The Best 8 Supplements to Treat Thyroid

Updated on December 27th, 2019
Supplements for Thyroid

According to the American Thyroid Association, as many as 20 million people in the US suffer from some thyroid disease. Thyroid-related issues stem from the thyroid gland producing an abnormal amount of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones. While the standard medical treatment for thyroid disease is artificial hormone therapy or using anti-thyroid agents, thyroid can also be treated by using supplements.

There are several supplements, such as iodine and zinc, that have been scientifically proven to treat thyroid-related conditions. Many of these supplements can be used in conjunction with primary medical treatment, such as hormone therapy and the use of anti-thyroid agents. However, it is highly recommended that you ask for your doctor’s advice before using any supplements to attempt to treat your thyroid condition.

Read on to find out how you can use some of the best supplements to treat thyroid:

Supplements to Treat Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism (or underactive thyroid disease) is a condition of the thyroid gland where the thyroid gland is not as active as it is supposed to be and doesn’t produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones for your body which can affect the metabolic processes of the body. The hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are crucial for the normal functioning of our bodies. They regulate the body temperature, heartbeat, and the rate at which calories are burned.

Sometimes, the thyroid gland can malfunction and not produce as many hormones as required by the body. This condition is known as hypothyroidism.

Here is a list of effective supplements for underactive thyroid disease:

1. Iodine


A prevalent cause of hypothyroidism worldwide is the deficiency of iodine, a natural nutrient found in foods like milk, cheese, poultry, eggs, and other dairy products. Iodine supplements can be very helpful in managing a condition of hypothyroidism where iodine deficiency is the cause. Typically, clinicians who specialize in treating hypothyroidism with iodine supplements recommend a dose of 50mg per day.

It is essential to understand that it is not advisable to start with such a high dose, and should be introduced gradually beginning with a low dose on the prescription of a medical professional authorized to do so. While iodine supplements for thyroid can be high for those with low iodine levels, they must not be taken unless advised by a doctor. Iodine supplements work to treat hypothyroidism by inhibiting a particular enzyme called thyroid peroxidase (TPO).

However, iodine supplements can be a ‘double-edged sword’ because excess intake of it, especially in the supplement form, can increase the risk of auto-immune thyroid diseases like Hashimoto’s when there is a simultaneous presence of selenium deficiency.

[Also Read: Natural Treatments for Thyroid]

2. Selenium

Selenium is a micronutrient that is embedded in several proteins and is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland’s metabolism, reproduction, and DNA synthesis. It also protects the body from infection due to oxidative stress. Selenium is not synthesized by the body and must be absorbed from foods containing the nutrient or by taking supplements.

The thyroid gland happens to be the organ with the highest concentration of seleniumin the body and plays a crucial role in the secretion of the thyroid hormones. The essential nutrient works in conjunction with iodine, which requires selenium to properly synthesize into triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

When there is an excessive intake of iodine, the body can react adversely to this and develop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an auto-immune condition wherein the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing to malfunction).

This is how selenium, in the natural or supplement form, plays a crucial part in managing hypothyroidism – it binds with the iodine to inhibit thyroid peroxidase only as much as required. This 2016 study studied the effects of selenium supplementation and showed positive results in subjects with chronic auto-immune thyroiditis.

Did You Know?

If the thyroid is left untreated, symptoms can worsen, and in some rare cases, it could result in life-threatening conditions, and a state of coma. If you believe you might be suffering from some form of thyroid disease, consult your doctor and get a professional diagnosis.

3. Zinc

Zinc is another vital mineral that can be used in the supplement form to treat and manage underactive thyroid disease. It helps in the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3). There are many food sources of zinc, including oysters, meat, nuts, and legumes, but it is also readily available in the form of supplements. The Office of Dietary Supplements(1) advises an intake of 8 to 11 milligrams of zinc for adult women and men, respectively.

A study published in Hormones: The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism(2) establishes the correlation between zinc levels in the body and the synthesis of triiodothyronine (T3), and shows that taking zinc supplements may help control and manage hypothyroidism.

The subjects of the tests exhibited better communication between the hypothalamus (which, along with the pituitary gland, plays a role in directing the thyroid gland to secrete thyroid hormones by secreting a thyrotropin-releasing hormone which in turn tells the thyroid to release TSH) and the thyroid. This study only furthers the scientific evidence of the benefits of taking zinc supplements to manage thyroid.

[Also Read: Everyday Habits to Reduce Thyroid]

4. Vitamin B and Vitamin D

Like the nutrients and minerals mentioned above, there are specific vitamins right for thyroid disease management – specifically, vitamin B and vitamin D.

All the vitamins in the B complex can have significant effects on thyroid function. However, each of them plays a different crucial role unique to each one of them.

  • B2 or Riboflavin is essential because the lack of it inhibits thyroid function, causing the thyroid and adrenal glands to fail in secreting their hormones.
  • B3 or Niacin is crucial in keeping all of the body’s cells, including the endocrine glands, working efficiently.
  • B6 or Pyridoxine is required to help the thyroid gland utilize the iodine to secrete the hormones.
  • Those with hypothyroidism cannot absorb B12 and leaves them at the risk of mental illness, neurological disorders, neuritis, and neuralgia, among various other ailments that the deficiency of this vitamin can cause. Levels of B12 and thyroid conditions are very closely related, according to this study(3).

As per a specific study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in test subjects with hypothyroidism. It was also found that the vitamin helped develop thyroid antibodies in people who suffer from auto-immune thyroiditis. Vitamin D is also found in natural foods, such as yogurt, and orange juice, however, natural sources are usually inadequate for those who are deficient. You should consult your doctor to be prescribed an adequate dosage of vitamin D supplements.

Did You Know?

There is 60 percent of people with thyroid issues that are unaware of their condition, according to the American Thyroid Association.

What Is Hyperthyroidism? Supplements for Hypothyroidism

Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid disease is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), causing the metabolism to speed up abnormally. This seems like a good thing if you were to take it at face value, but in reality, it can have severely detrimental effects on your heart and bones, among giving rise to other complications.

The most common forms of hyperthyroidism include Graves disease (where an antibody causes the thyroid to secrete too much of the hormones), toxic nodular goiter, secondary hyperthyroidism, and hyperthyroidism resulting from excessive levels of thyroid hormones from hormone therapy undertaken to treat hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  •  Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Moist skin
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland

If you think you might have hyperthyroidism or are exhibiting symptoms of the disease, consult your doctor to get tested for it.

The standard medical procedure is to either prescribe liquid radioactive iodine, replacement thyroid hormone, or a thyroid suppressant, but some of these methods have side-effects, such as taking liquid radioactive iodine causing permanent hypothyroidism in up to 50 percent of patients. This makes managing hyperthyroidism using supplements for thyroid a safer alternative.

[Also Read: Yoga for Thyroid]

1. L-Carnitine


L-Carnitine is an amino acid whose supplementation is useful in cases of hyperthyroidism. It works by inhibiting thyroid hormone action by controlling the thyroid hormone’s entry into hepatocytes, neurons, and fibroblasts, according to this study. Another study found similar results and established that there is a rationale for using L-carnitine to treat iatrogenic hyperthyroidism in clinical settings. Dosage must be prescribed by a certified doctor.

Did You Know?

Women are five to eight times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems.

2. B-Complex

As talked about earlier in the article, vitamins in the entire B complex can do wonders for those with thyroid conditions. However, for those with hyperthyroidism, the following vitamins in the B complex have significant benefits, and can help them manage their condition very effectively:

  • B1 or Thiamine deficiency is common in those who suffer from hyperthyroidism, especially in extreme cases, and supplementation has been shown to benefit such patients when used in conjunction with primary medical treatment procedures, according to this study.
  • B12 and thyroid dysfunction have been shown to have a close relation, and certain patients with hyperthyroidism can benefit from supplementation. Consult a doctor to determine whether supplementation would be ideal or not.

[Read: Vitamins for Thyroid]

3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E encourages the thyroid gland to secrete excessive amounts of thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) and also inhibits the secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) by the pituitary gland. In those with overactive thyroid disease, large quantities of this vitamin are depleted from the body, and a larger intake of this vitamin utilizing supplements is required to offset this difference. Further, it also reduces the effects of oxidative stress in hyperthyroidism, according to this study.

In conclusion, the above supplements and vitamins for thyroid can prove to be very beneficial in the management, and controlling of thyroid disease if used appropriately upon the instructions of a medical professional. This article seeks to be an informative resource intended to educate people on the subject. However, the information provided herein must not be considered professional medical advice.

Taking certain supplements in conjunction with some drugs used in the treatment of thyroid disease could result in adverse reactions, and hence, none of the supplements talked about in this article must be taken without prior consultation with a doctor.

[Also Read: Home Remedies for Treating Thyroid]


1. What Are the Risk Factors for Hypothyroidism?

The two primary risk factors are your age and sex. Women are much more likely to develop hypothyroidism. Age plays a vital role as those who are older are also more likely to develop the condition. Other risk factors include having taken anti-thyroid medication, having a family history of auto-immune diseases, and having type 1 diabetes.

2. How Is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed?

Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed by having a doctor examine triiodothyronine (T3)  and thyroxine (T4) hormone levels in your body along with the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) employing laboratory tests. Doctors may also ask for a thyroid scan and to measure the level of thyroid antibodies in the blood.

3. What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

The symptoms of hypothyroidism include dry and coarse skin, slow heartbeat, changes to the menstrual cycle, constipation, and depression. Consult your doctor if you think you are suffering from hypothyroidism.

4.What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include moist skin, excessive sweating, rapid heart rate, anxiety, and shortness of breath. Go to your doctor if you think it is a cause for concern and you are suffering from hyperthyroidism.

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