No. 1. Vitamin B12
May increase energy levels and reduce fatigue.
May help increase metabolism and fat loss.
Helps improve mood and may increase concentration.
Mostly works very quickly (within 1-2 weeks).
Vitamin B12 is the first vitamin we’ll talk about today, and for good reason:
According to research, up to 40% of patients with hypothyroidism ALSO have vitamin B12 deficiency (5).
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in patients with hypothyroidism.
And this is very important when you consider the symptoms of B12 deficiency:
Neurological changes that can mimic dementia (6)
Difficulty concentrating or brain fog
Do you see a problem here?
Many of these symptoms are also symptoms of hypothyroidism, so you may have both problems affecting how you feel.
This means you may be taking the correct type and dose of thyroid medication, but your symptoms may persist unless you also replenish your vitamin B12 levels.
And this is the problem I often see in thyroid patients.
Testing for B12 deficiency
You might think that diagnosing a B12 deficiency is pretty easy, but it’s not as easy as you think.
One of the main problems with B12 testing is that it is notoriously inaccurate if you only look at your blood tests. To make matters worse, many doctors don’t know how to test for B12 deficiency, and if they do, they often prescribe the wrong lab tests.
Most people look directly at their serum vitamin B12 levels, as shown in the image below:
Low serum B12
The main problem with this test is that it doesn’t tell you how well your body processes vitamin B12 or whether B12 is getting into your cells.
You can get around this problem by looking at other bloodstream markers that can be used in conjunction with your serum B12 to better understand if you are truly deficient.
Other lab tests include:
MCV (mean corpuscular volume): MCV gives an idea of the total size of your red blood cells. People with B12 deficiency often have larger than normal red blood cells.
Homocysteine levels: High homocysteine levels can be an early sign that your body is having trouble converting vitamin B12 to its active form.
Uric Organic Acids and Methylmalonic Acid: These tests give you information about the by-products of vitamin B12 metabolism and can help you determine if you have a deficiency.
B12 Shots vs Oral B12 Supplements
In my experience, almost all thyroid patients benefit from taking B12, but you may need to use it properly to feel relief.
You have two options for taking B12:
Take it by mouth (sublingually or orally in capsule/liquid) or by injection of vitamin B12.
For some people, especially those with gastrointestinal problems, taking vitamin B12 by mouth may not be the best idea. These gastrointestinal problems can affect or blunt absorption, which limits the amount of B12 that actually enters your body.
You can bypass the gastrointestinal tract with a shot of vitamin B12. B12 injections deliver pre-methylated and pre-activated B12 directly to your system and muscles, where they are immediately available for use.
B12 shots should be considered if you have already tried oral or sublingual B12 without success, or if you are unable to increase your B12 levels.
Another consideration when using B12 is your MTHFR genetic defect status.
The MTHFR gene codes for a gene that helps your body activate vitamin B12 so it can be used directly by your body.
Up to 40% of people today have small or large changes in the genes that code for the proteins and enzymes involved in this reaction.
If you have this genetic defect (you can check your genetic status fairly easily), you may have difficulty activating B12 after ingesting it.
You can get around this problem by using pre-activated (or pre-methylated) vitamin B12 supplements.
Don’t be scared or worried, but this genetic defect may explain why some people take B12 but don’t get any benefit, especially if they use cheap B12 drugs like cyanocobalamin.
If you choose to use B12, make sure you are using methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin.
How to take
I have found that patients with thyroid problems feel better when they take vitamin B12 in addition to other B vitamins.
In most cases, if you are deficient in B12, then there is a high chance that you are also deficient in other B vitamins.
If you decide to use
2 Adrenal support
Many hypothyroid patients suffer from both thyroid and adrenal problems.
Adrenal support means using nutrients and vitamins that help the adrenal glands produce powerful and important hormones such as cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone released during stress that helps thyroid hormone (and other hormones) work.
By constantly straining your adrenal glands (due to stress or thyroid dysfunction), you can develop adrenal problems that cause a series of very specific symptoms.
This is important for the thyroid because we know that thyroid hormone is inextricably linked to adrenal function.
When TSH levels rise (hypothyroidism), cortisol levels also rise (7), leading to symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
This connection explains why so many thyroid patients also suffer from symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
But perhaps more importantly, thyroid hormone therapy may not be enough to “cure” the adrenal glands.
I mentioned that the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are very specific, and that’s true. Below is a list of symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency:
Constant tiredness despite 8 hours of sleep.
Feeling “excited but tired”
Every day at 14-15 there are failures.
How to get a “second wind” at night around 10pm.
Difficulty falling asleep
Competitions of mind and thoughts
Inability to withstand stressful events
Craving for salty/sweet food
you are constantly sick or have a weakened immune system
The presence of these symptoms indicates a breakdown of cortisol. This disorder can be either at the cellular level or in the absolute concentration of cortisol in the blood serum.
You can check for adrenal problems by looking at the cortisol hormone.
Cortisol can be tested in serum, urine and/or saliva.
Each of these tests has its pros and cons, and one test is not necessarily better than the other.
I used to recommend the salivary cortisol test to many patients, but have since changed my mind.
More recently, I have been using serum cortisol levels as a “general” assessment of adrenal function and management based on these results.
You can’t go wrong with these tests and my general recommendation is to follow your symptoms (not your lab/urine/saliva tests) as they can be inaccurate in certain situations.
Adrenal support for thyroid patients
Adrenal fatigue and its treatment deserve their own blog post, but for now I’ll summarize it here:
There are two approaches to solving adrenal problems with supplements and vitamins. You can use adrenal preparations (#1) or adrenal adaptogens (#2) or a combination of both.
Although today we’re going to focus primarily on supplements (that’s the purpose of this article), you should know that there are other lifestyle treatments that can be used for adrenal problems as well.
Dietary changes, meditation, stress reduction techniques, better sleep, etc. should be considered integral parts of your treatment plan if you have adrenal problems.
Once you’ve determined that you have a cortisol-related problem, you can decide how to proceed with treatment.
Low cortisol levels can be managed with adrenal preparations and adrenal adaptogens, and high cortisol levels with phosphatidylserine (8) and adrenal adaptogens.
Entry. It is not always necessary to check your cortisol levels before taking adrenals, as sometimes your cortisol levels may not “match” your symptoms.
Adrenal adaptogens are plant compounds that help increase stress tolerance by nourishing the adrenal glands.
They are often combined with vitamins and nutrients that form the building blocks of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Of the adaptogens, Rhodiola rosea may stimulate the body the most and reach its peak approximately 30 minutes after ingestion (9).
Adaptogens can also be used in conjunction with adrenal meds, which is one of my favorite treatments.
Adrenals or desiccated adrenals contain parts of animal adrenal glands that contain hormone precursors and adrenal-specific vitamins.
However, don’t let this information confuse you because you can’t go wrong using adrenal adaptogens or adrenal supplements.
In my experience, I’ve found that most people do exceptionally well when they connect
deficiencies found in patients with hypothyroidism.
In fact, there’s a good chance your zinc levels are sub-optimal when you’re reading this.
And that doesn’t bode well for your thyroid, given how many thyroid processes zinc is involved in.
One of the most important of these functions is the role of zinc in the conversion of T4 to T3.
Because zinc is essential for thyroid conversion (converting T4 to T3), low zinc levels can predispose you to developing high levels of reverse T3, which can limit thyroid function (10).
These changes can also be identified using laboratory tests as low free T3 and low total T3.
But that’s not all zinc does…
Other benefits of zinc related to your thyroid include:
Increased immune function (11) – This is especially important if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or other autoimmune diseases.
Increases the conversion of T4 to T3 – helps to normalize the level of free thyroid hormones (necessary for weight loss and symptom management).
Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Useful for Hashimoto’s disease or other causes of thyroiditis.
Plays a role in reducing oxidative stress.
Severe zinc deficiency can lead to symptoms of hypothyroidism, which can be addressed with supplementation ( 12Trusted Source ).
Zinc deficiency has also been linked to hair loss and alopecia, a worrisome symptom that many hypothyroid patients experience despite taking thyroid medications.
The real benefit of using zinc is that supplements can help improve thyroid function (if you’re deficient), reduce hair fall, and improve hair quality.
Serum or plasma zinc testing is generally not recommended, as many people with “normal” values still have zinc deficiency symptoms.
This idea was highlighted in this study, which showed that the best way to confirm and treat a zinc deficiency is to try zinc supplements, which are actually considered the “gold standard” (13).
If you suspect that suboptimal zinc levels may be contributing to hypothyroidism symptoms, then it may be appropriate to try zinc.
The combination of zinc with selenium
Zinc is an incredibly important mineral if you have hypothyroidism, but I have found that most thyroid patients achieve better results when they combine zinc with other nutrients.
This benefit is most likely due to the synergistic effect that several nutrients have on thyroid function.
This is also likely due to the fact that many zinc-deficient people are also likely to be deficient in other nutrients.
If you combine zinc with selenium (and other nutrients), the total dose needed for each will decrease and you will get the same benefit at a lower dose.
The dosage of zinc needed to improve thyroid function is usually 5 to 15 mg of zinc per dose.
If you are severely deficient in zinc, a higher dose for 1 to 2 months may help. This will allow you to create a “storage” of zinc.
Once your body’s zinc stores are replenished, you can safely return to a lower daily dose that is just as effective in improving thyroid function.
The most effective forms of zinc for thyroid support include zinc chelate, zinc monomethionine, zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, and zinc citrate.
If you are not using one of these forms, then you will want to switch to one of them!
These zinc formulations tend to be better absorbed compared to other formulations.
If you want the right form of zinc at the right dose, try this supplement.
No. 4. Iron
I know I sound like a broken record here, but iron is another big player when it comes to your thyroid.
But it’s also unique among the nutrients I’m going to discuss in this article because it’s not something you want to take unless you’re sure you’re deficient.
Other nutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, etc. are considered incredibly safe nutrients that you should be able to take in and tolerate without issue.
Iron, on the other hand, has the potential to be harmful to your body if you use it without a documented deficiency.
It is certainly safe to use, but should only be used if you know you are deficient.
Now, after that warning, let’s get back to how iron affects your thyroid.
This is so important that I have devoted an entire post to it, which you can read here, which describes how hypothyroidism worsens in the presence of iron deficiency.
In a nutshell:
Iron is involved in the production of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland
iron deficiency, unless it also causes anemia (low red blood cells).
Of course, you can have an iron deficiency that doesn’t cause anemia but still impairs your body’s thyroid function (15).
Iron deficiency is actually quite easy to spot, it can be checked with a routine blood test (more on that below) and linked to your symptoms.
To spot this problem, all you have to do is ask for basic “iron tests” at your next blood test.
After completing these lab tests, you’ll want to focus on your ferritin levels, which tells you how much iron is stored in your body.
Low ferritin levels are associated with iron deficiency and hypothyroidism.
You can also identify iron deficiency by evaluating your clinical symptoms.
List of symptoms associated with iron deficiency:
Fatigue and weakness
Shortness of breath (aggravated by exertion or exertion)
Pale skin (especially in the folds of the arms)
Dizziness or feeling dizzy
Cold hands and cold feet
Brittle nails and hair loss (iron deficiency is a VERY common cause of hair loss)
Again, note the similarities between symptoms of iron deficiency and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
It is often difficult to distinguish these nutritional deficiency syndromes from the symptoms of hypothyroidism unless you know how to CHECK and understand lab results.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming your doctor understands this information, you may need to be an advocate for your health, especially when it comes to taking vitamins and supplements.
Once you’ve identified an iron deficiency, you can start treatment with over-the-counter iron supplements (but be sure to do this under your doctor’s supervision, as too much iron can be harmful).
Diagnosis of iron deficiency
Testing for iron deficiency is fairly simple and can be done by ordering the following tests and making sure they fall within the “optimal” range listed below:
Serum iron is in the middle of the reference range
Ferritin – 70-80 – “optimal” range (low ferritin is associated with hair loss)
Saturation percentage – 35-38%
TIBC is the middle of the reference range
You may find that your tests are considered “normal” but not optimal. As a thyroid patient, you really need these results in the “optimal” range or you won’t feel any improvement.
The following is an example of iron tests in a patient with thyroid disease:
Low iron levels in patients with hypothyroidism
You can see that while these lab tests are in the “normal” range, they are not in the new “optimum” range I listed above.
This patient has a normal iron level of 80, but you can see that this iron level is definitely in the lower end of the normal range.
Also, her ferritin 46, although normal, is not optimal for thyroid function or hair growth.
Making sure your ferritin is in the 50-60ng/mL range will help with hair growth and symptom control.
Liquid iron vs iron capsules/tablets
One disadvantage of using iron supplements is that they often cause constipation and/or abdominal pain.
This is a well-known and documented side effect, but is usually only seen with prescription tablets and capsules.
Since hypothyroidism already causes constipation, it is not recommended to impair existing intestinal motility if possible.
The good news is that you can take iron without constipation if you use liquid iron instead of iron tablets.
Liquid iron also contains certain cofactors needed for iron absorption in the gut (16), which may make it more effective than taking iron alone.
Iron is also known to interfere with the absorption of nutrients and even medications if you take them at the same time.
And this applies to those using iron for iron deficiency and thyroid supplements for hypothyroidism.
Taking iron at the same time as thyroid medications can inactivate thyroid hormone and reduce its amount in the body!
You can avoid this problem by making sure you take your thyroid medication at least 2-4 hours before taking iron supplements.
Because of this interaction, I usually recommend that patients take iron at the opposite time of day from their thyroid medications.
If you take your thyroid medication at night, take your iron supplement in the morning, or vice versa.
You can also ensure better iron absorption by consuming vitamin C or a glass of lemon water when taking an iron supplement.
If you are deficient, 1-2 teaspoons of liquid iron is enough to improve your iron levels.
You can see an example of liquid iron here.
Patients with hypothyroidism may actually have normal serum and erythrocyte magnesium levels, but studies have shown a decrease in intracellular magnesium (17) in these patients.
This means that you can’t always trust our limited lab tests when assessing a deficiency! (The same can be said for other “nutrient” serum tests, so I don’t always rely on them.)
These studies also show that both magnesium and zinc levels are lower in hypothyroid patients due to increased renal clearance of both nutrients (18).
One thing is certain:
You really don’t want to be deficient in this nutrient because a deficiency can cause a range of symptoms ranging from heart problems (19) (arrhythmias) to nervous system disorders.
What’s even more worrying is that many patients in the US, even those without thyroid problems, have suboptimal levels of this nutrient (20):
Prevalence of magnesium deficiency
So how do you know if you should be taking magnesium supplements or if you are deficient?
Follow the signs…
Magnesium deficiency symptoms include:
Muscle spasms or eye twitches
Restlessness or agitation
restless leg syndrome
Sleep disorders ranging from insomnia to REM disorders.
Poor nail growth.
See the full list here
I’m not a big fan of magnesium testing simply because it’s very inaccurate, but if you prefer this way, you can test it.
The two most basic ways to test magnesium include:
Serum Magnesium – If you are using this test, you want results somewhere between 2.0 and 2.2 mg/dL.
Magnesium in red blood cells – if you use this test, you should make sure that your results are somewhere between 6.0 and 6.8 mg/dL.
Both give you a rough idea of how much magnesium is circulating in your bloodstream, but they don’t necessarily tell you if that magnesium is getting into your cells (which is where you want it to go).
Because magnesium is so safe to use, it’s probably best to assume a deficiency if you have symptoms and treat based on that knowledge.
Dosing magnesium is actually quite simple.
Most people feel well and can maintain normal serum magnesium levels at 100 to 200 mg per day.
Some may need less and some more, but something in this range will work for 95+% of the people reading this.
Reasons for increasing the dose may include persistent symptoms of magnesium deficiency or chronic constipation.
Available types of magnesium
There are many different types of magnesium supplements available for OTC use.
The formula you should follow if you have a thyroid condition is magnesium glycinate (second place is magnesium citrate).
Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable and ideal for getting enough magnesium in the body in a short period of time.
Glycinate should also not cause loose stools (like other forms of magnesium).
However, if you suffer from chronic constipation, you may want to consider using magnesium citrate.
This formula leaves more magnesium in the gastrointestinal tract, which stimulates bowel movements.
This means less magnesium will enter your body, but it can help treat constipation.
When in doubt, start with 100-200mg of magnesium glycinate per day!
Magnesium Citrate Chart I would recommend getting your daily dose of magnesium along with other thyroid-supporting nutrients like this, but you can also take a dedicated magnesium supplement if you feel like you need even higher doses.
No. 6. Selenium
I am sure you have heard of selenium if you have hypothyroidism and especially if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Since selenium is not only involved in the process of converting T4 to T3 (21), there are also some studies that show that selenium supplementation can help reduce anti-TPO antibodies (22).
How does selenium help improve these processes?
Selenium is a trace mineral that forms the basis of a specific set of proteins known as selenoproteins.
These proteins catalyze important functions such as the creation of thyroid hormones and the creation of antioxidants in the thyroid gland (23).
Inadequate levels of selenium can impair the function of these proteins and predispose you to developing low thyroid hormone levels and damage to thyrocytes (damage to thyroid cells).
Studies have shown that selenium supplements can help improve thyroid function and reduce thyroid antibodies by supplying your body with this important mineral.
Selenium helps increase t4 to t3 conversion and reduces autoimmunity.
Sounds good, right?
And that is not all…
Selenium is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent (24), and the use of this nutrient has the potential to
deficiency and treated as needed. As with zinc, selenium testing may be the best way to determine if you would benefit from using it.
Doses of at least 100 micrograms per day have been shown to be effective (25).
What about your dose?
Most of the nutrients we’ve discussed up to this point are fairly safe, even when taken in large amounts.
But Selenium is not the one that you want to take more than necessary. This can cause negative symptoms such as hair loss, diarrhea, fatigue, and nail problems.
You can avoid these symptoms by keeping your daily selenium intake below 400 micrograms per day (as a last resort).
However, most people won’t need this dose anywhere, as people only need about 70 micrograms of selenium each day.
Supplements of 70 mcg to 150 mcg per day are best for most thyroid patients.
Some people, especially those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, may benefit from a higher dose of 400 micrograms per day.
As a thyroid patient, you are likely to get the best results by combining selenium with other minerals such as zinc and iodine.
To keep things simple, combining zinc, iodine, and selenium into one supplement will make things a lot easier for you.
You can always take them individually, but make sure you’re getting the correct doses and the correct formulations for each.
I think probiotics are a potentially easy and great way to boost your thyroid levels naturally.
But what do probiotics and thyroid function have in common?
A lot, it turns out.
First, about 20% of the conversion of T4 to T3 occurs in the gut (26).
For you, this means that bowel problems (more on that below) can negatively impact that percentage.
This may mean less free T3 and total T3 for your body.
In addition, inflammatory processes in the gut (27) predispose the body to the development of autoimmune diseases and deterioration of thyroid function.
So how do the thyroid and intestines function?
It turns out that thyroid hormone helps the body produce stomach acid (which aids digestion) and also promotes peristalsis, the slow movement of the gastrointestinal tract.
Low thyroid hormone levels contribute to decreased stomach acidity, which causes intestinal problems, nutrient deficiencies, and an overgrowth of certain bacteria and fungi.
Low thyroid hormone levels also contribute to a sluggish gastrointestinal tract, which predisposes the body to developing constipation, SIBO, and yeast overgrowth syndromes (such as Candida).
Both syndromes cause inflammation, which can contribute to autoimmunity and thus either directly damage the thyroid gland or result in reduced conversion of T4 to T3.
Do you see a cycle here?
Hypothyroidism causing intestinal imbalance such as SIBO
This is why it is so important to evaluate and treat any gastrointestinal problems you may have, because they are either caused by hypothyroidism or impair thyroid function.
Gut problems that can affect thyroid conversion
It is easy to assume that everything is in order with your intestines and your thyroid gland is not suffering, but is it really so?
You may assume that you don’t have bowel problems, but it would be nice to know what a healthy “gut” actually looks like.
If you have any of these symptoms (or conditions), you may have bowel problems that limit your thyroid’s conversion:
Gas or bloating
SIBO/SIFO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth)
inflammatory bowel disease
irritable bowel syndrome
Increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
Multiple food sensitivities
Dosage and frequency of probiotics
I would be lying if I said that taking probiotics will cure your gastrointestinal problems, but they are certainly a good start.
Ultimately, you may need to change your diet, change your meal frequency, and take additional supplements to correct your bowel condition.
Probiotics play an important role in regulating the concentration of bacteria in the intestines, in restoring the integrity of the intestinal mucosa, and in increasing appetite and hormonal balance.
Using certain probiotics can help improve or solve many of these problems if you have them.
The key to using probiotics effectively is to use probiotics that contain the right types of probiotics at the right concentration (dose).
My experience is that thyroid patients are best served with probiotics, which contain over 100 billion CFU per serving.
In addition, you want
Gut problems that can affect thyroid conversion
It’s easy to assume that your gut is all right and your thyroid is fine, but is that really the case?
You can assume you don’t have gut problems, but it would be nice to know what a healthy “gut” really looks like.
If you have any of these symptoms (or conditions), you may have gut problems that limit your thyroid’s ability to convert:
Gas or bloating
SIBO/SIFO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, small intestinal fungal overgrowth)
inflammatory bowel disease
irritable bowel syndrome
Increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
Versatile food sensitivity
Dosing and frequency of use of probiotics
I’d be lying if I said taking probiotics would cure digestive problems, but they’re certainly a good start.
Ultimately, you may need to change your diet, change the frequency of your meals, and take supplements to repair your gut.
Probiotics play an important role in regulating the bacterial content of the intestine, restoring the integrity of the intestinal mucosa, and increasing appetite and hormone balance.
Taking certain probiotics can help improve or resolve many of these problems if you have them.
The key to using probiotics effectively is to use probiotics that contain the right type of probiotics at the right concentration (dosage).
In my experience, thyroid patients are best served by probiotics that contain more than 100 billion CFUs per serving.
Additionally, you should use probiotics that contain at least 10+ different types of bacteria (with a healthy mix of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species).
I usually recommend that patients start with a high-dose probiotic (300+ billion CFUs per dose) for 15-30 days and then continue with 100 CFUs per dose of probiotics daily for several months.
This strategy is ideal for people with weight issues, multiple hormone disorders, immune responses, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and other thyroid issues.
I have had great success with the following probiotics:
1 packet per day x 15 days with 300 billion + different types of probiotics. After 2-3 cycles of high doses of probiotics, you can switch to smaller doses of probiotics. This probiotic contains over 350 billion CFUs per serving and contains 18 types of bacteria.
This probiotic is great for daily use and maintaining gut health. It contains 100 billion CFU of probiotics and the most researched bifidus and lactobacillus strains.
If you are not using the probiotics I recommend, make sure you find a probiotic that contains at least 10+ species and 100+ billion CFUs per serving.
Make sure the probiotic contains a variety of bifidobacteria (28) and lactobacilli (29), as these are the best-studied species.
Also remember that probiotics must be packaged correctly to ensure the maximum concentration of bacteria per serving when consumed.
No. 8. Proteolytic enzymes
Enzymes are on the list because they help your body break down nutrients and medicines.
As you already know, low thyroid = low stomach acid (30) = poor digestion.
But you may not know how difficult it is to break down some medications (even thyroid hormone) when you have low stomach acid.
For this reason, for patients with BOTH hypothyroidism (or Hashimoto’s disease) and GI issues, I also recommend using enzymes to improve digestion.
In fact, I have seen some Hashimoto’s patients who start NDT develop a temporary antibody spike as a result of poor digestion.
Failure to fully break down foods leads to abnormal absorption of particles your body is not used to seeing, which can affect autoimmunity (31).
How to tell if you need it
I generally recommend trying enzymes with every meal (and between meals) if you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s PLUS gut issues (GERD, IBS, IBD, chronic constipation, SIBO, or yeast overgrowth).
It is also worth mentioning that taking enzymes between meals can promote the breakdown of immune complexes (30) in the bloodstream.
So take enzymes with and WITHOUT food.
You can get a full range of enzymes from this add-on.
No. 9. Yod
Iodine is another nutrient that deserves its own blog post (see this article for details), but I want to give it the attention it deserves here.
The claim that on).
Iodine is involved in the production of thyroid hormones
Not surprisingly, if you are iodine deficient, you will have trouble producing thyroid hormone.
If you are unable to produce enough thyroid hormone, you will experience symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Iodine is an essential nutrient that people SHOULD get from their diet (or supplements). We cannot create it ourselves and we need it to function.
Iodine deficiency is associated with hypothyroidism in newborns and low IQ if the mother is iodine deficient.
This is why the government adds iodine to certain foods (such as salt).
The problem is not knowing its importance, but understanding how to complement it correctly.
Too much iodine intake can be harmful to the thyroid gland, while too little intake can also be harmful.
Iodine, like iron, is another nutrient you don’t want to get too much of, just as you don’t want too little of it.
Finding this balance can be tricky.
Another problem with iodine supplements is that it can displace other halides (31) that attach to thyroid hormone molecules but inactivate the thyroid hormone.
I’m talking about fluoride, bromide and chloride.
Periodic Table of the Elements and Iodine
In the picture above you can see that iodine, fluorine, chloride and bromide have the same structure in terms of outer shell electrons.
What this means to you is that these other chemicals can displace iodine from thyroid hormone and cause cellular hypothyroidism with “normal” thyroid lab values.
And when you give iodine to a patient with this problem, it can displace other chemicals and cause a detox reaction.
The detox reaction has common symptoms of bromoderma and bromism (but usually not as severe).
A detox response can manifest as worsening thyroid symptoms, acne, facial pustules, nausea/vomiting, irritability, etc.
These symptoms are often confused with a negative reaction to iodine itself, although the symptoms are actually related to the detoxification of other halides in the body.
Dosage and safety of iodine in thyroid patients
Some people hesitate to use iodine because they think it is dangerous and can suppress thyroid function.
This fear is largely unfounded if you use the appropriate dose of iodine.
There are several stories, even some on this blog, of patients who reported that taking high doses of iodine caused Hashimoto’s in the body.
Some clinical studies also support a link between the development of Hashimoto’s disease and iodine intake (32).
My personal opinion is that iodine is not necessarily causing Hashimoto’s in these people, but is accelerating a disease that will likely develop at some point in the future.
This potential outcome, although rare, can be avoided by taking iodine with other thyroid-protective nutrients such as selenium.
You can also protect yourself from negative effects by taking small to moderate doses of iodine and avoiding excessive doses.
Some people can take 25 to 50 mg (milligrams) a day without problems. These people often recommend that everyone take doses in this range.
To put this into perspective, 1mg is equal to 1000mcg. So 25 mg of iodine is equivalent to 25,000 micrograms, or about 125 times my recommended dose.
You may be able to titrate up to this dose without harm, but I think the potential negatives outweigh the small potential benefits.
Stick to 75-300 micrograms daily and take iodine with selenium and zinc and you should have no problems.
Negative reactions to iodine in patients with Hashimoto’s
To date, I have only had 2 documented scenarios where patients actually reacted negatively to iodine supplements, and many other patients who did quite well with iodine.
Although this is anecdotal evidence, you can take comfort in knowing that of the thousands of people who have used iodine, only a few have had a negative reaction to it.
If you start with a small dose (100-200 micrograms per day), you can easily reduce or stop iodine intake.
If you experience side effects from bromism or bromoderma, reduce your dose and try again in a few days.
Having a pimple or rash after taking iodine doesn’t mean you don’t need iodine, but it could mean your dose is too high.
Thyroid supplements are only part of thyroid treatment
As I mentioned above, these supplements can certainly bring therapeutic benefits to many patients…
But they should not be used separately.
Thyroid supplements should be used as part of l
see my post here.
These 9 thyroid supplements, when used correctly, can help improve thyroid function and reduce your symptoms:
Vitamin B12 (remember you need either sublingual or injection)
Adrenal support (thyroid function and adrenal function are related)
Iron (you need just the RIGHT amount – not too much and not too little)
Magnesium (magnesium citrate for constipation, glycinate for hypothyroidism and threonate for anxiety/depression)
Selenium (very useful for Hashimoto’s patients)
Probiotics (recommended for soil-dwelling organisms if you have SIBO/yeast overgrowth)
Proteolytic enzymes (helps digest food and break down immune complexes)
Iodine (Use with caution)
I want to hear about you!
What supplements have worked for you? What are not?