The Missing Link Between Thyroid Treatment & Your Symptoms
Why Nutritional Supplementation is Critical for Thyroid Sufferers
Some people suffering from thyroid conditions erroneously think they don’t need to take nutritional supplements. On occasion, I hear, “I don’t need nutritional supplements; my medication will handle what my thyroid cannot.” Yes, it is true that medications like levothyroxine—the man-made form of thyroxine (T4)—can help the body make up for sluggish thyroid hormone function. But what medications cannot do is lead to long-term improvement of the patient’s thyroid issues. Why? Because medications do not address the underlying root cause of thyroid conditions: nutrient deficiency. What this means is that unless you address your nutrient deficiencies, you will most likely not see an overall improvement in thyroid symptoms in the long run.
How Thyroid Function Becomes Depleted
Before touching on why nutritional supplementation is critical for people with thyroid conditions, including those taking thyroid medications, it’s helpful to understand the underlying mechanisms of what causes the thyroid to become depleted in the first place.
Among the key aspects affecting thyroid function are:
- Poor diet, which leads to malnutrition and whole-body depletion.
- Toxins, from air, water, food, and drugs, including pharmaceutical drugs, put stress on all body systems, but especially the liver and kidneys, which are responsible for the conversion of T4 to T3.
- Lack of sleep increases TSH and higher levels of TSH translate to slower body metabolism and an under-active thyroid.
- Inactivity; sedentary lifestyles are detrimental to the body and optimal functioning.
- Microbes; the gut microbiome and its metabolites affect thyroid function on many levels, so having a healthy microbiome is essential for optimal thyroid health.
- Stress; as your stress increases and as cortisol increases, so does your TSH.
- Certain pharmaceutical drugs, like oral contraception and beta-blockers for the heart, can affect thyroid function.
- Autoimmune disorders, which disproportionately affect women (nearly 80% of all autoimmune diagnoses today are in women.)
- Inflammation, which can slow the conversion of T4 to T3 and worsen symptoms of thyroid disease. What increases inflammation? All of the above.
When thyroid function isn’t quite up to par, it’s true that pharmaceuticals can help to mitigate a few symptoms in the short run, but if you’re looking for long-term symptom relief, you will want to address the above factors, beginning with nutrient deficiencies.
Nutrient Deficiency is Widespread in Thyroid Patients
The vast number of thyroid patients is deficient in critical nutrients. Why is this? As it turns out, hypothyroidism tends to cause low stomach acid, and low stomach acid is directly linked to hypothyroidism. There is such a thing called the gut-thyroid connection: The gut helps the body to activate and utilize thyroid hormone more effectively, while the thyroid helps the gut stay healthy by encouraging digestion.
Because hypothyroid patients typically have low stomach acid and are not digesting food well, we aren’t extracting or absorbing important nutrients from food. When the body senses this, it responds by releasing the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. And while we may be consuming an adequate amount of food, we will still have cravings, because the body is not getting the nutrients it needs.
Poor digestion also increases the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, specifically calcium, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and magnesium, and can also lead to bacterial overgrowth, which directly affects thyroid function and nutrient absorption. It’s a vicious cycle that uninterrupted can result in other health issues.
Key Steps for Eliminating Nutrient Deficiencies
The first step is always to address low stomach acid, naturally, as pharmaceuticals will only create more gut problems and lead to further digestive and hormone difficulties. The herb berberine can be effective for this. Read more about that in our article on the benefits of a low-carb diet for thyroid health here.
Another key action is to improve your diet. Eliminating processed foods, which contain potentially toxic chemicals, dyes and preservatives, is a critical first step. Adding more organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is also necessary. While nutrient values have been declining over the years due to farming practices that deplete soil quality, which affects nutrient density, organic foods still contain higher levels of nutrition. Fact is that most people are deficient in vitamins and minerals, not just those with thyroid conditions. So, the more nutrients you make available to the body, the better chance you have of balancing hormone function. Plus, eating more fruits and vegetables, which are high in fiber, will help keep weight down.
The third essential action to improve nutrient uptake is to add high-quality nutritional supplements to your health program. Not all supplements are alike; there a few, like ours, in a class of their own. What makes a nutritional supplement worthy of your consideration? It must be made in the U.S. with the highest quality raw materials. It must be tested by an independent third party, and it must also be designed to be highly digestible and absorbable, which is especially helpful for anyone with digestion issues, including thyroid patients.
Thyroid Medications Don’t Heal the Thyroid-Deficient Body
We’re convinced that one of the main reasons a thyroid patient doesn’t feel better, even if they take medication, is because they don’t think about and take action to improve nutrient levels. Medications don’t address nutrient deficiencies; in addition, they have side effects. For example, taking levothyroxine over the long-term has been shown to:
- Decrease bone mineral density, which could decrease height and result in bones that break more easily.
- Lead to heart problems, including heart palpitations.
- Increase chances for an allergic reaction.
Let’s face it; having sub-optimal levels of nutrients negatively impacts your thyroid. That means, whether you use thyroid medication or not, you won’t get long-term symptom relief without addressing nutrition. Healthy hormone function depends on getting the right amount and mix of nutrients, which has nothing to do with medications. This is especially the case with thyroid hormone, as it is so sensitive to changes in nutrient density.
High-Quality Nutritional Supplements Can…
Some of the key vitamins and nutrients involved in thyroid physiology (including the release and conversion of thyroid hormone and thyroid receptor sites) include:
- B Vitamins. Anywhere from 10-55% of patients with hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s as having B1 or B12 deficiency. As a side note, just as many in the general population are B12 deficient.
- Iron. Iron is required for the creation of thyroid hormone and low levels are associated with low circulating levels of T3 thyroid hormone.
- Iodine. A deficiency in iodine is directly linked to hypothyroidism. That’s why we recommend using a thyroid supplement containing iodine.
- Vitamin A. People low in vitamin A have a limited ability to produce TSH.
- Zinc. Zinc helps your body utilize thyroid hormone by helping it transform from the inactive T4 metabolite into the active T3 metabolite. Low levels of zinc negatively impact thyroid hormone metabolism.
- Vitamin D. Patients with low levels of vitamin D suffer greater symptoms of hypothyroidism. Sufficient levels of vitamin D also play a significant role in reducing autoimmune disease and the risk for thyroid cancer.
- Magnesium. Low levels of magnesium are associated with both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism and can increase symptoms.
- Selenium. Selenium helps to protect the thyroid gland from free radical damage and autoimmune attack, and like zinc it also plays a small role in T4 to T3 conversion.
A high-quality multi-vitamin, multi-mineral formula crucial to any thyroid health program. And when a formula is specifically designed for thyroid patients, like Thyvita, it’s even a bigger benefit. Our leading 3rd-party-tested, patented thyroid formula provides effective dosages in combinations that increase overall thyroid function along with a delivery system that accommodates anyone with digestive issues.
TRAACS® Makes Thyvita® a Superior Supplement for Thyroid Patients
One thing is certain: If you are going to take supplements, they must be of the highest quality ingredients. At ThyVita®, we’ve created the finest nutritional supplements to address all of the physical and mental symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Our supplements contain both vitamins and minerals. Because minerals can be difficult to absorb, we have chosen the TRAACS® form of minerals for all of our supplements.
TRAACS®, created by Albion, a research and science company founded in 1956, is a patented chelation technology that binds minerals to amino acids, resulting in a smaller molecular structure for these important minerals. The smaller structure improves the body’s ability to absorb and use them efficiently. They are easier on the system and non-reactive to other components found in the gastrointestinal tract typically known to interfere in mineral absorption. This means more nutrition for your body!
Nearly all of the patients that try Thyvita® report an improvement in both systems and function and see a significant reduction in symptoms. You can read first-hand testimonials from our patients here.
Thyroid medications cannot fix the problem of nutrient depletion. So, if you’re struggling with a thyroid condition, take steps to improve your digestion, consume a healthy diet, rich with organic fruits and vegetables, and take a high-quality nutritional supplementation. These actions will go a long way to improve nutrient density in the body, which address the root cause of thyroid disorders—nutrient deficiencies. The great advantage of taking these steps are fewer thyroid symptoms and overall improved health and vitality in both the short and long run. And you’re worth it!
1. Your Inner Child Matters. (n.d.). Unveiling the Untold Truth: WHY 80% of Autoimmune Sufferers Are WOMEN | Dr. Gabor Maté Reveals All. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taYVjQ0_ldA
2. Mancini, A., Di Segni, C., Raimondo, S., Olivieri, G., Silvestrini, A., Meucci, E., & Currò, D. (2016). Thyroid Hormones, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation. Mediators of inflammation, 2016, 6757154. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/6757154
3. Knezevic, J., Starchl, C., Tmava Berisha, A., & Amrein, K. (2020). Thyroid-Gut-Axis: How Does the Microbiota Influence Thyroid Function?. Nutrients, 12(6), 1769.
4. Sinatra, D. (n.d.). Why Gut Issues Can Cause Nutrient Deficiencies. https://www.healthydirections.com/articles/digestive-health/nutrient-deficiencies-gut-health
5.Brewer, A. (2023, January 21). Synthroid side effects: What you should know. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/synthroid-side-effects#Overview
6. Natural Endocrine Solutions. (2017, June 26). Thiamine and Thyroid Health. https://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/thiamine-thyroid-health/
7. Collins, A. B., & Pawlak, R. (2016). Prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency among patients with thyroid dysfunction. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 25(2), 221–226. https://doi.org/10.6133/apjcn.2016.25.2.22
8. Eftekhari, M. H., Keshavarz, S. A., Jalali, M., Elguero, E., Eshraghian, M. R., & Simondon, K. B. (2006). The relationship between iron status and thyroid hormone concentration in iron-deficient adolescent Iranian girls. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 15(1), 50–55.
9. Zimmermann, M. B., & Boelaert, K. (2015). Iodine deficiency and thyroid disorders. The lancet. Diabetes & endocrinology, 3(4), 286–295. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70225-6
10, Capriello S, Stramazzo I, Bagaglini MF, Brusca N, Virili C and Centanni M (2022) The relationship between thyroid disorders and vitamin A.: A narrative minireview. Front. Endocrinol. 13:968215. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.968215
11. Betsy, A., Binitha, M., & Sarita, S. (2013). Zinc deficiency associated with hypothyroidism: an overlooked cause of severe alopecia. International journal of trichology, 5(1), 40–42. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7753.114714
12. Kim D. (2017). The Role of Vitamin D in Thyroid Diseases. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(9), 1949. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091949
13. Wentz, I. (2023, March 3). Studies on Magnesium and Thyroid Health. https://thyroidpharmacist.com/articles/new-studies-on-magnesium-and-thyroid-health/
14. Gorini, F., Sabatino, L., Pingitore, A., & Vassalle, C. (2021). Selenium: An Element of Life Essential for Thyroid Function. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(23), 7084. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26237084