Multivitamins boast an array of vitamins and nutrients which the body needs.
But are these the same nutrients that your thyroid needs?
Your thyroid has special needs compared to other cells in your body and is exquisitely sensitive to certain nutrient deficiencies which can render it less efficient than it should be.
In this article, you'll learn which nutrients your thyroid needs, how to support your thyroid gland with a thyroid multivitamin, if you should use one, and how to find the right one for your body.
What Your Thyroid Needs
Most people are surprised when I tell them that their thyroid requires at least 13 different nutrients in order to function optimally.
But, while this is impressive, it's not different from many other hormone systems or cellular processes in your body.
What's different, though, about your thyroid, is that it seems to be much more sensitive to these nutrient deficiencies than other systems in your body.
Even small deficiencies in critical nutrients such as Zinc, Selenium or Iodine may result in big symptoms for you.
This is further exacerbated if you are someone who already has diminished thyroid function from conditions such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis or if you are taking thyroid medication (which naturally acts to suppress the ability of your body to produce thyroid hormone on its own).
For these reasons (and many others), taking a thyroid multivitamin may actually be beneficial for a large majority of you reading this.
But, before you run out and buy a multivitamin, you should be aware of some of the needs that your thyroid has which are unique to it compared to other systems in your body.
As you understand these distinctions, it should help you understand why a standard multivitamin may not be sufficient.
Do Supplements Help?
This brings us to the next question:
Can supplements actually help your thyroid function?
And the answer is that yes, they have the potential to help.
But, you shouldn't expect your multivitamin to be a miracle worker and suddenly fix your thyroid completely.
Supplements work by providing your body with the necessary nutrients it needs to function.
Imagine that your body does not have sufficient Vitamin D (which would not be surprising considering that up to 40-50% of the population is Vitamin D deficient (1)).
We know that Vitamin D plays a critical role in regulating calcium in your body but it also plays an important role in regulating your immune system (2).
Those people who have autoimmune thyroiditis (otherwise known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis) tend to have low Vitamin D levels which may contribute to their autoimmune disease.
Replacing Vitamin D to optimal levels may be one way to help support your immune system.
Let's consider another example (but just realize that we could do this for many of the nutrients in thyroid multivitamins) and this time imagine a scenario in which you are deficient in Zinc.
It is estimated that up to 35-45% of people are not consuming enough Zinc in their diet (3) so, again, this isn't a far fetched example.
We know from various studies that Zinc plays a critical role in thyroid conversion of T4 to T3 (4).
Low levels of Zinc have been shown to create a hypothyroid-like state which is completely resolved with supplementation.
This same line of thinking can be extended to other nutrients such as Iodine, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Selenium and more.
But when was the last time you had you ANY of these nutrients tested? When was the last time that your doctor talked to you about supplementing with ANY of these?
The answer is probably never and that's why using a thyroid multivitamin might be helpful for many of you reading this!
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What to Look for in a Thyroid Multivitamin
If you do decide you want to jump into the world of thyroid supplementation then you want to make sure that you do it correctly.
I would strongly advise against walking into your local market and purchasing the first multivitamin you see.
Instead, you want to pay close attention to certain elements because, as I mentioned earlier, your thyroid us unlike any other hormone system in your body.
When searching for a thyroid multivitamin, try to find one with the following characteristics:
- Find a broad spectrum multivitamin which contains at least 15+ different nutrients
- Ensure that your supplement contains these very important nutrients: Zinc, Selenium, Iodine, Vitamin D, and Magnesium (other nutrients are important but these are especially important for your thyroid)
- Ensure that the B Vitamins are pre-methylated (or already activated) and safe to use for those with MTHFR defects (5)
- Try to find supplements with "added" ingredients to help reduce or manage inflammation (inflammation can decrease thyroid hormone production)
- Try to find supplements with "added" ingredients which may support thyroid function (this can include botanicals or adrenal adaptogens (6))
- Look for supplements or ingredients which also enhance gastrointestinal function (GI function is important for thyroid activation and conversion (7))
When you start to look at this list it becomes obvious that it may be hard to find ALL of these nutrients in one single capsule (or even two).
Instead, more likely than taking 1-2 capsules, you'll need to take several different supplements to meet all of the needs of your body.
It's just simply not possible to jam pack a small dissolvable capsule full of all of these important ingredients.
My personal recommendation is to use a supplement such as this one, which has been formulated to contain all of the necessary ingredients that your thyroid needs (minus the adrenal adaptogens).
This particular product is a 5-in-1 product which contains 5 different formulas in a daily packet which makes getting all of these nutrients relatively easy to get.
You do NOT have to use this exact supplement, however, so feel free to look around for others if you desire.
Just make sure that you find one which hits all of the criteria listed above.
The benefits of using my recommended supplement are that it contains:
- 1 probiotic capsule which contains 30 billion CFU of my proprietary blend of probiotics used in Ultra Biotic x100 - Probiotics help support gut function and indirectly help promote T4 to T3 conversion. Both of which are critically important for thyroid function.
- A therapeutic dose of magnesium (175mg) - Magnesium tends to be dysregulated in thyroid patients due to how thyroid hormone alters magnesium metabolism. If you haven't been using magnesium then there's a good chance that you are deficient!
- A therapeutic dose of Vitamin D3 (2100 IU) - Vitamin D plays a critical role in regulating both the thyroid and your immune system. This blend contains the activated D3 formula at an ideal dose for thyroid patients.
- iFOS certified Fish oil (650mg) - Fish oil helps reduce inflammation which can further help promote T4 to T3 conversion as well as reducing inflammation.
- 2 Capsules of a multivitamin blend which contains activated B vitamins and highly absorbable formulations of all vitamins, minerals, and nutrients - Included in this mix are Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin D, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and so on. All of the nutrients required for thyroid support.
Supplements vs Medications (They are NOT the same)
While supplements can definitely help out your thyroid it's important that you place a distinction between supplements and thyroid prescription medications.
Supplements are available over the counter and help SUPPORT your thyroid.
Both thyroid supplements and thyroid medications serve different purposes entirely and you should not stop taking your medication if you start using thyroid supplements.
This doesn't mean that it's impossible to treat your thyroid naturally, there are ways to do it, but you should do it under physician supervision to ensure that you are safe when you do it!
Thyroid supplements, including thyroid multivitamins, can potentially enhance the effectiveness of your thyroid medication and native thyroid function.
And this is exactly how you should use them! As a supplement to whatever you are currently doing.
They should be used in ADDITION to your current therapies and not in PLACE of those therapies.
I found very early on that complementary therapies tend to be much more effective in terms of helping patients feel better and the more therapies you layer on top of each other, the more profound the benefits become.
Just remember that there is a difference between thyroid medications and thyroid supplements and they should not replace each other.
Thyroid Multivitamin vs Other Thyroid Specific Supplements
This is actually quite an important topic.
I've been asked some form of the following question at many points in my life.
"Is there an all-in-one supplement I can take which includes all of the things my thyroid needs?".
And the answer is technically yes, but it probably won't help you the way that you think it will.
I get where this question comes from, especially considering there is quite a bit of confusion about thyroid management at all levels.
So I understand that sentiment quite well.
The unfortunate truth, however, is that there really isn't an all-in-one supplement simply because your thyroid both interacts with many different systems in the body and those systems interact back on your thyroid.
The net result is that the entire suite of supplements that YOU may need is different from what other people may need.
To further complicate the picture, we also need to take into account genetic variations among individuals in how they both process and metabolize thyroid hormone and even some supplements.
What does this mean for you?
In a nutshell, it means you want to try and individualize your supplements to the problems that you are facing which may be different from other people.
Factors which can influence the supplements you need to take include:
- Genetic variations in thyroid hormone metabolism and processing
- Diminished T4 to T3 conversion
- Cortisol abnormalities
- Sex hormone abnormalities
- Insulin/leptin resistance
- Diet (what nutrients are you already getting from your food?)
- Stressors and demand for certain nutrients
I don't mean for this to be confusing to you at all, I am just trying to illustrate the point that taking a thyroid multivitamin, why certainly helpful and better than nothing, may not be the "complete package" that you think it will be.
In fact, you may find that as you add to your current set of supplements that you feel better than you have in the past.
I have an entire suite of thyroid supplements designed to help thyroid patients at every level.
If you want to venture into the world of thyroid supplementation to minimize/maximize your health, then I would recommend you take a look here.
How to Take Supplements (Duration, Frequency, & More)
If you decide to use a thyroid multivitamin, how long are you supposed to take it?
Is it safe to take it with your thyroid medication?
Can you take other supplements if you also take a multivitamin?
This type of information is important for supplementation so let's answer some of these questions.
My general recommendation is that most people should, at the very least, consider using a broad spectrum thyroid multivitamin if they have thyroid problems of any type.
The reason is simple:
Our current lifestyle, diet, and amount of stress that we are under, act to both cause and exacerbate nutrient deficiencies.
The severity of these nutrient deficiencies can vary from mild to moderate to extreme and largely depend on the individual.
For this reason alone, and the sheer fact that it's incredibly difficult to eat a healthy diet to supply ALL of these nutrients, supplementation should often be considered in most thyroid patients.
But, in order for your supplementation to be effective, you should make sure that you use them correctly.
How long should I be on a thyroid multivitamin?
The good news is that you probably do not need to continue taking a thyroid multivitamin long-term (though you may need to come back to it periodically).
The ingredients in the multivitamin that I recommend has a sufficiently high percentage of ingredients which allows your body to not only use what is necessary but to also build a reserve of nutrients for later use.
For this reason, it's usually sufficient to use a multivitamin daily for 2-3 months to build up your levels.
From that point, you can determine if you should continue, or come back to it periodically (as in every 3-6 months).
Once you have repleted your levels, though, ensure that you are also eating a healthy diet and managing your stress.
Doing these things will ensure that your nutrient levels will stay repleted for a longer period of time.
Can this be used with other supplements?
A multivitamin should not necessarily be the only supplement that you use.
While it can be helpful, especially for those who are new to thyroid disease or thyroid management, there are plenty of other beneficial supplements which should be considered by thyroid patients.
Among these include:
- Supplements designed to support adrenal function
- Supplements designed to enhance T4 to T3 conversion
- Supplements designed to help regulate mood and depression
- Supplements designed to help enhance hair growth
- Supplements designed to help balance gut bacteria and gut function
- Supplements designed to help with weight loss, to help build muscle, and to manage your appetite
Diving into these supplements can really help to enhance your overall quality of life (provided you use them correctly and in conjunction with other therapies!).
Can you take a multivitamin with your thyroid medication?
Well, at least the supplement that I recommend.
You want to be sure that you have a basic understanding of how certain supplements impact thyroid medication absorption, so if you opt to use a different thyroid multivitamin then make sure you read this article to figure out if the multivitamin you chose will impact thyroid medication absorption.
If you opted to use the multivitamin I recommend then you are fine to take it with your thyroid medication but do NOT take it at the same time.
You should take it at least 30-60 minutes AFTER you take your thyroid medication to ensure that your medication gets absorbed without any issue.
Is a thyroid multivitamin helpful if you don't have a thyroid?
Again, the answer is yes!
How can a supplement designed to help support your thyroid work if you don't have a thyroid?
I know it may sound counter-intuitive, but let me explain.
Most people who don't have a thyroid automatically assume that none of the information relating to hypothyroidism is relevant to them, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.
What most people fail to recognize is that every single person who is alive has a need for thyroid hormone.
But it doesn't matter how your body gets this thyroid hormone. You can either make it yourself or you can take it by mouth via medication.
No matter how you get the hormone into your body it STILL must go through the same cellular steps in order to be activated, converted, and utilized by your body.
And these 3 steps (activation, conversion, and utilization) occurs OUTSIDE of the thyroid gland (8)!
Your body does not care if you have a thyroid gland or not because the action of thyroid hormone occurs on your CELLS and not in the thyroid gland.
This means it doesn't matter if you take thyroid medication by mouth, your body still requires nutrients in EACH cell in order to use that thyroid hormone.
In addition, multivitamins contain a plethora of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, all of which are used by other tissues and organs in your body.
When you start thinking about your thyroid in this way your view of your thyroid gland and which therapies you need become more clear.
I think one of the worst things you can do is avoid taking nutrients and supplements if you don't have a thyroid (or if it's been destroyed by RAI) because you are in a situation where you need them even more than people who have a thyroid gland.
If you want to, and I would recommend that you do this, please read this article which contains much more information on this exact topic.
So, should you use a thyroid multivitamin?
I'll leave it up to you to decide, but just remember that your thyroid does have needs for certain nutrients and minerals and the nutrients that it needs tend to be found in low concentrations in many thyroid patients.
While supplementing may not be a life-changing experience (although they can be incredibly beneficial for some people), it may help provide even a 10-20% increase in thyroid support which can mean the difference between feeling fatigued in the afternoon or having sufficient energy and concentration to finish out your day.
Now I want to hear from you:
What supplements have you used to help support your thyroid?
Have you used a thyroid multivitamin before? If so which one?
Did you find that it helped support your thyroid?
If you don't have a thyroid, are you supplementing?
Please leave your questions, comments or concerns below to keep the conversation going!
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