Nutrient deficiencies are prevalent in our diets today due to mononculture farming, pesticides and herbicides and soil deficiencies. You might be surprised to find that you are deficient in quite a few of these vitamins.
Lack of protein in a vegetarian diet of a thyroid deficient person can also cause problems.
Vitamin A (not carotene)
A healthy body should convert carotene to vitamin A, but an underactive thyroid gland is unable to efficiently convert carotene to usable vitamin A. Protein is also necessary to make vitamin A available to the body — if you are on a low protein diet, you may be deficient in vitamin A.
Vitamin B Complex
The various B vitamins are necessary for good thyroid function, and each one has a different role to play.
The main responsibility of B1 — or thiamine — is to change carbohydrates into energy. B1 also aids in the digestion of proteins and fats. Thiamine is a sulfur-containing vitamin that necessary for the release of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, which is required for the digestion of protein. In most cases of Hashimoto’s, low stomach acid is an issue.
Riboflavin is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells. It also helps with the release of energy from proteins. The lack of Vitamin B2 suppresses thyroid function, causing the thyroid and adrenal glands to fail to secrete their hormones.
The body uses vitamin B3 in the process of releasing energy from carbohydrates. It is needed to form fat from carbohydrates and to process alcohol. Niacin can also be used to improve cholesterol levels and lower cardiovascular risks.
Vitamin B6 helps the body to make antibodies to fight disease, maintain normal nerve function, produce hemoglobin to carry oxygen in the red blood cells to the tissues, break down proteins and maintain a normal blood sugar. It is also the main vitamin to assist with zinc metabolism. Too much zinc depletes copper, and a copper deficiency can cause hyperthyroidism. Without B6, the thyroid cannot utilize its iodine raw material efficiently to make the hormones.
B12 has a key role in red blood cell metabolism of your entire body, giving you energy, sharpness in your brain and healthy function of the central nervous system.
Numerous studies have confirmed that people with thyroid conditions generally have excess oxidative stress and a deteriorated antioxidant defense system, and low levels of vitamin C were also found in many studies, confirming an association with vitamin C deficiency and thyroid function. Adrenal fatigue may explain why vitamin C is deficient people with thyroid conditions.
When people with an overactive thyroid take vitamin D, it counteracts the usual rapid excretion of calcium, helping to avoid osteoporosis.
Lack of vitamin E encourages the thyroid gland to secrete too much hormone, and too little TSH by the pituitary gland. People with an overactive thyroid often need to Increase intake of vitamin E to counteract the large amounts of the vitamin depleted from the system.
Calcium is vital in preventing bone loss, yet many of us consume too little calcium in the form of dairy products.
Magnesium is required for the conversion of T4 into T3 so this mineral should be supplemented in people with thyroid conditions.
Selenium is a crucial component of the enzyme that converts T4 to T3 in the body. Without it, the right amounts of T3 cannot be produced and organs will function as if hypothyroidism was present, even though blood test levels are normal.
Research has shown that both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism result in zinc deficiency. Zinc also plays a role in the function of a healthy immune system. Zinc is also needed to convert T4 into T3.
Many of these vitamins and minerals can be found fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods like dairy products, meat and fish. Talk to your doctor to determine if a supplement is needed to help you get the right amounts of each of these essential vitamins.
Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss. You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.
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