Did you know your thyroid gland is one of the most critical organs in the human body? It's located right in front of your neck, below the Adam's apple. It regulates many functions that are vital to your survival. Digestion, muscle strength, breathing, body temperature and heart rate, are a few examples.
Many people neglect the importance of thyroid health. Estimates show that roughly 30 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease. That number excludes people who don’t even know they might have it. The most common thyroid disease that people experience is hypothyroidism. We will discuss this in detail below.
The good news is we have a variety of natural thyroid supplements at our disposal. Natural remedies for hypothyroidism often carry fewer side effects than traditional thyroid medication. Today's article will focus on the best thyroid supplements for hypothyroidism treatment.
What is Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)?
What is hypothyroidism? To understand hypothyroidism, you must first understand how your thyroid gland works.
The thyroid gland creates two hormones: T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). T3 and T4 form when the pituitary gland releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH releases when your body’s thyroid hormones are low.
T3 and T4 seep into the bloodstream and interact with various cells. The thyroid gland then helps regulate your body’s vital functions. In a healthy human being, T3 & T4 levels are neither too high or too low. Through homeostasis, the body produces more (or less) depending on its immediate needs.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) occurs when your body has low levels of these hormones. In other words, the thyroid glands are not producing enough T3 and T4 to maintain equilibrium. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite, and this is when you have an overactive thyroid. Thyroid support supplements can restore healthy thyroid function naturally.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Excessive tiredness or fatigue
- Impaired memory function
- Weight gain and reduced metabolism
- Feeling sensitive to the cold
- Weakness and aches in joints and muscles
- Hair loss and balding
- Slowed heart rate
- Dry and itchy skin
- Feelings of depression
- Reduced focus and concentration
- Menstrual irregularity
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that often causes hypothyroidism. There may be a link between Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and thyroid cancer. More studies are underway to confirm this. Always consult with your primary doctor first to make sure this is not your issue.
Natural Remedies to Support Thyroid Health
There are three primary ways to treat hypothyroidism. One approach involves using natural remedies for thyroid function. The other method is using prescription medications. As a last resort, sometimes people suffering from hypothyroidism undergo surgery.
Prescription medications often fail to address the underlying cause of hypothyroidism. They mimic healthy thyroid hormone levels without addressing the cause of instability. Also, surgery does not always work in restoring thyroid hormone levels.
Natural cures for hypothyroidism are not only safer, but they often perform better. Several vitamins and herbs can serve as an effective underactive thyroid treatment. Remember, it's essential to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regimen. This way, you can heal your thyroid naturally and avoid prescription treatments. For improved health, we also recommend bone broth and turmeric.
Our list below contains the best natural thyroid supplements to treat hypothyroidism. Each vitamin and herb has unique properties. When used together, you'll notice a cumulative positive effect on healthy thyroid function.
The 14 natural remedies we'll cover today are: Iodine, Vitamin B12, Selenium, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, L-Tyrosine, Schisandra Berry Powder, Ashwagandha, Bladderwrack Powder, Kelp Powder, and Cayenne Pepper.
14 Best Thyroid Supplements & Natural Treatments for Hypothyroidism
Iodine is the most crucial element you need for treating hypothyroidism. It makes up the structure of both T3 and T4. T3 contains three iodine units, and T4 has four iodine units. Without iodine, you cannot produce optimal amounts of T3 and T4. Thus, iodine's primary role is to control thyroid function. Its contributions in the body make it a vital thyroid health supplement.
If you're going to supplement iodine, there are two recommended ways to use it. One is through a salt available as potassium iodide. Since the body rapidly absorbs it, you will have to ensure that you don’t take too much of it.
The other way is through chelated iodine which derives from seaweed-based foods. Unlike potassium iodide, chelated iodine is slower to absorb. Slow absorption ensures a steadier release of iodine into the body for your thyroid to use.
With that said, you can also increase iodine intake through your diet. Foods rich in iodine include eggs, milk, seaweed, bananas, cheese, and tuna. Eating right is one of the best home remedies for hypothyroidism. It’s important to avoid consuming too much iodine, as it can lead to potential thyroid damage.
2. Vitamin B12
Another natural thyroid supplement is vitamin B12. This water-soluble vitamin is essential for proper cell metabolism. It's also responsible for nerve cell function and reducing brain fog.
Studies show that 40% of hypothyroidism patients are also deficient in vitamin B12. At a closer look, it appears hypothyroidism often causes a vitamin B12 deficiency. It does so by impairing your ability to absorb B12. Symptoms include memory loss, lowered appetite, constipation, and low energy levels.
For this reason, medical experts recommend that patients opt for vitamin B12 supplements. They are generally better absorbed by the body than dietary sources of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 supplements are available as a pill, a liquid, or as an injection. You will have to work with a physician to see which dosage method works best for your body.
Any good thyroid support complex will include vitamin B12. Many of the best nootropics also contain B12 to enhance brain function. The key here is that the B12 is methylcobalamin, the easiest form to absorb. There are foods you can take to elevate your vitamin B12 levels. Foods high in vitamin B12 include peas, beef liver, and grass-fed beef.
Selenium is an overlooked yet essential natural supplement for thyroid health. The body needs selenium for building the enzymes that convert T4 into T3. T3 is the more active thyroid hormone of the two.
Selenium supports the thyroid gland by reducing inflammation. It also removes substances which may harm the thyroid. People who are deficient in selenium may fall ill. That's because selenium is an integral part of immune function.
Like iodine and B12, the body does not naturally produce selenium. The only way to address selenium deficiency is through diet and supplementation. Selenium is often available as a standalone supplement, or as part of a multivitamin.
Foods that contain selenium include Brazil nuts, poultry, and dairy products. Overconsuming selenium can lead to problems such as sleep issues and anxiousness. It is important to remember that selenium and iodine work together. Thus, you should treat both nutrient deficiencies at the same time. Make sure your thyroid support supplement contains both items.
Magnesium plays a dynamic role in over 300 biochemical processes. Essential functions include balancing blood sugar levels, developing bones, and synthesizing critical proteins. Magnesium is also thought to be a natural sleep aid. Its purpose in optimal thyroid gland function is two-fold.
Magnesium, like selenium, converts T4 into T3. This supplement also boosts T4 production while preventing over-production. This function makes it one of the best natural supplements for thyroid support. Magnesium deficiency can lead to a vast array of unwanted symptoms. These include muscle cramps, chest pains, brain fog, and body weakness.
You can address a deficiency using a natural supplement or multivitamin. Leafy greens like kale, broccoli, and spinach are also great sources of magnesium. Other dietary sources include tofu, black beans, and whole wheat.
Zinc plays a lesser-known yet equally vital role in the treatment of hypothyroidism. It allows the T3 receptors in your cells to bind to T3 when it arrives. Without zinc, your cells can't absorb the T3 generated by diet or medications. Thus, it's one of the most important home remedies for thyroid health.
Zinc is also necessary for many biological functions. These functions include producing testosterone, healing wounds and increasing your sensitivity to insulin. Developing countries seem to have zinc deficiencies among their populations. Signs and symptoms may include loss of appetite, decreased alertness, and hair loss.
Most natural supplements for thyroid function will contain zinc. Note, excessive zinc supplementation can lower your body’s copper levels. In the next section, you will see why copper is an integral part of maintaining thyroid health.
There are also several dietary choices to get extra zinc. They include red meat, seafood, poultry, beans, whole grains, and legumes. Some experts prefer animal sources due to the superior absorption of zinc.
Those looking for natural thyroid support often turn to copper. Copper is a micronutrient that contributes to regulating T3 levels. A 2010 study examined pregnant, copper-deficient rats who gave birth to babies. Those babies produced nearly half the amount of T3 that healthy babies do.
A copper deficiency can inhibit the conversion of T4 into T3. Failed conversion can lead to excessive levels of T4 in the bloodstream. Copper's other functions in the body are supporting joints and the immune system.
Copper and zinc work together to regulate thyroid activity. You will often find them paired together in the best supplements for hypothyroidism. Copper, due to the small amounts needed, is also found in many multivitamins.
The most copper-rich foods are oysters, liver, beans, sweet potatoes, and sea vegetables. You should also eat the zinc-rich foods as mentioned prior. At the same time, avoid zinc-depleting options like alcohol and refined carbohydrates.
Manganese is best known for repairing bones and maintaining immune system health. In the past, scientists couldn't find any meaningful connection between manganese and hypothyroidism. Now, researchers have discovered that manganese is crucial for thyroid health.
As an all natural thyroid treatment, manganese handles two things. First, it transports T4 into your cells. Second, it protects your thyroid gland from stress-induced wear. Any over the counter (OTC) underactive thyroid medication should contain manganese.
Some people prefer using foods instead of supplements to improve manganese intake. Optimal choices for greatest absorption are meats, legumes, fish, and nuts. Leafy grains are a good choice, but the iron content may inhibit manganese absorption.
Despite molybdenum’s role as an essential mineral, it is scarce for one to be deficient. Not only is it attainable through everyday foods, but the body efficiently retains it. The body requires small amounts to support its biological functions. Still, that does not diminish its importance as it pertains to natural thyroid health.
Molybdenum is vital for energy production and improving the quality of your sleep. But, it plays two roles in supporting thyroid function. Ample molybdenum levels prevent fluoride buildup in the thyroid gland. Fluoride buildup can lead to thyroid toxicity. Molybdenum also creates enzymes that release T3 from thyroid gland storage.
Molybdenum rarely appears in multivitamins. But, you can find it in many of the best thyroid supplements. Several foods are good sources of molybdenum as well. These include legumes like lentils and peas, whole grains, nuts, and eggs.
L-Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid that produces various hormones in your body. It is also a precursor for building neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel-good” brain chemical responsible for your mood. Its ability to alter neurotransmitters makes it a reliable Adderall alternative.
L-Tyrosine, alongside iodine, is essential for the production of T3 and T4. This amino acid is a vital building block for supporting good thyroid health. An L-tyrosine deficiency will lead to the lowered production of T3 and T4. As we’ve learned, low levels of thyroid hormones may cause hypothyroidism. Symptoms of deficiency may include depression, skin lesions, lethargy, and muscle loss.
Changing one’s diet is the best way to increase L-tyrosine intake. Foods such as dairy products, chicken, beef, and green vegetables are high in L-tyrosine. Supplements in tablet, powder, and capsule form can also help. Tyrosine is one of the most reliable natural remedies for hypothyroidism.
10. Schisandra Berry
Schisandra is a berry used in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia. Although it is not popular in the United States, it still provides many health benefits. For instance, this thyroid supplement acts as an adaptogen. Meaning, it normalizes your stress levels, regardless of the stressor.
In thyroid health, Schisandra has an indirect effect that helps cure hypothyroidism naturally. One of Schisandra’s benefits includes raising your body’s antioxidant levels. Antioxidants treat autoimmune diseases while preventing the formation of cancer-causing free radicals.
Hypothyroidism can wreak havoc on the immune system. Schisandra is an excellent natural remedy for an underactive thyroid and immunity. This supplement helps us maintain optimal health, energy levels, and metabolic output. In doing so, it indirectly boosts thyroid function.
Many people consume Schisandra berries on their own. It’s also common in the form of a supplemental powder. The powder mixes with a variety of drinks, such as coffee, tea or water. Schisandra berries are available at many health food stores.
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an herb that originates from India. It served many medicinal purposes in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. Over 200 studies have shown that ashwagandha offers many health benefits.
These benefits include lowering cholesterol levels and reducing adrenal fatigue. This herb also boosts cognition and enhances thyroid function. Like Schisandra, ashwagandha is adaptogenic. It resolves hormonal imbalances while fighting the adverse effects of high-stress levels.
Ashwagandha helps normalize TSH levels while increasing T4 levels. As one of the best thyroid support supplements, it also has antioxidant properties. This herb helps fight free radicals while reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the result of excess T4 production, which damages cells. Ashwagandha allows the thyroid gland to produce more T4 without the undesirable downsides.
Ashwagandha is available in most vitamin and supplement shops in powder form. The root of the herb contains the majority of the active compounds. If you're looking for natural thyroid medication, we highly recommend ashwagandha root.
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is a brown seaweed plant found in coastal areas. It originates in the Pacific Ocean and the North Sea. In the past, it helped for treating injuries and harvesting for animal feed. Scientists have recently become interested in its use in thyroid support supplements.
Bladderwrack's concentration of iodine is high in comparison to other seaweed species. Bladderwrack provides the thyroid gland with the iodine needed to produce T3 and T4. It also supports TSH release from the pituitary gland. TSH release stimulates underactive thyroid glands while boosting your metabolism.
Bladderwrack is available as a capsule, an extract, or as a powder. In the latter case, you can mix it with water and drink it as is. But, many encapsulated natural thyroid treatments use bladderwrack in their formulas.
Kelp powder derives from kelp itself, a brown algae seaweed. The kelp grows in oceanic areas that are colder in temperature, yet receive a lot of sunlight. Typically, it is an everyday culinary staple. Its health benefits include lowered blood sugar and reduced cholesterol levels.
Researchers have discovered that kelp is one of the best remedies for hypothyroidism. Just like bladderwrack, kelp has high concentrations of iodine. Although, it also contains many other beneficial vitamins, amino acids, and minerals.
Early studies are also starting to show that kelp may assist with weight loss. Gaining unwanted weight is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. This fact is what makes kelp as a natural remedy for thyroid issues particularly useful. Thus, kelp is arguably the best thyroid supplement for weight loss.
Kelp is often consumed on its own or added to meals such as salads and soups. Many people prefer kelp in its powdered form. Powder allows them to get their daily intake of natural iodine without the salty taste of the kelp plant.
14. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper (Capsicum Frutescens) is also known as the chili pepper. It is a household spice that adds extra flavor to dishes. Traditionally used in Asian foods, it has seen a sharp increase in use within North America. Universal health benefits of this herb include pain reduction and improved blood circulation.
Capsaicin is the substance that makes chili peppers “hot.” It plays an essential role in treating hypothyroidism as well. Capsaicin also restores the regular production of thyroid hormones. It also alleviates the significant symptoms caused by hypothyroidism. For this reason, cayenne is an effective natural underactive thyroid treatment.
Cayenne pepper supplements appear in health food stores in capsule form. Most people prefer to use the spice itself to get enough capsaicin. If you dislike overly spicy food, you will favor the pill.
Final Thoughts on Natural Thyroid Supplements
The vitamins, herbs and natural remedies above can be useful for treating hypothyroidism. They work wonders for energy, metabolism, improving mood, and much more. These are the best thyroid supplements on the market. Lifestyle recommendations such as exercise and stress reduction are also helpful.
Natural treatments and traditional approaches can combine to achieve more significant benefits. Improving thyroid health will only lead to a happier and healthier life. Consult with a qualified health care professional if you're not sure where to start. It's best to take proper precautions when using home remedies for thyroid problems.
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