About Kelly Brogan

KELLY BROGAN, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, Own Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook Integrative Therapies for Depression.

Wondering about epidemic levels of infertility today? It may have something to do with how the environment is stimulating our immune systems. While most conventional doctors are trained to dismiss the relevance of antibodies to thyroid dysfunction, and to only look outside of the lab reference ranges for indicators of suboptimal hormone output, more evidence is piling up that antibodies matter.

Blood Test For IVF

In a study entitled The impact of thyroid function and thyroid autoimmunity on embryo quality in women with low functional ovarian reserve: a case-control study, researchers assessed 431 embryos from 98 first IVF cycles. They determined that the presence of thyroid autoantibodies (TPO) predicted poorer embryo quality even in women with normal TSH (<2.5 μIU/mL). With a higher TSH, the negative impact of a low functioning thyroid was difficult to tease out from the effects of antibodies alone. They conclude:

These results suggest that the negative impact of thyroid autoimmunity becomes apparent, once thyroid hormone function is optimized.

Demonstrated to play a role in miscarriage, preterm birth, and even postpartum psychosis, thyroid autoantibodies matter. They are an indication that your T regulatory cells are overwhelmed, that your checks and balances, from an immune and inflammatory standpoint, have been deregulated.

There are important lifestyle interventions around normalization of antibodies that start with food. I discuss my journey back, here, but sometimes interventions as simple as selenium replacement can begin the process of immune repair.