While conventional providers brush off nutritional factors as “no big deal,” the truth is that a healthy thyroid depends on many nutrients to work at its best.
In fact, three primary minerals, over all others, are probably most critical for maintaining optimal thyroid health. While mineral deficiency can be caused by a poor diet, for low thyroid sufferers, low levels are often the result of intestinal damage that impairs the absorption of essential nutrients.
Most of my patients have the tendency to load up on supplements and increase levels when they find out they’re deficient. But what low thyroid sufferers must know is that while deficiency is a big problem, high levels leading to toxicity are just as dangerous. Balancing these three tricky minerals are at the top of the list when it comes to optimizing thyroid function.
Iodine deficiency leads to impaired thyroid hormone production. This condition, along with goiter, used to be much more prevalent; however, the iodization of salt in 1924 made big strides in reversing this problem, although iodization may have had unintended consequences. Too much iodine triggers the most common form of low thyroid function: autoimmune thyroiditis. Over 90% of low thyroid is actually caused by the immune system targeting and destroying thyroid cells, so iodine levels should always be considered when correcting low thyroid symptoms.
Thyroid metabolism is impaired by iron deficiency, a common state for those with low thyroid function.
For around 66% of women with hypothyroidism, just increasing iron levels alone was enough to alleviate low thyroid symptoms.
That being said, iron overload is extremely dangerous and is a leading cause of heart failure worldwide, so finding the “sweet spot” is crucial and should be done with medical oversight.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant essential to thyroid action. Selenium reduces autoimmunity against the thyroid gland, improves hypothyroid symptoms, and prevents postpartum thyroiditis. However, selenium toxicity can cause organ damage and even harm DNA. One of the best ways to boost selenium levels is by eating two selenium-rich brazil nuts per day, but selenium levels should also be monitored to prevent toxicity.
While these essential minerals are crucial for a healthy thyroid, there’s a healthy range for each one, and both excess and deficiency can be harmful. Mineral balance is just one example of how critical it is to monitor biochemical individualities, which we do with comprehensive and cutting-edge diagnostic testing. The reality is that no two people are the same, so one-size-fits-all treatments never yield the best outcomes. Reversing the trajectory of low thyroid means identifying and addressing each patient’s unique root causes and making the adjustments needed to correct the disease at the source. All patients deserve to be seen and treated like the individuals they are so that they get the best shot at regaining their health.