Where To Buy Thyroid Supplements
Weight gain, fatigue, brain fog. These are all hallmark symptoms of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid, a small gland at the front of your neck, slows down or stops making the hormone thyroxine that helps keep your metabolism up to speed. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism (by a blood test), a doctor may give you a prescription for levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid, and generics). This medication contains synthetic thyroid hormone that can correct the hormone deficiency and improve your symptoms.
where to buy thyroid supplements
"Unfortunately, these unwelcome symptoms are not specific for hypothyroidism, but are also part and parcel of the natural aging process, and can affect people with normally functioning thyroid glands," says endocrinologist and Consumer Reports' chief medical adviser Marvin M. Lipman, M.D. "Less than 2 percent of people have hypothyroidism," Lipman says. Nevertheless, people who are desperate to lose weight and feel more energetic turn to supplements that are marketed to boost metabolism and energy "naturally." But experts warn that taking these thyroid supplements is a bad idea. Here's why:
It isn't possible to know if a supplement contains thyroid hormones from reading the label, but a 2013 study published in the journal Thyroid found that nine out of 10 supplements marketed for thyroid health and support contained real hormones. Four of those that tested positive listed the ingredient "bovine thyroid tissue," which might naturally contain hormones. But five supplements that tested positive listed only herbal ingredients, such as ashwagandha, guggul, and Coleus forskohlii. "Since plants cannot produce the hormones the researchers found, thyroid hormones from an animal or synthetic source must have been deliberately added to these supplements," says Consumer Reports' senior scientist Michael Hansen, Ph.D.
That is concerning because healthy thyroid hormone levels are very precise and taking supplements that contain these hormones can alter those levels in unpredictable ways. "Thyroid hormone levels even slightly above or below where they should be can lead to health complications," Lipman says. "For example, taking more thyroxine than you need can cause erratic heart beats and bone thinning."
We need only 150 mcg of iodine per day in our diet, according to the Institute of Medicine. "That tiny amount of iodine enables the thyroid to manufacture just the right amount of the thyroid hormone thyroxine," Lipman says.
Thyroid problems can be diagnosed easily through blood tests, but taking supplements that can alter the level of thyroid hormones in your blood can mask thyroid issues. And because supplements aren't regulated the same way drugs are, they can contain varying amounts of active ingredients. "If your doctor can't establish how much thyroid hormone your body needs, he can't prescribe the correct amount, and that can cause health problems," Lipman says.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association that represents the dietary supplement industry, acknowledges that thyroid supplements can interact with prescription medications. And, says Duffy MacKay, N.D., CRN's senior vice president for science and regulatory affairs, "It is important to talk to your doctor before starting thyroid supplements."
Yet Stephanie Lee, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Thyroid Health Center at Boston Medical Center and a spokeswoman for the Endocrine Society says a well-informed physician would never advise a patient to purchase an over-the-counter thyroid support supplement. "If the thyroid functions were abnormal, we would prescribe the FDA-approved medication because, among other issues, there's no evidence that thyroid support products improve thyroid function, and they can cause health complications and confuse a diagnosis," Lee says.
Bottom line: Do not take thyroid supplements. If you suspect that you have a thyroid condition, head to your doctor's office instead of the vitamin or natural-foods store. Getting the right diagnosis and treatment is the key to combating weight gain, exhaustion, and brain fog.
It's true that not having enough iodine (iodine deficiency) can cause hypothyroidism. But iodine deficiency has been rare in the United States and other developed countries since iodine has been added to salt (iodized salt) and other foods.
Thyroid health is largely dependent on lifestyle, and a lot can be done to support your thyroid before considering supplements. Start by ensuring you are getting adequate sleep and managing stress. Diet and exercise also play an important role.
Graves recommends eating consistent meals every 3-5 hours throughout the day and [aiming] to include a balance of protein, healthy fats, fiber rich starchy carbs, and non-starchy vegetables at meals to support blood sugar stability." Lastly, we recommend adding more nutrient-dense whole foods that include thyroid supporting nutrients like zinc, selenium, and iodine.
Wu, K., Zhou, Y., Ke, S., Huang, J., Gao, X., Li, B., Lin, X., Liu, X., Liu, X., Ma, L., Wang, L., Wu, L., Wu, L., Xie, C., Xu, J., Wang, Y., & Liu, L. (2021). Lifestyle is associated with thyroid function in subclinical hypothyroidism: a cross-sectional study. BMC endocrine disorders, 21(1), 112. doi:10.1186/s12902-021-00772-z
Appunni, S., Rubens, M., Ramamoorthy, V., Saxena, A., Tonse, R., Veledar, E., & McGranaghan, P. Association between vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2012. BMC endocrine disorders, 21(1), 224. 2021. doi:10.1186/s12902-021-00897-1
Katagiri, R., Yuan, X., Kobayashi, S., & Sasaki, S. Effect of excess iodine intake on thyroid diseases in different populations: A systematic review and meta-analyses including observational studies. PloS one, 12(3), e0173722. 2017. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173722
Luo, J., Wang, X., Yuan, L., & Guo, L. Iron deficiency, a risk factor of thyroid disorders in reproductive-age and pregnant women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in endocrinology, 12, 629831. 2021. doi:10.3389/fendo.2021.629831
Aon, M., Taha, S., Mahfouz, K., Ibrahim, M. M., & Aoun, A. H. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in overt and subclinical primary hypothyroidism. Clinical medicine insights. Endocrinology and diabetes, 15, 11795514221086634. 2022. doi:10.1177/11795514221086634
Benvenga, S., Nordio, M., Laganà, A. S., & Unfer, V. The role of inositol in thyroid physiology and in subclinical hypothyroidism Mmnagement. Frontiers in endocrinology, 12, 662582. 2021. doi:10.3389/fendo.2021.662582
Depending on the type of disease, thyroid conditions are typically treated with medications like thyroid hormone replacement, surgery, and other procedures, such as radiation therapy for thyroid cancer.
Other nutrients, including B vitamins and vitamins A and E, are also needed for optimal thyroid function. Being deficient in one or more nutrients can negatively affect thyroid health and increase your risk of thyroid disease (7, 8, 9, 10).
For example, many thyroid supplements contain high amounts of iodine and may contain thyroid hormones. Taking these supplements can lead to dangerous side effects and create thyroid issues in people with healthy thyroid function (11).
One study that analyzed 10 thyroid supplements found that the majority of them contained detectable amounts of T3 and T4. Some of the products tested contained more T3 and T4 than healthcare providers typically prescribe to people with hypothyroidism (11).
This is because people with thyroid issues have specific needs, and taking supplements marketed to enhance thyroid health may negatively affect thyroid function, causing their health and symptoms to worsen.
Some animal and test-tube research suggests that omega-3 fats, curcumin, L-carnitine, quercetin, melatonin, resveratrol, selenium, inositol, zinc, and vitamins C, E, A, and D may benefit those with thyroid cancer (44, 45, 46).
Additionally, low iodine intake is linked to an increased risk of thyroid cancer, and research suggests that correcting iodine deficiency can help protect against the development of more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer (47).
Still, there are many vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements that have been shown to improve thyroid function, reduce disease symptoms, and improve overall quality of life in people with thyroid disease.