I have good news and bad news. The good news is that if you’ve driven yourself crazy trying to figure out why you feel lethargic and have gained weight or can’t lose that puffy face or bittle nails- I may have your answer. The bad news is that the likely culprit- hypothryoidism is a condition that more than 20% of Americans suffers from and that number is growing daily. I have personally had hypothyroidism for 10 years and it’s a condition that is very frustrating. While it’s a bit of a relief to know that the extra pounds you may be carrying around aren’t bad karma for splurging on that macaroon, it’s also a tough condition to spot and target. Anything from muscle aches, feeling depressed or sluggish, constipation to dry skin and a hoarse voice could be a symptom of your thyroid not working properly.
Your thyroid is located in your neck area and it regulates your body’s metabolism. Hypothyroidism means your thyroid isn’t producing enough thyroid hormones and is working at a slower rate than it should. When this occurs, your metabolism slows and you likely gain weight, along with experiencing many other possible symptoms as described above.
Alright, so you go to your doctor and he or she puts you on a thyroid medicine and suggests that you’re deficient in iodine (btw, just a pinch of pink himalayan sea salt will give you the daily requirement of iodine), as that is the most common cause. But then you’re on your medicine and see no changes. This is because there are three other nutrients that are crucial for thyroid function but are rarely discussed in relation to hypothyroidism.
- Selenium: If you are deficient in selenium, it could be worsening your iodine deficiency. In fact, if you have enough selenium intake, it could keep you from ever being deficient in iodine in the first place so if your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, you may only need to take selenium. If you’re having thyroid issues, ask your doctor to check your mineral levels- if you’re low in selenium, I suggest taking 200mcg of selenium daily.
- Vitamin D: Thyroid medicine may not work if you do not have enough Vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is neccessary for the metabolic process at the site where the thyroid hormone does it’s work. Without Vitamin D present, the thyroid hormones cannot affect the thyroid. If you are on a thyroid medicine and your energy levels are low and it does not seem to be working, try adding in a vitamin D3 supplement- within weeks you should notice the difference.
- Probiotic: New studies have shown that poor gut health can strongly adversely affect the absorption of selenium. A selenium deficiency is extremely common in people who have gastrointestinal disorders. Since proper selenium levels are crucial in thyroid function, I highly recommend adding in a daily probiotic (I love Dr. Ohhira’s probiotic) to help your gut function optimally and properly absorb selenium.