Vitamins and Supplements for Thyroid Health
Although it’s only a small gland at the bottom of your neck, a malfunctioning thyroid can cause a lot of problems. The thyroid gland is primarily responsible for regulating your metabolism. It does this by producing or limiting certain hormones that are flushed through your body. If your thyroid gland doesn’t work properly, you may have hypothyroidism, which causes a litany of symptoms. A simple blood test will tell you if you suffer from this ailment.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Loss of sex drive
Fatigue and exhaustion
Weight gain despite diet
You may also suffer from other thyroid conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
To combat hypothyroidism and other thyroid problems, there are a number of vitamins and other supplements that you can take to minimize the symptoms and regulate your hormones. Let’s take a look at some of the best thyroid supplements for this purpose.
Ashwagandha for thyroid health
In Sanksrit, Ashwagandha means “the smell of the horse,” though we pinky promise that a supplement of this Indian herb does not actually taste like horse!
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. This means that it helps your body adapt to changes in your immune system and metabolism, primarily by balancing them out. As you might guess, this is great for combating hypothyroidism since the herb regulates hormone imbalances. A paper from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that ashwagandha improved the levels of certain hormones critical for thyroid gland health and normalcy.
In addition, ashwagandha appears to reduce cortisol levels, which reduces your overall stress level, restores insulin sensitivity, moderates depressive moods and improves your estrogen and progesterone production levels. This is important if you’re a woman nearing menopause age.
One note of caution is that ashwagandha is not safe for women who are pregnant or attempting to get pregnant, as it has abortifacient properties.
Zinc for thyroid health
Zinc is so much more than a white paste lifeguards smear on their noses in the middle of the summer. This essential mineral is a star when it comes to healthy thyroid function. In particular, zinc is one of the few minerals required by your thyroid to produce the correct hormones to regulate the rest of your metabolism and maintain hair growth. Without enough zinc, your thyroid gland may suffer from hypothyroidism and you may experience severe hair loss.
As the International Journal of Technology reported, without adding a zinc supplement you may not regain the hair you lost from hypothyroidism. Therefore, zinc supplements are a key addition to your diet in order for your thyroid to maintain healthy regulation of hormones.
Vitamin B12 for thyroid health
Even if Vitamin B12 were called B13, this key nutrient would be a lucky one for our bodies. While the exact use of Vitamin B12 by the thyroid gland is unknown, the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association [discovered] (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18655403) Vitamin B12 deficiency is particularly common among people suffering from hypothyroidism.
What this means is that if you have low levels of Vitamin B12, then you’re likely more at risk for hypothyroidism. Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered: boost your Vitamin B12 levels if you have a deficiency, or might have one. Vegans, and sometimes vegetarians, find it really hard to consume enough B12 in their diets.
Vitamin D for thyroid health
In honor of keeping this light and sunny, we’re about to introduce a non-scientific unit of measurement. You ready? It takes buckets of sunshine to synthesize the Vitamin D we require for regular health. So if you just threw a snowball at someone, or if you spend a lot of time inside, it’s likely you don’t get enough Vitamin D as part of your daily activities.
While Vitamin D deficiency can lead to all sorts of complications, such as autoimmune diseases, it also may affect thyroid function.
The International Journal of Health Science published evidence that people suffering from hypothyroidism have significantly lower levels of Vitamin D. While it hasn’t been proven that Vitamin D deficiency leads to hypothyroidism, the evidence suggests the two are strongly correlated.
That makes our job a whole lot easier: in order to promote bodily health and induce proper hormone regulation,increase your Vitamin D levels by spending more time in the sun or taking nutritional supplements.
Do keep in mind that the time of the day, your skin type, the season, and many other factors determine how much Vitamin D your body can produce from the sun.
Let’s say it’s high noon in the summer, somewhere on the frontier, and you’re about to watch a shootout between a bad guy and the sheriff. You likely would be getting enough Vitamin D that day. If it were winter, or you have darker skin, or you’re a little pale but love Netflix and chill, you should consider a Vitamin D supplement, which can help your thyroid gland recover, allowing you get back to what really matters, like throwing snow balls and watching movies.
Fish Oil for thyroid health
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry discovered that dietary fish oil greatly affects thyroid hormone levels. Since hypothyroidism is a malfunction of the thyroid gland's ability to properly produce and regulate the right hormones for your body, increasing your fish oil levels can assist your gland in rebalancing its outputs.
This is likely due to fish oil affecting hepatic lipid metabolism.
Your thyroid gland uses these lipids for its own health and for creating or dismantling hormone levels throughout your body. Eating more fish or taking fish oil supplements are two ways to increase the level of fish oil inside your body.
Other Questions about Thyroid Health
Is hair loss due to thyroid permanent?
Those suffering from hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism often suffer from hair loss. This loss affects the entire scalp instead of specific patchy areas. This is because hair is constantly grown and shed and new hair replaces old hair thanks to hormones produced by your thyroid gland under healthy conditions.
The good news is that, if you lose your hair due to thyroid disease, there is a good chance that it will grow back with the proper thyroid medications, which will rebalance your hormone production. Since the problem begins with issues in the thyroid gland, your hair is free to grow back once your thyroid gland is functioning properly.
It may take several months to see the effects of hair loss reversed. This is particularly true if you have suffered from a thyroid disease for a significant amount of time. However, hair will always grow back provided that your thyroid gland is healed from its ailment.
Do thyroid supplements have side effects?
Thyroid dietary supplements are usually minerals or vitamins that the human body already needs to function properly. Some hypothyroid patients suffer from other issues, such as an iodine deficiency. There aren’t any side effects with balancing your body’s necessary levels of these supplements unless you ingest an abnormal amount of them.
According to a study published in JACM, ashwagandha didn’t produce any adverse effects in the test patients that could be strictly blamed on the herb. This likely indicates that ashwagandha is fine for most people.
Can hypothyroidism ever be cured completely?
This depends on the exact nature of your hypothyroidism. In most cases, hypothyroidism is caused by a genetic factor that cannot be permanently cured. But it can be treated with certain supplements and other methods that can restore a normal quality of life for a patient.
Can vitamins help with Hashimoto’s disease?
Hashimoto’s disease can inhibit your thyroid glands absorption of thiamine (or Vitamin B1). This can lead to increased fatigue or exhaustion.
Certain supplements, such as Vitamin B1, can help patients experiencing fatigue from Hashimoto’s disease. However, while Vitamin B1 can help with fatigue caused by Hashimoto’s, the disease itself requires medical intervention and cannot be treated via supplements alone.
Hypothyroidism and other thyroid diseases are not unbeatable. With the right supplements, you can combat any symptoms you might experience and get back to leading a normal life.