If you want to increase your thyroid function at home, the key could be in a few key nutrients. We’ve discussed before the toll that stress takes on your thyroid health, and while reducing stress is a huge factor in protecting or increasing hormonal balance and thyroid functioning, just as important is making sure that your body gets the natural building blocks to get and stay strong.
Below you’ll see a few of the best nutrients to increase your thyroid function, either through foods or supplements.
Nutrients that support our thyroid
The thyroid gland needs specific vitamins and minerals to properly do its job. Since we are all unique in how our hormones are functioning, the best way to get a handle on what our body specifically needs is to have a full thyroid panel done to help pinpoint where individual levels may be off balance. Research shows us that there are a few key nutrients that are highly valuable for everyone.
This is the most important trace element found in thyroid functioning. Without iodine, our thyroid does not have the basic building blocks it needs to make the necessary hormones to support all of the tissues in the body. Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) are the most essential, active, iodine-containing hormones we have. In 2012, a CDC report showed that women of childbearing years in the United States, ages 20-39, had the lowest iodine levels of any other age group. This is something we can easily improve by eating more iodine-rich foods.
This element is indispensable to our thyroid in several ways. Selenium-containing enzymes protect the thyroid gland when we are under stress, working like a “detox,” to help flush oxidative and chemical stress, and even social stress – which can cause reactions in our body. Selenium-based proteins help regulate hormone synthesis, converting T4 into the more accessible T3. These proteins and enzymes help regulate metabolism and also help maintain the right amount of thyroid hormones in the tissues and blood, as well as organs such as the liver, kidneys, and even the brain. Selenium also helps regulate and recycle our iodine stores. These are all very important functions!
Zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), and copper (CU):
These three trace metals are vital to thyroid function. Low levels of zinc can cause T4, T3, and the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to also become low. Research shows that both hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroids) and hypothyroidism (under active thyroids), can sometimes create a zinc deficiency leading to lowered thyroid hormones.
Copper is needed to help produce TSH, and maintain T4 production. T4 helps cholesterol regulation, and some research even indicates copper deficiency may contribute to higher cholesterol and heart issues for people with hypothyroidism.
Antioxidants and B vitamins:
Most people have heard that antioxidants are important to help temper oxidative stress, and thus combat degenerative diseases as well as improve the aging process. Vitamin A (commonly known as beta-carotene), C, and E, along with iodine and selenium, help the thyroid gland mitigate oxidative stress in an ongoing, daily process.
In addition, the B vitamins, including B2, B3, and B6, help with the manufacturing of T4. As you can see, these mechanisms are all connected, which is why the proper micronutrients are important!
– via www.womentowomen.com
There are plenty of expert voices out there talking about thyroid health, and each person will have their own unique take, but there are a few commonalities that nearly everyone agrees on – good nutrition, stress reduction, enough sleep, and proper exercise.
As with any serious health issue, thyroid problems shouldn’t be tackled by yourself. A holistic doctor who will take a mind/body/spirit approach to your health could be your biggest ally on the road to a happier, longer, healthier life.
Balancing Stress Hormones
A main reason you may have anxiety, depression, panic attacks, mood swings and low thyroid function, is a lack of nutrients that are VITAL for the normal function of thyroid hormones. Nutrient deficiencies put a ton of stress on our bodies, especially the thyroid and adrenals. Here are supplements to speak to your doctor about:
1. I recommend that you get a whole food multivitamin. Make sure you are getting selenium and B12 from your multivitamin. Get your selenium and B12 levels tested in case you need to supplement with extra in addition to your multivitamin.
2. It is also important to take Omega-3.
3. I like to have my patients take extra calcium and magnesium at night before bed (this also helps with insomnia!).
4. Ashwagandha is a great adaptogen herb, meaning it helps the body adapt. It is a great healing herb for the adrenals and thyroid and really good in times of stress.
Unfortunately, most diets are lacking in nutrients and antioxidants. You should be eating foods with antioxidants in them every day such as grapes, berries, nuts, dark green veggies, and sweet potatoes (this is also good for anti-aging).
The supplements mentioned above will enhance the formation of your thyroid hormone and will protect the thyroid gland and liver so they can more efficiently produce and activate hormones. These supplements will make it easier for your body to increase T3, and help the transport of thyroid hormone into cell tissues to turn on your metabolism. These supplements are great to support healthy mood levels, in addition, they will also support healthy weight management, other biochemical balance and cholesterol too, all important to anyone that is struggling with mood swings and thyroid functions.
Sleep and exercise, both lifestyle factors are important to balance your moods and hormone balance. It is difficult to sleep without enough exercise. I recommend getting 8-10 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep in a complete dark room without the TV or music on. It is important if you do get up in the middle of the night that you don’t turn a light on as this will give your brain signals that the night is over.
– via hypothyroidmom.com
Which of these tactics will you try to help boost your thyroid function?