While supplementing for your thyroid is incredibly helpful, it’s only helpful if it’s done correctly.
And not all thyroid support products contain the ingredients that your thyroid needs! In fact, many of the products marketed today are ineffective, and even unsafe. Many contain inferior ingredients, improper dosages, and irritants. All of which can do more harm than good.
I’ve been treating thyroid patients for over a decade and in that time I’ve used lots of thyroid support nutrients and products.
I’ve seen what works, what doesn’t, and I know from personal experience, research, and testing what thyroid patients actually need.
Here are 6 things that your thyroid support supplements should contain..
#1. It should contain Zinc and Selenium
Zinc and selenium are what I refer to as powerhouses for the thyroid.
If you are taking a thyroid support complex and it doesn’t have either of these, then you know that whomever created that supplement is doing something wrong.
BOTH of these nutrients play an important role in regulating thyroid hormone function at multiple levels.
In addition, MOST (if not all) thyroid patients are usually deficient in both of them.
Zinc helps improve T4 to T3 conversion, it helps reduce inflammation, and it helps support immune function.
Selenium helps improve T4 to T3 conversion, it plays a role in regulating thyroid gland inflammation, and it is required for your body to produce glutathione.
How much of each do you need?
The first is that large doses of zinc (more than 15g) cannot be absorbed by the body, so taking smaller doses more frequently is often preferred. You’ll want to be sure that your supplement contains a chelated form of zinc to make it easier for your body to use. Look for Zinc Picolinate or Zinc monomethionine. Both are bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body.
Second, high doses of selenium can lead to hair loss and other issues so it’s often better to keep the dose of selenium close to 100 mcg. Look for selenium in its most bioavailable chelated form: selenomethionine.
#2. Iodine in the proper form .
Iodine is another hot topic when it comes to thyroid support.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that seaweed, such as kelp, is one of the best natural food sources of iodine, and an essential component in thyroid hormone production. Low iodine levels can lead to: metabolism disruption. enlargement of the thyroid gland.
However, supplementing with the wrong type or amount of iodine can backfire. Atlantic Kelp sourced from the pristine waters off the coast of Maine is free from contamination and contains many nutrients in addition to iodine.
Atlantic kelp is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals including zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and calcium. In fact, it contains the highest natural concentration of calcium of any food – 10 times more than milk!
Iodine is absolutely required and it’s something that many thyroid patients are deficient in, there is no question about that.
The problems that can stem from iodine supplementation tend to come in cases where high doses of iodine are used and in cases where iodine is used when selenium deficiency is also present.
But where does that leave us in this conversation?
My recommendation is to look for thyroid support supplements that have BOTH iodine from a natural source such as kelp and selenium; and to avoid supplements with iodine if you are unsure about your selenium status or if the product doesn’t also have selenium.
This will give you the best of both worlds.
#3. Look for adrenal adaptogens
The thyroid gland and the adrenal gland are linked in such a way that if one goes down it tends to take the other with it.
I have yet to meet a thyroid patient who doesn’t ALSO have problems with their adrenals.
Because of this, when supplementing for your thyroid you also want to keep adrenal function in the back of your mind.
I would recommend looking for a thyroid support supplement that contains adrenal adaptogens
These ingredients help your adrenals function and can help balance cortisol levels.
Adrenal adaptogens include:
- Panax Ginseng
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Rhemannia Glutinosa
Adrenal adaptogens are great at supporting the HPA axis as well as indirectly supporting thyroid function.
Yes, it’s actually possible to improve thyroid function by improving adrenal function (at least somewhat).
You will want to make sure that your thyroid support complex has at least a few of the adrenal adaptogens mentioned above.
#4. Vitamin D is too often overlooked
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin is often thought of as a bone support and immune boosting nutrient, but every thyroid support complex should contain this important thyroid boosting nutrient.
Study after study links Vitamin D deficiency to low T3 and T4 levels. Additionally, a whopping 72% of autoimmune thyroid patients have inadequate VItamin D levels.
So, including Vitamin D in your daily thyroid support formula is a great way to ensure you are making enough thyroid hormone.
#5. B vitamins should all be pre-methylated.
We all know that B vitamins are important and they are also very important for your thyroid.
What you may not realize, though, is that the way these B vitamins come in your supplements is most important.
What do I mean?
Well, it’s not just that your thyroid support complex should contain B vitamins (it should), these vitamins should ALSO come pre-methylated.
Pre-methylated B vitamins come in a form that is easy for your body to utilize them.
These genetic variants impact how well your body can utilize certain types of B vitamins and make them more difficult to metabolize.
If you have this genetic variation (many people have it and don’t realize it), you could be causing more harm by taking supplements that are not pre-methylated.
For these reasons, you will want to make sure that the B vitamins that come in your supplements are already activated and safe for your body to use.
You can tell if your B vitamins are pre-methylated by looking at the nutrition fact/ingredient label.
You can see that Vitamin B12 comes in the form “methylcobalamin”, which has methyl in the name!
This is good and exactly what you want.
You can also see that folate comes as Calcium L 5-METHYLtetrahydrofolic acid.
Again the word methyl is in the name which is a good sign.
You want to avoid supplements that contain B12 in the form cyanocobalamin and supplements which contain folic acid instead of folate.
The other B vitamins are also in their activated forms in the image above including Vitamin B2 (riboflavin 5′-phosphate), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal 5′-phosphate), and B5 (pantothenic acid).
This is EXACTLY what you should be looking for if your thyroid support supplement contains any B vitamins.
#6. There should be absolutely no gluten, dairy, corn or soy.
Last but not least, your thyroid supplements should be 100% gluten-free and dairy-free.
Both gluten and dairy can cause serious problems for thyroid patients and the last thing you want to worry about is getting more of these ingredients from your supplements.
Most women with thyroid problems have a condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is an autoimmune disease.
This disease can be triggered by gut damage from… you guessed it, a diet high in dairy, gluten, corn and soy.
Avoiding these allergens in your diet is a sound choice if you have thyroid problems, but you should also take care to ensure that ALL of your supplements are both gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free and soy-free.
And while you are at it, be sure that your supplement does not contain irritants and fillers like magnesium stearate, which can trigger leaky gut and negatively impact thyroid health.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of supplement manufacturers out there that simply do not understand thyroid patients and their needs. So, you will always want to double check to be sure that your supplements do not contain these ingredients.
Because your thyroid is so complex and connected to so many other systems in your body, I would strongly recommend that you take a more comprehensive approach to thyroid supplementation.
Instead of trying to find the perfect thyroid support supplement, and ignoring the rest of your body, look for a supplement that can support your immune system, hormones, blood sugar, immune health and mineral balance as well.
It used to be that I had to recommend 10-15 separate supplements to cover all of these bases, but patients had a hard time keeping up with all of their doses for so many different products.
So, I went into the lab and worked for several years to formulate the world’s first physician formulated, allergen free, all-in-one thyroid, hormone and immune support multinutrient.