Hyperparathyroidism is a condition in which the parathyroid glands, located in the neck, secrete too much parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid hormone regulates the amount of phosphorus and calcium the body by controlling how much calcium is taken from bones, absorbed in the intestines, and lost in urine. When too much parathyroid hormone is secreted, levels of calcium in the blood and urine rise, and bones may lose calcium, leading to osteoporosis.1
Risk increases with age and peaks between 50 and 60 years, although children can be affected. Women are twice as likely as men to get the condition, as well as those with inherited endocrine problems. In about half of the cases, the patient has either vague symptoms or no symptoms at all. The condition is often diagnosed through routine blood tests that show high levels of calcium. Surgery to remove the tumorous gland is considered the primary treatment in most cases. About 90 percent with hyperparathyroidism will have this disease because one of their four parathyroid glands developed a benign tumor. About eight percent of people will have two of these parathyroid tumors and two normal glands. 2 If calcium levels are only slightly elevated the patient can be monitored continually for bone density and calcium levels. Possible complications associated with hyperparathyroidism include skeletal damage, urinary tract infections, kidney damage, or inflammation of the pancreas. Various cardiovascular conditions also can occur.
The prognosis is very favorable for persons with primary hyperparathyroidism who have no symptoms, as well as those who have surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands, with cure rates of 94 – 96%.3
- Joint pain
- Bone loss leading to osteoporosis
- Muscle weakness
- Abdominal discomfort/constipation
- Lack of appetite
- Kidney stones
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
In most cases, the cause of primary hyperparathyroidism unknown. Possible causes include past radiation to the face and neck, iodine therapy for thyroid problems, benign tumors in the parathyroid glands, parathyroid hyperplasia (excessive growth of normal parathyroid cells). More rare causes: parathyroid cancer or endocrine disorders, such as Type I and II multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes.
Another potential cause: about one percent of long-term –seven or more years — daily lithium (psychiatric medication) users develop parathyroid problems, typically a single bad gland (a parathyroid adenoma).4
We address the symptoms by helping to nourish the bones in your body and restore mineral balance. Foods rich in calcium include almonds (soak for 8 hours in lightly salted water and roast at 150 degrees F for 8-12 hours), legumes, spinach, kale, blackstrap molasses, sardines, prunes, tahini and apricots. Squeezing lemon juice over leafy greens; the acid helps the calcium absorb.
Eat pastured meats and eggs (avoid conventionally farmed animals), wild-caught fish, bone broths or beans for protein. Utilize healthy oils for baking, sauteeing and cooking: virgin olive, virgin coconut, ghee, pastured butter. Stay hydrated with at least 6 glasses of filtered water daily.
Exercise at least 30 minutes daily, five days per week.
- Potential food allergens, including dairy, wheat (gluten), soy, corn, preservatives, and food additives.
- Refined foods, such as pasta, sugar and white breads.
- Trans-fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cakes, crackers, cookies, and donuts. Also avoid fried foods, processed foods, and margarine.
- Carbonated beverages are high in phosphates, which leaches calcium from your bones.
- Coffee and other stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco.
- ALL artificial sweeteners: Nutrasweet, Splenda, etc. A little raw honey, Rapdura or coconut crystals is OK.
- Those with hyperparathyroidism can have severe adverse reactions to supplemental vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about this.
Supports a healthy metabolism
Discuss with doctor first.