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Thyroid hormone is a manager, not a worker. It is the cells that do the work and for that they must have adequate nutrition to comply efficiently with directions given by the thyroid. Thyroid hormone (T3) delivers its message to the DNA of cells which in turn tells the mitochondria of cells how fast to produce energy. The following supplements support a proper thyroid function by "keeping the boss happy" if you will. A lack of nutrients to produce cellular energy always disturbs optimal thyroid function and can cause any of the symptoms of a poorly performing thyroid.
If cells lack vitamin B they cannot efficiently implement thyroid hormone directions, even if the thyroid is working perfectly fine. Along with B vitamins, nutrients such as krebs cycle intermediates, Q10, and magnesium assist cells to make energy. Any or all of these nutrients may be important in an individual with fatigue and a collection of sluggish thyroid symptoms. Vitamin B is also important to keep the nerves healthy that are giving directions to the thyroid gland in the first place. A recent study of patients with thyroid autoimmune disease found that 28% were deficient in B12. This deficiency is well associated with elevated homocysteine levels and poor thyroid function. B12, folic acid, and B6 are required for optimal nerve transmission, which is involved with the initial formation of thyroid hormone.
It is well established that a lack of zinc in blood cells is common in those with poor thyroid function. Zinc is involved in hundreds of enzymes throughout the body, many of which relate to energy production, including those that produce thyroid hormone. Zinc deficiency is associated with lower body temperature and reduced resting metabolic rate. Zinc is an important nutrient that enables active thyroid hormone (T3) to bind to the DNA of a cell (on the zinc fingers), thereby initiating the cellular response to thyroid hormone. A recent case report of two young zinc-deficient women showed that 25 mg of zinc per day significantly improved thyroid function.
While a basic need for zinc is 15 mg a day, various factors may induce zinc loss such as sweating (exercise), stress, and pollution. Some individuals need 25 - 50 mg of zinc per day (zinc picolinate and citrate are the best forms). White spots on the fingernails are a classic zinc deficiency symptom, as is weak immunity. Those who are dieting and cutting back on calories will lose energy very fast if they are zinc deficient, causing metabolism to slow down to a hibernation rate. This makes it quite a struggle to make any progress. A zinc need may even not show up until a person actually tries to lose weight. My product Strengthener Plus is a good choice as it provides both zinc picolinate and zinc citrate, the two most biologically active forms of zinc.
Iron has recently been identified as a key nutrient in cells that enables thyroid-driven gene signals to function in metabolic pathways. A lack of iron inside cells may reduce up to 80 different gene signals that would otherwise be following "thyroid instructions," resulting in handicapped metabolism and fatigue. This is different than anemia from a lack of iron and may be occurring even when red blood cells and hemoglobin levels are normal. Certainly if a person has iron deficiency anemia it is a major problem for cellular thyroid function. Individuals with a history of anemia and borderline hemoglobin status are often lacking enough iron for proper thyroid function within cells. Iron is also involved with muscle fatigue, as a lack of iron reduces the oxygen capacity of muscles by lowering the function of myoglobulin (an iron-containing compound).
Since thyroid hormone governs the rate of oxygen use in the human body, a lack of iron can slow down metabolism. Iron forms the hemoglobin in red blood cells that transports oxygen to cells to use in metabolism. A lack of iron causes poor oxygen transport, and thus reduced oxygen supply to cells. This helps explain why shortness of breath is a classic symptom of iron deficiency. Some individuals even hold their breath in an effort to get more oxygen to their head (a sign of iron deficiency).
Many unresolved low thyroid symptoms, including low body temperature and fatigue, can be corrected with iron supplementation. The best form of iron supplementation is the true protein chelate, iron bisglycinate. When needed, iron is a significant metabolic booster. Blood Builder is a great way to go. It provides iron in the safe form known as iron bisglycinate, along with B12, folic acid, B6, and C.
There are a wide array of nutrients that may be quite helpful in supporting thyroid function. Nutrients will not solve a poor diet, a stressful lifestyle, and a lack of exercise. Those truly interested in optimizing the function of their thyroid must have a comprehensive plan. This includes eating properly (the Leptin Diet), getting enough sleep (at least 7 hours per night), stress management skills, and consistent exercise. Along with these basics, dietary supplements are great tools to assist metabolism.
Byron J. Richards, Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, is a Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist and has been a charter professional member of the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists (IAACN) since 1991. He is a nationally-renowned health expert, radio personality, and educator. He is the creator and pioneer of The Leptin Diet and has been a featured expert consultant on Fox News Live, CBS Infinity television, and The Wall Street Journal. Richards has appeared on hundreds of radio programs throughout the country. He is also a staunch defender of health freedom and a national leader in the fight against the FDA's desire to eliminate your natural health options. His book, Fight for Your Health: Exposing the FDA's Betrayal of America is widely regarded as the top book on health freedom today.