More modern approaches to health and wellness are becoming available every day. The result? Optimal health becoming more achievable and maintainable for everyone. But there's one part of the body that often gets overlooked: the thyroid.
Situated in the neck, this gland regulates our metabolism, energy levels, and hormones. And when imbalanced, it can lead to fatigue, weight fluctuations, and mood swings. Thyroid supplements have emerged as a popular natural solution to support thyroid health.
Let's walk through the conditions associated with thyroid health as well as who benefits from a thyroid supplement. Plus, we've rounded up 8 of the best thyroid supplements - so you can be on the path to a healthy thyroid right away!
Conditions and Symptoms Associated with Thyroid Health
Various conditions can impact the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Some common conditions related to thyroid health include:
- Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, and depression.
- Hyperthyroidism. In contrast to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is characterized by excessive production of thyroid hormones. Symptoms can include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, irritability, anxiety, and heat sensitivity.
- Goiter. A goiter refers to the enlargement of the thyroid gland. It can develop due to iodine deficiency, inflammation, or other underlying thyroid disorders. Goiters may cause swelling in the neck, difficulty swallowing, and a hoarse voice.
- Thyroid nodules. Thyroid nodules are lumps or growths that form within the thyroid gland. Most nodules are noncancerous, but they can still affect thyroid function. Depending on their size and characteristics, nodules may require further evaluation or treatment.
- Hashimoto's disease. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease that can cause hypothyroidism. This is also known as an underactive thyroid.
- Graves' disease. Graves’ disease is also an autoimmune disorder that can cause hyperthyroidism. This is also known as an overactive thyroid.
Talk to a healthcare professional if you suspect you have one of these conditions. They'll provide you with a proper diagnosis and guide you along the right path to treating your thyroid concerns.
8 Best Thyroid Supplements
Whether you have a thyroid condition or are experiencing symptoms, supplements may be an effective solution. Here are 8 of the best thyroid supplements for supporting optimal thyroid health.
1. Vitamin D
The body produces vitamin D with sun exposure, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it. It’s estimated that 35% of the United States population has a vitamin D deficiency – due to primarily indoor lifestyles.
The most common sources of vitamin D are natural exposure to sunlight and vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish. When it comes to supplements, vitamin D comes in 2 main forms: D2 and D3.
Recommended daily allowance (RDA): 600 IU (for those who have minimal exposure to sunlight)
Selenium is a primary nutrient in the thyroid and has many functions. Studies have shown that those with Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease have lower selenium levels.
Furthermore, selenium supplements can prevent thyroid disease and help maintain overall thyroid health. Taking a supplement can help restore a selenium deficiency for autoimmune thyroid conditions.
You can boost your selenium levels by eating selenium-rich foods or taking a supplement. Foods that are rich in selenium include Brazil nuts, eggs, and chicken. You can find selenium supplements in tablet form at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
A more effective alternative is taking a liquid supplement, like this one from Bodybio. This allows the body to absorb the selenium faster and at higher amounts than a tablet.
Recommended daily allowance: 55 micrograms
The body relies on dietary iodine to produce essential thyroid hormones T3 and T4. However, the body cannot produce iodine by itself. If you have an iodine deficiency, taking a supplement could be beneficial to improving thyroid health.
Before doing this, get tested to make sure you’re deficient in iodine. Taking in too much iodine may trigger thyroid concerns like Hashimoto’s for those without a deficiency already.
Iodine is mainly found in table salt – which are salt containers labeled “iodized.” Iodine is also found in many foods like fish, dairy, and eggs. Iodine is mainly recommended to get through food intake. If you aren’t getting enough in your normal diet, taking a liquid supplement may help improve the deficiency.
Recommended daily allowance: 150 micrograms
Zinc is a crucial element for maintaining proper thyroid function. Low zinc levels have been linked to hypothyroidism and a decrease in T3 levels. Zinc is especially beneficial in non-autoimmune thyroid concerns linked to nutritional deficiencies.
A common symptom of hypothyroidism is thinning hair. If this is a concern for you, adding zinc to your supplementing regimen may help improve your hair health and thyroid issues.
The best way to increase your zinc levels is by eating foods with high levels of zinc. The best food sources of zinc are meat, fish, and seafood. Zinc supplements are typically available in tablet or capsule form at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Recommended daily allowance: 11 mg a day for men, 8 mg for women
Copper helps support thyroid function and hormone production – specifically T4 hormone levels.
Although, you must balance copper levels with zinc levels for optimal thyroid function. Supplementing correctly with copper and zinc may be helpful for women with Hashimoto’s disease.
Copper is found in many high-protein foods like shellfish, fish, nuts, and seeds. It also comes in different supplement forms, including liquid, tablets, and capsules. You’ll find copper supplement tablets or capsules are your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Alternatively, taking a copper liquid supplement may help the body absorb the nutrients better and faster.
Recommended daily allowance: 900 micrograms
Low magnesium levels have been linked to Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. Not getting enough magnesium can make thyroid symptoms worse by increasing thyroid antibodies.
The thyroid requires magnesium to convert the inactive thyroid hormones to active. The body cannot do this on its own. So, taking a magnesium supplement may improve symptoms linked with an underactive thyroid.
You can boost your magnesium levels by eating foods like dark chocolate, spinach, and avocados. Magnesium is also available in supplement form at your pharmacy or grocery store.
Recommended daily intake: 420 milligrams
7. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly helpful in improving women’s health issues like Hashimoto’s. Omega 3 fatty acids are an anti-inflammatory that increases energy levels in cells. So, they can help your body detect and respond to thyroid hormones instead of attacking them.
Many foods contain omega-3 fatty acids that you can incorporate into your diet. For example, fish, seafood, nuts, and seeds are all excellent sources of omega-3.
But if you still aren’t getting enough, taking an omega-3 supplement may be an effective solution. Omega-3 supplements come in tablet, pill, and capsule forms and can be found at your pharmacy or grocery store.
Recommended daily intake: 1.6 grams for men, 1.1 grams for women
The body needs iron for a wide variety of bodily functions – including thyroid health. Iron is one of the minerals responsible for converting thyroid hormones from inactive to active.
In many instances, individuals who have a thyroid condition also have anemia. Since anemia can impair the thyroid’s functioning, taking an iron supplement may help improve symptoms for both of the conditions.
Iron is found in many foods including iron-fortified breads, cereals, nuts, and dried fruits. Since most people don’t get enough iron in their diet, it’s readily available in supplement form. You’ll find it in pill or tablet form at your local pharmacy or grocery store aisle.
Recommended daily allowance: 8 milligrams for all ages of men and postmenopausal women. 18 milligrams for premenopausal women
Who Can Benefit From Thyroid Supplements?
Thyroid supplements may benefit those with certain thyroid conditions and concerns. They may also benefit those seeking to support their overall thyroid health.
Thyroid supplements may benefit those experiencing:
- Suboptimal thyroid function. Supplements may be helpful in providing essential nutrients to support the gland's function.
- Nutritional deficiencies. Nutrients like iodine, selenium, and zinc are essential for proper thyroid function. If someone lacks these nutrients in their diet, supplements can help fill the gaps.
- Thyroid-related symptoms. Symptoms like fatigue, weight fluctuations, or mood changes are indicators of thyroid-related issues. A thyroid supplement may help improve some of these symptoms.
- Stress or illness. Stress and certain illnesses can impact thyroid function. In such cases, thyroid supplements may help the body cope with stress and support thyroid function.
Remember, self-diagnosis and self-prescription are never recommended. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement. They can help determine if a thyroid supplement is suitable for your specific needs.
Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Thyroid Supplements?
Alternatively, you may not be a great candidate for taking thyroid supplements if you:
- Have your thyroid removed. If you've had your thyroid removed, supplements are unable to improve thyroid health.
- Have poor sleep habits. Poor sleep can impact thyroid hormone levels. Addressing this first will benefit you more than taking a supplement.
- Have adequate nutrition. Many supplements that support thyroid health are related to nutritional deficiencies. If you have adequate nutrition levels, taking a thyroid supplement probably won’t improve thyroid health much.
Foods to Avoid if You’re Having Thyroid Issues
There are plenty of nutrient-rich foods that can improve thyroid-related conditions and symptoms. But what foods should you avoid?
Many of those with thyroid concerns benefit from a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free diets reduce the concentration of thyroid antibodies which may improve thyroid symptoms. Specifically, gluten-free diets are helpful for improving symptoms of Hashimoto's disease.
A general recommendation is that it is better to avoid sugary and fortified foods if you’re facing thyroid problems.
Other dietary changes beneficial for those with thyroid issues are dairy-free and grain-free meal plans.
Supplements are often a key factor in improving symptoms related to thyroid health. Oftentimes, people will combine supplements they're deficient in to maximize their symptom relief.
Before doing this, always consult with a healthcare professional. Knowing your nutritional deficiencies, you can better understand your health needs and goals. With this information, you can tailor your supplementing regimen to improve your symptoms.
The Love Health shop has liquid supplements that allow the body to absorb nutrients better and faster. Options like selenium, iodine, and copper, available in Love Health Shop are key nutrients that may help improve thyroid function.
For more helpful tips and insights on all things health and wellness, visit the Love Health blog here.