The nutrients we consume are directly linked to our immunity, so it’s no surprise that supplements play a role in the management of autoimmune conditions. Here are a few specific nutrients that play a key role in the management of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other autoimmune conditions.
BY: JESSICA PATEL, RDN, LDN
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common thyroid condition impacting individuals in the U.S. Because it is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own thyroid, additional support through supplementation that helps mitigate inflammation offers a holistic approach to help manage it.
Research has shown demonstrated there are a specific nutrients that can support individuals with autoimmune conditions. Here are a few that may be beneficial for those with Hashimoto’s and autoimmune conditions:
Because of Vitamin D’s role in the body’s immune response, it’s believed the nutrient also plays a critical role in the development of autoimmune diseases. Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D3 is highly associated with the severity of autoimmune thyroid disease (like Hashimoto’s). This is especially important to consider as an estimated 75% of the population are Vitamin D deficient.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fats are essential fats, being necessary for proper body function. These fats have to be obtained through diet and have been found to mitigate inflammation in the body. Some studies have shown to benefit autoimmune conditions through decreased disease symptoms and a lowered use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
In general, Americans do not consume enough Omega-3 fats through their diet, so additional supplementation may help replenish the body’s stores to provide more anti-inflammatory support.
There is growing evidence to support that digestive health and gut bacteria may be linked to the onset of autoimmune conditions, so repairing and maintaining a healthy gut is imperative in managing autoimmunity. Studies indicate that a “leaky gut”, where the protective barrier of the intestinal wall becomes damaged and weakened, may be linked to the onset of automimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s.
Bacteria living in the digestive tract play a role in boosting your body’s immune system. The “good” bacteria that flourish in the digestive tract help maintain your body’s overall gut health; however, antibiotics, poor nutrition, and stress can kill off the good guys. When selecting a probiotic supplement, look for a high CFU (colony forming units) count, which are the amount of live cells capable of forming new colonies. In general, looking for 25-50 billion CFUs and the greatest number of strains will be the most helpful.
When it comes to supplements, buying one at the grocery store may be cheaper but those may not be high quality. A few brands that are typically recommended and trusted by health professionals are:
And always remember, supplements are meant to complement, not replace, other lifestyle areas of disease management such as eating health-supportive foods and maintaining regular exercise.
Before considering supplementation for chronic disease management, it is always helpful to first undergo lab testing with a health professional to better understand your current levels to assess your body’s needs. Continue to nourish and support your body with nutrient-rich foods that you need, and give it a boost with supplements as needed.
Adapted from the original article.
Jessica Patel, RDN, LDN is a Chicago-based private practice dietitian who helps others connect with good food through simple, healthful cooking techniques. With a love for wholesome, natural food, Jessica uses a holistic-minded approach to nutrition to help her clients stay healthy through the healing power of nourishing foods. Visit her at Well Fed Nutrition.
Very informative. I wish there was a way health minded individuals could check the level of vital nutrients in their body to help identify what is lacking or needed.