The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. Although it weighs less than an ounce, the thyroid gland has an enormous impact on your health. Every aspect of your metabolism is regulated by thyroid hormones.
The thyroid gland produces two main hormones, thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3), that influence every cell in your body. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of protein. Your thyroid also produces calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium in your blood.
It is important to keep your thyroid healthy for optimal health and wellness. The following are some supplements to consider for improving overall thyroid function:
1. Selenium – Selenium has very powerful antioxidant-like functions, and studies have shown that selenium helps balance out T4 in your body hormones.
2. B Vitamins – Thiamine and vitamin B12 are two B vitamins you need that can actually improve thyroid function. Vitamin B12 benefits thyroid health by balancing hormones naturally and treating chronic fatigue syndrome. Thiamine has many of the same benefits for thyroid health as vitamin B12, including supporting the metabolism.
3. Probiotics – Thyroid conditions have also been linked to a health problem called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is where a protein like gluten can leak through the gut, get in the bloodstream and cause inflammation throughout the body, but also it can cause inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thus, healing the leaky gut is important and probiotics are the No. 1 supplement for that.
5. Proteolytic Enzymes – Enzymes reduce inflammation, especially if you have an autoimmune-related thyroid condition like Hashimoto’s disease; taking proteolytic enzymes like bromelain can benefit thyroid health by reducing inflammation of the thyroid.
6. Iodine – Iodine is a key mineral for helping to convert and release thyroid hormones, yet iodine-rich foods (like seaweed) are limited in the typical Western diet. Other than consuming sea veggies like dulse or kelp, you can iodine from foods like raw dairy, certain wild-caught fish like tuna and some fermented grains. You might benefit from iodine supplements in low doses (usually best when being monitored for side effects). Too much iodine (such as taking high doses of supplements) actually aggravates thyroid disorder symptoms, so follow dosage directions and seek your doctor’s advice if you’re unsure.
7. Manage Stress and Get Enough Rest – When you’re under a good deal of either physical or emotional stress — such as feeling very anxious, overworked, fatigued, angry or going through a traumatic experience — your body may remain in a “fight-or-flight” mode where stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are elevated. This has negative effects like narrowing of blood vessels, increased muscular tension and blood pressure, and release of inflammatory proteins and antibodies that can suppress immune function and damage the adrenal/thyroid glands. To keep the endocrine glands from becoming overloaded it’s important to take stress seriously and tackle the root causes of mental strain.
8. Reduce Toxicity – Ingesting chemical toxins — from things like medications, hormonal birth control or other hormone replacements, and commercial beauty or cleaning products — can contribute to leaky gut and inflammatory reactions. Use natural products as much as possible, decrease intake of any unnecessary medications, clean up your diet and quit smoking.