The thyroid gland is pretty amazing. It’s responsible for turning on every cell of your body and keeping those cells running. This gland impacts every hormone and neurotransmitter produced, and influences literally every aspect of your metabolism. What’s frustrating, are so many supplements touting tremendous thyroid cures. Maybe you’ve spent tons of money, only to be disappointed. So, let’s chat about the best supplements to help thyroid function.
What vitamins and minerals does the thyroid need?
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- B-Complex vitamins
- The amino acid Tyrosine
Geez! That’s a long list! Yep. That just shows you how important the nutrients we put in our body can be to overall organ function.
Think about it, how has your diet been in the last few days? Weeks? Months? Years? I like to start with nutrition and food first, then supplements.
What nutrition does my body need?
According to government sources Americans are totally missing the mark in terms of eating fruits and vegetables, and exceeding in added sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium. Americans eat LESS THAN 2 cups of veggies and LESS THAN 1 cup of fruit per day! You know there is a reason your mom always told you to eat your veggies! Or maybe she didn’t…
That is the Standard American Diet also called SAD or the Modern Urban Diet, MUD! Yes, we eat SAD MUD.
Dr Axe did a great article on Ultra-Processed foods. He found that 60% of the American diet consists of highly processed foods like cereals, breads, cookies, frozen dinners and soda! This is insane! These foods ultimately cause obesity, heart disease – oh come on…ya’ll know this!
You also need to know, you cannot supplement over a crappy diet. Seriously folks. That’s like ordering the diet soda with the brownie. Insert appropriate eye-roll. Taking supplements cannot keep up with the damage you are doing with the SAD MUD you are consuming. Yes, it’s probably better than not taking any supplements, however, don’t expect any miracles.
What you may not realize is you’re killing your thyroid in the process because of malnutrition. Over-consumptive Malnutrition. Thank you Jeffrey Bland, PhD, my mentor!
How does the body make thyroid hormones?
- Manufacturing: The thyroid gland, located in your neck, has one main function: to manufacture T4, thyroxine, or thyroid hormone and makes a small amount of T3, the active thyroid hormone. This process requires Iodine (the number associated with the “T” is how many iodine’s the molecule possesses), Tyrosine (yep the “T”). Now, to get the Iodine and the tyrosine together requires iron, Vitamins A, B2,3 and 6,
- Conversion: The cells of the body takes T4 and converts it to Free T3 – which is the usable hormone. In order for this conversion to take place efficiently, you need Zinc, Selenium and Vitamin A. That sounds easy enough, however, this is a process that can go horribly wrong if you have any inflammation in your body. You just need to know that if you’re eating SAD MUD, you are probably inflamed.
GEEK ALERT!!! Each vitamin and mineral has a specific job in the pituitary/hypothalamus – the part of the brain that controls thyroid hormone production; the thyroid itself; and the rest of the body where conversion takes place. I know you’re asking the burning question:
No not that one….
What do vitamins do for my thyroid?
A fat soluble vitamin that is necessary for solid thyroid gland structure. Vitamin A is also responsible for making sure the pituitary and the hypothalamus – brain parts – communicate properly with your thyroid and improve T3 amounts during pregnancy, possibly preventing hypothyroidism. Taking up to 15,000IU of mixed retinol and beta-carotene is fine.
First of all, vitamin C is a great anti-oxidant and can protect all of your organs. Vitamin C has been shown to improve absorption of levothyroxine – synthetic thyroid hormone – medication.
This is big!! Do not ignore your vitamin D levels for more reasons than I can list here. Deficiencies correlate with autoimmune diseases across the board including Hashimoto’s and Graves. Low levels are correlated with increased risks of thyroid cancer and nodules, depression, and skin cancer and is an important vitamin for balancing the immune system. Please get your levels tested. Many of my patients maintain on 5-10,000IU per day.
Specifically B-12 is strongly associated with hypothyroidism. Testing B-12 is not enough, you have to look at MCV, RDW and homocysteine to know if your body is processing B-12. You might be taking it, is it being assimilated?
Also, B-complex vitamins are a key to good neurological function and red blood cell production, it is an often overlooked component of anemia’s. B1, thiamine, and B2, riboflavin, are necessary for enzyme function. B9, folic acid, is necessary for red blood cell production. I use Methyl B Complex from OrthoMolecular. Find professional brands HERE. And, a good functional medicine doctor can help you get the proper testing. Www.functionalmedicine.org has a physician finder. These are water soluble, what you don’t need leaves the body through your urine.
Necessary for T4-T3 conversion along with a healthy immune system, read auto-immune prevention. Please be careful supplementing zinc as it can interfere with the absorption of copper, iron and selenium. Find a balanced multi mineral or thyroid supplement that contains what you need. I use a couple professional formulas: Thyrotain from OrthoMolecular, Thyrosine Complex from Integrative Nutrition.
Absolutely essential for converting T4 to free T3. Free T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone. This conversion issue is huge for so many of you.
Not just essential for normal red blood cell production, iron plays a pivotal role is the production of T4 inside the thyroid gland.
This is pretty obvious since I already told you that Iodine is actually part of the hormone itself. Active thyroid hormone free T3 has three iodine molecules, T4 has four molecules. Too much iodine can be a cause for Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system disease that affects thyroid function.
Too little iodine is still a huge issue in many parts of the world. The Morton Salt company added iodine to salt in 1924. So, most of the table salt consumed in the US has iodine. In general, iodine deficiency is rarely an issue here in the US. If you supplement, make sure it is a physiological dose less than 200mcg.
The “T” in thyroid hormone, also necessary for the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, both “feel good” neurotransmitters. So, tyrosine helps alleviate depression. Using one of the thyroid formulas will help keep this balanced. However, if you supplement on your own, too much can cause heart palpitations, a jittery feeling or irritability if you take too much – just back off for a couple days then supplement less.
The Bottom Line of Supplements to Help Your Thyroid
- Clean up your diet so you can start getting some nutrition like the vitamins and minerals I mentioned above from your veggies and proteins. You can download my ebook Clean It Up to really learn how to clean up your diet.
- If you don’t want to guess about your supplements, PM me through Facebook for contact me forms on my site, I can steer you to professional brands.
- Totally confused and looking for a comprehensive plan, I do have a private practice and see patients across the country via video technology.
3 – 2 – 1 – GO!