Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
Most of us practice vitamin, nutritional and herbal therapy on a regular basis in the form of fresh fruit juices, supplements, and multivitamin capsules to name a few. These also serve as the pillars of various complementary and alternative medicine systems.
It is always advised to consult with your dietician before you make any major diet changes when suffering from thyroid disorders.
Some common vitamins, minerals, and herbs which may assist thyroid treatment are mentioned below.
- Multivitamins: Always opt for a strong multivitamin with minerals instead of drugstore multivitamins which don’t have the bioavailability needed by patients with thyroid disorders.
- Vitamin A: A deficiency of Vitamin A often leads to the underproduction of thyroid hormone.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): The deficiency of vitamin B2 prevents the proper functioning of the thyroid and adrenal glands.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): This helps in respiration and adequate delivery of energy to cells.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): This facilitates the conversion of iodine to thyroid hormone in the body.
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin, Methylcobalamin): Hypothyroidism disrupts the proper absorption of dietary vitamin B12.
- Vitamin C: This can be taken in the form of capsules or powdered drinks. Citrus fruits are another tasty way of adding vitamin C to our diets.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps in the production of thyroid hormone and also in the binding of T3 to its receptor.
- Vitamin E: This is an essential antioxidant and helps in the proper functioning of our immune system.
- Selenium: This is one of the most important minerals for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Stress and injury often lead to selenium deficiency. Selenium is important for the conversion of T4 to T3. Studies suggest that selenium deficiency alone can trigger autoimmune thyroid disease in people. A report published in 2002 revealed that a high number of cases of autoimmune thyroiditis are reported in areas with severe selenium deficiency. The researchers have concluded that inflammation in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis reduces with selenium supplementation.
- Zinc: Zinc is required for both thyroid hormone production and conversion of T4 to T3. It also plays an important role in proper hypothalamic functioning, an essential part of thyroid function.
- Iron: Iron is needed by some thyroid patients. In case iron supplementation is suggested, it is advised that there should be a gap of four or more hours between thyroid drugs and iron supplements as iron might disrupt the proper absorption of prescribed drugs.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential mineral whose deficiency is often marked in thyroid patients. It helps in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, heart rhythm, and bone strength. It also plays an important role in energy metabolism. Muscle cramps, pain, tingling, numbness, and abnormal heart rhythms are a few symptoms that worsen in thyroid patients with magnesium deficiency.
- L-tyrosine: Tyrosine helps in the synthesis of the T4 thyroid hormone. The thyroid combines iodine with tyrosine and converts it into T3 and T4. Thus, tyrosine deficiency disrupts proper thyroid functioning.
Essential Fatty Acids
These are critical for thyroid patients. They help in reducing inflammation, especially in autoimmune-triggered hypothyroidism.
Evening Primrose Oil: This contains linoleic acid which is helpful with hair and skin-related symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Herbs and Thyroid Support
A herbalist should be consulted for a proper recommendation of herbs for thyroid treatment. Some herbs and supplements that may be helpful are:
- Black Cohosh Root
- Poke Root
- Ginkgo biloba
- Iris versicolor