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Anatomy and Physiology
are four small parathyroid glands located just behind the thyroid, two on
each side. Each is approximately 6mm. long, 3mm. wide, and 2mm. thick.
The parathyroid produces a hormone known as parathormone which
has the following effects:
1) Promotes kidney formation of the active metabolite of vitamin
D thus aiding in calcium absorption.
2) Activates and increases the number of osteoclasts, thus
increasing the rate of bone destruction and making calcium and phosphorus
3) Delays formation of osteoblasts (bone forming cells).
4) Increases renal and intestinal absorption of calcium and
excretion of phosphate (PO4). Phosphate is important in maintaining our body's
acid-alkaline balance and helps in regulating carbohydrate digestion.
Parathormone and vitamin D are our body's principal regulators
of calcium and phosphorus balance. Without enough vitamin D the effects of
parathormone are decreased.
Parathormone secretion has its maximum effect on phosphate
in 2-3 hours, on calcium in 8 hours.
A decrease in serum calcium will stimulate parathormone activity
and cause hypertrophy of the parathyroid (common in rickets, pregnancy, lactation).
Too much serum calcium causes decreased activity and shrinking
of the parathyroid.
Symptoms of Parathyroid Dysfunction
1) An under functioning parathyroid gland may cause any of
the following symptoms: muscle tension and cramps, neurotic behavior, susceptibility
to allergies, cataracts (excess calcium deposits in tissues), dry rough skin,
tingling around mouth and extremities, alkaline gut (with associated symptoms
of emaciation, burping, constipation, hemorrhoids, stiff joints).
2) An over functioning parathyroid gland may cause any of
the following symptoms: Weakness, weak bones, nausea, kidney stones, increased
urination, depression, over acid gut (with associated symptoms of heart burn,
tiredness, weight gain, increased appetite).
Causes of Parathyroid Dysfunction
1) A chronically low serum calcium level due to poor diet
or bad assimilation (especially decreased hydrochloric acid output) can cause
hypertrophy and eventual exhaustion of these small glands.
2) Lack of exercise leads to bone resorption and increased
serum calcium levels thus inhibiting parathyroid function. Taking too many
calcium or vitamin D supplements can have similar effects.
3) Nerve pressure in the mid cervical spine (see Appendix
4) Pregnant mothers with high serum calcium (see #2 for probable
causes of increased serum calcium) will cause their fetus to have high serum
calcium levels. The parathyroid of the fetus will be inhibited. This will
usually, though not always, correct itself after birth.
Other Indications of Parathyroid Dysfunction
The levator scapula muscle may test weak on manual muscle testing (see Appendix
C and figure 8.1).
2) Try the calcium deficiency test in the ovary chapter.
Prevention and Treatment of Parathyroid Dysfunction
1) Vigorously rub a reflex point in the belly of the teres
minor muscle, halfway up the outside border of the scapula for 1 minute daily,
for one week (see Appendix B).
2) For an under functioning parathyroid get lots of sunshine
(for Vitamin D production), eat calcium rich foods (seeds, dark green vegetables,
and lamb’s quarters are especially beneficial). Minimize your phosphate intake
by abstaining from meat. Lots of exercise will increase bone growth, decrease
serum calcium, and stimulate parathyroid function.
3) For an over functioning parathyroid avoid calcium and vitamin
D supplements (including vitamin D enriched milk).
4) If you’ve had a history of neck trauma, sleeping on your
stomach, etc., have a good chiropractor check for nerve pressure and correct
it (see Appendix A).