Are You Still Struggling With Your Thyroid? Try Zinc.
So you are on thyroid medicine and you still don’t feel right. Do you still have all the Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) conditions of fatigue, cold sensitivity, depression, memory problems, constipation, muscle weakness, pain, and the list goes on? Or maybe you feel about 80 percent of what you use to feel and you would like to get closer to 100 percent. I can empathize completely with you. I’ve have had Hypothyroidism since the birth of our son eighteen years ago. Hypothyroidism sucks. Yes, I said it with a smile.
Probably like you, I’ve been searching for the answers of feeling better from every thyroid book, blog, and doctor under the sun. My journey started with being put on a synthetic medicine (Synthroid), a dosage increase, a change to the Synthroid/Cytomel medicine combination, a change to a natural prescription medicine (like Nature Thyroid, Armour, etc.) to finally a compounded prescription of Nature Thyroid that left out all the fillers. Each step in my journey made me feel so much better. Today, I feel really good; but I’m still not quite there yet. Does this sound familiar? Is this you?
Interestingly, I stumbled upon Zinc in relation to my Thyroid. An alternative medicine practitioner had said that my body was Zinc-deficient about a year ago. I was told to take a dropful of liquid Zinc
twice a day. Along with other natural medicines, I followed his instructions to the letter and ultimately felt so well that I stopped taking my thyroid prescription medicine. Although I was feeling amazing, my thyroid lab scores showed that I needed my prescription medicine again. So I stopped taking liquid Zinc. Yes, that was really stupid of me.
Fast forward a year, I started taking doses of liquid Zinc again because I was battling another sinus infection. (I’m truly a city girl in love with a farm boy and my body doesn’t like it.) The same thing happened. I started feeling more energetic, healthier, and happier. Back to my old self before Hypothyroidism. Then the sleepless nights started again several weeks later; which told me that I was overmedicated with my thyroid medicine. Then it finally dawned on me. In my body, there must be a relation to the thyroid and Zinc.
Zinc is a trace mineral that is needed every day for vital functions in the body. It is in all of our body’s tissues and it is needed for healthy cell division. You may have heard from your friends on how they have used it to help with immunity problems, wound healing, skin conditions, prostrate problems, diarrhea, allergies, acne, neurological functions and a much more. But, I didn’t ever hear about its relation to the thyroid until I started looking into the research studies. Isn’t Google wonderful?
While looking into various research studies from around the world spanning from the 1980s to now, Zinc plays an important role in thyroid hormone metabolism. A 1994 research study in the Journal of American College Nutrition stated the objective of the study was to, “…examine Zinc (Zn) status in relation to thyroid function in disabled persons, because the association between Zn deficiency and thyroid function remains controversial.” What they found was interesting. “Zinc may play a role in thyroid hormone metabolism in low T3 patients and may in part contribute to conversion of T4 to T3 in humans.” Based on this research, I realized that there is a correlation between how my body is making thyroid hormones and/or processing them from my thyroid medication depending on if my body had enough Zinc.
According to the International Journal of Trichology, a 2013 research study stated, “Zinc and other trace elements such as copper and selenium are required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, and deficiency of these can result in hypothyroidism. Conversely, thyroid hormones are essential for the absorption of Zinc, and hence hypothyroidism can result in acquired Zinc-deficiency.” I’m going to highlight the important part of this statement. So not only is Zinc required for production of thyroid hormones, but also thyroid hormones are essential for absorption of Zinc. Thus, if I’m deficient in one or the other; I may not be getting what my body needs to complete its processes.
So, we found out that Zinc is important for the body to process thyroid hormones (and vice versa) and if one is lacking Zinc in the body that it can result in hypothyroidism. This can ultimately impact one’s energy according to a 1986 research study in the Journal of Nutrition. It states, “The results suggest that low Zinc intakes may be associated with decreases in BMR. In addition, decreases in thyroid hormone levels and alterations in protein utilization may occur.” Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the rate the body uses energy while at rest to keep vital functions going, such as breathing and keeping warm. So what I understand is that the lower level of Zinc may be causing my BMR to be lower resulting in lower energy levels.
Ok, your head is probably spinning from all the research jargon. This is my untrained summation on the research studies cited. Zinc is linked to the body’s thyroid function. If your body’s Zinc levels are low, your body may not be able to make, covert, or process your body’s level of needed thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). When my T3 and T4 levels are low, I have all the Hypothyroidism symptoms.
I’m not saying that Zinc is the magic cure for your thyroid problems. But based on my personal experience, you may want to look into it further with a help of your doctor to see if Zinc will help you. I followed the advice from Dr. Nikolas Hedberg, Author of The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide: Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disease. He said, “If you are Zinc deficient I recommend taking 30-60mg of Zinc a day. It may take up to 60 days to replenish your Zinc levels.” Personally, I have found that Zinc capsules do not work for me and I do not see a difference when taking them. Thus, I take liquid Zinc. Because you can take too much Zinc (Zinc Toxicity), I do strongly recommend having a doctor help you with addition of Zinc to your diet. Also, I do not advocate you changing your levels or stopping your thyroid medicine without the help of your doctor. (Yes, I admit it. I shouldn’t have done that on my own.)
You can also increase your Zinc by digesting it through foods. The National Institute of Health says that great sources of Zinc include oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products. I prefer pumpkin seeds, garlic, and dark chocolate. Ok, not all at the same time or in that order.
Being the Herbal Farmwife, I do have to suggest adding more Zinc-loaded herbs into your life. Great sources of Zinc from herbs include Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Dill, and Chervil. Boost your intake of Zinc by adding these delicious herbs as flavorings to your favorite food dishes or consider herbal capsules.
I hope this discussion into the relation of Zinc and the thyroid helps get your thoughts going in relation to your own body. Please remember that God created all our bodies to be unique. So what may work for me; may not work for you. But, this gives you something to think about.
Blessings, Herbal Farmwife
(For an overview on Hypothyroidism including information on T1, T2, T3, and T4, please see https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypoThyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284.)
DISCLAIMER: This information should not be considered to be healthcare advice, medical diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professionals. Always consult a healthcare professional first before trying any herbs, spices, vitamins, or minerals mentioned in this posting. This information is merely a discussion of “thoughts” among friends.