Nutrients such as iodine and vitamin D are essential for the proper function of the thyroid gland and the appropriate synthesis of thyroid hormones. However, thyroid function can be improved with nutraceutical support. Nowadays, the use of nutraceuticals has grown, and its efficacy and function as a preventive tool are widely reported in the literature. However, with thyroid function being a complex topic, the supporting evidence of the amount or efficacy of such nutraceuticals results in mixed conclusions.Â
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What is a nutraceutical?
There is currently no consensus about what the word “nutraceutical” refers to. However, Stephen De Felice, founder, and chairman for the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine was the first to define nutraceutical in 1989 as:
” Food, or parts of a food, that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.”
In addition, the nutraceutical description can be a “nutritional component” or vitamins. Some of these definitions use functional food, medical foods, and dietary supplements as a synonym.
Melatonin as a Nutraceutical and Thyroid Function
Melatonin was first identified in 1958 and named the sleep hormone. However, now we know the crucial necessity of melatonin in all the physiologic processes. This component is the principal element of chronobiology and creates order by regulating all the melatonin-targeted organs. Nowadays, we know that melatonin supplementation regulates circadian rhythm, and by doing so, controls hormone signaling.
Melatonin supplementation in postmenopausal women results in increased thyroid hormone levels and better gonadal functions. Also, another study included peri-and menopausal women supplemented with a daily dose of 3 mg of melatonin and placebo over six months. Consequently, the melatonin-supplemented group improved gonadotropins, rising towards a more juvenile level and lower menopause-related depression.
Resveratrol: friend or foe?
This compound is one of the most commonly known flavonoids and can be found in grapes, wine, and peanuts. The antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of resveratrol have positioned it as a powerful nutritional component with protective capacities. Despite being all the rage and extensive literature supporting its scavenging potential, the FDA has not approved resveratrol.Â
Part of the numerous resveratrol function relies on its structure since it resembles that of L-T4. As part of the benefits attributed to resveratrol structure, its ability to scavenge hydrogen peroxide ROS is linked to protecting against thyroiditis and hyperthyroidism. In addition, it is a member of the stilbene synthase enzyme family, which has a wide variety of functions in the body.Â
Following the same idea, all of the powerfully beneficial effects of resveratrol have only been tested in vitro or animal models. Nonetheless, resveratrol has the property to trap iodine, and in turn, improves TSH regulation. However, these effects were accompanied by an increased proliferative action on thyrocytes, associating resveratrol supplementation with thyroid disruption.
This essential micronutrient is the cornerstone of glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase. Furthermore, selenium is a fundamental part of three deiodinase enzymes, which convert one thyroid hormone to another.
The thyroid gland has the highest concentrations of selenium in the form of selenoproteins. The enzymatic action of deiodinases (DI1 and DI2), glutathione peroxidase, and thioredoxin reductases depend on selenium’s cofactor function. Nevertheless, proper and sufficient selenium supplementation is needed to assess thyroid function. An inadequate selenium intake is strongly associated with increased thyroid volume as well as thyroid nodules.
Nutraceutical supplementation, what is the issue?
It is clear that these nutraceuticals offer benefits and improve thyroid function. Hence, the main question is why the FDA or the American Thyroid Association (ATA) do not approve nutraceuticals as part of the treatment?
The hard truth is that most of the supplements do not reach the therapeutic goal of supplementation. This is the case of resveratrol, where studies show that some supplements only come up to 250 to 500mg of the component, while the therapeutic dosage is 2000miligrams per day.
On the other hand, selenium supplementation has more like a U-shape functionality. Meaning, that thyroid function improves only when adequate levels of selenium are present in the body. In addition, over-the-counter supplements have proven to have less than the appropriate amount of selenium or another form of this compound.
Nutraceutical supplementation is a cornerstone of the medical treatment of many thyroid issues. This is mainly due to the cofactor function that nutraceuticals play in hormone conversion. However, the complexity of thyroid dysfunction combined with how easy it is to get these over-the-counter supplements creates a strong contrast in their functionality.Â
Xymogen is a supplement company that offers top-notch quality nutraceuticals and nutritional supplementation. If you are considering supplementing due to a subclinical condition, we suggest you try this amazing tool!
In conclusion, it is important to ask patients about what supplements and nutraceuticals they are taking. It also of basic knowledge to provide information about the best supplement that fits the patient’s needs. – Ana Paola RodrÃguez Arciniega, MS
Benvenga, Salvatore, et al. “Nutraceutical Supplements in the Thyroid Setting: Health Benefits beyond Basic Nutrition.”Â NutrientsÂ 11.9 (2019): 2214.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, CTG*
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico
The information herein on "Nutraceuticals Supporting Thyroid Function" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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