As a thyroid expert, people always ask which supplements would be best to improve the function of their thyroid.
They want to know about zinc, copper, tyrosine, iron, chromium, folate, methylated b vitamins, selenium and iodine, just to name a bunch.
In my practice, I don’t recommend supplements to heal the thyroid.
I recommend food in its whole form that is naturally and traditionally prepared.
One of the reasons why I recommend food over supplementation is because of the way we process it.
Humans are physically designed to eat food:
- We have teeth that chew our food.
- We have digestive enzymes to break down that food so we can absorb it.
- We have acid in our stomach to unravel ingested proteins and transform them into smaller components.
- The food is then sent to the small intestine, where the nutrients undergo an intricate extraction and assimilation process.
- Bile acids are released into the duodenum that assists in the digestion and absorption of fats.
- The bulk (waste) is transported to the large intestine for a final extraction of remaining nutrients and water, before being expelled from the body.
There are many more steps, but it’s the result is obvious. Food; our body is designed to process it, extract the nutrients we need, and excrete the waste.
So, when people contact me asking for specific supplements for thyroid health, I take them back to their perfectly designed human body.
They are not solely a “thyroid” gland that requires isolated nutrients like zinc, copper, iron, methylated b vitamins, selenium, or iodine.
Their whole body needs to be nourished and used the way it’s designed. If it’s not used properly, some part of it, somewhere along the way, will atrophy.
Can people take supplements? Sure, why not. It’s probably not going to hurt them (unless they are taken in excess), and may even give them a little boost in the right direction, especially if their body is deficient.
But, I question the efficacy of supplements in the long term.
For example, if a person currently is suffering with digestive issues, absorption of those isolated nutrients is going to be limited. As well as absorption of the nutrients that come from whole foods.
Again, we have to look at the perfect design of the human body and start to question. Why is this person’s digestive system compromised in the first place?
- Are they under high stress that is inhibiting the digestive process?
- Are they NOT chewing their food and masticating it with saliva and digestive enzymes?
- Are they eating too quickly, gulping down their food and putting stress on the digestive system?
BTW – gulping down food is what happens with enteric-coated supplements. They are gulped down and miss the first process of digestion (masticating with saliva and then being further broken down by stomach acid). Enteric coating stays intact through the stomach, dissolving only after the vitamin reaches the small intestine.
I question the supplemental route of getting those nutrients into the body because it bypasses the way we are designed. It’s missing steps along the way. Are those missing steps going to eventually break down some part of the digestive system and lead to more trouble in the future?
There are many nutrients and lifestyle factors needed to heal the thyroid, and the body, as one whole functioning unit.
I believe we need to go back to the basics, back to food, and back to the way the human body is designed.
We simply cannot rely on taking supplements to supply our body with isolated nutrients. It’s not complete.
Supplements should be exactly that, a supplement to a wholesome, traditionally prepared, properly eaten, daily diet.
When it comes to nutrients needed to heal the thyroid always remember… food first.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.