Antioxidants are crucial to thyroid health…
Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene (vitamin A precursor), and the minerals selenium and manganese. These substances act as free radical scavengers, protecting our bodies from the damage caused by reactive oxygen species that are created by oxidation reactions and damage our cells. A lack of antioxidants may result in thyroid damage from hydrogen peroxide every time Iodine is processed by the thyroid.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for foods was established to guide the public on how much of each nutrient was needed to prevent overt disease. However, these numbers were determined decades ago without the benefit of current research and without an adequate understanding of how nutrition affects our physiology. Somehow these guidelines have become our “ideals” in nutrient intake. Unfortunately, our RDA for most antioxidants is too low to see the benefits.
For example, vitamin C becomes an antioxidant at doses above 600 mg, while the RDA is only 60 mg, one-tenth of that. While 60 mg will prevent scurvy, it will not prevent free radical damage. Vitamin E is an antioxidant at a dose of 200 mg–400 mg (RDA is 10 mg), and selenium should be taken at a dose of 200 mcg–400 mcg for those with Hashimoto’s (RDA is 70 mcg). Click here to see my thyroid and selenium article. Vitamins C and E can be found in many food sources, but supplementation may also be helpful.
Vitamin A, however, when taken as a supplement, can be toxic in excessive amounts, and should only be taken from food sources. Carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are the richest source of beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. They won’t cause any harm, except for a potential yellowing of the skin, known as carotenosis (seriously!). At this point we will know that we have enough vitamin A as our body will stop converting the beta carotene to the vitamin A. The extra beta-carotene is stored in our fat cells until it is ready to be converted to vitamin A. The yellowing of the skin is reversible upon limiting our intake of foods rich in beta-carotene. Yellowing of the skin is more common in people with hypothyroidism, who may have an impaired ability to convert the beta-carotene due to lack of thyroid hormones. If your skin turns yellow, this is, of course, a sign to cut back on carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
Check out my other posts on Nutrient Depletions
- Nutrient Depletions Part I: Selenium
- Nutrient Depletions Part III: Hair Loss and Thyroid
- Nutrient Depletions Part IV: B12
- Nutrient Depletions Part V: Zinc
Why do we have so many nutrient depletions in Hashimoto’s?
NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
I wish you all the best in your healing journey!
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