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Vitamins and Minerals for a Healthy Thyroid
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) estimates that 27 million Americans will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. Your thyroid, a small gland located in your lower neck, regulates your metabolism, body temperature, and blood calcium levels through the release of hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). However, when your thyroid produces too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) hormone, symptoms for either condition can include fatigue, anxiety, depression, weight gain or weight loss, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, and aching muscles. The autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, which affects 80 percent of Americans who suffer from a thyroid condition. Fortunately, like most bodily functions, proper thyroid health begins with nutrition.
A variety of vitamins and minerals contribute to a healthy thyroid. Iodine plays an integral role in balancing T3 and T4 levels. Found in iodized salt and “sea vegetables” such as seaweed and kelp, iodine is a halogen required to synthesize daily amounts of T3 and T4. Other chemical elements such as selenium, zinc, iron, and copper are also required for proper thyroid function, from regulating the T3 hormone to maintaining healthy levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Coconut oil and omega-3 fatty acids–essential fatty acids–play an important role in your metabolism by improving metabolic function and allowing your cells to become more “sensitive” to thyroid hormone, respectively. Furthermore, vitamins A, C, and E prevent oxidative stress from affecting your thyroid; vitamin B helps produce thyroid hormone.
So what do you need to eat to maintain a healthy thyroid? Fatty fish like cod and sea bass are rich in iodine and selenium. Selenium can also be found in shrimp, snapper, and tuna. Leafy vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, and turnip greens provide trace amounts of thyroid-boosting metals. However, certain cruciferous vegetables can trigger an autoimmune response for people who suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; consult your doctor or nutritionist before indulging in brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.