Minerals and Your Thyroid
Perhaps the word “minerals” conjures memories of the rocks you studied in your 7th grade science class. I do remember examining them in awe, thinking, “Wow, this is far from boring. Look at all of these beautiful colors!”
I now know that our bodies are comprised largely of the same minerals that the earth is made from. Minerals are little engines that make our bodies run optimally. They keep our immune system running well, give us strong bones, have powerful antioxidant properties, and are critical for cell generation.
As you likely know, nutrient deficiencies play a significant role in thyroid dysfunction. The thyroid needs the right nutrients to perform optimally, plain and simple. While these deficiencies aren’t likely the root cause of hypothyroidism, they can keep the thyroid from working its best and can exacerbate symptoms.
[I thoroughly address optimal thyroid nutrition in my best selling cookbook, The Essential Thyroid Cookbook: Over 100 Nourishing Recipes for Thriving with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. The educational component of the cookbook details not only thyroid-supportive minerals, but also vitamins and amino acids that help to optimize thyroid function. The mouthwatering recipes are chock full of these supportive nutrients.]
Often times, when people think of “nutrients,” they only think of vitamins. I’m often asked, “What’s the best multi-vitamin to take?” But it’s important to know that the thyroid is particularly mineral-dependent and that minerals work in concert with vitamins. (Granted, many multi-vitamins contain a decent spectrum of minerals.)
So what if I told you that when it comes to nutrients for low thyroid function, we should focus more on minerals than vitamins? According to Dr. Richard Shames, author of Thyroid Power, “More important than vitamins are minerals. These are absolutely crucial to thyroid function.”
Causes of mineral deficiencies include a nutrient-poor diet, inadequate absorption from low stomach acid (which is common for those with hypothyroidism), dehydration, kidney issues, and congestive heart failure.
This post is the kick-off for my ten-week Minerals and Your Thyroid series where I’ll highlight the following:
Each will get its own short and sweet spotlight, including why and how it’s supportive to thyroid function, along with a list of food sources rich in each mineral and other ways that our bodies benefit from adequate levels.
(The tenth is fluoride. It’s NOT supportive to thyroid function but deserves its own time in the hot seat.)
It’s wise to get tested before supplementing heavily. I don’t necessarily recommend that you mine these minerals from supplements, especially when, for the most part, it’s possible to get what you need from food sources.
It’s important to know that many multi-vitamins contain more minerals dosing than the daily recommendation. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. What’s recommended can vary, but I’ll offer some general guidelines in this series.
What’s more valuable than “recommended dosing” is, on a regular basis, eating the foods rich in each mineral, which again, I’ll list in each post. Of course!
Remember, whether or not you’re on thyroid hormone replacement or you’re looking to get your Hashimoto’s antibodies managed or you haven’t been diagnosed with low thyroid function but simply want to know how you can keep your thyroid in tip top shape, the right nutrients are critical.
Evaluating your diet is always the first step. Our bodies are always seeking homeostasis or balance and for the most part, the body is quick to respond to sound nutrition and to being well cared for.
The SAD (standard American diet) that consists of what Michael Pollen calls “food-like substances” – processed foods, refined sugars, genetically modified foods, artificial additives and sweeteners, toxic vegetable oils, and antibiotic and hormone-laden animal products – causes oxidative stress and chronic systemic inflammation and affects how all of our cells communicate with one another.
When you consider that every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormone and that the thyroid turns on the genes that keep cells doing their job, it makes it easier to understand how a nutrient-deficient diet can interrupt this cellular communication.
Thanks for joining us on this Minerals and Your Thyroid tour – ten weeks of easily digestible bites on how to keep your thyroid humming along with the right minerals. First up, calcium. Stay tuned!