The Supplements Your Thyroid Craves
The metabolism process of every cell in your body relies on your thyroid. That means, if you want to feel good, your thyroid needs to be healthy.
For a normal thyroid, you simply need to keep a healthful lifestyle in order for your thyroid to be in top shape. Simple things like…
- Eating a balanced diet with lots of produce, good sources of protein, and low sugar/processed foods
- Getting regular exercise
- Getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep
But when your thyroid is behaving abnormally, your priority will be to get it fixed. While medical treatment is the foundational step, all-natural vitamins, minerals, and herbs can offer a helping hand.
Let’s take a closer look at the two thyroid disorders and which supplements may bring support.
When Your Thyroid Needs a Little Help
When your thyroid is working properly, it produces and releases the perfect amount of the hormones T3 and T4. They enter your bloodstream and go all over your body to control metabolism, heart rate, temperature regulation, and more.
When your thyroid is not working properly, it either produces too much or too little T3 and T4. This leads to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, respectively.
With hyperthyroidism, you experience many symptoms stemming from a speedy metabolism, such as:
- Fast heart rate
- Sensitivity to heat
- Weight loss
With hypothyroidism, you experience many symptoms stemming from a slow metabolism, such as:
- Slow heart rate
- Sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain
If a blood test shows you have either of these conditions, treatment is necessary.
Talk With Your Doctor
While it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting supplements (even if they are all-natural) it is even more important for those with a thyroid disorder.
Treating hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism is all about getting those hormone levels just right. Medical treatment (synthetic T3 and T4 for hypothyroidism and anti-thyroid for hyperthyroidism) is the foundation for that balancing.
These supplements below can certainly help some cases, but each person is different. That’s because we are dealing with 2 different disorders that affect people at different severities in different ways.
All this to say, while these supplements have been backed by science to be helpful…know they are only helpful when the right person takes them at the right dosage.
Here’s your plan of attack:
- Go through this list and see which supplements sound like they might be the most beneficial to you
- Make a list and go over them with your doctor
- If your doctor agrees one or more of these supplements is right for you, make a note of the correct dosage
- Start feeling better!
6 Supplements for Thyroid Health
Read on to see an overview of some of the vitamins, minerals, and herbs that have been shown to boost thyroid health.
When we think of the mineral zinc, we often think of boosting our immune systems (and it is certainly good at that!). But its benefits go beyond keeping colds away…
Zinc can also:
- Make DNA
- Encourage fetal development
- Heal wounds
- Ensure we taste and smell correctly
When it comes to your thyroid, this gland and zinc have an interesting relationship.
Thyroid hormones affect the body’s absorption and release of zinc. Zinc affects the thyroid ability to metabolize hormones. This leads to a common cycle:
- If you are deficient in zinc, you are more likely to develop hypothyroidism.
- If you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, you are more likely to develop a zinc deficiency.
Taking a zinc supplement will not only keep your thyroid healthy and avoid a deficiency, it can help thyroid disorder symptoms.
Pro tip: Zinc is especially helpful for thyroid-related hair loss. Studies show thyroid treatment may not be enough to encourage regrowth. You need some zinc too.
Selenium is an essential trace element that is important for your reproductive system and the synthesis of DNA. It also has necessary antioxidant behavior.
But one of its most important functions has to do with your thyroid.
Your thyroid needs selenium in order to metabolize thyroid hormones. To do so, your thyroid keeps a pretty high concentration of the mineral – in fact, it’s the highest concentration in your entire body.
If you don’t have enough selenium, your thyroid is in trouble. One medical journal writes:
“Maintaining a physiological concentration of selenium is a prerequisite to prevent thyroid disease”
While you can enjoy some high-selenium foods like brazil nuts, supplementation may be your best bet. It can improve the two conditions that are each the No. 1 cause of a thyroid disorder:
- Graves’ disease: The No. 1 cause of hyperthyroidism
- Hashimoto’s disease: The No. 1 cause of hypothyroidism
Pro tip: be sure to have your doctor test your selenium levels first. While not enough selenium can be a problem, so can too much.
3. Vitamin D
You know what one of the most common vitamin deficiencies is – even in countries like the United States or Canada? Vitamin D deficiency.
Most of the vitamin D we get comes from the sun, and our culture has become experts at avoiding sun exposure (with true concern – we know that too much leads to cancer). Yet a vitamin D deficiency can lead to:
- Poor immune system
- Mental health problems
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
- Muscle and bone pain
- Thyroid Disease
Studies show that patients with hypothyroidism tend to suffer from low D…and the severity of their disorder gets worse the lower their vitamin D is.
While studies have conflicting results on just how effective D supplementation is on preventing or improving a thyroid disorder, some do show promise.
In either case, boosting your vitamin D levels (through a little sunshine, some high vitamin D foods like fish and eggs, and a D3 supplement) can at least help you with some of the symptoms associated with both a thyroid disorder and vitamin D deficiency – like fatigue and pain.
5. B Vitamins
The 8 B vitamins – grouped together as “B Complex” – are important aspects of metabolism. Since the thyroid is all about metabolism, it makes sense that your Bs are vital. Let’s shine a spotlight on two in particular:
- B1 (Thiamine)
One of the top symptoms of either thyroid disorder is fatigue. B1 has been shown to help greatly those with fatigue and similar symptoms related to hypothyroidism.
Some reported their fatigue went away entirely after taking high doses of thiamine.
B12 is similar to zinc in that those with low B12 have a higher risk of hypothyroidism and those with hypothyroidism have a higher risk of being deficient in B12.
Around 40% of hypothyroid patients have a B12 deficiency. In comparison, the National Institutes of Health estimates around 1.5% and 15% of the general population have the deficiency.
Many B12 symptoms are similar to thyroid disorder symptoms, like:
- Heart palpitations
- Constipation or diarrhea
A regular B complex vitamin (or multivitamin with all the Bs) is a great way to get plenty of both!
Listen up hypothyroid patients! Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, is lauded one of the best all-natural treatments for stress, anxiety, ADHD, arthritis, libido, diabetes, and much more.
We may be able to add hypothyroidism to that list.
One study was looking at the effects of ashwagandha on patients with bipolar. In that process – they noticed that some of those patients who also had hypothyroidism were positively affected by the herb.
- One patient’s hypothyroidism was normalized completely
- Three other patients had their T4 increased
This discovery led the researchers to conclude:
“…the thyroid enhancing properties of ASW may also represent a clinical opportunity for the treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism, and these results suggest the need for further study of the effects of ASW on thyroid indices.”
Another study focused on 50 hypothyroid patients specifically. After eight weeks, ashwagandha improved the TSH, T3, and T4 hormones “significantly compared to placebo.”
No studies have been done on hyperthyroid patients – and these initial results show it may not be the right herb if your T3 and T4 are too high.
6. Coleus Forskohlii
Here we have another “do it all” sort of herb. Coleus forskohlii (also called forskolin) uses range widely:
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Erectile dysfunction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Urinary tract infections
- And more
Some research shows it may have an effect on the thyroid as well.
Coleus forskohlii has a similar behavior as ashwagandha. It may be effective and raising your body’s natural levels of thyroid hormone.
That means it’s an option for hypothyroid patients. It also means talk to your doctor if you are already taking synthetic or desiccated T3 and T4 hormones.
Supplements That Could Help Or Harm, So Double Check!
Depending upon which thyroid disorder you have, the severity, and how your treatment plan is working – these 2 supplements could either help or harm.
Though it is important to double check with your doctor before beginning any supplement, it is even more important to talk to your doctor before taking either of these minerals.
It is imperative not to start either one on your own.
Iodine is often discussed when it comes to thyroid health because your body converts iodine into T3 and T4. Too little and you have hypothyroidism; too much and you have hyperthyroidism.
This means people with hyperthyroidism normally avoid all things iodine. Often high-iodine foods like seafood or iodized salt are off the table too.
And though logically it seems like a great fit for hypothyroidism, iodine should really only be taken if your hypothyroidism stems from an iodine deficiency. This is something your doctor will tell you, and then he or she will prescribe the right dosage of iodine.
Same story as iodine. Your thyroid also uses tyrosine to create the thyroid hormones. Some doctors will encourage use of Tyrosine in their hypothyroid patients. But even then, it should be taken according to their specific instructions based upon your unique case and treatment plan.
Getting Your Thyroid Healthy and Keeping It That Way
If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you can begin enjoying the benefits of these supplements.
Make them a part of a holistic plan to get your health back on track. Start a low-intensity regular exercise program (once your thyroid hormones are balanced, you can enjoy higher intensity). Eat well. Manage any mental health symptoms through self-care steps.
In time (often a few months – give or take), your treatment plan should begin making a real difference in your daily life. Your vitamins, minerals, and herbs can play an important role in that recovery.