The thyroid controls muscle control, brain development, digestive function, and metabolic rate. Get your thyroid healthy! This small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck has big functions! The thyroid is an endocrine gland that controls hormones necessary for regulating muscle control, brain development, digestive function, and metabolic rate. When something in this hormone control center goes askew, there can be profound effects on human health.
For people with Hashimoto's disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid, resulting in inflammation and an overactive or underactive thyroid. This attack on the immune system often leads to nutritional deficiencies. If you have Hashimoto's, it is essential to get the right lab tests, as well as make sure you are supplementing correctly and eating the right foods. Lab test requests should include ferritin, B12, vitamin D, and zinc. Here are some common nutritional deficiencies you should look out for!
Selenium: Selenium is a trace mineral from soil that is often not reliably found on blood tests. This mineral supports immune, thyroid, and antioxidant functions. In addition, selenium regulates blood sugar and can alleviate panic attacks. Some symptoms of selenium deficiencies include increased anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
To alleviate these symptoms, make sure you are getting the recommended dosage of 200-400mcg/day. 200 mcg/day helps reduce TPO antibodies by 50% within 3 months. Even more benefits include better T4 to T3 conversion, lower thyroid antibodies, less anxiety, more energy, less hair loss, and lowers heart palpitations. You can get the recommended dosage by consuming nuts (Brazil nuts and walnut), and grains.
Zinc: Zinc is an essential trace mineral important for gut health, hormone production, digestion, immune function, tissue healing, conversion of T4 to T3, and production of TSH. Deficiency symptoms include poor wound healing, impaired taste and smell, thin and brittle nails with white spots. People low in zinc may have a weakened immune system, suffer from allergies, and suffer from frequent colds or respiratory infections.
Depleted levels can cause diarrhea, hair loss, no appetite, acne, rashes, canker sores, foot fungus, depression, impaired vision, ADHD, difficulty concentrating, impotence, low sperm count, and weight loss. People constantly producing TSH, with celiac disease, or malabsorption syndrome that cause intestinal damage are at risk for deficiency.
It is recommended to take 30mg/day, with food for proper absorption. Having 500mg EPO (evening primrose oil) twice a day improves absorption of zinc. Do not go over 40mg as this can interfere with copper levels. Zinc can also deplete iron levels.
You can purchase zinc in capsules, lozenges, and multivitamins. Vegan food sources include chickpeas, lentils, beans, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, pine, peanut, cashews, almonds, quinoa, oats, potatoes, green beans, kale, and 70% dark chocolate.
Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that supports the immune system, helps maintain nerve and muscle function, regulates the heartbeat, strengthens bones, and regulates blood glucose levels. Deficiency symptoms are migraines, headaches, insomnia, menstrual cramps, anxiety, joint pain, and an intolerance to loud noises.
If you are deficient it is recommended to take magnesium citrate powder (better if you are constipated), or magnesium glycinate (if you experience loose stools), 100-400mg/day at bedtime. Take for 3 months to life; this should improve symptoms within a week to a month depending on the issue.
The benefits of magnesium are less anxiety, increased energy, relief from constipation, reduced menstrual cramps, reduced heart palpitations, migraine relief, better sleep, and improved leg cramps. Make sure not to take thyroid medication, iron, or calcium with magnesium (take 4 hours apart).
It is best taken at night to promote restful sleep. Food sources of magnesium include high fiber foods, such as legumes, broccoli, squash, green leafy veggies, seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate. Magnesium is available in supplements or topically on skin.
Thiamine: Thiamine is also known as B1. This vitamin helps convert carbs into energy and digest fats and protein. Thiamine is needed for the proper release of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, proper digestion, and crucial for healing Hashimoto's. Taking 600mg/day can improve fatigue in 3 to 5 days.
Thiamine deficiency symptoms are Hashimoto's, other autoimmune conditions, IBS, fatigue, low blood pressure, low stomach acid, brain fog, and adrenal or blood sugar issues. Taking this vitamin can improve energy, brain function, and stabilizes blood pressure and improves blood sugar. Vegan food sources of thiamine are yeast, grains, beans, and nuts.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is commonly found in people with Hashi's as it correlates to the presence of anti-thyroid antibodies. Additional people at risk include anyone not getting enough natural vitamin D through sunlight, and people on low-fat diets.
To check vitamin D levels, get a lab test and then another one in three months after supplementing to gain perspective of proper dosage amounts. Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it is not excreted by the body so it can build up, which results in toxicity if taken in excess.
Vitamin D levels should be 60-80 ng/mL for optimal thyroid receptor and immune system function. The daily recommendation is 2000-5000IU/day. You can get vitamin D by spending time outdoors in natural sunlight. Vegan food sources are shiitake and button mushrooms. The benefits of vitamin D include strong, healthy teeth and hair, supports calcium absorption in the gut, regulates cellular growth & healthy cell activity, and promotes skeletal health.
B12: This vitamin helps increase energy. Low levels may lead to fatigue, depression, neurological issues, impaired digestion, brain fog, nerve damages, seizures, and anemia. People at risk for B12 deficiency are vegans and vegetarians (B12 is only found in animal foods), and those with H.pylori and SIBO.
The optimal B12 levels should be 700-900 pg/mL; however, most labs only flag low if levels are under 200 pg/Ml. If deficient, it is recommended to take 5000 mcg sublingually for 10 days, then 5000 mcg/1x a week for 4 weeks, then 5000 mcg monthly for maintenance. Since vitamin B12 is water-soluble, you cannot overdo it, as excess will just come out in your urine. It's a good idea to retest after 3 months to track and monitor your progress.
When taking B12, use sublingual as it is cheaper, effective and pain-free while swallowing B12 is harder to absorb. You can also get B12 through nutrition. Vegan food sources include nutritional yeast and spirulina.
Ferritin: Ferritin is an iron storage protein. Deficiency is common in people with Hashimoto's and may lead to fatigue, difficulty breathing, and hair loss. Those at deficiency risk include menstruating and postpartum women, vegan and vegetarians, SIBO, H. pylori, low stomach acid, manganese deficiency, and heavy metal toxicity.
Normal levels of ferritin are 12-150 ng/mL for women, with the optimal thyroid levels at 90-110 ng/mL. It is recommended to take 1-3 caps/day with meals. Make sure to retest levels as too much ferritin can become toxic in the body. You can also get ferritin through food. Vegan food sources include dark chocolate, white beans, soybeans, lentils, spinach, tofu, and cashews.
The writer is a freelancer
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