Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland does not or cannot produce enough hormones to regulate healthy bodily functions. This leads individuals to wonder if they can treat this underproduction by getting certain vitamins or nutrients in their diet, or if they can increase thyroid hormone production by eating certain foods. The question is more complex than a simple yes or no, and it’s the focus of today’s blog.
Treating Hypothyroidism With Your Diet
We’re going to give the best answer to the question we posed in the blog title, but as we noted, the answer is complex, so we urge you to keep reading. In general, there have been no clinical studies that have proven that eating or avoiding certain foods will improve your thyroid function. That being said, if you want to do what’s best for your hypothyroidism, you should pay attention to what you’re putting in your body.
Iodine is essential for normal thyroid function, but in first world countries, we get enough iodine from our diet that additional supplementation is unnecessary. In fact, if you try to take in excess salt and iodine, it can actually lead to hyperthyroidism, or an overproduction of thyroid hormone. So while you don’t need to make a concerted effort to add iodine to your diet, you should try to stay away from overindulging products with excess iodized salt.
Along those same lines, the general consensus for developing a healthy diet if you have hypothyroidism is to avoid dietary extremes. Don’t dive into specialized diets that require you to eliminate an entire food group or only consume specific options without first consulting with your endocrine specialist. Eating a certain diet won’t make your hypothyroidism any better, but eating a poor diet or a highly specialized diet can make your condition worse. Eating a healthy diet with vitamins and nutrients from a range of food groups is the best thing you can do for your thyroid gland and your whole body.
A final point we want to make is in regards to your diet and your thyroid medication. Most patients who have hypothyroidism take medications to either increase their thyroid hormone production or supplement what can’t be produced by the gland. Listen to your doctor’s instructions for taking your medication, but in general, it is a good idea to take your thyroid medication on an empty stomach, because high fiber foods can impair your body’s ability to fully absorb the synthetic thyroid hormone. Other medications can also impact the absorption rate, so let your doctor know about any other medications you are taking.
At the end of the day, while you may not be able to reverse hypothyroidism by eating certain foods, you can certainly make the condition worse by overindulging in salty and fatty foods. Make it a point to eat a healthy diet and follow your doctor’s instructions for taking any thyroid supplements. For more information, or if you have questions about a thyroid issue, reach out to Dr. Koeplin’s office.