NUTRIENTS REQUIRED FOR PROPER THYROID FUNCTION
Selenium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, the B vitamins, potassium iodine, and zinc are all required for proper thyroid function. Other nutrients, although not directly involved in thyroid function, are also essential for proper immune system, gut, liver and adrenal function.
Most people who are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s will also present with low levels of vitamin B12, antioxidants selenium, vitamin E and glutathione, as well as zinc and ferritin (the iron storage protein).
Low levels of B12 may lead to anemia, underdevelopment of villi (which house our digestive enzymes) and impaired digestion, inflammation. Vitamin B12 from our diet is found in animal proteins.
Lab tests for measuring B12 levels are available, but do not always tell the whole story…Established “low” ranges are too low an researchers have found that “normal- low “B12 levels have been associated with neurological symptoms such as difficulty balancing, memory lapses, depression, mania, fatigue and psychosis!
B12 is released for absorption by the activity of hydrochloric acid and protease, an enzyme in the stomach. Low levels of hydrochloric acid commonly found in those with Hashimoto’s put people at risk for B12 deficiency. Intake of breads and cereals fortified with folic acid may mask this deficiency on standard lab tests.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. However this vitamin is generally not present in plant foods, and thus vegetarians and especially vegans are at a greater risk for deficiency.
Using a vitamin B12 supplement is essential for vegans, and may be helpful for those with low stomach acid until the condition is corrected, as the B12 is in a free form and doesn’t require separation.
Options for B12 replacement include tablets, sublingual (under the tongue) liquids and injections. I prefer the sublingual route as there may be advantages for those with absorption issues and it is more convenient than injections.
Sublingual doses of 1 mg (1000 mcg) to 3 mg (3000 mcg) of B12 daily for ten days, then once per week for four weeks, then monthly have been found effective in restoring B12 levels in those with deficiency.