I suffered from an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s for a long time. Not only is it currently the most common autoimmune disease, but it is also the fastest growing. It affects mostly women between the ages of 40-60 and is a disease in which the immune system attacks cells in the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s can be triggered, in part, by high amounts of stress-driven and intense lifestyles, infections, toxins that enter our bodies through the foods we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. And though the disease affects the thyroid, it is largely tied to gut health.
Hashimoto’s can cause a range of symptoms, from weight gain and brain fog to mood disorders and hair loss, just to name a few. I struggled with seemingly countless debilitating symptoms. I experienced fertility issues that took the form of multiple miscarriages in a row, chronic fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, dry and thin hair, cold sensitivity and digestion issues. But, while those symptoms were really difficult to cope with, at least I could recognize what they were and deal with them appropriately. What I never saw coming was that, if you suffer from Hashimoto’s, it also leaves you at risk of having a number of different nutrient deficiencies. These are the deficiencies that you absolutely must look out for if you have Hashimoto’s:
Experts have acknowledged selenium deficiencies as environmental triggers for Hashimoto’s and most people who have the autoimmune disease are at risk of becoming selenium deficient. Some repercussions from this nutrient lack include exhaustion, anxiety and depression. People who begin taking the supplement after suffering from the depletion often report less anxiety, less hair loss, increased energy, and more.
Recommended supplement dose: 200-400 mcg per day
When do benefits kick in? Typically, the addition of a selenium supplement can result in symptom improvements in just 3 to 5 days.
Important Note: If you have an adverse reaction to a selenium supplement (do not worry, this is rare), it may mean you have an iodine deficiency. In this case, it may be useful to start a low dosage of an iodine supplement. I always recommend that my clients talk to their doctor before starting to take a new supplement.
It is my honest belief that practically no one gets enough magnesium without supplementation these days. The mineral used to be naturally occurring in soil, but modern farming practices have nearly wiped it out. Magnesium is crucial for so many bodily processes like nerve and muscle function, regulating heartbeat, supporting the immune system, strengthening bones and more. If you are not getting enough magnesium, you may be experiencing migraines, insomnia, more intense menstrual cramps than usual and anxiety – definitely no fun for people who are already experiencing the many downsides of Hashimoto’s. Luckily, all of these symptoms will most likely improve once you begin taking a magnesium supplement. I recommend trying Pure Encapsulations’ Magnesiumif you think you may be deficient.
Recommended supplement dose: 100-400 mg per day (400mg per day at most)
When do benefits kick in? The time that it takes for the positive effects of a magnesium supplement to start working differ based on the symptoms. Some, such as insomnia, anxiety and migraines can begin improving after just a couple of days of taking the supplement. Others, like menstrual cramping, can take longer – up to a few months.
Important Note: magnesium can block thyroid medications and calcium and iron absorption, so be sure to take it at least 4 hours apart from those other supplements.
This is another common vitamin deficiency for people with Hashimoto’s – and most other people as well, actually. Unless you are spending the majority of your day out in the sun, there is a good chance that you could be experiencing a vitamin D depletion. Something important to note is that a diet low in fat can sometimes contribute to the increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, so be sure you are always consuming the right amounts of healthy fat.
Recommended supplement dose:2000-5000 IU
Note:I am not recommending that you go outside in the sun for hours every day as that can have damaging effects on your skin and overall health. But, 20 minutes of sunshine per day should be totally fine (and even beneficial!) if you think you may be lacking in the vitamin D department, so long as you begin without sunscreen and then apply a high quality one after a few minutes.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common for, but not limited to, people with Hashimoto’s. In a survey of over 2,200 people with Hashimoto’s, over 30% reported that their tests revealed that they were very low on vitamin B12. Many vegans and vegetarians also have to be mindful of how much vitamin B12 they are (or are not) consuming since it only occurs in animal products now that current agricultural practices have basically stripped it clean from the soil.
Recommended supplement dose:5000mcg sublingually (aka under the tongue)
Note: the sublingual part of the recommended dosage section above is vital, because some of the other methods do not allow it to be absorbed as well.
Many people do not know what this nutrient is, but it is extremely important. It is the storage protein for our iron supply. Low levels of ferritin are regularly associated with Hashimoto’s and can result in difficulty breathing, hair loss, fatigue and more.
Recommended supplement dose:1 to 3 capsules daily with meals
Note:there is a chance that supplementing with ferritin may not help your issues since the cause of the deficiency may actually be the result of something other than Hashimoto’s. If that is the case, do some more research and ask your doctor if the ferritin depletion may have to do with a lack of stomach acid instead.
I talk about this supplement often since it is so fantastic for immune system function. It is also vital for gut health, tissue healing, the production of the hormone TSH, and so much more. If you are not getting enough zinc, you may be experiencing difficulty with wound healing, thin and brittle nails, impaired taste and smell, diarrhea, hair loss, impotence along with many more unpleasant symptoms.
Recommended supplement dose:30 mg per day
Note: despite what some health professionals say, zinc supplements are most beneficial when taken with food as they are absorbed more easily this way. Plus, taking zinc on its own can lead to an upset stomach.
Now that you are aware of which nutrient deficiencies go hand-in-hand with Hashimoto’s, it is up to you to check in with yourself and see if any of the symptoms that I mentioned apply to you. It is always best to recognize deficiencies as early as possible so that you can start taking the necessary steps to combat them and limit the possibility of lasting results on your body and mind.