Whether you’re enthralled with the physiology of the body, or you merely are invested to the extent that you experience balanced wellness, the thyroid gland is an organ I highly recommend prioritizing. Not only is it the master metronome of the body, but it supports everything from hormone balance to weight optimization to emotional ability.
There are however intricacies to the support of the thyroid gland- some of which stem from being able to read labs to decipher what support your thyroid gland needs most. As you’ll recall from a former post about the thyroid gland, TSH is not the only reflection of thyroid health. Click HERE to read more on what to look for and why.
Regardless of how stressed or balanced your thyroid gland is, below are some crucial nutrients to support your thyroid along with a few simple ways to prepare them. Indulge!
1. Liver – Liver offers the highest concentration of vitamin A in nature and vitamin A plays a key role in nursing a sluggish thyroid back into health. In one study, groups of obese and non-obese women supplemented with 25,000 IU of vitamin A per day. After four months, both groups showed an increase of circulating thyroid hormone and a decrease in TSH, indicating improved thyroid function. 25,000 IU sounds like a lot of vitamin A per day, but in early traditional cultures across the globe, people consumed upward of 50,000 IU per day.
But perhaps more importantly, the vitamin A from liver [and all other animal sources] is the bioavailable form of vitamin A, which means the body can utilize it most effectively + efficiently. Whereas, the vitamin A from plant sources such as beta-carotene [found in orange vegetables like carrots] must first be converted to its retinoid form to be useful in the body. The extremely poor conversion rate of carotene-to- retinoid is insignificant if we have a slow thyroid, so it is imperative to get true vitamin A from animal sources.
One important caveat: make sure you source your liver from small, organic farms – good choices are pastured beef liver and pastured chicken liver. The liver filters toxins, but it doesn’t store toxins. However, the livers of conventionally-raised feedlot animals will contain toxins because they are overburdened.
** Additionally, I do not recommend long-term vitamin A supplementation because synthetic vitamin A carries a higher risk of toxicity since it is not well-utilized by the body. Opt for true vitamin A from foods.
> One easy way to consume liver is to blend it into meatballs or consume via capsule.
2. Unrefined Sea Salt– Salt breeds flavor and function. #swoon However, an important distinction is the difference between unrefined salt such as himalayan salt and processed, bleached table salt.
Unrefined sea salt contains micro minerals which are important in supporting the thyroid gland and the conversions the various thyroid hormones need to be efficient and effective.
> Use sea salt liberally in your dishes unless you are experiencing compromised heart or kidney function in which case I recommend using sea salt in moderation.
3. Brazil nuts – An important nutrient in the conversion between inactive to active thyroid hormone T3 is selenium. Turns out brazil nuts boast a bundle of selenium. And good news! Only 1-2 nuts a day is sufficient. Not a fan of the brazil nut? No problem. Other sources of selenium include wild salmon, mushrooms, and egg yolks.
> Consider adding brazil nuts to your smoothies, granolas and/or savory roasted nut mixes. I personally just keep them in my freezer and pop 2 a day. Yum!
4. Eggs– Speaking of egg yolks, eggs live up to their title of the “perfect food,” especially when it comes to balancing hormones through diet. They provide a concentrated source of thyroid-supporting building blocks like protein, cholesterol, B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals.
Contrary to the belief of mainstream [or, as I say, mislead] nutrition, the yolks – not whites – are the most nutritious part of the egg. Take a quick look at the nutritional highlights of eggs:
Iodine – iodine is critical for proper thyroid health and only 2-3 eggs fulfills 20-30% of your daily iodine requirement.
Selenium – just like brazil nuts, both the egg yolk and the white provide an excellent source of selenium, optimizing the conversion from T4 to useable T3 hormone.
Fat-soluble vitamins – the egg yolk contains all of the fat-soluble vitamins in the egg- A, D, E, and K- all of which support thyroid.
B Vitamins – B vitamins support blood sugar balance and energy levels taking stress off the thyroid gland. Egg yolks are particularly high in choline which is particularly supportive to the thyroid gland as well.
Consider adding eggs to your weekly meal plan in a rhythmic way noting that you don’t have to eat them everyday to get what you need.
5. Cod Liver Oil – A historically sacred food, cod liver oil offers the unique balance of vitamin A and vitamin D, both in highly bio-available forms. Everyone from babies to pregnant mothers and the elderly can benefit by taking a top quality cod liver product daily to decrease inflammation and provide TLC to the hard working thyroid gland via critical hormone balancing fat soluble vitamins.
> Easy ways to consume cod liver oil include blending it into smoothies or adding lemon flavored cod liver oil into salad vinaigrettes.
Take a deep breath of sweet empowerment. Your thyroid gland, while powerful, is quite relatable and is most receptive to the nutrients in food. Consistency is its love language. As you intentionally weave thyroid supportive foods into your weekly regimen you’ll notice your labs optimize themselves, but more importantly, you’ll feel like you’re coming back to life. #worthit
To your vibrant self, Ellie