The thyroid gland influences metabolism, growth and development, as well as body temperature. It is located right below the Adam’s apple, sitting low on the front of the neck, secreting the hormones TSH, TRH, T3 and T4. Thyroid hormones stimulate protein synthesis, increase the use of glucose and the breakdown of fats for energy production. They accelerate the growth of the nervous tissue and affect mood, emotions, memory and thinking processes.
Thyroid gland disorders are related to the synthesis and release of related hormones. These conditions include Goiter, Thyroiditis, Grave’s Disease, and Hypothyroidism. In this article, we will go over the best vitamins for thyroid health in relation to Hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid problem.
What is Hypothyroidism?
A diagnosis of Hypothyroid takes place when we are deficient in thyroid hormones. When this happens, metabolism slows down, your body temperature lowers, you begin to gain more weight and may even have symptoms of depression and extreme fatigue.
There are a plethora of causes for hypothyroid including chronic stress, estrogen dominance, sluggish liver, nutrient deficiencies (specifically iron and iodine) and heavy metal toxicity to name a few. The conventional treatment is synthetic thyroid hormone replacement or an extreme measure of removing the thyroid altogether. Never self-diagnose though, always carry out the necessary testing with a licensed professional. With that being said, below is a list of vitamins for thyroid health.
Which vitamins can help to support thyroid health?
DHA and EPA are two fatty acid substances in Omega 3 that are necessary for hormone balance (including thyroid hormone) and anti-inflammatory maintenance. Omega 3 is an important component of thyroid cells and its deficiency can result in inflammation. Sources of Omega 3 include flaxseeds, hempseed oil, avocados, nuts and freshwater fish (like salmon, mackerel and sardines). Noor provides a clean Omega 3 supplement with optimal dosage.
Having access to a wide range of vitamins and minerals is always beneficial for overall maintenance and optimal health. The thyroid, no matter the related condition, will benefit from an extra boost of nutrients to nourish its cells.
I recommend gender-specific vitamins like men’s vitamins or women’s vitamins as they are always best, containing varying levels of specific nutrients like zinc, selenium, chromium, manganese, magnesium and B complex, all needed for proper thyroid function.
Tyrosine is an amino acid that works with iodine to create thyroid hormones. It is usually used to support alertness, focus and can also help regulate mood which are common symptoms in those who suffer from Hypothyroid. Include 1500mg daily for thyroid health from a food or supplement source. Excellent food sources include sunflower seeds, soy and aduki beans.
When dealing with Hypothyroid, low energy levels have the capacity to disrupt your daily routine, depending on how severe the condition is. To help deal with this dilemma, a vitamin solely focused on energy levels should be included in one’s supplement regimen.
ENERGY+ is an amazing caffeine-free supplement that will assist in getting your energy levels back to where it needs to be. Zinc helps to synthesize the thyroid hormone, while potent B vitamins assist in fueling the body with cellular energy. Its a natural herbal blend of non-medicinal ingredients is packed with naturally occurring antioxidants to offset any free radical damage and tame inflammation, a great addition to support thyroid health.
The role of iodine in thyroid health
Iodine is a chemical element that supports the development and functioning of the thyroid gland and is also an integral part of thyroxine, the thyroid glands principal hormone. Iodine is not made by the body so it is an essential part of the diet as it is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
Seaweed like Kelp is extremely high in iodine and is the main supplement used when this mineral is lacking. The recommended dosage is 1000mg a day. Other sources of iodine include shellfish, iodized table salt, cow’s milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, soy sauce, saltwater fish and other seaweeds like nori and dulse.
Diet tips for thyroid health
Like all organs and glands in the body, the Thyroid requires specific nutrients to function optimally, and can also be affected by other nutrients or the lack thereof.
Foods to include in your diet
Including sea vegetables like kelp, dulse, nori, hiziki and wakame are extremely helpful as they contain naturally occurring iodine. Warming foods like ginger, cayenne, cinnamon and fennel produce more heat in the body and will help alleviate the symptom discomfort of low body temperature.
Brazil nuts along with a handful of pumpkin seeds will help you obtain the selenium, zinc and magnesium the thyroid needs. Limit your intake of animal protein, fish and dairy as they are high in PCB’s (toxic industrial chemicals), estrogen-mimicking hormones and antibiotics which can disrupt our bodies natural hormonal processes (remember the thyroid glands function is to secrete specific hormones).
Consume small, frequent meals, eating every 3 hours with more vegetarian sourced protein. Small, frequent meals limit the energy used to break down and assimilate your food.
Foods to avoid
You should always avoid raw goitrogenic foods. This includes raw brassicas like cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, turnips, kohlrabi and rutabaga. These foods can interfere with thyroid gland’s ability to use iodine when dietary iodine is deficient.
These foods can be eaten but only when they are cooked or lightly steamed, as cooking inactivates goitrogens and their effects will be minimized if you incorporate seaweed regularly in your diet.
Other goitrogens include mustard seeds, cassava root, peanuts, pine nuts, millets, peaches, pears, spinach and soy. Again, bear in mind that you do not have to totally exempt these foods, so long as they are cooked first.
As you can see, this little butterfly-shaped gland plays a much bigger role in the body as it may have appeared. From regulating metabolism and body temperature to influencing your mood and thinking processes. The thyroid gland secretes vital hormones needed for our bodies optimal functioning.
Thyroid support supplements and food sources can work together to prevent or treat Hypothyroid and other thyroid-related conditions. Remember to always listen to your body and take heed to even the most minute symptom as they are the keys to prevention and a healthy body.
Trisha Smith is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the Natural Health industry. She graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2005. Trisha then went on to become a Certified Herbalist, Life Coach and Reiki Healer in the following years.