Opting for natural thyroid supplements is a nutrient-dense, holistic way to approach thyroid disorder symptoms.
The top 11 natural thyroid supplements for thyroid problems include:
- Vitamin D
- Green tea extract
Be sure to consider the root cause and type of thyroid condition before taking any supplements. We recommend speaking to your doctor or contacting us to create the best plan for your individual health.
What are some pros of taking thyroid supplements? The benefits of taking thyroid supplements include science-backed benefits that can treat the underlying cause of your thyroid disorder. They may also ease symptoms such as weight gain and fatigue. Natural thyroid supplements typically boast lesser side effects than medications.
How can I boost my thyroid naturally? You can boost your thyroid naturally by reducing stress, reducing allergens and toxins from your daily life, and taking science-backed supplements targeted at the underlying cause, or causes, for your specific case of thyroid dysfunction.
These research-based supplements to improve thyroid function address various root causes of abnormal thyroid function.
1. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is a hormone your body naturally produces. A large portion of the population is deficient in vitamin D, due in part to our indoor lifestyles. This vitamin deficiency may lead to an underactive thyroid.
Traditionally, scientists believed that vitamin D was mainly linked to autoimmune thyroiditis. However, a 2020 study found that even non-autoimmune hypothyroidism was associated with vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D3 in capsule form is typically the best bioavailable oral form. However, you can significantly increase your vitamin D levels by spending at least 15 minutes per day in direct sunlight with exposed skin. Multivitamins including vitamin D may also be a good idea.
Selenium was identified as a component of an enzyme that activates thyroid hormone, according to a 2020 study published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology. Since then, selenium deficiency has been studied as a common cause of thyroid disorders.
It may help fight postpartum thyroiditis, which occurs when new mothers experience abnormal thyroid function. Daily doses of around 200 mcg seem to be effective.
Moderate amounts of iodine supplements can help prevent autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s and Graves’ and may reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Your body cannot produce iodine on its own, so it depends on dietary iodine to produce and secrete thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). Iodized salt is just salt fortified with iodine — a large-scale effort to reduce goiters in the American population that began in 1924.
Iodine shows promise as a hyperthyroidism supplement, too. In cases of Graves’ disease, when patients cannot take anti-thyroid medications due to side effects, potassium iodide can successfully control thyroid activity. Iodine can acutely inhibit hormonal secretion.
Iodine deficiency is also a leading cause of goiters, a thyroid disorder. Iodine is a standard treatment for goiters.
Radioactive iodine is a treatment for hyperthyroidism that is gaining popularity. Radioactive iodine is very different from iodine supplements, so talk to your primary care provider if this might be a good option for you.
You should always consult a medical professional to assist and monitor with your supplementation. Even if iodine is a common treatment for thyroid disorders, too much iodine can trigger thyroid problems.
Zinc is an essential mineral in the production of thyroid hormones T3, T4, and TSH. A zinc deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. When you are low on zinc, supplementing can help to treat your thyroid disorder.
Zinc is often paired with magnesium, selenium, or even copper for optimal results. To keep your body in balance, we recommend only taking mineral supplements you know that you are deficient in. This is why we advise seeking out testing through your healthcare provider.
Leaky gut syndrome is a common root cause of hypothyroidism. Probiotics are a common and proven treatment for leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability.
Probiotics treat leaky gut, which is a significant risk factor for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. If an endocrinologist or other healthcare professional believes you may have leaky gut syndrome, probiotics can be a great supplement to add.
If you have SIBO, intestinal bacteria linger in the small intestine, causing an overgrowth, and adding probiotics could potentially make this situation worse. Be sure that you do not have this condition before starting probiotics.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a supplement typically used to treat female hormone imbalance, most notably estrogen dominance. DIM can aid female patients suffering from hormone-related thyroid problems.
Other studies show that DIM has regulated hormone levels in women with various conditions.
We also often recommend chasteberry for women with hormonal imbalances.
Glutathione fights oxidative stress that may otherwise increase the severity of hypothyroidism, left unchecked. Glutathione is a famous antioxidant and may be particularly helpful if your hypothyroidism is triggered by inflammation.
A glutathione deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. Whether you’re deficient or not, glutathione may improve your thyroid health.
N-acetylcysteine is a precursor to glutathione. As a supplement, N-acetylcysteine can also help fight inflammation and free radicals.
8. Green Tea
Green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful antioxidant that benefits the body similarly to glutathione.
In a 2018 study, EGCG protected against autoimmune thyroid disorders via its anti-inflammatory properties.
Because green tea contains caffeine, it may cause potential side effects like insomnia if you consume caffeine too late in the day.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory properties that help treat osteoarthritis. However, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may also fight against autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.
Taking curcumin with other anti-inflammatory compounds could help reduce the size of thyroid nodules, which are symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Adding turmeric to the diet should help increase your curcumin intake. However, it’s worth mentioning that the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric is very low — meaning your body doesn’t absorb much curcumin. Your digestive tract destroys most of the curcumin in turmeric.
Liposomal curcumin is a novel approach to solving the bioavailability problem. Liposomes deliver curcumin directly to your cells. They cleverly avoid destruction in your digestive tract by mimicking a natural cell wall.
To absorb more curcumin when you consume turmeric, pair it with black pepper and an oil (like olive oil). These, together, both greatly increase curcumin’s bioavailability.
Ashwagandha is a common treatment in ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Studies show that ashwagandha is an effective treatment for hypothyroidism.
Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogenic herb, which helps the adrenal glands adapt to the stress that you are experiencing. Since the adrenal glands and thyroid are so intricately connected, it’s no surprise that supplements that nourish the adrenals can also help support thyroid function.
Science has revealed that ashwagandha is a thyroid support supplement and can help fight and prevent thyroid disease.
Benefits of Taking a Thyroid Supplement
What are the benefits of taking a thyroid supplement? The primary benefits of taking a thyroid supplement for hypothyroidism are healthy thyroid function and better hormonal balance. Benefits of hyperthyroidism supplements often include weight loss and more energy.
By taking thyroid supplements, you boost your thyroid naturally and strengthen your immune system for better overall health.
Natural vs. Synthetic Thyroid Treatments
The term “synthetic thyroid treatments” typically refers to levothyroxine, a synthesized T4 that looks and acts like the T4 made in your thyroid gland.
Levothyroxine is a thyroid medication, though some incorrectly call it a “synthetic thyroid supplement.”
Is there a thyroid hormone supplement that is not synthetic? Yes, there are thyroid hormone supplements that are not synthetic. Natural hormone options for treatment include thyroid extracts from dried and ground thyroid glands.
What is the difference between natural and synthetic thyroid treatments? Synthetic thyroid medications are man-made and must be prescribed by a doctor. Natural supplements are found in nature and may be taken without the advice of a physician (though we recommend talking to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements).
How does thyroid medication work? Both natural and synthetic thyroid medication options are meant to balance the thyroid. We typically recommend natural thyroid supplements because they can be part of an integrative approach to health.
Natural supplements offer support to the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormones without notable side effects that may come with prescription medications. However, they are unlikely to have as dramatic of an impact as thyroid medication.
Natural thyroid supplements are not perfect. Many dietary supplements that are marketed to naturally boost thyroid health actually contain thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) without listing them as ingredients. It’s important to ask questions and know what’s in your supplements!
Some people suffering from thyroid disorders attempt to DIY their own natural thyroid remedies. They choose various supplements they think will work for their condition, but mixing supplements can be dangerous and result in unintended consequences.
As a functionally-minded healthcare provider, PrimeHealth makes recommendations for supplements based on each patient’s individual needs, deficiencies, and current health factors.
Choosing the Right Supplements For Underlying Issues
Approaching hypothyroidism with supplements, in addition to lifestyle changes, often helps our patients avoid the need for medications in the future. Diagnosing the different root causes of thyroid disorders helps us choose the right supplements.
The blood and other diagnostic tests at our Denver office measure more than just TSH thyroid hormone levels. We perform extensive testing to ensure we’re not prescribing anything you don’t actually need and that we address the real culprit(s) behind your thyroid problems.
In order to take the right supplements for thyroid problems, you need to know what underlying issues are triggering your thyroid condition.
When should you take thyroid supplements? You should take thyroid supplements when lifestyle and dietary changes haven’t led to the healing you were hoping for.
How do I know if I have a thyroid problem? Let a qualified healthcare provider diagnose the root cause of your thyroid problem. A medical professional can evaluate, run tests, and have a conversation with you about your symptoms and whether a supplement is suitable for your situation.
Remember. the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements. If you are buying your supplements outside of your healthcare provider, make sure they are from reputable sources, with third-party testing.
Below you’ll find supplements that are broken down by which root thyroid disorder they treat.
Hashimoto’s Disease (Hypothyroidism)
This disease has many potential root causes, so it is essential to diagnose the underlying cause before treatment or supplementation. Working with doctors who are well-versed in thyroid issues will help you get the proper diagnosis. Simple blood tests don’t always reveal information about thyroid antibodies, which are key in diagnosing Hashimoto’s.
The most common causes of Hashimoto’s disease and the supplements to address each are:
- Hormone imbalance — If any of your hormone levels are imbalanced, this may trigger Hashimoto’s disease. The best supplements for hormone imbalance are chasteberry and DIM.
- Leaky gut — Your gut health can be a cause and a symptom of Hashimoto’s. When your intestines are chronically inflamed, they might allow toxins to escape from the gut into the bloodstream. Leaky gut is both a cause and a symptom of hypothyroidism. The best supplements for leaky gut are probiotics, zinc, and curcumin.
- Infections — Tick-borne infections like Lyme disease, viral infections like Epstein-Barr, or gut infections like SIBO may cause Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Some of the best supplements for infections are vitamins C and D, zinc, and green tea extract.
- Toxin exposure — Harmful toxins can wreak havoc on your body, particularly your thyroid gland. Watch out for heavy metal exposure, mold toxins, and industrial chemicals. Supplements to help fight toxin exposure include glutathione, milk thistle, and zinc.
- Nutrient deficiency — Nutrient deficiencies could lead to Hashimoto’s. Dietary supplementation can treat these deficiencies. The most commonly seen deficiencies include vitamin D, zinc, iron, selenium, and iodine. Vitamin B12 deficiency and other less common deficiencies to look for are folate, and L-tyrosine, an amino acid.
Graves’ Disease (Hyperthyroidism)
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that triggers an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism. Like Hashimoto’s, you need to know the underlying cause of your Graves’ disease before treatment or supplementation.
Common hyperthyroidism supplements and Graves’ disease supplements include:
Thyroid Supplement Risks
While thyroid supplements can be beneficial, they’re not without risk.
What are the side effects of thyroid supplements? Though rare, many natural thyroid supplements do have side effects.
- Too much vitamin D can lead to hypercalcemia, stomach discomfort, kidney injury, and bone loss. But we’re talking a lot of vitamin D. Most people do best to take around 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
- Severe selenium side effects may include metallic taste, tenderness, fatigue, hair loss, and nausea. These indicate serious problems, and you should consult a doctor if any of these side effects occur.
- Iodine supplementation may lead to overconsumption of iodine, which could cause nausea and stomach pain. Too much iodine can lead to worsening thyroid illness.
- Too much zinc can cause heavy metal toxicity, nausea, diarrhea, metallic taste, kidney problems, and stomach damage.
- Probiotics aren’t the best option for patients with SIBO. Probiotics’ side effects include digestive distress and flatulence.
- DIM may trigger side effects such as headache, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Glutathione doesn’t have many potential side effects, but long-term glutathione supplementation has been linked with zinc deficiency. You may consider combining zinc with glutathione supplements.
- Green tea extract can cause insomnia, increased heart rate, and nervousness because of its caffeine content. Excessive doses of EGCG could lead to liver or kidney problems, as well as low blood sugar.
- Curcumin can cause digestive distress, even at relatively low levels. This is common but uncomfortable. Your stool may also turn yellow.
Pregnant? Always speak with your healthcare provider about which supplements you should stop or initiate during pregnancy, as this changes your needs.
Diet and Nutrition for Thyroid Health
If you can fix your condition with dietary changes, you don’t really need dietary supplements. Proper diet and nutrition play a key role in supporting thyroid health. Here are some best practices:
- Iodine-Rich Foods: Kelp, fish, dairy, and eggs.
- Selenium and Zinc: Seafood, meat, nuts, and seeds
- Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Fruits and vegetables, particularly those rich in vitamins A, C, and E.
- Healthy Fats: Include healthy fats in your diet, like those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. They support hormone production and can help manage inflammation.
- Probiotic Foods: Foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
- Avoiding Gluten: If you have an autoimmune thyroid disorder, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you might find that a gluten-free diet helps manage symptoms.
- Hydration: Drinking enough water is essential for overall health, including thyroid function.
A healthy diet can eliminate toxins, lessen inflammation, and regulate hormones to help with thyroid issues. Our guide to a hypothyroidism diet can help you get started!
Some experts, PrimeHealth included, suggest the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet for 3-6 months to eliminate and identify potential inflammatory triggers from your diet. If your thyroid disorder improves, we know it was due to food triggers.
Once your condition improves, we will slowly reintroduce foods into your diet. If your condition worsens after adding a certain food, we will re-eliminate the food from your diet.
Pregnant women should not adhere to the AIP diet.
Reversing your hypothyroidism depends on many factors, including lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and stress reduction. As part of these changes, supplements like iodine or vitamin D can play a part in your path to hypothyroidism healing.
We don’t think prescription medications should be the first response to thyroid disease. Natural options can produce excellent results by addressing the root cause of your illness.
In the Denver area and struggling with thyroid problems? Schedule your free phone consultation right away.
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