Adverse Reactions, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Gait, Balance and Tremors

Author: 12 Comments Share:
Gait, tremors with adverse medication vaccine reactions

One of the things I most love about social media and health research is the opportunity to identify patterns of illness across different patient groups. Here is an example of finding research from one patient group, ThyroidChange, that likely spans many others (Gardasil injured, post Lupron Hashimoto’s, and Fluoroquinolone reactions – to name but a few) and offers clues to a perplexing array of symptoms. The research, is about a little known association between movement and balance disorders and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: Ataxia associated with Hashimoto’s disease: progressive non-familial adult onset cerebellar degeneration with autoimmune thyroiditis.  Some background.

Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s is the most common causes of hypothyroidism afflicting women at a rate of 10 to 1 compared to men. It is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies attack the thyroid gland and destroy its ability to maintain normal thyroid hormone concentrations. The most common symptoms include: fatigue, muscle pain, weight gain, depression, cognitive difficulties, cold intolerance, leg swelling, constipation, dry skin. If left untreated, goiter – a swollen thyroid gland, appears. If left untreated for an extended period, cardiomyopathy (swelling of the heart muscle), pleural (lung) and pericardial (heart) effusion (fluid), coma and other dangerous conditions develop.

Hashimoto’s and Cerebellar Degeneration

A little known risk in Hashimoto’s is cerebellar degeneration. The cerebellum is the cauliflower looking section at the base of the brain that controls motor coordination – the ability to perform coordinated tasks such as walking, focusing on a visual stimuli and reaching for objects in space. The walking and balance disturbances associated with cerebellar damage or degeneration have a very distinct look, a wide gait, with an inability to walk heel to toe. Cerebellar ataxia looks like this:

In recent years, cerebellar involvement in attention and mood regulation have also been noted. The physicians reporting the Hashimoto’s – ataxia connection present case studies of six patients with Hashimoto’s disease, presumably controlled with medication and a progressive and striking shrinkage of the cerebellum (see report for MRI images) along with progressively debilitating ataxia (walking and balance difficulties) and tremors. Here’s where it becomes interesting.

Hashimoto’s: Medication Adverse Reaction and Misdiagnosis

Hashimoto’s disease is prevalent in our research into medication adverse reactions for Gardasil and Cervarix and Lupron, with some indications it may develop post Fluoroquinolone injury as well. The symptoms are difficult to distinguish from other neurological and neuromuscular diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and an array of psychiatric conditions, and so Hashimoto’s often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed and mistreated for some time.

Hashimoto’s, Demyelination and Cerebellar Damage

In some of the more severe adverse reactions to medications and vaccines that would lead to Hashimoto’s, the tell tale cerebellar gait disturbances have been noted and documented, along with a specific type of tremor (discussed below).

Research from other groups shows a strong relationship between thyroid function and myelin/demylenation patterns in nerve fibers in animals. Specifically, insufficient T3 concentrations demyelinates nerve axons, while T3 supplementation elicits myelin regrowth. Myelin is the white sheathing, the insulation that protects nerves and improves the electrical conduction of messages in sensory, motor and other neurons. Like co-axial cable in electrical wiring, when the protective sheathing is lost, electrical conductance is disrupted. The early symptoms of a demyelinating disease neuromuscular pain, weakness, sometimes tremors. These can be misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, when in reality, the culprit is a diseased thyroid gland.

Back to the Cerebellum

The cerebellum is a focal point of white matter axons – myelinated sensory and motor nerves. The cerebellum is where input becomes coordinated into motor movements or movement patterns. White matter damage in the cerebellum causes cerebellar ataxia, the movement and balance disorders displayed above. Hashimoto’s elicits white matter disintegration. Adverse reactions to medications and vaccines can elicit autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease. See the connection?

The Thiamine – Gut Connection

It gets even more interesting when we add another component of systemic medication adverse reactions – nutritional malabsorption, specifically thiamine deficiency. Almost across the board, patients with medication or vaccine adverse reactions report gut disturbances, from leaky gut, to gastroparesis, constipation, pain and a myriad of other GI issues that make eating and then absorbing nutrients difficult. Gut issues are common in thyroid disease too.

As we learn more, and as individuals are tested, severe nutrient deficiencies are noted, in vitamin D, Vitamin B1, B12, Vitamin A, sometimes magnesium, copper and zine. We’ve recently learned of the connections between Vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency and a set of conditions affecting the autonomic nervous system called dsyautonomia or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) linked to thiamine deficiency in the post Gardasil and Cervarix injury group. It may be linked to other injured groups as well, but we do not know yet.

Thiamine and Cell Survival

Thiamine or vitamin B1, is necessary for cellular energy. It is a required co-factor in several enzymatic processes, including glucose metabolism and interestingly enough, myelin production (the Hashimoto’s – cerebellar connection). We can get thiamine only from diet. When diet suffers as in the case of chronic alcoholism, where most of the research on this topic is focused, or when nutritional uptake is impaired, thiamine deficiency ensues. Thiamine deficiency can elicit cell death by three mechanisms:

  1. Mitochondrial dysfunction (reduced energy access) and cell death by necrosis
  2. Programmed cell death – apoptosis
  3. Oxidative stress – the increase in free radicals or decrease in ability to clear them

Thiamine deficiency in and of itself can elicit a host of serious health symptoms. The cell death and disruption of cellular energy balance can be significant and lead to a totally disrupted autonomic system.

Thiamine and Myelin Growth

Add to those symptoms, the fact that thiamine is involved in the growth myelin sheathing around nerves, and we have a whole host of additional neuromuscular symptoms masking as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue. Like with MS, limb and body tremors are noted in dysautonomic syndromes such as POTS. (Video of POTS tremors, note the uniqueness of the POTS tremor and the similarity between it and the foot tremor shown above along with cerebellar ataxia).

Let thiamine deficiency continue unchecked for period and we get brain damage, as white matter – the myelin disintegrates in the brainstem, the cerebellum and likely continues elsewhere. One of the most prominent areas of damage in thiamine deficiency, is the cerebellum, and hence, the cerebellar ataxia (movement disorders) noted in chronic alcoholics who are thiamine deficient, but also observed post medication or vaccine adverse reaction.

The Double Whammy on Myelin and Cerebellar Function

In the case medication or vaccine adverse reactions, particularly those that reach the systemic level, we have a double whammy on myelin disintegration: from a diseased thyroid gland and a diseased gut. Hashimoto’s and the reduction of thyroid hormones, particularly T3, impairs nerve conduction by shifting from a constant and healthy remyelinating pattern to one of demyelination, while the lack of thiamine further impairs myelin regrowth, because it is a needed co-factor. Both deficiencies affect peripheral nerves, but both also hit the brainstem, the cerebellum and likely other areas within the brain.

Take Home Points

The science of adverse reactions is new and evolving and much of what I am reporting here remains speculative. However, it has become abundantly clear through our research that to address medication adverse reactions or vaccine adverse reactions in a simplistic fashion, by region, or in an organ specific manner, is to miss the broader implications of the compensatory disease processes that ensue. Moreover, to look for symptoms of adverse reactions simply by the drug’s mechanism of action and/or by the standard outcome variables listed in adverse event reporting systems, again misses the complexity of the human physiological response to what the body is perceiving as a toxin. I believe that the entire framework for understanding the body’s negative response to a medication must be shifted to a much broader, multi-system, and indeed, multidisciplinary approach. In the mean time, we will continue to collect data on adverse reactions and offer our readers points of consideration in their quests for healing. I should note, that finding these connections is entirely contingent on the input our community of patients and health activists, both via the personal health stories that so many of you have been willing to share and the data we collect through our research. You know more about your health and illness than we do.

What we Know So Far – Tests to Consider

If you have had an adverse reaction to a medication or vaccine and neuromuscular difficulties, like pain, numbness, motor coordination problems, tremors etc., consider testing for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Also, consider thyroid testing when fatigue, depression, mood lability (switching moods), constipation, attentional and focus difficulties are present. In fact, I would consider thyroid testing, specifically for autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimoto’s, as one of the first disease processes to rule out.

If you have had an adverse reaction to a medication that includes gut disturbances, consider the possibility that you are deficient in key micronutrients such as Vitamin D, the B’s, Vitamin A, magnesium, copper, zinc. And given the modern diet, consider that you were probably borderline deficient even before experiencing the adverse reaction. These nutrients are critically important to health and healing (and no, I do not have an association with vitamin companies or testing companies). Some tests for these nutrients are more accurate than others, so be sure to do your homework first.

If you have symptoms associated with autonomic systems dysregulation such as those associated with POTS, dysautonomia and its various permutations, consider thiamine testing, especially, transkelotase testing.

Share Your Story

If you have experienced a reaction to a medication or vaccine, please share your story in a blog post. Write for us.

We Need Your Help

If you think what we do is worthwhile, contribute to research and our medical reporting at Hormones Matter. We’re totally unfunded at this point and can use your help to continue operations. Yes, I’d like to support Hormones Matter.

Postscript: This article was published originally on Hormones Matter on October 15, 2013. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share
Previous Article

Stress, Hormones, and Migraine

Next Article

Autoinflammatory Syndromes Induced by Adjuvants: A Case for PFAPA

You may also like

12 Comments

  1. Thank you so much. I have had progressive symptoms for 27 years. I have no antibodies and was just this year diagnosed with hashimotos when I went hypothyroid. Doctors have said throughout that too many systems were affected, so it had to be somatic. I have severe bit d deficiency always. Thyroid meds are helping, but I have orthostatic hypertension and possibly a more expansive heart dysregulation problem. My muscles not only become weak, but will fail entirely and require rest before I can use them again. I also get gait problems that come and go. And my eyes are having a lot of problems too. I have 36 snp mutations in the methylation chain and only 4 normal snps. I suspect my body isn’t properly converting/metabolizing vitamins. I’m high in arsenic too. It’s frustrating having to figure it out on my own. I’m going to check thiamin. Thanks again

      1. Things have progressed a lot since my first post. I now know I have sinus tachycardia, low igg, high ige (even with treatment), some brain damage, low iron (down from high iron), lifethreatening idiopathic angioedema, idiopathic urticaria, oral allergy syndrome, oral laytex syndrome, and hypersomnolence. I have had adverse reactions to the flu shot, ranitidine, erythomyacin, tetrocycline and to latex as well.

          1. Jennifer have you had a active vitamin b12 ( serum is useless both of us were misdiagnosed..) folate,ferritin,iron,MMA levels attended ? there is an epidemic occurring as symptons are not recognised as well medications eg antiacids,diabetic meds,steroids,hormones,ssome antibiotics,beta blockers cause malabsorption of vitamin b12.Low vitamin d can also be missed.For life changing facts view videos on b12awareness.org

  2. Having read the posts and the comments, perhaps I can add some information that links thiamin and thyroid. I am going to use a simple analogy.
    Gasoline + oxygen + spark plug = energy
    Glucose + oxygen + thiamin = energy
    What this simple equation illustrates is what we call oxidation, the combination of oxygen with fuel. The simplest example is an open fire where the heat energy is dispersed into the atmosphere. To be useful in carrying out work,that energy has to be controlled and the engine of a car guides the energy through a transmission to the wheels. A human body is made up of between 70 and 100 trillion cells, all of which require that energy to function. The brain consumes 20% of the oxygen with every breath because it has a high rate of metabolism. Oxidation takes place in the “fireplaces” within each cell and these are called mitochondria. They are so small that their structure can only be seen with an electron microscope. The principle that applies to a car applies to us. The energy generated by the mitochondria is used in a series of biochemical events which are really the equivalent of the transmission. In other words the energy is consumed in function. Some people may remember that old cars had flywheels. The flywheel kept the engine from running away from itself. Well, thyroid hormone is the equivalent of the flywheel. It modifies the rate at which metabolism proceeds and without it metabolism comes to a halt. By the same token too much will drive energy metabolism, thus wasting energy. We can now put these two facts together—–no thiamin, no energy—–no thyroid hormone, no transmission. The clinical effects are much the same but obviously require that their differences be recognized professionally. If the differences are not recognized and the patient is given thyroid when thiamin is really needed, you make things worse because you consume energy that you can ill afford in the first place.
    Now I must turn to the question on thiamin absorption. Dietary thiamin has to be linked to a protein molecule known as a transporter that conveys the vitamin into the tissues. This works very well in a healthy patient taking a healthy diet, but if the deficiency has been there for some time, this mechanism is insufficient. Therapeutic thiamin is best taken in the form of a disulfide derivative of the vitamin. The chemical name is thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD) it is sold in Japan under the trade name of Alinamin and is a prescription item. It is sold elsewhere as Fursultiamine and in the U.S. it is available as Allithiamine. Anybody reading this post should work through her(his) physician and I will provide a contact number for the vendor
    (Ecological Formulas 1-800-275-3495)

  3. Hi, I’m just wondering how – if gut absorption is problematic – how you get B1 into the system? I inject B12, but how could I get more B1 – I have all the symptoms you describe. Thanks

  4. Please help, I have been severly ill for 8 plus years now with chronic lymphatic thyroid itis aka Hashamotos. I have been to numerous doctors, 6 years ago I had an mri of my brain done in Fairbanks ak, it showed high peaks of white matter in the mylon sheath in my brain., the er doc was concerned but stumped, then my primary doc at the time sent me to a neurologist to rule out ms, since that time I have been to the er about 30 different times until i got it that they would not help me. I met a woman about a week ago (kinda a god thing) that had almost the some exact experience with her health and symptoms, she finally had her thyroid removed and is well today with no meds. I have a new dr, and and getting ran through the mill again, but indicated to her I wish to have a referral to the same surgeon the woman I had met had seen. In the mean time I can barely stand, ataxic gate, as seen above. Nashua vomiting diarrhea vertigo, pins and needles, infections, on and on and on. I could really use an advocate in this, as for some reason like twilight zone ish. The Doctors can not believe that the above mentioned is the cause, thanks so much for the information you have provided it helps me have hope, but if there is some way you could advocate for me I would be very grateful, n God bless am so ill now I fell as though I may not survive this much longer 🙁

    1. Diana, I am so sorry for your difficulties. Research shows a close connection between thyroid function and thiamine (vitamin B1) levels. The two are integrally connected at the mitochondrial level. If either is disrupted, the other is also disrupted. Low T3 affects myelination – white matter both in the body/nerves and in the brain. Dysfunctioning mitochondria impair thyroid functioning and myelination and so it becomes a cycle that is difficult to stop unless both are treated. We have several papers on this blog on both thiamine deficiency, thyroid disease and the combination (as well as on thiamine deficiency and the factors that contribute to it). I would read and print and/or forward those to your physicians. Each of the links within our blog posts are to published, peer-reviewed articles. You might consider printing/forwarding those articles as well.

      A new report, just out, showed that thiamine supplementation improved Hashimoto’s. It was a small study, but important. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4060061/

      Several other studies showing high dose thiamine therapy for mitochondrial functioning are linked in the various blog articles. Treating the additional mitochondrial deficits have also been found to help with thyroid functioning.

  5. I read your article on the possible adverse reactions to Gardasil. My daughter was a very healthy, energetic, athletic 14 yr old, now 15 up until 6 months ago. She received two of the Gardasil shots, one in June & one in August 2013. In February of 2014 she was diagnosed with chronic lymphotic thyroiditis. Everything became worse from there. She has had extreme head pain constantly for the past 4 months, with no pain free days. She was diaganosed with a mild Chiari Malformation, Occipital Neuralgia,Gastritis, & POTS. She was hospitalized for 12 days, with 3 ER visits prior to that. Thus far, no medication has helped the severe head pain, or stomach pain she struggles with everyday. She was just tested for metals poisoning, we have no results as of yet. We need answers, & a resolution and we are not getting them. This has been such a difficult time for our entire family, because knowing what this has done to our daughter is so inconceivable. I honestly feel the Gardasil is a big part of her health problems. I continue to research this, and hope I can find the answers we need very soon, as I really don’t know how much more her poor little body can take!

    1. Richelle, I am so sorry for your daughter’s health issues post Gardasil. Unfortunately, they are not uncommon. A couple things, would you consider writing and sharing her story on the blog, so that we might get a clearer case study together? The patient stories serve as cases studies for us and drive our research. Since each person responds to the vaccine a little differently, each story provides another clue for us to research and find ways to help these girls and boys. Second, please read our posts on thiamine. We have a dozen or more on the blog. We have case studies where treatment was effective and research reports explaining why. Also read the posts on mitochondrial damage and dysfunction. Our research is pointing toward mitochondrial damage and thiamine as well as several other supplements that are critical to proper mitochondrial functioning. Once those levels are replenished, we have seen significant improvement. Diet is also a huge component of recovery, including the elimination of all junk food, processed food and other inflammatory foods – gluten. We have articles on nutrition and mitochondrial functioning as well. We are learning a little bit more with each case.

  6. Wow! Great article! Thank you very much for it! You put together a lot of the pieces of the drug AE puzzle. So much of what you wrote rings true for fluoroquinolone toxicity. It’s amazing how much all of us with drug AEs have in common. Though it is a shame that we need such a specialty, it would be nice to have medical professionals who specialized in treating drug AEs holistically. I really like that idea. Not only would our struggles gain acknowledgement, but they could be a specialty area of medicine. It’s a ways off, but perhaps your mention of the idea of shifting how we think about drug AEs will bring both a mind shift and a specialty closer to reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *