look at to get insight on one's thyroid health on an HTMA?
The Calcium: Potassium (Ca:K) ratio is the main marker we look at to see if thyroid hormone is being utilized at a cellular level. Sure, there are other minerals we can look to for the thyroid gland itself, such as selenium, manganese and zinc, but this ratio in particular helps us understand how the body is absorbing the thyroid hormone being produced, if at all.
First, let's get do a mini recap of how thyroid hormone is produced and then we'll explore the individual minerals by explaining their role in regulating thyroid hormone.
Our hypothalamus produces a hormone called TRH in which sends a signal to our pituitary gland. The pituitary gland then makes another hormone called TSH stimulating the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. Once that signal is received, the thyroid starts producing thyroid hormones. Of the many it produces, T4 and T3 are the main ones we want to look at. T4 is what we would consider your "inactive" thyroid hormone because it needs to be transformed into T3 to be absorbed into the cell, and T3 is our "active". Our thyroid makes about 80-90% T4, and only 10-20% T3, hence the body then needs to convert that massive amount of T4 in order for the body to receive the energy it requires to function.
This is when it starts getting tricky. We have 3 main spots where our T4 is transformed: our liver, gut and kidneys. Approximately 60% of this T4 produced from the thyroid is converted into T3 in the liver, about 20% in the gut, and the rest in our kidneys. Once that is done, T3's job is to then go to every single cell in our bodies and provide the instructions the thyroid has been trying to deliver. These instructions include regulating body temperature, heart rate, the production of proteins, blood sugar usage and more. It's essentially one of the main organs that control our metabolic function.
Little note to make here for those who are unaware, our metabolism isn't solely connected to how well we can manage our weight. Our metabolism is the mechanism and rate in which we can use energy and how successful we are at converting these chemical reactions. This is why thyroid hormone is so essential to nearly every process in the body. It's because it provides every single cell the energy it needs to function.
Now it gets interesting when we start looking to the minerals that predominantly influence how our cells work in this whole cascade.
Calcium is a very heavy mineral. Not to get it confused as a "heavy metal", it's just a sedating mineral that calms the nervous system down and can be recognized as very thick- almost like a rock. If you think of our bones, where close to 90% our calcium is stored, we ideally want our bones to be thick and concrete so in the event we ever fall we don't break anything. Calcium emulates that same consistency. That being said, when the body is under stress, it needs more minerals to maintain certain functions since it's trying to out put more energy as a means to protect itself. One of the areas the body goes searching for extra minerals are our bones, and this is when it starts getting tricky. When bone starts to break down, calcium is then excreted out of the main tissue it is supposed to be stored in. Now floating around, we are at risk of accumulating calcium around other tissues and our cells, which can then block thyroid hormone from sensitizing our cells to doing their job and receiving the energy they need.
On the flip side with potassium, a mineral required for regulating blood pressure, fluid balance, muscle and nerve contraction, as well as sensitizing cells to utilizing glucose appropriately, it also instructs our cells to absorbing thyroid hormone. Potassium is like that lock in key where it literally tells the cells to allow thyroid hormone to tell it what to do. Without it, the cells will just let thyroid hormone bounce off of it and not care.
So now the question is how does one read the Ca:K ratio in synergist with the individual minerals themselves?
Well, when we have a high Ca:K ratio on a HTMA test, it means two things, either we have an excess amount of calcium in which is blocking thyroid hormone from communicating to the cell, or we have a potassium deficiency hindering our cells from absorbing thyroid hormone. Individuals with a high Ca:K ratio will struggle with more hypothyroid symptoms such as constipation, low body temperature, fatigue, brain fog, and even weight gain.
On the other hand, if one's ratio is a low Ca:K, this could mean one has a calcium deficiency or potassium is leaving the cells and cannot be absorbed properly. Symptoms of this include anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, high blood pressure, intolerance to heat, and potential weight loss.
Two of the main supplements we would recommend in this case is either our Upgraded Calcium or our Upgraded Potassium, but the best thing to do is to test and not guess just based off of symptoms. We always recommend to people to order an HTMA kit and book a consult with one of our practitioners which you can do by clicking here.
All in all, the influence these two minerals have on the body is massive, especially when it comes to thyroid health. Hopefully this was helpful in having you understand the mechanisms these two minerals have and what this ratio signifies on the HTMA test!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach