Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is used by many systems throughout the body such as the thyroid. Studies show that without an adequate supply of magnesium thyroid function can decline. Furthermore, research also suggests that long term magnesium deficiency may encourage the development of thyroid disease and severe bodily dysfunction.
Sadly, it is estimated that up to 75 percent of the U.S. population does not get the recommended daily amount of magnesium and up to 50 percent being outright deficient. However, it may be possible to improve thyroid function by attending to problems of deficiency.
Read on to learn about the importance of the thyroid gland, how magnesium affects its function, and how to safely supplement with magnesium to improve thyroid function.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a small gland located in the neck that has significant influence over our health. Some areas impacted by thyroid function include energy level, weight regulation, immune function, stress response, ability to focus, and more.
The thyroid interacts with virtually every cell and tissue in the body through production of various hormones. T4 and T3 are the two primary hormones of concern when discussing thyroid function. T4, or thyroxine, is the storage form of thyroid hormone. T4 is produced the thyroid but does not have any direct influence over bodily function. Triiodothyronine, or T3, is the active form of thyroid hormone that is converted from T4. T3 is responsible for increasing cellular activity and accelerating bodily function. When maintained at the appropriate levels, thyroid hormones help ensure that the body runs smoothly. However, thyroid dysfunction, disease, and even minor hormone imbalances can notably disrupt wellness.
The Basics of Thyroid Disease
When simplified, thyroid disease can be divided into two categories; underactivity or overactivity.
Reduced thyroid activity, known as hypothyroidism, can trigger systemic slowing of bodily function resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, difficulty thinking clearly, sensitivity to cold, constipation, and loss of libido. Conversely, excessive thyroid activity, known as hyperthyroidism, results in an unsafe hastening of bodily function. This is accompanied by symptoms such as anxiety, jitteriness, weight loss, hot flashes, insomnia, diarrhea, and heart palpitations.
There are many factors that influence thyroid function. One that is frequently overlooked is the body’s supply and the availability of magnesium.
How Magnesium Affects the Thyroid
Magnesium is an essential nutrient needed for healthy bodily function. The mineral is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions used for various purposes including nerve and muscle function, immune activity, heartbeat regulation, bone building, and energy production. Magnesium is also an important component of thyroid function. Below are some of the thyroid-related roles of magnesium.
- Perhaps most importantly, magnesium is used in the conversion of T4 to T3. Without adequate magnesium the body quickly becomes deficient in active thyroid hormone resulting in a decline of overall bodily function and subsequent hypothyroidism.
- In addition to facilitating T4 conversion to T3, magnesium is also needed for the production of T4. Many of the enzymes used to create T4 are found in magnesium. As such, a magnesium deficiency can dramatically reduce thyroid hormone values and once again lead to hypothyroidism.
- A magnesium deficit may also contribute to goiter, or an enlarged thyroid gland. An enlarged thyroid can lead to multiple issues including hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
These aspects alone are enough to show that magnesium is incredibly important for thyroid function and by extension overall wellness.
Recognizing a Magnesium Deficiency
The recommended daily value of magnesium is 400 mg per day. Current estimates show that most Americans are getting less than 300 mg per day. Those who regularly do not get the magnesium they need on a daily basis run the risk of eventual deficiency. Individuals suffering from magnesium deficiency may experience symptoms such as headaches, muscle and joint pain, anxiety, constipation, insomnia, fatigue, depression, irritability, and other symptoms relating to thyroid dysfunction. Fortunately, it is possible to resolve deficiency, alleviate nagging symptoms, and improve thyroid function by replenishing the body’s supply of magnesium.
How to Safely Increase your Magnesium Levels
There are two primary methods of increasing magnesium intake to alleviate deficiency; diet and supplementation.
Dietary improvements can greatly improve magnesium values while also benefiting overall nutrition. Below are some of the best food sources of magnesium to consider including in your diet:
- Black beans
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, swiss chard, and brussels sprouts
- Mung beans
- Nuts including almonds and cashews
- Pumpkin seeds
Although dietary improvements are beneficial, if a person is suffering from a serious magnesium deficiency, they will likely need additional support via supplementation. The two most common types of magnesium supplements are magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, depending on your individual situation, one may be more beneficial than the other.
- Magnesium citrate is a combination of magnesium and citric acid. This formulation is best used for magnesium deficient individuals suffering from constipation. This is because magnesium citrate may provide a laxative effect. For those with a magnesium deficiency, typical dosage is between 100 mg to 400 mg per day.
- Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable form of magnesium. In contrast to magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate does not increase intestinal motility making it more suitable for those without constipation. Standard dosage for magnesium glycinate is between 400 mg to 800 mg per day.
It is widely agreed that supplementing with magnesium at a value between 300 mg to 400 mg is safe. However, some individuals may require a larger dose to resolve deficiency. In some cases, an elevated dose of 800 mg to 1800 mg may be needed. However, high amounts of magnesium administered to a patient who doesn’t need it could result in serious dysfunction and harm. Therefore, it is important to identify the right dose for your situation. Before supplementing with magnesium, speak with your doctor about finding your ideal dosage and any possible safety issues or medicinal interactions.
Improving Thyroid Function with Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency is a rampant problem in the United States that may be contributing to greater occurrence of thyroid dysfunction. Fortunately, it is possible to safely replenish your body’s supply of magnesium. Adopting a magnesium-rich diet and supplementing under the guidance of a trained physician can dramatically improve magnesium values and by extension thyroid activity. Support your thyroid and overall wellness by ensuring your body has a healthy supply of magnesium.
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