Taking your Thyroid Supplements for Maximum Benefit
If you are taking thyroid supplements then you are already ahead of the curve.
But are you taking your thyroid supplements correctly?
It may seem obvious to you how you should be taking your supplements but many aspects of thyroid disease are anything but obvious.
I find that many patients accidentally or unknowingly take their supplements incorrectly even though they are on the RIGHT supplements.
But taking the right supplements the wrong way can render their effectiveness moot and is obviously something that you want to avoid.
And that is exactly what we are talking about today:
How and when to take your thyroid supplements for maximum benefit.
In this article you will learn:
- The best supplements for managing your thyroid and how to make sure you are on the right one.
- How to take your supplements in relation to your thyroid medication.
- The best time of day to take your thyroid supplements for maximum benefit.
- Whether or not you should take your thyroid supplements on an empty stomach.
- And the two vitamins/nutrients which can block thyroid medication absorption.
With that in mind, let's jump right in...
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#1. Take the RIGHT supplements
The first thing you should do is ensure that you are taking the RIGHT thyroid supplements.
It may surprise you to know that there are many different ways that you can improve your thyroid with the use of supplements due to the fact that your thyroid can be influenced by several different tissues and mechanisms.
This is both a good and a bad thing!
Good in the sense that it gives you many opportunities to naturally treat your thyroid and bad in the sense that most people are completely unaware of them!
Check out this list which outlines various ways that you can improve your thyroid with different supplements:
- Boost thyroid conversion - Naturally enhance T4 to T3 with certain ingredients which can improve your T3 level.
- Boost thyroid and adrenal function (treat the thyroid-adrenal connection) - Thyroid dysfunction leads to adrenal dysfunction and it's important to treat both to see improvement in either.
- Enhance gut function to improve T3 levels - About 20% of your T3 level comes from your gut.
- Reduce inflammation - Inflammation reduces T4 to T3 conversion and slows down thyroid function.
- Replace B Vitamins - B vitamins are required for thyroid hormone production.
- Take an all in 1 thyroid multivitamin - Thyroid multivitamins can be great for full thyroid support (provided they have the right ingredients).
- Use thyroid specific protein powders - Protein powders can help improve weight and muscle mass which impact your thyroid.
- Use high dose iodine - High dose iodine can help detoxify halides from your body and provide your body with building blocks for thyroid hormone.
- Improve thyroid function through detoxification - Endocrine disrupting chemicals can negatively impact your TSH and other thyroid lab tests! You must get rid of these, especially if you are overweight.
All of these are various ways that YOU can improve your thyroid!
And you'll notice that none of them include taking a "thyroid support" supplement and calling it a day.
There is certainly a place for thyroid support supplements (I have some of these as well), but you should make sure that you have the right expectations when using them and that there are MANY other ways to improve your thyroid that you are probably missing out on.
How do you know which supplements you should be using?
Most people have some idea of the direction that they should take but if you aren't sure feel free to reach out to me or my team and we can help direct you.
#2. Take them AWAY from your thyroid medication
If you are taking thyroid supplements then you need to be sure that you are not taking them around the same time as your thyroid medication.
Thyroid medication absorption is a sensitive issue and something that many thyroid patients tend to ignore or overlook.
Taking your supplements at the same time as your thyroid medication can inactivate your thyroid medication and reduce its absorption!
So something that could have been a good thing for you - taking your thyroid supplements to boost your thyroid medication, suddenly is now a harmful thing for your body.
By reducing the amount of thyroid medication that you absorb into your body you are negatively impacting your thyroid function and this will worsen your symptoms.
So how do you fix this problem?
It's actually fairly easy.
Just make sure NOT to take your thyroid supplements at the same time as your thyroid medication.
For most supplements, this means just waiting about 30-60 minutes after you take your thyroid medication before using your supplements.
This small break gives your intestinal tract the time it needs to push your thyroid medication into your system (1) and away from any supplements that may follow.
I recommend waiting this length of time if you are using ANY of my own thyroid supplements and I've had great success with this method.
There are some very specific vitamins which can cause problems if taken in this 30-60 minute timeframe but we will discuss those below in detail.
#3. Take them at the right time of day (usually in the morning)
Next, you have to think about what time of day you should be taking your supplements.
Most thyroid supplements (if they include the right ingredients) tend to have a stimulatory effect on the body.
They aren't a stimulant in the same way that caffeine is a stimulant but they are a stimulant in that they are providing your body with nutrients and ingredients which try to rev up the "engine" of your body.
You can think of both your adrenals and your thyroid gland as the engine of your body as they help to regulate your energy production, heat, and metabolism.
Supplements which support and enhance thyroid function will necessarily try to rev these systems up.
And that's exactly what you want!
But reving this system up means that you may experience certain symptoms such as a burst of energy after taking them.
And you don't really want to get that burst of energy right before you go to bed or at a time when you need to relax.
Because of this, it's often best to take most thyroid supplements sometime in the morning so that you can take advantage of the pleasant side effects that they carry.
But you may find that taking them come into conflict with your thyroid medication which is often taken in the morning as well.
This is why most supplements (this is true of most of my supplements) should be taken in the morning but 30-60 minutes AFTER you take your thyroid medication.
This allows you to take advantage of the benefits of the supplements without causing any negative problems with your thyroid medication.
This, of course, should be pushed back to 4 hours if those supplements contain iron or calcium (as we discussed).
If you have any questions about what time of day you should take my supplements feel free to reach out to me or my team and we can help make sure you are taking them optimally.
The last thing you want to do is take them at the wrong time which may hinder the potential benefits you could be receiving if you took them correctly.
#4. Iron and Calcium
Remember when I said that there were some important nutrients which can cause problems even if taken 30-60 minutes AFTER your thyroid medication?
Well, we are talking about those right now.
And two biggest nutrients which cause this problem include iron and calcium.
These are a huge problem for anyone taking thyroid medication because they often completely bind to and inactivate your thyroid medication (2).
This is a completely different mechanism and one that should not be taken lightly.
It's one thing to compete with thyroid medication absorption and its another to completely bind to and inactivate the hormone itself.
Both iron and calcium can do exactly that and this is the reason that most doctors and pharmacists (including me) recommend that you wait 4 hours after taking your thyroid medication BEFORE using either of these nutrients.
If you aren't sure if you are taking iron or calcium be sure to look at the ingredient list of any supplements that you are taking.
You might find iron or calcium hiding in there and this could be leading to problems.
Many thyroid patients end up needing to supplement with iron (calcium is another story) due to the fact that hypothyroidism leads to iron deficiency.
It's perfectly safe to supplement with iron if you are deficient but make sure that you use it correctly!
Iron and calcium may also cause problems with your other vitamins/supplements that you are taking so you may need to take those away from your iron and calcium as well.
Taking either of these vitamins by themselves at night is probably your best bet.
#5. With food or without
The last thing you need to be aware of is whether or not you are taking your supplements with food.
You probably already know that you should not take your thyroid medication with food as it may reduce the absorption of your medication and this also applies to certain supplements and nutrients.
The good news is that food typically doesn't interfere with supplement absorption in most cases.
I typically only recommend taking supplements with food if your vitamins contain fat soluble vitamins (such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K) or if you are having issues such as nausea when taking them.
Supplements which contain zinc, which is commonly used to boost thyroid function, are notorious for leading to nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
Some of my supplements, such as Thyroid Adrenal Reset Complex, can also cause nausea in certain individuals if taken on an empty stomach.
You should never stop taking a supplement just because you experience a little bit of nausea when taking it because taking it with food is almost always sufficient to fix the problem.
And even if the food reduces the absorption of the supplement by 10-20%, it's still far better to have those important thyroid enhancing nutrients in your body versus not having them at all.
In most cases, and if you can tolerate it, you will have better results with your supplements if you can take them on an empty stomach.
This ensures that you will absorb as much of the vitamins/botanicals in the supplement as possible, which should be your main goal!
Don't be afraid to take them with some food, though, as it probably won't be a big deal.
If you are taking thyroid supplements make sure you are taking them correctly so you avoid any issues or conflicts between your supplements and your thyroid medication!
I also have a list of thyroid supplements which can be harmful to your thyroid gland that you should take a look at as well if you haven't already.
But now I want to hear from you:
Have you been taking your thyroid supplements correctly or incorrectly?
Have you noticed a difference in how you feel by making these small changes?
Are you planning on making any changes to how you take your thyroid supplements (or thyroid medication)?
Leave your questions or comments below to keep the conversation going!
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