Hyper/Hypothyroidism and You: A Guide to Thyroid Conditions and Supplements
Your thyroid is a gland at the base of the neck and is actually kind of shaped like a butterfly that is just under the Adam’s apple… Yes, ladies you have an Adam’s apple as well!
This organ is very important yet weighs less than an ounce and can create massive issues with your health. Each area of the bodies metabolism is regulated by thyroid hormones which are produced by the thyroid gland.
The Thyroid gland makes two different types of hormones one is thyroxine or T-4 the other triiodothyronine or T-3 both effects each cell in the body. The hormones jobs are to keep the rate at which your body goes through fats and carbohydrates steady. To help control your temperature as well as regulate the creation of protein and influence your heart rate. A different hormone the thyroid gland produces is calcitonin which help regulate how much calcium is in your blood at a given time. The rate that the thyroid makes the T-3 and T-4 hormones is controlled by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland sends TSH out (the amount of TSH depends on how much T-4 and T-3 is in your blood).
If your body doesn’t have enough T-3 and T-4 in your blood the TSH will raise; if too little it will decrease. Since the thyroid gland regulates its own production of T-3 and/or T-4 based on the amount of TSH if it is diseased and is releasing too much by itself the TSH blood level will be below normal; thus the opposite if it isn’t making enough of T-3 and/or T-4 it will be higher than normal.
What Happens When Your Thyroid Doesn’t Work Properly?
Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism can create many issues with your body and health.
Some complications of common thyroid conditions include:
- Inability to gain or lose weight
- Fatigue and lack of motivation
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry or scaly skin
- Facial edema (puffy face)
- Muscle weakness
- Thinning hair
- Depression and anxiety
- Impaired memory
- Slowed or rapid heart rate
Women specifically should watch out for the symptoms of hyperthyroidism they can be five to ten times more likely to get it. This publication will go through some of the most common reasons for hyperthyroidism as well as go through common symptoms of hyperthyroidism and then suggest some supplements that are proven to help ease some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and even even the issue itself.
Common Causes Of Hyperthyroidism
There are many conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism they include:
- Graves’ Disease
- Toxic Adenoma
- Thyroid Nodules
- Excess of Iodine
- Plummer’s Disease (Also known as toxic multinodular goiter)
- Thyroid medications
Understanding what causes problems with your thyroid and the details of certain thyroid conditions can help you to become an educated patient, so that you can take charge of your health. Let’s take a closer look at some of these common thyroid conditions and see how they can affect the body.
To begin with Graves’ disease is said to be one of the most common of the thyroid issues. To be more specific it is the biggest cause of hyperthyroidism. A simple explanation of Graves disease would classify it as an immune system disorder which leads to hyperthyroidism or overproduction of the T-4 and T-3 hormones.
Since thyroid hormones affect many different systems in the body warning signs and symptoms associated with Graves’ disease can be an array of things and greatly impact your body's overall health and well-being. It is true that Graves’ disease can affect anyone at anytime through it is also proven that it’s more common in women as well as those younger than 40.
You have thyroiditis when you suffer from the gland itself being inflamed. This is a broad issue though and for this reason, the term Thyroiditis generalizes a hand full of separate disorders that result in thyroidal inflammation but showing it in a variety of ways.
There are a handful of different types and reasons for thyroiditis. Thyroiditis can be a result of trauma, injury or infection; with these conditions the thyroid can become agonizing and tender to the touch. Conflictingly thyroiditis that is a result of an autoimmune issue or a medication it can be painless and show no symptoms.
The most common forms of thyroiditis are:
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Drug induced thyroiditis
- Postpartum thyroiditis
- Subacute granulomatous thyroiditis
- Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis
The majority of these forms of thyroiditis go as follows: hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, then return to normal. Supplements can help get that thyroid back on track faster or for those who seem to be stuck at one stage or another instead of returning to normal.
Let’s take a look more closely at the causes for thyroid complications.
Moving on thyroid nodules are lumps that inhabit an otherwise normal and typical thyroid gland. Many times the growths in the thyroid tissue are at the very edge of the thyroid gland and can often feeling like a bump in the throat most of the time more towards the middle to back of the neck but can present itself in the front as well.
It is not typical that you can see the bump in the throat but in some individuals primarily those who are extremely thin or when the bump itself is particularly large. Some things to keep in mind about thyroid nodules are that one in 12 to 15 young women has a thyroid nodule, over 95% of thyroid nodules are not cancerous, nearly everyone will develop a thyroid nodule at any given point by the time they’re 50.
Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones and is a micronutrient that is mainly gained by what we eat with foods that are fortified with the micronutrient or that happen to naturally occur. The suggested daily intake of iodine is close to 150 mg for adults that are not pregnant or lactating.
Though exceeding this daily intake is usually tolerated alright some people who are especially susceptible (which include those with pre existing thyroid disease, the elderly, infants and neonates) the risk of having iodine triggered hyper or hypothyroidism can be greater. Though iodine is mainly absorbed through diet the source of the iodine may not be obviously apparent.
Though the recommended daily intake of iodine is 150 mg for adults the threshold of iodine without very notable adverse effects are not likely to happen in an otherwise healthy adult is around 1,100 mg a day. Unfortunately in many medications iodine concentrations can be several thousands, much higher than the suggested daily dose for an average adult. In some circumstances an excess of iodine can end in huge thyroidal issues even when only coming into contact with the high iodinated substance.
We will end the most common reasons for hyper and hypothyroidism with thyroid medications which is also known as iatrogenic or doctor induced hyper/hypothyroidism. The more common one between the two would by hyperthyroidism and even has its own category named factitious hyperthyroidism. Factitious hyperthyroidism is caused by taking too much or a too high of dose of medication for hypothyroidism.
Other reasons factitious hyperthyroidism may occur include children accidentally ingesting the thyroid hormone pills or intentionally taking too much of the thyroid hormone because of some psychiatric disorder such as munchausen syndrome. In super uncommon cases factitious hyperthyroidism can be a result of eating meat contaminated with the a thyroid gland tissue (of course animal thyroid gland tissue not human).
Common Symptoms that Can Be Assisted With Thyroid Supplements
For Graves’ disease some symptoms include eye issues, usually inflammation and and swelling of the eye muscles and tissue. This can result in eyes protruding from the sockets and is one of the most distinguishing symptoms of Graves disease. Another distinguishing symptom of Graves disease is a skin condition by the name of pretibial myxedema which is a lumpy reddish thickening on the skin of the shins. It is rare and usually painless and isn’t considered serious. Both of these symptoms do not always start with the onset of Graves nor do they correlate with how severe the disease is. Moving on to the more vague symptoms they can range from weight loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, and irritability.
In thyroiditis especially symptoms can be a big variety of things considering there are many different types of thyroiditis some symptoms include pain and tenderness in the general area the thyroid resides, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, depression and bad exercise tolerance. These are all typical of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Other symptoms like anxiety, insomnia or difficulty sleeping, palpitations (increased heart rate), arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), fatigue, weight loss, changes to menstrual cycles (like lighter bleeding and less frequent periods), muscle weakness, shaky hands, sweating, and irritability are more commonly linked with subacute granulomatous thyroiditis, subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis (also known as silent or painless thyroiditis) and postpartum thyroiditis.
Drug induced thyroiditis has its own set of symptoms as well for example brittle fingernails, coarsening and thinning of hair, an intolerance to cold, depression, constipation, puffy eyes, weakness, and weight gain are all early symptoms of drug induced thyroiditis. Late symptoms include decreased ability to hear things, hoarseness, menstrual disorders, puffy face, hands and feet, slowing of speech, thickening of the skin, thinning of eyebrows and even stiffness in joints may occur.
The majority of thyroid nodules they do not have any symptoms at all an are many times found by the individuals themselves by feeling a lump at the base of the neck or seeing it. Sometimes someone close to them will see it and say something about an awkward lump or are detected by a physician during a routine examination. Somewhat rarely a thyroid nodule is recognized during an ultrasound CT, or MRI scan of the neck or head area for a separate reason.
A common test to see if there might be a thyroid nodule is to press on the windpipe or esophagus gently and if it causes shortness of breath or creates a hard time swallowing this might be an indication of a thyroid nodule. Though it is not common in some cases the thyroid nodule or nodules can make additional thyroxine which can result in symptoms in hyperthyroidism. Some examples of the symptoms include unexplained weight loss, intolerance to heat, tremor (involuntary quivering), nervousness, and rapid or irregular heartbeat. A small fraction of thyroid nodules are malignant (cancerous) but it is recommended that if you appear to have a thyroid nodule to get it checked out by a physician.
For excess of iodine symptoms include many of the other symptoms listed and since it can even trigger some of the other hyperthyroidism issues it can be hard to come to the conclusion of an excess of iodine. That being said it is a great thing to understand and look at if infact there is no other explanation for the hyperthyroidism or a previously treated condition keeps returning.
Arguably the most distinguishing symptom of an excess of iodine would be a type of rash called dermatitis herpetiformis getting progressively worse. A more common symptom would be a goiter or an enlarged thyroid gland, the more iodine the worse it can get. Symptoms like rapid or irregular heartbeat, puffy face, hand and feet, fatigue and weight loss are all symptoms that mimic other thyroid issues which is why excess of iodine is so easily missed.
Talk To Your Doctor About Thyroid Supplements That Can Help
It is encouraged to talk to a physician about any possible thyroid issues that have arose or even suspect of these thyroid issues, prolonged wait can create the more sever side of the symptoms and might result in damage that may not be able to be completely recovered.
Supplementation is a great tool to utilize as it can have amazing results in those that use it correctly but please be kind to your body and only take supplements as directed some can have adverse effects if not taken correctly.
Let’s take a look at some helpful thyroid supplements that you may want to consider including in your diet to help combat the symptoms and complications of your thyroid condition.
Supplements to Help Treat Hyper/Hypothyroidism
Supplements have been used by countless people to treat their hyper or hypothyroidism which in turn make it a great tool to curb many of the side effects as well. Directly following this paragraph is a somewhat easy to read breakdown of each supplement, the science behind the supplement and the sources in which you can find them.
At this moment it is appropriate to state that any change to diet or supplementation should be first brought up with a physician or a licensed care provider.
Yes iodine is first on the list of the supplements suggested, iodine is a specific element that is necessary for making of thyroid hormones. At this point you may be thinking “but earlier in the publication excess of iodine was listed as one of the things that can cause hypothyroidism!”
Which is infact true but in individuals that have a deficiency in iodine the absence of this important element can create issues as well creating issues with the thyroid. Iodine supplementation is of course not recommended for those that are suffering from iodine induced thyroid issues .
What’s The Science Behind Iodine?
In many areas of the world there had seem to be an abundance of hypothyroidism it was when the iodization of salt happened that the issues seemed to subside. As previously stated iodine is an essential micronutrient for the production of thyroid hormones. If there is not enough iodine in the body is creates a deficiency of the element which leads to goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland) many times following with hypothyroidism.
What supplementing this element does, is it gives our bodies the micronutrient that is critical in making the hormones the thyroid creates. Once the micronutrient is absorbed it immediately gets put to work leveling out the hormones in the body and makes a stable environment to rid itself of the hypothyroidism and the symptoms correlating with it.
What Are Good Sources Of Iodine?
Iodine is found in nature many places but most predominantly in salty seawater and in soil. How easy it is to get iodine fortified foods is different in every region in the world. Those in the United States often have an easier time getting the recommended amount of iodine in their diet from using iodized table salt (some individuals may not in correlation with a restricted salt intake in their diet).
If a deficiency in iodine is detected yet the individual has an otherwise typical diet supplementing iodine is a great way to get the iodine someone needs without making drastic changes to their die, of course each person's deficiency varys and to get the correct dosage should consult a care provider.
Iron is another great mineral to utilize for those suffering from thyroid issues and typically women need more of it than men. The suggested daily dose of iron needed for a women and teenage girls that are not pregnant or breast feeding is at least 15 mg a day whereas men and boys can take 10 mg and it’s sufficient.
Since thyroid issues predominantly are presented in women it is of no surprize that iron deficiency is the same as well and it is common to have both issues at the same time. Supplementation of this mineral can be the key to curbing some of the side effects such as unpredictable and irregular periods.
What’s The Science Behind Iron?
Iron has many different uses in our bodies, in regards to thyroid issues though it has a very specific role. Not enough iron can create a problem in the beginning steps of our thyroids hormone synthesis, since the synthesis only has 3 steps this means the majority (two thirds) of the process has issues creating a direct effect on the last and arguably most critical of the steps. How a deficiency in iron affects these areas is it reduces the activity of the enzyme “thyroid peroxidase” which strongly relies on iron.
This thyroid peroxidase enzyme starts the chemical reaction between iodine to tyrosine (which is an amino acid) that in turn produces the hormones T-4 and T-3. If there is a deficiency in iron it leads to a deficiency in tyrosine which in turn leads to a deficiency in T-4 and T-3 hormones which means hypothyroidism.
What Are Good Sources Of Iron?
Since iron is a mineral that means it is an element that comes from nature usually the soil and is not able to be created by living things like humans, animals and plants. Though our bodies don’t create the mineral it is essential our health and wellbeing this being said there are tasty options to get more iron into our diet starting with raisins, avocado, blackberries, and boysenberries.
Many fruits that have essential iron for us can be expensive, out of season, trigger allergies, or even just don’t live up to our tastebuds desires. Supplementation can take all of this out of the equation and just give our bodies the required nutrient it needs. Just a little side note when taking iron it is suggested to take it at a different time as a vitamin E supplement if you’re taking one because it can neutralize the vitamin E.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid which is necessary for proteins in the body. This amino acid is made in the body and is very important for the function of many different areas in the body including the heart, brain, and movement of muscles.
As listed above many of the side effects of hyperthyroidism include muscle weakness, nervousness, tremors, and sleep difficulties. L-Carnitine can help many of these symptoms because when there is an increase of thyroid activity it can up the cell's requirement for carnitine but in those who have thyroid issues much of the carnitine can be lost through urination.
What’s The Science Behind L-Carnitine?
How L-Carnitine supplements work is relatively simple, essentially because those with hyperthyroidism can require more L-Carnitine as well as lose more than normal with hyperthyroidism so replacing it can ease many of the symptoms of the hyperthyroidism. Infact in clinical studies supplementing L-carnitine aided in the prevention and even sometimes strengthening of muscle weakness as well as a handful of other symptoms.
Another great tool for this supplement involves thyroid storms and its ability to prevent them. A thyroid storm is essentially a deadly health condition correlated with untreated or even sometimes undertreated hyperthyroidism when the severity of the condition is underestimated. Symptoms of a thyroid storm include critically high heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
What Are Good Sources Of L-Carnitine?
In a typical healthy individual L-Carnitine is produced and regulated by the body and supplementation may not be necessary. Those with hyperthyroidism can find L-Carnitine in many supplements and even in some of the food we eat. Foods that contain L-Carnitine will be listed from most to least and include beef steak, ground beef, milk, codfish, chicken breast, ice cream, cheese, whole wheat bread, and asparagus.
Though the list of food with L-carnitine in them seem to very and are somewhat appetizing to the typical person the highest content (beef steak) comes in at anywhere between 56-162 mg. A L-Carnitine supplement can come in a variety of different milligrams when you take the recommended one it is not a guessing game.
Magnesium is an element and a mineral that is in our bodies and is naturally in many of the foods we eat. Magnesium is so important to our bodies, infact it is the second most plentiful element inside our human cells. For some reason though magnesium isn’t really at the forefront of any census as an aid for thyroid issues.
Many times it is come up after reconsideration and even if it is prescribed it is given as a fraction of a dose as to maintain the body and doesn't really help the body's magnesium stores. The thyroid is unable to function in the absence of magnesium and there is a variety of important functions magnesium does for our thyroid health.
What’s The Science Behind Magnesium?
There are almost countless things magnesium does for our bodies but 3 really crucial things for our thyroid gland that should be mentioned as of now. Magnesium is the reason T-4 hormones (which are the passive inactive hormones) are converted into T-3 hormones ( the active form of the hormone), this is very crucial because our body's metabolism is enhanced by T-3 not T-4 hormones.
A magnesium deficiency is also an issue because it can create a goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland). This mineral also helps our thyroids make more of the T-4 hormone as well as the conversion of it to T-3 this makes is so essential to the hormone processes of the thyroid gland. Supplementing magnesium is a great mineral that can affect many areas of the body positively and those with hyperthyroidism can immensely benefit from it.
What Are Good Sources Of Magnesium?
Since magnesium is so pivotal to many functions of our bodies including the thyroid gland. It is essential to make sure it is efficiently supplied. Magnesium's daily intake recommendations vary from each gender and brackets of age below is a chart of the suggested daily intake of magnesium.
|7 – 12 months||75 mg||75 mg|
|1-3 years||80 mg||80 mg|
|4-8 years||130 mg||130 mg|
|9-13 years||240 mg||240 mg|
|14-18 years||410 mg||360 mg||400/360 mg|
|19-30 years||400 mg||310 mg||350/310 mg|
|31-50 years||420 mg||320 mg||360/320 mg|
|51+ years||420 mg||320 mg|
As you can see for young people it can be easy to get the adequate amount of of magnesium in a day through diet alone but for teenagers and adults it can become harder which is why supplements are suggested especially for those with thyroid issues. Some food you can get magnesium from are almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, soy milk, black beans, and peanut butter. Those with nut allergies may want to supplement magnesium as well considering those tend to be the things highest in magnesium. Though this is true a half of a cup of boiled spinach has almost as much magnesium as almonds coming it at 78 mg.
Selenium may be the least popular of the minerals listed and is many times found in our soil, water and some foods. Though our bodies seem to only need a very littles supply selenium has a tremendous role in our metabolism hand in hand with our thyroid gland.
Infact the thyroid gland has more selenium inside of it compared to any other organ in the body. A selenium deficiency is not really common in typical healthy adults and is more common in those with digestive health issues resulting in inadequate absorption of nutrients like Crohn's or celiac disease or those that have severe inflammation from a chronic infection.
What’s The Science Behind Selenium?
What selenium does for the thyroid gland is crucial, selenium has specific enzymes that are able to take the iodine molecules from T-4 (inactive) hormones which make it into T-3 (active) hormones. If there was no selenium or a deficiency of selenium the thyroid hormone would never be activated. In a study where individuals with thyroid issues had been tested for the levels of selenium in their body each had been found to have lower levels than typical healthy people do.
Other research suggests another great benefit of selenium which is the protection of the thyroid gland itself. When a thyroid gland is making hormones it also produces hydrogen peroxide and use it to creating them. Selenium will protect the thyroid gland from the oxidative harm that is created by the reactions.
What Are Good Sources Of Selenium?
Selenium is found in a many foods, the foods that have the highest amount of selenium tend to be fish or seafood which include tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon and cod. Some vegetables including crimini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and asparagus all have a significant amount of selenium as well. Supplementation can be a great tool for those who have a deficiency of selenium and need it treated as soon as possible or even those who aren’t getting enough through diet and don’t particularly like seafood.
Take Charge of Your Thyroid Health
To recap, this publication introduced what hyper and hypothyroidism means while going into detail of each one biologically and how it affects the body. It continued to list a good handful of the thyroid issues and their effects on the body as well as go into a detailed explanation of the symptoms and even explained how and why many of them occur. Additionally, you now have a number of thyroid supplements with a detailed analysis of the science behind them.
You are armed with the information that you need to make an informed decision. Take a look at the thyroid supplements and then talk to your doctor about how they can help. There is no reason to suffer and a solution to your thyroid problems are close at hand. Make the decision to take charge of your thyroid condition today.