Thyroid dysfunction is rampant in today’s world, wherein nutrient deficiencies are endemic. Dire conditions like hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, and hypothyroidism are at large, especially in areas where people’s nutrient status is in a grievous state. The gland is highly dependent on nutrients unlike others in our body, which explains the widespread prevalence of thyroid-related diseases.
For example, being the fifth most common disease in women, thyroid cancer devours a proportion of the population in the United States alone. Also, diseases like hypothyroidism, in which sufferers experience a grave deficiency in thyroid hormones, take up 7% of the U.S.’s population.
Fortunately, most of the conditions are not immedicable. And treatments like surgeries, hormone replacement, certain medicaments, radiation therapies, and support supplements exist to either heal or at least shrink the disease.
Several pieces of research have proclaimed that dietary interventions may help reduce and even treat the disease to a great degree. Not all support supplements, however, are suitable for all sorts of thyroid complications. With that being said, one must enlighten himself on the functions and types of different supplements before pursuing treatment.
So, which supplements target what disease? What should be your expectations? Will there be any side effects? We have devised the following guide to help you figure out all the aforesaid quires and more that have been pondering in your head. Let’s dive in.
Types of Thyroid Supplements For Optimum Health
Visit the nearest health store only to find out gazillions of thyroid medicaments and support supplements. The rampancy of thyroid disease is what compelled manufacturers to formulate a sheer amount of support medications, making the selection overwhelming, especially when you have no idea what you have gotten yourself into. Choosing the wrong product could prove detrimental to your health, and to prevent this from happening, researching is imperative.
The following are some common types of supplements for thyroid health:
Now, let’s dig deeper…
For the effective synthesis of thyroid hormones, selenium, which is a trace element in our body, plays a monumental role. The thyroid glands create thyroxine or T4 — an inactive hormone, but our body organs and tissues such as kidneys, muscles, skin, brain, and bones can only utilize triiodothyronine or T3 — an active hormone. A continuous conversion from T4 to T3, therefore, holds paramount importance, for which selenium comes into play and fuels up an enzyme that undertakes the transformation.
Also, the compound shields the thyroid from oxidative stress, which can potentially wreak havoc on the gland. A deficiency, on the other hand, can subsequently lead to persistent dysfunction.
Although 55 mcg is the recommended amount of selenium per day, experts claim that a larger amount would only support the overall health. So, you can either go for selenium-rich foods or a better alternative such as thyroid supplements having selenium. Choose supplements having selenomethionine — a form of selenium that is absorbed better.
Benefits of Selenium
Boosts immune system – High levels of selenium are associated with enhanced immunity, which protects the body from thousands of diseases. Not only does it shield the body from parasites, viruses, and bacteria, but also from autoimmune diseases. Since it lowers the chances of an immune system malfunction, selenium prevents diseases like thyroid dysfunction.
Reduces Risk of Cancer — The compound lowers the risk of cancer but reinforces the person’s immune system. Also, it lowers oxidative stress, which is known for damaging DNA, tissues, organs, and glands like the thyroid. Even many pieces of research have proved that people with high levels of selenium are usually at lower risk of developing cancer.
Powerful Antioxidant — Although free radicals are good for our bodies, a surge in their number can lead to cell damage. Here, selenium can neutralize their effects, preventing the destruction of cells, and maintain normal bodily functions.
Another important ingredient in thyroid supplements is zinc, which is related to the normal health of the thyroid gland in many ways. In case of severe zinc deficiency, hormone synthesis is affected, resulting in low levels of T3 and T4 — essential thyroid hormones.
Moreover, the compound also plays a prominent role in the enzyme deiodinase, which is responsible for activating T4. So, not having enough zinc around would mean that T4 remains inactive. This raises the risk of autoimmunity and weakens your thyroid gland.
Benefits of Zinc
Maintains Normal Immune System — Just like selenium, zinc helps in maintaining the normal immune system as well as metabolism. The absence of this element substantially raises the risk of autoimmunity, which can lead to thyroid malfunction.
Treats Hashimoto’s Disease — It is the condition in which the thyroid becomes underactive when it is stripped off of sufficient hormones. Often, the effects of this autoimmune disorder can be reversed using both selenium and zinc. If left untreated, the condition can prove fatal. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that zinc supplements can save your precious life.
Prevents Alopecia — Appearance of bald patches on your head, and other parts of the body is also a clear indication of autoimmune diseases. It happens when your immune system mistakenly targets the body, causing severe damage to that area. Sometimes, it triggers extreme cases of hair loss, known as alopecia. Adding zinc in your diet, or through supplements, you can reverse the effects and put a stop to this embarrassing sickness.
Protects DNA — The absence of zinc damages DNA, which causes a chain reaction of bodily complications. Zinc, however, protects your genetics from getting attacked by oxidative stress.
No other element rivals the importance of iodine in thyroid functions and development. However, it is only taken through diet because our body does not generate it naturally.
Deleterious impacts of iodine inadequacy are a sad reality of our modern world. Even though WHO has taken measures in preventing iodine related diseases caused by undernourishment. Still, the figures are alarming. The reason it is so essential is that it assists in developing thyroid stimulating hormones, which keeps the gland working properly. But if you lack enough iodine, you cannot produce the compound naturally, thus leading to chronic diseases like hypothyroidism.
Benefits of Iodine.
Prevents Hypothyroidism — Iodine regulates the production of essential thyroid hormones, allowing the body to keep the gland active. Whereas low iodine levels are related to the underactive thyroid gland.
Lowers the Risk of Goiters — underactivity or overactivity, both lead to the enlargement of the thyroid gland. It forms a cyst around your neck, which can sometimes prove lethal. Iodine deficiency is the number one reason for the development of this cyst-like mass.
Kills Cancer Cells — Radioiodine can potentially destroy cancerous cells in your body, especially around the thyroid gland. The medication is usually taken orally and can be considered as an effective treatment for thyroid cancer.
Your body’s iron status determines the production of thyroid-stimulating hormones. It is also responsible for converting T4 to T3, and its absence causes dysfunction in the gland.
Two types of iron non-haem iron (NHI) and haem iron (HI). The latter reaches the bloodstream faster and is absorbed in the gut, whereas the former is consumed slowly. If you are choosing a Thyroid support supplement, make sure you are choosing the right amount of iron, or the deficiency will persist.
Benefits of Iron
Balances TSH levels — Without sufficient iron, you cannot expect the body to create enough thyroid-stimulating hormones. As a result, underactivity prevails, and the thyroid gland stops functioning eventually. Iron helps maintain sufficient TSH levels so that the optimum levels of T3 hormones can be produced.
Cures Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism — Whether the gland is underactive or overactive, it is equally disastrous for your body. The low activity is usually characterized by reduced levels of red blood cells, which causes breathability problems, fatigue, physical pain, and dizziness. On the other hand, the efficiency of TSH levels ultimately causes Grave’s disease. The deficiency can be treated through iron thyroid support supplements, while the efficiency can be controlled via dietary changes.
Do Thyroid Support Supplements Work?
It is a proven fact that deficiencies of iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc cause thyroid dysfunction. When you take in dietary supplements having these ingredients, it does help in minimizing the effects of the device, or in some cases, even reverse it.
Experts, on the other hand, give out mixed suggestions. Some vote in favor of these supplements, while some consider them somewhat risky. That’s because doctors rely on blood tests to diagnose and devise prescriptions for thyroid treatment. But when the blood is contaminated artificially with ingredients that raise the original levels of the hormone, it can hinder the treatment progress.
Furthermore, the supplements are also known for providing a surge of energy, eliminating persistent lethargy and fatigue. That is why they are marked as “thyroid support”, indicating that they not only help the thyroid to function better, but also provide support during the recovery.
In a nutshell, the supplements do work and can effectively minimize the side-symptoms as well. But a proper diagnosis is essential if you are planning to intake any kind of thyroid support supplement. As we have mentioned above, even the efficiency of certain compounds like iodine can worsen the situation. Therefore, it would be best to consult with your doctor before trying anything out.
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