There has been a growing interest in dietary supplements for supporting thyroid dysfunction. Many patients with thyroid dysfunction often have underlying autoimmunity or current take medication. Although these individuals may have normal lab values, they are often still symptomatic and looking for additional support. Iodine is most recognized as the major nutrient of the thyroid, however, several other nutrients play an essential role as well.

According to a study published last month in Nutrients, researchers investigated several nutrients that play an important role in thyroid function including selenium, l-carnitine, myo-inositol, melatonin, and resveratrol.

In this review researchers conducted a final search on PubMed in July 2019 looking at different nutraceuticals influencing thyroid function and immunity. They first looked a carnitine. Its use has been supported in patients with hyperthyroidism.  Dosing at 2 grams per day has been shown to control hyperthyroid symptoms by acting as a peripheral antagonist of thyroid hormone.

Inositol is another interesting nutrient. Inositol is commonly used to support sleep, female hormone health as well alleviate depression and anxiety. Inositol is also a second messenger regulating several hormones such as insulin and TSH. One study showed myo-inositol alone caused almost a 3.5% increase in free T4 and a 10% decrease in TSH levels. Another study showed a significant reduction in TSH levels in Hashimoto’s patients with subclinical hypothyroidism and increases in thyroid hormone concentrations with myo-inositol combined with selenium. In addition, there was a lower TPO antibody concentration in both groups but only a reduction in thyroglobulin antibodies in the myo-inositol with selenium group. Dosing ranged from 600 mg up to 4 grams per day.

Selenium has also shown to be beneficial for thyroid dysfunction. When comparing all tissues in the body, the thyroid gland has the highest concentrations of selenium. It is required for normal thyroid function as well as thyroid hormone synthesis. Studies have demonstrated benefits in Graves’ ophthalmopathy. In addition, a benefit has been seen in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis on serum thyroid autoantibodies. Selenium status has an effect on immune function and newly diagnosed autoimmune thyroid patients tend to have low selenium concentrations.

 Based on this literature review, there is evidence to support the use of carnitine, inositol, and selenium in thyroid conditions. There may also be a possible benefit from melatonin and resveratrol, however, there are a lack of studies to draw a definitive conclusion at this time.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Benvenga S, Feldt-Rasmussen U, et al. Nutraceutical Supplements in the Thyroid Setting: Health Benefits beyond Basic Nutrition. Nutrients. 2019 September 13;11(9).






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