Low thyroid may be the reason you have a slow metabolism, weight gain, chronic fatigue, intolerance to cold, constipation or headaches. If you have low thyroid, or hypothyroidism, it means your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Even though low thyroid can easily be controlled with synthetic thyroid hormone, certain supplements and foods may also help reduce symptoms.
Iodine deficiency is one of several causes of low thyroid function. According to Lisa Lynn, a metabolic disorder specialist, 40 percent of Americans are at risk for iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism. Some of the best iodine-rich foods to support healthy thyroid function include wild-caught fish, seaweed -- especially kelp, dulse, kombu and nori -- shellfish, eggs and low-fat dairy products. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that you should not take iodine supplements unless your doctor prescribes them. Too much iodine can actually cause hypothyroidism.
Selenium and Zinc
Selenium and zinc are essential minerals for thyroid function. Selenium acts as an antioxidant in the thyroid gland, and zinc improves the production of thyroid hormone. The best sources of these minerals come from organic vegetables, seaweed and unrefined salt, such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. Your body uses organic minerals more readily from whole-food sources than from inorganic mineral supplements. If you are taking thyroid medication, consult with your doctor before taking any mineral supplements, especially those which contain calcium.
Low thyroid affects every function in your body, including the immune system. Eat a variety of fresh foods to ensure that you are getting a full spectrum of vitamins to support your immune system. The foods that contain the highest concentration of vitamins are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and raw nuts and seeds. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, especially berries and citrus, boost immunity and help protect the thyroid.
A high-quality multivitamin supplement can help boost thyroid function and the overall health of your adrenal system. Look for an organic multivitamin that contains high levels of vitamins B, D, E and C as well as zinc, selenium and iodine. An amino-acid supplement that is often recommended by health professionals for low thyroid is L-tyrosine because the thyroid gland uses tyrosine to make thyroid hormone. Never take L-tyrosine along with thyroid medications unless your doctor tells you to do so.
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch
Nancy Hearn is a certified health and nutrition consultant, fitness adviser and yoga instructor. She also has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles appear on various health- and fitness-related websites, as well as in "Natural Life News and Directory" magazine in Montana. Hearn attended San Diego Miramar College and the Global College of Natural Medicine.