by Michael Edwards
The thyroid gland requires iodine to function. Iodine taken by itself or ingested through fortified salt can be problematic. Good food sources include: meat, seafood, yogurt, milk, and eggs, but there are vegan sources as well.
Vegan Food Sources of Iodine
- Blackstrap molasses
- Himalayan sea salt
- Navy beans
Selenium is required for the body to convert T3 into T4. Without enough selenium in the diet, the thyroid suffers. Seafood and meat are high in selenium, but there are also some vegan choices.
Vegan Food Sources of Selenium
- Brazil nuts
- Shiitake/white button mushrooms
- Lima/pinto beans
- Chia seeds
- Brown rice
- Seeds (sunflower, sesame, and flax)
Supplements For Hypothyroidism
A number of vitamins and minerals are critical to thyroid health, and many herbs can help boost thyroid function as well. Due to the fact that thyroid conditions are associated with inflammation, anti-inflammatory herbs can aid in thyroid healing as well.
Vitamin B12 is found in every cell of the body. It is required for cellular metabolism and energy production, so obviously, without B12, the thyroid can’t function optimally. B12 deficiencies are very common with hypothyroidism. A lack of B12 can cause and worsen hypothyroidism. Even though most people actually consume enough vitamin B12 in their diets, a deficiency occurs in many due to an inability to absorb the nutrient in the blood. This goes back to gut health. The body cannot absorb and assimilate nutrients properly with a poorly functioning digestive system.
In addition, if the liver is not up to par, this radically inhibits the body’s ability to utilize B12. Unless a knowledgeable naturopath recommends it for a limited amount of time, do not take vitamin B12 alone. We recommend a B vitamin complex with extra B12.
Over a billion people worldwide do not get enough vitamin D. A recent study showed that vitamin D levels were significantly lower in people suffering from hypothyroidism than the general population. While vitamin D deficiencies and hypothyroidism do tend to take place together, a lack of vitamin D and pretty much every other disease coincide as well. It’s unlikely anyone’s hypothyroidism is primarily caused by a lack of vitamin D, but it’s a certainty that the body will not fully heal without enough vitamin D.
We all know vitamin A is required for good vision. We also need vitamin A for the immune system, hormone synthesis, and the production of T3. Without enough vitamin A, thyroid hormone levels drop quickly.
Bromelain is the enzyme that makes pineapple the superfood that it is. Bromelain helps reduce inflammation.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has many benefits, including the ability to significantly improve liver function, and it can help stabilize cortisol levels. This helps stimulate T3 and T4 hormone synthesis.
Licorice root can benefit the thyroid and adrenal glands for people who have low cortisol (adrenal fatigue).
Reishi mushroom is a good source of selenium, and it has a ton of other benefits including boosting the immune system.
This is another adaptogenic herb that helps the thyroid and has many other health benefits.
Selenium is the major cofactor for the key thyroid enzyme 5’deiodinase. This enzyme converts T4 into T3 and can help normalize the thyroid hormone balance.
A zinc deficiency has been shown to inhibit T3 production. Zinc also contributes to immune modulation, which may reduce thyroid antibody levels. Additionally, like selenium, zinc also contributes to 5’deiodinase activity.
A lack of iodine inhibits the body’s natural detoxification, leads to cancer cell growth, and causes hypothyroidism. The thyroid absorbs iodine and, in doing so, replaces other toxins it has accumulated.
It’s also important to avoid excessive iodine intake for anyone with Hashimoto’s or hyperthyroidism. As stated above, we highly recommend that any iodine consumed come from whole food sources.
Traditional Asian Herbs
- Coleus forskohlii(Indian coleus)
- Melissa officinalis(lemon balm)
- Ningpoensis(Chinese figwort)
- Prunella vulgaris(common selfheal)
- Radix scrophulariae(xuan shen)
If the gut is healed and the diet is healthy, in most cases, the thyroid will eventually heal. Unfortunately, it can take a very long time, often many months. With desiccated thyroid, the process is much faster, and relief from hypothyroid symptoms are immediate. But again, you must fix the gut! Be sure to check out How to Kill Candida and Balance Your Inner Ecosystem to heal the intestinal tract. And see Understand Hypothyroidism – Prevention and Natural Remedies for more information, including a specific supplemental protocol.
About the author:
Michael Edwards is the founder, owner, editor-in-chief, and janitor for Organic Lifestyle Magazine and Green Lifestyle Market. At age 17, Michael weighed more than 360 pounds. He suffered from ADHD, allergies, frequent bouts of illness, and chronic, debilitating insomnia.