The thyroid gland is a hormone producing tissue that has an impact on virtually every system within your body. It plays a key role in metabolism and therefore can impact temperature regulation, weight, skin, hair and nail integrity, fertility, digestion, thought processing and so much more.
The most common issue with the thyroid gland in North America is an autoimmune condition called hashimotos hypothyroidism. Since hashimotos is an autoimmune disease, treatment revolves around re-focusing the immune system, decreasing inflammation and identifying and removing any triggers. If you are having symptoms of hypothyroidism you should always have hashimotos ruled out by having a complete thyroid panel run.
If you do not have hashimotos but you are still suffering from symptoms of hypothyroidism, if you have had a comprehensive thyroid panel run and have low T3 and/or T4, or if you just want to make sure your thyroid gland is working optimally, there are some key nutrients you should make sure you are getting in your diet:
Iron is required to convert T4 hormone into its more active counterpart T3. If you are suffering from low iron and/or are anemic you may have symptoms such as fatigue, hair loss and shortness of breath. Getting iron levels back up to the normal range can reverse these symptoms and support the proper function of the thyroid gland.
Selenium is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the thyroid gland from harmful oxidative stress. In autoimmune hypothyroidism it has been shown to decrease the antibodies attacking the thyroid gland. The thyroid has the highest concentration of selenium in the entire body.
Zinc, like selenium, is also an anti-oxidant. Additionally, it is used in the formation of TSH and is a co-factor for the enzyme that converts T4 to T3. Zinc is also anti-inflammatory and supports a healthy immune system.
Hassan Eftekhari, M., Reza Eshraghian, M., Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Saadat, N., & Shidfar, F. (2007). Effect of Iron Repletion and Correction of Iron Deficiency on Thyroid Function in Iron-deficient Iranian Adolescent Girls. Pakistan Journal Of Biological Sciences, 10(2), 255-260. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2007.255.260
Triggiani, V., Tafaro, E., Giagulli, V., Sabba, C., Resta, F., Licchelli, B., & Guastamacchia, E. (2009). Role of Iodine, Selenium and Other Micronutrients in Thyroid Function and Disorders. Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets, 9(3), 277-294. doi: 10.2174/187153009789044392