There are many factors that influence thyroid function with perhaps the most basic and essential being proper nutrition. Without an adequate supply of critical vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, the thyroid is simply incapable of producing the hormones necessary to maintain healthy bodily function. Fortunately, supplementation provides a safe and effective way of restoring nutritional balance and supporting thyroid function.
Below is a collection of seven different supplements and nutrients that provide unique thyroidal support. Safely and appropriately utilizing these substances can help restore thyroid balance and promote greater wellness.
It is common for practitioners to recommend probiotics in the face of thyroid and immune dysfunction. In part, this is because poor gut health is a primary contributor of leaky gut syndrome, which frequently leads to the development of autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease – learn more about the gut-thyroid connection here. Therefore, maintaining good gut health is an essential part of thyroid function.
Probiotics are collections of good bacteria that help maintain, restore, and repair gastrointestinal balance. This can help resolve autoimmune dysfunction that contributes to poor thyroid function. Eating more probiotic-rich foods such as miso, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchee, or using a high-quality probiotic can benefit thyroid activity. When selecting a probiotic, it is best to choose one that contains a high level of bacterial diversity and not just a high concentration.
Iodine is an essential component in the construction of thyroid hormones. Therefore, an iodine deficiency results in reduced thyroid hormone production and subsequently hypothyroidism. A surprising number of Americans are iodine deficient despite government efforts to improve general iodine levels through iodization of food products such as salt.
Iodine supplementation may prove to invaluable for those with hypothyroidism. Supplying the basic building blocks of thyroid hormone is critical in treating hypothyroidism. Autoimmune thyroid patients may experience worsening of their condition when supplementing with iodine, especially if it is not accompanied by selenium.
It is also important to note that those who are not deficient should be careful when supplementing with iodine. Excessive iodine levels can worsen thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and Hashimoto’s. Such a risk can be avoided by confirming iodine levels through a simple urine test. Identifying individual iodine level should be done prior to commencing supplementation.
Research shows that Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of developing Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. Deficiency typically results from a lack of sun exposure and poor dietary presence of Vitamin D. One is considered to be deficient in Vitamin D if their levels fall below 50 nmol/L (nanomole per liter). However, some practitioners believe that the bar for deficiency should be increased to anything below 60 or 70 nmol/L.
Resolving Vitamin D deficiency can be done by using easily acquired Vitamin D supplements. Because Vitamin D is fat soluble, it is best to take it during a meal containing a high amount of fat. Restoring Vitamin D levels limits the risk of developing immune-mediated thyroid conditions and may improve insulin resistance.
For the thyroid to have any significant impact on the body, the inactive form of thyroid hormone, T4, must be converted into the active form, T3. Selenium aids in both production of thyroid hormone and the conversion of T4 into T3. Recent research suggests that selenium may also limit the expression of thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb). This attribute means that supplementing with selenium may be beneficial in treating autoimmune thyroid disease.
Supplementing with selenium may not only improve thyroid function but it can also act as an anti-inflammatory, limit the damage of free radicals, and support metabolism. However, it is important to supplement safely as excess intake of selenium can be toxic. Discuss your recommended daily allowance with your physician.
Zinc is another important part of thyroid hormone activity. This element is an essential part of T4 to T3 conversion. Therefore, it may not come as a surprise that reduced levels of zinc is recognized as a trigger for hypothyroidism. A lack of zinc increases the likelihood that T4 gets converted into the thyroid-inhibiting Reverse T3. Increased levels of Reverse T3 can increase symptoms of hypothyroidism or lead to its development.
Individuals taking a multivitamin likely acquire some amount of zinc. It is recommended to have a daily zinc intake between 15 to 30 mg. However, if a person is deficient, especially if they are hypothyroid, they may require a larger dosage. Until levels are restored, those with a zinc deficiency will likely suffer from defunct immunity and inhibited thyroid function.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Deficiency of thiamine, or Vitamin B1, is associated with fatigue, difficulty thinking clearly, and malaise. These symptoms may seem familiar as they are similar to those experienced by those with hypothyroidism. It is often the case that those with autoimmune disease and thyroid disorders are deficient in thiamine.
Those suffering from hypothyroidism may find their symptoms improve by taking 600 mg of thiamine daily. One study showed that after three days of thiamine supplementation, the participants experienced a partial or complete elimination of fatigue. Because fatigue is such a prominent trait of hypothyroidism, many thyroid patients would likely benefit from greater supplementation with thiamine.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to a dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This system regulates hormone activity throughout the entire body including the thyroid. From 2005-2006 it was estimated that 48% of Americans did not acquire adequate amounts of magnesium from their diet. Furthermore, studies show that thyroid patients often maintain low levels of magnesium. Resolving a deficiency by supplementing with magnesium can help restore balance to vital systems such as the thyroid. This is because magnesium acts as a regulator agent and aids in the conversion of T4 to T3.
Stay Safe by Using High Quality Supplements
In addition to choosing the right supplement for your individual needs it is important to use a high-quality product. Most budget brands are made with suboptimal ingredients, additional fillers and binders, and do not maintain consistent concentration. By using a high-quality supplement, you avoid the potential dangers of contaminants and unexpected allergens while also acquiring the best quality nutrients possible. Saving money is great but purchasing bargain supplements will likely result in more harm than good in the long run. Safely support your thyroid by using high-quality supplements.
1. Your Guide to Thyroid Support Supplements. Health Central. https://www.healthcentral.com/article/thyroid-support-supplements
2. Which Vitamins and Supplements are Good for Your Thyroid? Health Central. https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/vitamins-and-supplements-for-thyroid
3. 9 Thyroid Supplements Every Hypothyroid Patient Should Consider. Dr. Westin Childs. https://www.restartmed.com/thyroid-supplements/
4. The 5 Best Supplements For Thyroid Health. MindBodyGreen. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-5-best-supplements-for-thyroid-health
5. Treating Hypothyroidism: Can Vitamins and Supplements Help? Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-with-hypothyroidism/vitamins/
6. 5 Natural Remedies for Thyroid Health. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/natural-remedies-for-thyroid/