Key Nutrients for Thyroid Health

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Did you know that your thyroid relies on several key nutrients to function properly?

The thyroid gland, the small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that is part of the hormonal system, is often overlooked. Typically we don’t pay much attention to this incredibly important organ until we’ve been diagnosed with thyroid dysfunction such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

This small gland is responsible for regulating our metabolism, impacting our adrenal/stress hormones, and even our sex hormones. It produces two thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, which you may already be familiar with if you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid dysfunction.

If you’re faced with thyroid dysfunction, suspect that you have thyroid issues, or just want to make sure you’re getting adequate nutrition for proper thyroid function, there are several key nutrients that affect thyroid function.

Just as there are foods and nutrients that are necessary for thyroid health and support it, there are also foods and nutrients that hinder thyroid health (more on that in a future post).

Here are the key nutrients for thyroid health, the role of each in thyroid function, and the best sources for each:

Vitamin A

Purpose: needed to produce T4 and for T3 receptors

Sources: collard greens, kale, beet greens, cantaloupe, peaches, as well as yellow and orange vegetables (which are precursors to Vitamin A)

 

B2, B3, and B6 Vitamins

Purpose: needed to produce T4

Sources of B2: egg yolks, organ meats, almonds, mushrooms, and wild rice

Sources of B3: rice bran, light meat of turkey and chicken

Sources of B6: sunflower seeds, walnuts, salmon, beans, bananas, and rice

 

Vitamin C

Purpose: needed to produce T4

Sources: strawberries, papaya, collard greens, citrus fruits, and parsley

 

Vitamin D

Purpose: promotes proper production of thyroid hormones

Sources: the sun (of course!), salmon, tuna, eggs, and sardines

 

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Vitamin E

Purpose: needed to produce T4

Sources: sunflower seeds, almonds, and olive oil

 

Iron

Purpose: needed to produce T4

Sources: oysters, clams, mussels, spinach, and beef/chicken liver

 

Iodine

Purpose: promotes proper production of thyroid hormones

Sources: sea vegetables (such as kelp, nori, and seaweed), eggs, salmon, and sardines. While iodine is required for proper thyroid function, excess iodine can inhibit thyroid function, so be sure to get tested before supplementing with iodine.

Note: Fluoride is an antagonist to iodine, which means it inhibits the utilization of iodine. This is why it’s critical (especially if you have known thyroid issues) to use a high-quality water filtration system that removes fluoride. I use this one, with the fluoride filter attachments.

 

Selenium

Purpose: Increase conversion of T3 to T4

Sources: Salmon, chicken, eggs, brazil nuts (It’s easy to get too much selenium from brazil nuts, as they are particularly high in selenium.) Note that excess selenium can be toxic.

 

Zinc

Purpose: Increase conversion of T3 to T4

Sources: ginger, pecans, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, sardines, and oats

 

Have a question about Thyroid Health or the nutrients included here? Comment below!


Hannah Smith

Hannah is the founder and health educator at Healthfully Hannah, empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s personal health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Feel free to send Hannah a message here.


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  1. Thank you for this! I have a friend who has been suffering with major thyroid dysfunction. She opted to take the conventional medical route with no improvement. I’ve been collecting resources for her and am happy to be able to forward this to her. Great info as always!

    1. Hi Aubrey, how thoughtful of you to collect resources for your friend! I have some additional posts on thyroid health planned for the near future, so keep an eye out for those as well. Let her know she can always reach out – working with individuals to improve their lives is what I’m most passionate about! Thank you for sharing.