HYPOTHYROID SUPPLEMENTS: 6 TO HELP YOU HEAL
Having an underactive thyroid is just not fun… a sluggish metabolism, mood swings, poor sleep, brittle nails are all the symptoms that come with being hypothyroid.
To this day, the best researched remedy for dealing with low thyroid remains medications (such as Synthroid) as prescribed by a health practitioner.
The good news is aside from that there are some supplements that can help stimulate, balance and absorb thyroid hormones. Today i will be sharing with you a few that you may want to consider adding to your regiment.
Please do note that it’s best to speak to your doctor or health practitioner before adding supplements to your diet. Make sure they are aware and seek their advice!
HYPOTHYROID SUPPLEMENTS: THE FOOD CONNECTION
Our thyroid stimulating hormone which is responsible for T3 and T4 hormones, very much depends on good nutrition. In his article on thyroid and nutrition, Dr. Peter Johnson states “The very first thing is that this TSH doesn’t just magically appear. In order to properly make TSH you have to maintain adequate protein in your diet. Magnesium, vitamin B12, and zinc are also required to make this particular hormone. These three micronutrients (magnesium, B12, zinc) and this major macronutrient (protein) are all responsible for helping us to properly produce TSH.” (source: Hypothyroidmom.com )
Nutrition is equally important to general thyroid health and hormone balance. Iodine for example help our body absorb thyroid hormones while magnesium helps turn free T4 into active form of T3.
When consumed raw and in large quantities, some foods like cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cabbage and kale can interfere with thyroid absorption. So as you can see, there is a pretty strong case between nutrition and hypothyroidism.
Let’s talk a little bit more about supplement that can help.
According to Dr. John Robinson, those diagnosed with hypothyroid often are low in magnesium. As it turns out, magnesium help convert free T4 into active T3. So it is essential that we get of this micronutrient. Best way to supplement is to eat more dark leafy greens, raw nuts, seeds, fish, and legumes. (ps. dark chocolate is also a great source of magnesium!)
This is another micronutrient that is most hypothyroidism are deficient in. “…. Vitamin A acts on the cells of the body like a hormone because it directly affects the DNA of the cell nucleus directing cellular protein production. It’s a fancy vitamin and has many important functions in your body including reproduction, eye function and vision, skin health, immune enhancement, and cellular growth.” (Source: Hypothyroid Mom.com). Those deficient in vitamin A typically have the same symptoms of low thyroid. Best way to add vitamin A to your diet is to seek sources of Retin A. Some sources include organic raw dairy and animal protein such as liver.
There are several scientific studies linking B12 to hypothyroidism. B12 alongside Vitamin C and a few other vitamins help our bodies absorb thyroid hormones. Some good sources of vitamin B include dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, unrefined whole grains, legumes like black beans, nuts, fish and free range eggs. Make sure to check your B12 levels (at a Naturopath) and supplement if you are low.
Sea Veggies like Chlorella and Spirulina:
Both these superfoods are algae that contain free amino acids (think protein!), iron, iodine, magnesium and selenium. Chlorella and Spirulina are both great choices for those with low thyroid as they contain many of the nutrients that support good thyroid health. It’s important to note that not all brands are good…. Chlorella and Spirulina from Japan can be contaminated due to a toxic spill there a few years back. I would suggest you seek out local, North American brands that harvest their products organically.
This amino acid is a precursor to TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). It is involved in both the production and conversion of thyroid hormones. Opt to get 1500 mg of L-tyrosine per day… if you are getting enough protein chances are you are getting your daily need for L-tyrosine and do not need to supplement. On the other hand if you are protein deficient, chances are you are also deficient in L-Tyrosine.
This micronutrient is often the go to for people with low thyroid. Selenium is involved in both thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. However, chances are you are getting enough. Most North American diet are rich in selenium so supplementation may not be necessary. If you are deficient, know that you only need 200 mg of Selenium for healthy thyroid.
A FEW OTHER CULPRITS
Studies have shown that people with hypothyroid are also deficient in vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. I know what you are thinking… this list of supplements keeps getting bigger! My suggestion would be to get your nutrient levels checked… you can get a test done at a Naturopath or perhaps your health practitioner. It is the only way to know for certain which vitamins and minerals you are lacking in and which ones you should add to your diet.
A NOTE ON IODINE
Iodine is a precursor to TSH and is often blamed as the culprit for causing hypothyroidism. This may have been true in the 18th century but since then (exactly since 1924) governments have mandated table salt and other foods to include iodine. Yup, that means chances are you are getting enough iodine… Iodine can easily be found in fresh veggies, kelp, sea veggies and eggs. So if you are eating these foods, you probably are not iodine deficient.
Also do note that going overboard with iodine actually causes the reverse effects of hypothyroid and can lead to hypothyroidism. So be careful of adding too much iodine!
If you are hypothyroid your first step to healing is following your health practitioner’s advice! Take the medications they have prescribed you, in the manner they’ve been prescribed. As a holistic nutritionist I understand the urge of wanting to heal through food instead of medication but you should know that when our thyroid and individual thyroid production is finicky. Medication may be absolutely necessary for some while other may be able to heal or improve their condition with adjustments to their diet (my hypothyroid meal plan is a great start) . Most probably will need a combination of both. Regardless, make sure to take the necessary steps to understand your body and keep an eye on your symptoms.