The following vitamin supplements have been documented as helping or worsening the symptoms of autoimmune thyroiditis. The most important vitamin supplements for anyone with Hashimoto’s disease to consider are listed below. A good multivitamin supplement is likely to include all of these elements, but you may need to supplement some individually to correct particular deficiencies. A multivitamin may also include elements you would rather avoid.
The B Vitamins
Hashimoto’s and pernicious anemia – caused by vitamin B12 deficiency – are often found to co-exist. Anyone with Hashimoto’s should have their B12 levels checked by a doctor before starting supplementation (which would distort results). If levels are low, B12 can be given as injections (by a doctor), by tablets, or sublingually (drops under the tongue). B12 is generally recommended as part of a B-complex supplement for people with Hashimoto’s.
Other B Vitamins
All the B vitamins play a role in controlling the symptoms of Hashimoto’s and in controlling metabolism – the B vitamins are needed for more than 100 enzymes involved in protein metabolism.
B6 helps the body to convert iodine to thyroid hormone; so a deficiency of B6 can worsen hypothyroidism generally. It also helps the body story more magnesium, and many Hashimoto’s sufferers take magnesium supplements to lessen body cramps.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) has a direct correlation to the production of energy: it increases circulation, and assists in carbohydrate metabolism. A shortage of vitamin B2 can depress endocrine function, especially the thyroid and adrenals. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps circulation, the nervous system, and in stabilizing cholesterol levels. A good B-complex may be the most important vitamin supplement for anyone with Hashimoto’s disease.
Many people with Hashimoto’s take vitamin D supplements, but there is a body of thought, discussed at length at the International Congress on Autoimmunity, that some forms of vitamin D, including the supplemental form, are largely implicated in the disease. A deficiency of the vitamin may be due to the “Vitamin D-grabbing” disease mechanisms, rather than a simple consequence of disease that needs to be corrected. There are many abstracts detailing the vitamin D connection. The Marshall Protocol, which follows this line of thought, claims to be helping cure people with severe forms of autoimmune disease through a combination of drugs and zero-intake of vitamin D. (1)
It is worth investigating supplementation with vitamin D at length to decide on whether to increase intake of this vitamin in your own particular case.
Vitamin A and Betacarotene
Studies have proved that autoimmune diseases occur and worsen in people whose serum samples are low in vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin A.(2) A deficiency in vitamin A or betacarotene may also limit the body’s ability to produce thyroid hormone. Beta-carotene is the precursor to Vitamin A, and seems to be the more important element to supplement, but this can be toxic in large doses – maintain levels through foods instead (as a general guide, betacarotene is found in yellow and orange fruit and vegetables).
Blood levels of vitamin A are lower in people with goitre than in similar people without goitre.(3)
Blood levels of vitamin A are also lower in people with goitre than in similar people without goitre.(4) Vitamin E protects the vulnerable components of the body’s cells and their membranes from destruction. It also protects all the cells’ lipids (fats) and related compounds, such as Vitamin A. It works synergistically with Vitamin C.
This vitamin is proven to increase absorption of oral thyroxine (Levothyroxine) (5). It may be the most important water-soluble antioxidant, as it can scavenge both reactive oxygen and nitrogen radicals. In controlled studies, Vitamin C has demonstrated antiatherogenic, anticarcinogenic, antihistaminic, and immunomodulatory benefits.