This website is dedicated to the millions of thyroid patients who are being ignored and left to suffer unnecessarily, and to healthcare practitioners, who want to better serve those patients.

Supplements which can be helpful with hypothyroidism

Iodine
In the past, iodine deficiency was the main cause of hypothyroidism. Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. It is chemically bound to a specific amino acid responsible for the formation of the base structures for both T4 and T3. A deficiency in iodine causes a deficiency in thyroid hormone production, which often results in the development of hypothyroidism. Supplemental iodine is beneficial for patients with hypothyroidism. It may boost the production of thyroid hormones by providing more base materials.

Selenium
Selenium is the main co-factor for the enzyme responsible for the conversion of T4 to T3 in the peripheral tissues of the liver, kidney, and skeletal muscle. This conversion accounts for the majority of the metabolism concerning T4. A deficiency in Selenium results in decreased levels of T3 in the blood, with normal to high levels of T4. However, there is usually enough of a disruption from normal homeostasis to cause hypothyroidism.

In one study of children who exhibited symptoms of hypothyroidism, a deficiency of selenium was recognized. After Selenium supplementation, hormone levels returned to normal and symptoms disappeared. [1] Another study found that a low T3/T4 ratio in healthy elderly subjects could be corrected by supplementation with selenium. [2]

Zinc
The exact role of zinc in thyroid hormone metabolism is not completely understood, though it is viewed as a necessary component for proper thyroid function. Zinc deficiency has been shown to cause a decrease in T3, unrelated to thyroid production, and also a decrease in the conversion of T4 to T3. Zinc does not affect the levels of T4.

In one particular study, Zinc supplementation for 12 months caused T3 levels in the blood to normalize in all participants, 75% of whom were found to be deficient in zinc. [13]

Copper
Copper metabolism in the body is directly linked to zinc status. Supplementation with zinc can result in a copper deficiency, which can be dangerous. Therefore, when taking larger doses of zinc, supplementation with copper is also recommended.   Copper works with Iron to help  form red blood cells.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is necessary for DNA and RNA synthesis, hormone synthesis, homocysteine metabolism, and is involved in function of the nervous system. Although the exact role of Vitamin B12 in thyroid hormone metabolism is not fully understood, it is believed to play a role in peripheral metabolism of T4 to T3. [4] Homocysteine is elevated in individuals with hypothyroidism. [5] Another study found that not only homocysteine elevation was paralleled to a decrease in vitamin B12 in individuals suffering from hypothyroidism. [6]

Folic Acid and Vitamin B6
Folic acid and B6 are also involved in homocysteine metabolism with Vitamin B12. To correct the increase homocysteine levels found in hypothyroid patients, the supplementation with all major nutrients is often needed. A deficiency of folic acid in individuals with hypothyroidism has also been reported in the literature of past study. [7]

DHEA
DHEA is a steroid hormone precursor that is produced by the body. It has been found to potentiate the thyroid hormone activity in certain individuals. [8] DHEA blood levels are decreased in patients with hypothyroidism. [9] Although the exact relationship between DHEA and thyroid hormones is not completely understood, DHEA remains a legitimate treatment option for those with hypothyroidism.

References:

[1] Pizzuli A and Ranjbar A. Selenium deficiency and hypothyroidism: a new etiology in the differential diagnosis of hypothyroidism in children. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2000 Dec; 77(3): 199-208.
[2] Olivieri O et al. Selenium, zinc, and thyroid hormones in healthy subjects: low T3/T4 ratio in the elderly is related to impaired selenium status. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1996 Jan; 51(1): 31-41.
[3] Nishiyama S et al. Zinc supplementation alters thyroid hormone metabolism in disabled patients with zinc deficiency. J Am Coll Nutr 1994; 13: 62-67.
[4] Stangl GI et al. Cobalt deficiency effects on trace elements, hormones, and enzymes involved in energy metabolism of cattle. Int j Vitam Nutr Res. 1999; 69: 120-126.
[5] Diekman MJ. Determinants of changes in plasma homocysteine in hyperthyroid and hypothyroid. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2001 Feb; 54(2): 197-204.
[6] Lien EA et al. Plasma total homocysteine levels during short-term iatrogenic hypothyroidism. J Clin Endocriol. 2000 Mar; 85(3): 1049-1053.
[7] Lien EA et al. Plasma total homocysteine levels during short-term iatrogenic hypothyroidism. J Clin Endocriol. 2000 Mar; 85(3): 1049-1053.
[8] Powell D. Endocrinology and Naturopathic Therapies. 2nd Ed. Pp49-59.
[9] Tagawa N et al. Serum dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandroserone sulfate, and pregnenolone sulfate concentrations in patients with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Clin Chem. 2000 Apr; 46(4): 523-528.

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