There are many nutritional factors that have a part in optimizing thyroid function. When it comes to nutrition, however, both nutrient deficiencies and excesses can cause you to be symptomatic. Working with your physician is the best way to determine what nutritional steps you should take for optimal thyroid health.

Here are the facts about a few nutrients used for those with thyroid disorders:

  • Iodine— Thyroid hormones are comprised of iodine, so it is essential for optimal thyroid health. In the US, iodine deficiency is rare due to iodized salt. Along with fish, dairy, and grains, this is a major source of iodine intake.
  • Vitamin D— Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many with thyroid disorders. It is undetermined whether low vitamin D is the cause or a result of the disorder. You can find vitamin D in fatty fish, milk, eggs, dairy, and mushrooms. Another good source is sunlight.
  • Selenium— This has been shown to be a necessary component of enzymes essential to thyroid function. It is an essential trace mineral and has been shown to have a definite effect on the immune system, cognitive function, both male/female fertility, and mortality rate. It has shown benefits on both the thyroid antibody and the mood in thyroid patients. You can find it in Brazil nuts, crab, tuna, and lobster.
  • Vitamin B12— It has been shown that a B12 deficiency has been found in approximately one-third of the people suffering from thyroid disorders. Many doctors recommend B12 shots for their patients. You can find B12 naturally in mollusks, sardines, salmon, and organ meats such as liver, muscle meat, and dairy. If you are Vegan, you can find it in nutritional yeast and fortified cereals.
  • Goitrogens— Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are known as cruciferous vegetables. They release a chemical called goitrin. If you heat these vegetables, you eliminate most of the potential effect.

If you are taking thyroid medications, it is important to understand how the medication can interact with nutritional supplements. For example:

  • Calcium supplements may interfere with proper absorption of thyroid medications. It will be important to consider timing when you take each of them. There should be at least four hours between the intake of each.
  • Coffee and fiber supplements may lower the absorption of thyroid medication. They should be taken one hour apart.
  • Chromium picolinate is marketed for blood sugar control and weight loss. It can, however, hinder the absorption of thyroid medications. If you plan to take chromium picolinate, take it three-four hours apart from thyroid medications.
  • Flavonoids— These are found in fruits, vegetables, and tea and have cardiovascular benefits. If you have a high-dose of flavonoid supplements, however, it may suppress thyroid function.

Thyroid disorders can be a problem. You have to deal with the unwanted weight gain, cardiovascular risks, and all of the symptoms such as fatigue, gastrointestinal upset, and mood changes. They can all deter the development of a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition is a great place to start planning your road to that healthy lifestyle.