5 Top Supplements to Naturally Help Prevent and Treat Hypothyroidism
8 minute read
Thyroid disorders are more common than people realize. The hormones produced by your thyroid gland are responsible for a number of important functions in your body, such as coordinating metabolism, energy, and growth.
Very low levels, known as hypothyroidism, can seriously impact your health, but supplemental help can improve thyroid function and your overall well-being. While there is no “perfect” supplement to take, there are a few that you should definitely consider.
Close to 12 percent of the population will experience a thyroid disorder of some kind, and women are more at risk than men. Hypothyroidism causes your metabolism to slow and reduces the growth and repair of important body parts.
The change in thyroid hormone level is dictated by TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is released by the pituitary in your brain.
When TSH levels decrease, your thyroid never gets the message to release the thyroid hormone and hypothyroidism results. Here are the key symptoms that can indicate you may have hypothyroidism:
Tiredness: The thyroid hormone influences your energy levels, so decreased levels cause tiredness and a continued feeling of always feeling worn out. If you are sleeping more and still feeling exhausted during the day, your thyroid may need some attention, although there may be others reasons for your fatigue as well.
Weight gain: Low thyroid activity signals your liver, muscles, and fat tissues to hold on to calories. Unexpected weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid.
Achiness: Hypothyroidism causes muscle aches and joint pains, because the low levels of thyroid hormone slow energy breakdown. Tired and weak muscles are more prone to cramps and if these are not caused by recent strenuous activity, then you should get your thyroid checked out.
Hair loss: Your hair follicles are regulated by thyroid hormone and reduced production can lead to hair loss. The stem cells in hair follicles have a short life span, so they are very sensitive to changes in thyroid hormone levels.
When hair follicles cannot regenerate, you notice hair loss. The good news is that once hypothyroidism is treated, you can regrow the hair you lost.
Skin health issues: Hypothyroidism means you cannot regenerate new cells as often and old skin cells accumulate. This leads to dry, itchy skin and sometimes swelling and redness as a result of excess inflammation. This inflammation is one reason supplements can be helpful.
Feeling depressed: The overall decrease in mental and physical energy can contribute to depressive symptoms. While there are a number of conditions or circumstances that can cause depression, hypothyroidism is one that should not be ruled out.
Postpartum hormone fluctuations are also known to trigger hypothyroidism, which commonly develops into postpartum depression.
Feeling cold: With hypothyroidism, your metabolic rate slows, and the lower amount of calories being burned leads to a reduced amount of heat you generate. Since you aren’t generating as much heat internally, you feel cold most of the time regardless of the environment around you.
Poor concentration: Decreased levels of energy for your brain can cause mental fogs and difficulty concentrating. Studies show that reduced thyroid hormone levels are linked to trouble remembering mental cues and a lack of focus.
Memory or concentration troubles can happen to anybody, but if they are severe and occur suddenly, hypothyroidism could be the cause.
The Best Supplements For Your Thyroid
While it is important to spot the signs of hypothyroidism, knowing how to prevent or minimize the symptoms may be even more so. While there are good examples of foods that fight inflammation and even ones for depression, supplements can offer an alternative, potentially more targeted approach.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The overly processed and high-fat diet typical of Western society doesn’t provide the omega-3 fatty acid content we need. What we do get are omega-6 fatty acids, which can be dangerous when they outnumber the beneficial omega-3s.
When the ratio is out of balance in this way, inflammation occurs and the thyroid ends up a popular target. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as krill oil, maintain the fatty acid balance, and their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits protect your thyroid.
Zinc deficiency is one of the top causes for an underactive thyroid but is easily remedied with a regular zinc supplement. Studies have found that with regular zinc supplementation, hypothyroidism can be reduced and your metabolism and energy levels return to optimal levels.
| Related: The DNA of Krill Oil: The Facts Behind EPA & DHA |
It is important to remember that an increase in zinc can interfere with the absorption of copper, and since this is an important mineral too, you may want to add a small copper supplement to the plan too.
When you have a selenium deficiency, not only does thyroid hormone production decrease, but your risk for autoimmune disorders increases. Selenium is responsible for clearing out inflammation-causing hydrogen peroxide.
By maintaining optimal selenium levels, you are better protected against inflammatory attacks, and thyroid function can return to normal.
4. The B Vitamins
B-complex vitamins help to prevent fatigue, muscle aches, anxiety, and depression, all of which are associated with hypothyroidism. While it is easy to get B vitamins from your diet, supplementing with a B-vitamin complex ensures your thyroid gets all it needs.
Since individuals with hypothyroidism have a slower metabolism, it is important to take the vitamin complex rather than just select B vitamins. It is better to have too much; your body will expel what it does not need.
Iodine is often prescribed for those with thyroid issues, but this needs to undergo careful consideration before jumping in. Too much iodine can also have negative health effects and has been known to trigger autoimmune attacks.
Your supplement should be limited per day or you can just add sustainable seafood or kelp flakes to a few of your meals each week. It could be a great reason to expand your culinary horizons.
The Bottom Line
Hypothyroidism can interfere with your life and your happiness. Feeling tired and irritable all the time will eventually take its toll.
Because the symptoms of hypothyroidism can mirror other conditions, it is important to seek a professional opinion right away. With early detection, prompt changes, and supplemental support, thyroid function can return to normal. You can return to your life.