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A Comprehensive Guide to Thyroid Supporting Supplements

Medically reviewed by 
A Comprehensive Guide to Thyroid Supporting Supplements

The thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, plays a crucial role in regulating our body's metabolism, energy levels, and overall well-being. However, factors like stress, nutritional deficiencies, and autoimmune conditions can disrupt thyroid function, leading to various symptoms and imbalances.

Many of us in the United States are familiar with thyroid disorders, as over 10% of the population has some form of thyroid dysfunction. Additionally, many people are interested in traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM) options, like supplementation. A recent study showed 42% of Americans are using some form of TCIM.

In this guide, we will explore a wide range of natural supplements that have gained popularity for their potential to support thyroid function, promote hormonal balance, and enhance overall thyroid health. Whether you're looking for ways to alleviate thyroid-related symptoms or simply want to optimize your well-being, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and help you make informed decisions about incorporating thyroid supporting supplements into your routine.


Understanding the Thyroid

The thyroid gland is a butterflied-shaped gland that sits in the neck. Its function in the body is to produce thyroid hormones, specifically T4 and T3. These thyroid hormones are used by every system in the body and can affect body temperature, hair and nail texture, gastrointestinal functioning, menstrual cycles, and more.

The thyroid's hormone production is controlled by a communication pathway known as the hypothalamic pituitary thyroid (HPT) axis. The hypothalamus is a center in the brain that begins communication by sensing the body’s need for thyroid hormones. When the body is in need of thyroid hormones, the hypothalamus releases a hormone called thyroid releasing hormone (TRH) to the pituitary gland, alerting it of the body’s hormone need. The pituitary gland will then release a hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), to the thyroid, telling it to make its hormones. The thyroid, in response, will make mostly T4 and some T3. In peripheral tissues like the liver and kidney, the body will take T4 and convert it into T3, which is the more metabolically active hormone.  

Common Thyroid Disorders And Their Symptoms

Common thyroid disorders include hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease, hypothyroidism, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.


Hyperthyroidism is a condition that causes an overactivation of the thyroid gland, which leads to too many thyroid hormones being produced. Because every single cell in the body utilizes thyroid hormones, hyperthyroidism’s effects are system-wide. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include sweating, fatigue, diarrhea, weight loss in spite of increased appetite and food consumption, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, dry skin, insomnia, and more.  

Grave’s Disease

Grave’s disease is an autoimmune condition that causes hyperthyroidism. In fact, it’s the leading cause of hyperthyroidism, as four out of every five hyperthyroid cases are due to Grave’s disease. Thus, Grave’s disease has the same symptoms as hyperthyroidism with the addition of Grave’s ophthalmopathy, which is described as bulging of the eyes.


Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include irregular periods, fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold often, brittle hair and nails, constipation, mood changes, memory issues, shortness of breath, and more.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, similar to Grave’s disease, is an autoimmune disorder and the leading cause of hypothyroidism. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, autoimmune cells attack the thyroid gland, which results in the inability to produce thyroid hormones and, thus, hypothyroidism. Signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are the same as hypothyroidism, including fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, and more.

Thyroid Supporting Supplements

Thyroid-supporting supplements include iodine, selenium, magnesium, and l-carnitine.


Iodine is a trace mineral found in seawater and soil. It is required by the thyroid gland to manufacture thyroid hormones; in fact, 65% of T4 is actually iodine! A lack of iodine will lead to thyroid goiter- the enlargement of the thyroid gland- and eventually hypothyroidism. However, too much iodine can also cause the thyroid gland to slow the production of thyroid hormones. In certain individuals, too much iodine may also cause an autoimmune process to begin. Iodine is the Goldilocks of thyroid supplements; not too much, not too little, it has to be just right!

Dose: Due to the sensitivity of iodine levels, it is recommended to receive the recommended daily allowance (RDA) set forth by the FDA. The RDA of iodine for men and women aged 19+ years is 150 mcg per day. Any other dosing of iodine should be dependent upon the patient's labs and symptoms.

Duration: RDA intake of iodine should occur indefinitely. Any iodine supplementation outside of the RDA should be monitored and adjusted with the guidance of labs.


Selenium has been shown to play a role in immune function, metabolism, and thyroid physiology. Selenium may be effective in both hypo and hyperthyroid states due to its ability to both activate and deactivate thyroid hormones. In those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, selenium supplementation effectively lowers antibody levels and improves symptoms. Similar results have been found in selenium supplementation in Graves’ disease, as antibody levels drop and symptoms improve.  

Dose: 200 mcg

Duration: 3-6 months


Magnesium is a mineral required for over 300 different biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium also seems to play a role in thyroid physiology. A study was done on over 1,200 people assessing magnesium status, autoimmune thyroid conditions, and thyroid functioning. Results showed a positive correlation between low magnesium levels and an increase in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism prevelance.

Dose: The dose of magnesium should be dependent upon lab values to ensure levels are within the ideal range.

Duration: The duration of magnesium supplementation should be dependent on monitoring lab values.


L-carnitine is an amino acid that has been researched in hyperthyroidism. L-carnitine does not impact the production of thyroid hormones. However, it works by blocking the utilization of thyroid hormones in the body’s tissues resulting in fewer symptoms.

Dose: 2-4 grams per day

Duration: 6 months

Herbal Supplements for Thyroid Health

Herbal supplements for thyroid health include ginger and black seed.


Zingiber officinalis, commonly known as ginger, is a botanical medicine that is commonly used as a spice in many cultures. Ginger may be effective for those with hypothyroidism. In a study of 60 adults with hypothyroidism, half received a ginger supplement and half a placebo. After 30 days, symptom questionnaires were given to both groups as well as physical exams and lab work. Results showed those in the hypothyroid group experienced an improvement in many symptoms, including feeling cold, constipation, dry skin, appetite, memory loss, concentration, dizziness, and also experienced weight loss. The ginger group also had improvements in TSH levels, waist circumference, body weight, body mass, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. There were no side effects reported during the study; however, other research has shown ginger can lead to heartburn, diarrhea, throat and mouth irritation, and abdominal pain, and thus patients should be made aware of these side effects prior to supplementing.

Dose: 500 mg twice daily

Duration: At least 30 days

Black Seed

Nigella sativa, commonly known as black seed, may be effective in the treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In a study done on 40 patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, half were given a supplement containing black cumin, and the other half were given a placebo. Laboratory values and body measurements were done before the study and after an eight week interval. Results showed the group given black cumin had reductions in body mass index (BMI), TSH, and a thyroid antibody while seeing an increase in thyroid hormone T3. Side effects from black seed may include allergic reactions, upset stomach, vomiting, and constipation.

Dose: 2 grams of Nigella sativa powder daily

Duration: 8 weeks


Ashwagandha, an ancient herb widely used in Ayurvedic medicine, has gained significant attention for its potential benefits in supporting thyroid health. This adaptogenic herb, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, has been traditionally utilized to enhance overall well-being and improve resilience to stress. Studies suggest that ashwagandha may have a positive impact on thyroid function by helping to balance hormone levels. It is believed to support the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to the active form (T3), thus aiding in proper thyroid function. Additionally, ashwagandha exhibits antioxidant properties, which can help protect the thyroid gland from oxidative damage. This herb also possesses anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing inflammation in the thyroid, a common issue in autoimmune thyroid conditions like Hashimoto's thyroiditis. While further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and efficacy of ashwagandha for thyroid health, it holds promising potential as a natural supplement to complement thyroid management strategies.

Dose: 600 mg once daily

Duration: 8 weeks

Thyroid Synergy™

Thyroid Synergy™ by Designs for Health is an all-in-one nutritional support formula for thyroid function and commonly used for Hypothyroidism. Ingredients include vitamin A, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, tyrosine, American ginseng, and forskolin. The micronutrientsprovide the body with the building blocks and cofactors required for thyroid hormone synthesis and conversion. Forskolin activates adenylate cyclase within thyroid tissues, stimulating the release of T4 and T3. Adaptogenic ginseng acts on the adrenal glands to help the body adapt to stress and maintain a healthy cortisol level.

Dose: two capsules once daily

Duration: at least 8 weeks

Functional Medicine Labs Commonly Ran to Monitor Thyroid Health

Functional medicine labs that are commonly ordered in thyroid conditions include thyroid panels and micronutrient tests.

Thyroid Panel

A complete thyroid panel, such as the Thyroid Panel by Access Laboratories, should include TSH, T4, and T3. In hypothyroidism, TSH will likely be elevated with low T4 and/or T3. In hyperthyroidism, TSH will be suppressed with elevated T4 and/or T3. All patients with hyper or hypothyroid findings should additionally have their thyroid antibodies checked to see if the cause is autoimmune in nature. TPO antibodies and/or thyroglobulin antibodies can indicate Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, while thyrotropin receptor antibodies and sometimes TPO antibodies can indicate Grave’s disease.

Micronutrient Test

As discussed above, many micronutrients, including iodine, selenium, magnesium, and l-carnitine, can influence and impact thyroid physiology. Thus, micronutrient tests are often run on patients with thyroid disorders. A micronutrient test, such as the Spectracell Micronutrient Panel, has over 30 markers assessing vitamin and mineral levels on one convenient test.



As mentioned previously, thyroid disorders are common in the United States, and patient’s are looking for other options outside of traditional medicine. TCIM may be the perfect solution for those individuals, as various supplements fit under the umbrella of TCIM and are suitable for thyroid disorders. Additionally, functional medicine testing can help individuals figure out what supplements are appropriate and most beneficial for their specific needs.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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