8 Minerals Required for Thyroid Function

Thyroid disorders are reaching epidemic proportions, and some 5-8x more common in women, than men.

Let’s check out the minerals required to keep this small, but vital organ in working order.

IODINE: Each molecule of thyroxine (T4) contains 4 atoms of iodine, and each molecule of triiodo-l-thyronine (T3) contains 3 molecules of iodine (so, fairly important 😉). A deficiency in iodine can result in goiter, as the thyroid increases its surface size, in a desperate attempt to absorb more iodine.

SELENIUM: The thyroid has the highest selenium content per gram, of all the organs, and expresses specific selenoproteins. Selenium has been shown to decrease anti-thyroid antibodies (which are an indicator of aito-immune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s), and lower the risk of post-partum thyroiditis.

ZINC: Is a co-factor in the conversion of T4 to T3 active thyroid hormone. Zinc is also required for the pituitary to produce Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), which communicates to the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones.

MAGNESIUM: We need magnesium for the uptake of iodine, and also conversion of T4 to T3 hormone. Studies show that magnesium supplementation can reduce anti-thyroid antibodies, and normalise TSH levels.

MOLYBDENUM: Thyroid epithelial cells (thyrocytes) contain molybdenum-dependant enzymes. These cells are responsible for production and secretion of thyroid hormones.

MANGANESE: Manganese helps to protect the thyroid gland via the antioxidant activity of Manganese-Superoxide Dismutase, and is required to transport thyroid hormones into the cells.

BORON: The highest concentration of boron is found in the parathyroid glands (two tiny glands, about the size of a grain of rice, embedded in the thyroid) where it helps to regulate calcium and magnesium. However, Boron seems to also play a role in conversion of T4 to T3, and some studies seem to show it increases T3 secretion (but massive doses has the opposite effect).

COPPER: Is required to make the amino acid tyrosine, which is a precursor to thyroid hormones, where it is bound covalently with iodine.

Everything works together 🙂

My favourite ways to ensure optimal mineral intake are:

Fulvic Acid. I love Natural Edge Fulvic as it is 21% humic acid and 32% fulvic acid. Some products on the market contain less than 5% humic and fulvic acids. If in doubt, ask to see the company’s LAMAR test results. If you buy Natural Edge Fulvic, use code ‘radical’ at checkout to get 33% off the 3 and 6mth supply packages. (So the 3mth supply will reduce from $149 to $99 AUD (shipping included within Australia), while the 6mth supply pack will reduce from $299 to $199 AUD.

Beef Liver. Natural’s original superfood and multi-mineral. Try Ancestral Nutrition organ superfoods.

Oysters: World’s highest known food source of zinc, but also contains many other trace elements and vitamins. Try NXGEN Wholefoods for pure oyster extract capsules, if not a fan of the taste. These can be easily split open and added to milkshakes or smoothies for children, too, who really need optimal levels of zinc (so long as no shellfish allergies).

Beef Liver: Better Than Botox

Botox (otherwise known as botulism toxin) is one of the most toxic substances known to man – a million times more toxic than a cobra bite.

The commercial products used today came about from experiments at Fort Detrick, in the quest to weaponise botulism toxin during World War 2.

The reason it ‘works’ on wrinkles is because it causes flaccid paralysis of the muscles underneath the skin, relaxing frown lines.

Or (heres a novel thought), you could deal with the underlying pressures that are causing you to tense up, and frown often?

Or (another novel thought) you could address the underlying deficiencies causing your skin to lose elasticity and plumpness?

One of the major causes of sagging, wrinkling skin is lack of bioavailable copper – either because of frank deficiency, or because the copper is not being used (due to lack of synergistic nutrients).

In the case of the latter, the person will have signs of both copper deficiency (sagging skin, fatigue, varicose veins/haemorrhoids etc) AND signs of copper toxicity (adrenal issues, racing mind, unable to sleep properly). This is because what copper is present, is unbound and wreaking havoc, meanwhile the person lacks bioavailable copper in the form of ceruloplasmin, which has massive implications for iron transport and energy production.

The good news is that the humble beef liver is the world’s highest known food source of copper.

But more than that, beef liver is also the world’s highest known food source of Vitamin A (retinol), which we need to make the copper bioavailable. (Only cod liver oil is higher in retinol, but I would consider it a supplement, more than a ‘food’ per se)

And we need zinc to utilise the retinol….everything works together! Beef liver is not the highest known source of zinc (oysters take that prize), but beef liver does still contain some zinc (approx. 4.5mg per 100g).

For many of us that have not grown up eating organ meats, the taste of liver can be overpowering. I prefer to ‘hide’ it in ground beef dishes. I buy the liver fresh, process in a food processor, than freeze in an ice-cube tray. They can be easily lifted out with a knife and added to beef dishes.

Or a convenient (albeit more expensive) alternative is to take in capsule form. I love Ancestral Nutrition products – they are a small Australian business selling 100% grassfed organ superfood supplements (check out the Primal Energy Women supplement). Use code ‘RADICAL’ for 10% off at checkout.

Nourishing yourself beats poisoning yourself! Always.

PS. Accepting that we are all growing older and finding joy in that journey is also a beautiful thing.

Mineral Deficiencies = Heavy Metal Toxicity

If our body doesn’t get the essential minerals it requires from diet, it starts to compensate by absorbing less preferable elements that have similar properties, such as metals. Our bodies do this to ensure vital processes continue, even though this very act of short-term survival compromises long-term health.

If our diet is deficient in iodine, our thyroid gland will latch onto fluorine, chlorine or bromine instead – even though these elements will eventually suppress thyroid function.

If our diet is deficient in calcium, then lead will accumulate in our bones, because lead can substitute *some* functions of calcium – though it leads to brittle bones. The same applies to strontium.

If someone has low adrenal function, their body will absorb cadmium – because cadmium raises sodium levels, which is required to keep the adrenals functioning, and avoid complete burnout. It’s certainly not ideal, but it keeps a person alive in the short-term.

Cadmium, mercury and nickel can displace zinc.

Silver and gold displace copper.

Excess iron displaces chromium – this is why iron overload results in dysfunction of glucose metabolism, diabetes and insulin resistance.

Aluminium displaces boron, and can accumulate in the bones instead of boron. It is possible that some of the health issues found commonly in post-menopausal women may be the result of heavy metals (lead, aluminium, etc) being released due to the fast turnover of bone cells, in the absence of sufficient estrogen.

Arsenic displaces phosphorus.

Mercury displaces selenium.

Tungsten displaces molybdenum.

Berillium displaces magnesium.

According to Dr. Paul Eck: “Heavy metals serve as a back-up system. When the primary nutritional minerals are insufficient to protect the person, Nature uses substitutes”.

On the other hand, if we have adequate intake of essential, preferred minerals in the diet, they compete and displace heavy metals, so they are rapidly excreted from the body. The extent that heavy metals cause toxicity, is the extent that we are deficient in essential minerals.