Supercharge Your Thyroid Health: Is There A Thyroid Diet?
Written by John Ejeh, BS, MS Clinical Nutrition
Director of Nutrition – Bronx (233rd St), New York
John Ejeh holds a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Long Island University Post. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Human Physiology from Nigeria. He is a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Email John: JEjeh@invitehealth.com
The role of the thyroid gland - the butterfly-shaped organ in the base of your neck - produces various hormones that impact key pathways for energy balance, with actions in the brain, heart, pancreas, liver, fat, and muscle. An underactive thyroid, referred to as hypothyroid is much more common than an overactive thyroid and otherwise healthy adults can experience slowing of this gland with age. Levothyroxine, a prescription of synthetic thyroid hormone is the usual treatment for underactive thyroid disease and it is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world.
Studies on dietary requirements and the roles of iodine and selenium supplementation are well established. Also, adequate intake of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables is crucial to thyroid health. Contrary to this frequently consuming raw cruciferous vegetables and taking concentrated isoflavone supplements from soy have been shown to inhibit thyroid function.
Iodine: Thyroid hormone synthesis requires adequate intake of the mineral iodine. Conversely, chronic exposure to excess iodine intake may induce autoimmune thyroiditis (AITD). The recommended dietary allowance for iodine is 220 µg/day and 290 µg/day in pregnant and lactating women, respectively. 150 µg/day in adults seems adequate. Dietary sources of iodine include iodized salt, grains, and seafood such as fish and seaweed. Vegetables are not a rich source of iodine, therefore, vegetarians and vegans, may be at a higher risk for inadequate iodine.†
Selenium: Observational studies and randomized controlled trials have shown that selenium reduces the incidence of hypothyroidism and postpartum thyroiditis. The enzymes glutathione peroxidases which require selenium to function, enhance the formation of thyroid hormones. The US RDA for selenium in men and non-pregnant, non-lactating women is 55µg. Dietary sources of selenium include seafood and fish. Multiple Vitamins supply both Iodine and Selenium in measured amounts.†
Fiber and Microbiota/ Gut Flora: Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provides the body with fibers which supports the balance of the trillions of bacteria living in us that will in turn steer the body’s immune system.†
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.
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