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THYROID: Nutrients that Support the Thyroid

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

The thyroid is a gland that sits at the base of the neck. This tiny butterfly-shaped gland is responsible for metabolism, controlling the temperature of the body, as well as responding to changes in caloric intake. While many nutrients are needed for the proper functioning of the thyroid, here are a few of the top nutrients needed to support the overall health of this gland.

Selenium - selenium is an essential nutrient for the thyroid as selenium is needed for the production of thyroid hormones as well as acting as an agent to increase the conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to the active thyroid hormone T3. Selenium has been shown to improve clinical scores and well-being in patients with both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as well as Grave’s disease (two common autoimmune conditions of the thyroid) [1].

Zinc - the role of zinc in a healthy thyroid is complex. Zinc is needed in the overall production of thyroid hormones. Zinc also increases the conversion of T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3 and improves cell sensitivity to thyroid hormone [2] so the body can efficiently utilize its hormones.

Iron and Vitamin D - tied for third place are iron and Vitamin D. Both Iron and Vitamin D contribute to overall production of thyroid hormones. Iron is needed for thyroid hormone production and erythropoiesis (the production of blood in the body) [3]. Consequently, adequate thyroid hormone production is needed for the production of red blood cells. Besides production of thyroid hormones, Vitamin D has also been shown to improve serum TSH levels as well as calcium in hypothyroid patients [4].

What about iodine? Iodine is indeed important for thyroid function as iodine is a structural component of both T4 and T3 hormones. Iodine deficiency is commonly associated with goiters (enlarged thyroid glands). However, iodine is needed in just the right amounts in the diet (not too much and not too little) [5]. Many times supplementation of iodine is not needed and the appropriate amount can be obtained through diet alone. Want to know if your nutritional status is supporting the health of your thyroid? Book a naturopathic appointment today!

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  1. Köhrle J. Selenium and the thyroid. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2015 Oct;22(5):392-401. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000190. PMID: 26313901.

  2. Severo JS, Morais JBS, de Freitas TEC, Andrade ALP, Feitosa MM, Fontenelle LC, de Oliveira ARS, Cruz KJC, do Nascimento Marreiro D. The Role of Zinc in Thyroid Hormones Metabolism. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2019 Jul;89(1-2):80-88. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000262. Epub 2019 Apr 15. PMID: 30982439.

  3. Szczepanek-Parulska E, Hernik A, Ruchała M. Anemia in thyroid diseases. Pol Arch Intern Med. 2017 May 31;127(5):352-360. doi: 10.20452/pamw.3985. Epub 2017 Mar 28. PMID: 28400547.

  4. Talaei A, Ghorbani F, Asemi Z. The Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Thyroid Function in Hypothyroid Patients: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Sep-Oct;22(5):584-588. doi: 10.4103/ijem.IJEM_603_17. PMID: 30294564; PMCID: PMC6166548.

  5. Rayman MP. Multiple nutritional factors and thyroid disease, with particular reference to autoimmune thyroid disease. Proc Nutr Soc. 2019 Feb;78(1):34-44. doi: 10.1017/S0029665118001192. Epub 2018 Sep 13. PMID: 30208979.


This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.

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