Your thyroid gland is an important hormone gland, playing a vital role in your metabolism, growth, and bodily development. The thyroid gland helps your body with many functions by releasing thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. If your body is in need of more energy under certain conditions – for example, during pregnancy – the thyroid gland produces more hormones. Your thyroid also manages your overall metabolism.
While the thyroid is important, thyroid problems are relatively common, with up to 7% of the U.S. population experiencing imbalances in thyroid hormones. Such issues are usually treated through medication, but there’s evidence to suggest that dietary supplements and vitamins and minerals can also be part of the solution. In what follows, you can learn more about which supplements can be good for your thyroid health.
Selenium is a mineral that’s necessary for your thyroid’s hormone production, and it protects the thyroid from oxidative stress-related damage. A selenium deficiency can contribute to thyroid issues, as selenium is necessary for the thyroid to convert the thyroxine (T4) hormone into triiodothyronine (T3), which is the active form of the hormone. Maintaining adequate selenium levels – whether through diet or supplementation – is necessary for thyroid health and your body’s overall health. Some foods rich in selenium include eggs, sardines, tuna, legumes, and Brazil nuts. Consult with a medical professional before taking a selenium supplement, as high levels can lead to other health problems.
Like selenium, zinc is necessary for your thyroid's production of hormones. You need a good concentration of zinc in order to ensure adequate levels of the thyroid hormones T3, T4, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). A study showed that zinc supplementation has a positive impact on thyroid hormone levels, particularly T3, and that it also had a positive impact on the resting metabolic rate.
Iron is a mineral that you can find naturally in many foods, while being widely available in supplement form. When it comes to thyroid health, iron is essential, as it’s necessary for the thyroid to convert T4 into T3 hormones. Studies have shown that iron deficiency can be associated with thyroid dysfunction. It’s important, though, to consult a medical professional before starting an iron supplement, as high levels are bad for your body. You won’t get toxic levels of iron from your diet, however.
As far as we know, iodine has one known rule in the body – and that’s to support thyroid function. T3 and T4 hormones both contain iodine, and studies have shown that iodine deficiencies can lead to thyroid problems. Some foods rich in iodine include:
Vitamin D is an important vitamin for many reasons, including its role in strengthening our bones and promoting the growth of our cells. What you may not know, though, is that vitamin D is also important for thyroid health. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiencies can negatively affect thyroid function. You can up your vitamin D intake from sun exposure, some foods (where vitamin D is either added or naturally present), or in supplement form.
A healthy gut is good for your immune system and for thyroid function. Probiotics can be hugely helpful to gut health, ensuring the presence of healthy gut microbiota. Indeed, studies show that probiotic supplementation can have benefits for your thyroid hormones and thyroid function.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) supplements are most commonly used to address hormone imbalances among women, with the most notable imbalance benign estrogen dominance. Studies show that DIM can help female patients who are experiencing hormone-related thyroid problems. DIM is found naturally in cruciferous vegetables, cabbage and cauliflower among them.
Ashwagandha is what we call an “adaptogen” – a natural substance believed to help boost the body’s resistance to physical, environmental, and emotional stressors. It’s been celebrated for its therapeutic qualities in the traditional practice of Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years. It’s also been shown to stimulate thyroid function by boosting thyroid hormone levels.
There are some easy ways to boost your thyroid naturally. First of all, you can try exercising, which can stimulate your thyroid gland for thyroid hormone production. It’s important, too, to ensure proper energy and nutrient intake, as low caloric intake can slow down thyroid hormone production. You may also want to try to take steps to reduce stress. Stress causes your body to release cortisol, and too much cortisol can interfere with thyroid hormone production. Lastly, you can make adjustments to your diet – more on that below.
There are fortunately quite a few foods that are great for thyroid health. Some of these options are high in selenium, including:
Some iodine-rich options include:
Other foods that are good for your thyroid include leafy greens, lima beans, and soy.
As a rule, you want to be careful with thyroid supplements when you’re taking thyroid medication. Thyroid medication should be taken away from other supplements. Consult with a medical professional before embarking on thyroid supplements.
Your thyroid needs certain minerals to be able to function properly. When your thyroid lacks the necessary minerals, you may experience thyroid issues as a result. There are steps you can take to help keep your thyroid healthy, including making lifestyle and diet adjustments, and consulting with a medical professional about the use of certain supplements.