Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is so unique in its manifestation with each person, so I always cringe when I try to give any kind of generalized recommendations about this disease! That said, there are certain foundational supplements that I will usually put every patient on who has been newly diagnosed Hashimoto’s, and that’s how I picked my Top 5 to write about today.
Keep in mind it’s always best to test your levels first and seek the guidance of your practitioner to determine proper dosing, and to know for sure whether these should be added in to your daily supplements.
This one is top of my list for good reason. Vitamin D is so critically important to supporting and maintaining a healthy immune system that every Hashimoto’s patient should be on it. It’s important to bone health, muscle function, cardiovascular function, circulation, respiration, brain development and has anti-cancer effects. What’s not to love about Vitamin D? Most people are low if not already supplementing it, but you want to be sure you take the right amount and get a baseline level before starting. Be sure to monitor your levels carefully with your doctor and adjust accordingly. Most would benefit from being on about 5000IU daily, taken with food for best absorption. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the deficiency, 10,000IU daily may be taken. Interestingly, some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are fatigue and depression. So a deficiency can mimic or compound the symptoms of thyroid disease.
Selenium deficiency is not nearly as common as Vitamin D deficiency, and the lack of this mineral is something found more in those with digestive and absorption issues. Studies show that selenium is beneficial to autoimmune thyroid disease. Selenium has an important role in modulating the immune system and also can support a more efficient synthesis of thyroid hormone. It also helps with the conversion of T4 to T3 and reduces antibodies, thereby putting out the fire on an overactive immune system. Most commonly it is supplemented at 200mcg daily and does not need to be any higher than that. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, however, the amount varies from crop to crop so you’re better off getting more consistency from a supplement form.
This essential fatty acid supplement is super important because of its amazing anti-inflammatory effects Putting the fire out on an over active immune system is essential for Hashimoto’s patients and a part of that is reducing inflammation with a good quality Fish Oil. Make sure you do not buy a cheap brand (possible contaminants), and take it at a therapeutic, high potency dose. Again, check with your doctor, but most times 2000-3000mg Fish Oil is the amount necessary to give enough anti-inflammatory effect. And you want to make sure there are no contaminants and that you’re getting top quality. Brands like Nordic Natural or CorOmega are a couple great ones readily available on the internet or at healthfood stores.
A good quality multivitamin can go a long way for supporting good health and the benefits should not be underestimated. It is near impossible to get ALL of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need on a daily basis– even if you are stellar at nutrition, cooking and planning your meals. A good quality multivitamin can be your foundational health insurance policy, making sure you are covered with the basics! Don’t overlook that. My favorite multivitamin formulas are by Thorne and Innate Formulas, both are physician-only brands but can easily be ordered by your healthcare practitioner.
One of the best and fasted ways to heal, modulate and support the immune system is to heal the gut lining first! And probiotics can be of great benefit here. It’s best to start low and go slowly up in the CFU’s (colony forming units). Look for a 10,billion CFU formula to start. You also may want to consider testing for any bacterial, fungal or other types of overgrowth, and then replace and rebalance with good flora from quality probiotics. There is a specialized stool testing kit your practitioner can order if you suspect you have absorption problems, dysbiosis or gastrointestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut). However, you do not have to wait on that testing to start supporting your overall healthy gut lining and support immune function now by taking a good quality probiotic! Go for the ones that need to be refridgerated and that give 10,billion CFU formula to start. Your practitioner can assess whether or not you are a candidate for further testing for leaky gut based on your history and presentation.
When I see a patient for the first time, I try not to overwhelm them with 15 new supplement recommendations. A lot of patients who come to me have already been to several other doctors and they usually arrive with shopping bags of supplements, lamenting that they are overwhelmed trying to keep up with taking so many things. And so I like to help patients “boil it down” to the ones that are most important. The body can only break down and properly absorb a certain amount of these supplements, and after a certain point, it can just be too much and actually burden the body by overloading it with too many items to process, some of which may just not be getting absorbed well at that point anyway.
Remember, this is a list I had to boil down to what I consider most essential for someone newly diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroidits. There are many other very important supplements such as antioxidants, digestive enzymes, and quite few others that might be of benefit to you depending on your individual case. And of course there are other treatment modalities like dietary changes and food sensitivity testing that are also very key to effectively designing a treatment plan for a Hashimoto’s patient.
There are a lot of things a savvy practitioner can do to dig deeper into discovering your root cause and help you determine whether you have food sensitivities and/or allergies (including gluten intolerance), or whether detoxification protocols might be beneficial to add (especially if we think your root cause was exposure to toxins or toxin build up in the gland). But don’t get overwhelmed with all of the things you read about and hear about in Hashimoto’s treatment. Start with basics and build from there!