Thyroid and Iron Relationship

Iron is an element essential for many vital functions in the body, such as formation of hemoglobin, and thus red blood cells that are required for almost all cells and processes to work properly.

There are 2 forms of iron, including heme and non-heme iron.

The relationship between iron and thyroid is interchangeable, which means that both of them can affect the other.

Generally, the lower thyroid hormones are produced, the lower iron is absorbed, and vice versa.

How can iron levels affect thyroid gland functions?

  • Preliminarily, iron deficiency causes anemia, whose symptoms are kind of similar to those of hypothyroid, such as easily feeling fatigue, a general complaint of weakness, achiness, palpitations, hair loss, a noticeable fast heartrate, and being likely to losing sex drive.
  • In order to form both hormones of the thyroid, including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), an enzyme named thyroid peroxidase needs to bind to a certain component of hemoglobin, which is known as heme I. Iron deficiency can result in decreasing the levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), as a consequence of iron effects on hemoglobin formation.
  • In an experiment conducted in rats, iron deficiency decreased both the active form of thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine (T3)), as well as deiodinase enzyme. [1]
  • Iron deficiency also inhibits the first 2 steps of thyroid-hormones synthesis through lowering the activities of thyroid peroxidase enzyme, as mentioned above. [2]
  • According to a study of 431 adolescent girls, 103 of them are iron deficient underwent different tests that assessed “the levels of thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), free thyroid hormones (fT4 and fT3), iodine, ferritin, iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine resin uptake (T3RU), reverse triiodothyronine (rT3), selenium and albumin concentrations.” It was concluded that iron deficiency is likely to affect the status of thyroid hormones in the body. [3]

How can the thyroid affect iron levels?

Through different mechanisms, thyroid is likely to affect iron levels in the blood, as follows:

  • Firstly, in contrast with the second point mentioned above, hypothyroidism can also negatively affect a certain process in the liver known as heme oxidation. That in turn results in iron deficiency.
  • Low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) decreases the production of gastric juice, which in turn results in decreasing the absorption rate of iron and other nutrients from the stomach. According to a study conducted in 2000, the levels of 3 substances, including pentagastrin stimulated-acid, histamine and carbachol, were lowered in hypothyroid rats; while that was reversed in hyperthyroid rats. That led to concluding that thyroid hormones likely exert their effects on the stomach through changing the size or number of the cells responsible for gastric-acid secretion. [4]
  • According to Antonijević N., et al. (1999), pernicious anemia is much likely to occur in patients with hypothyroidism, equating to 20 times more than in those with normal thyroid. Additionally, macrocytic anemia was found in 55% of patients with hypothyroidism. [5]

How much iron should people take?

Iron should be taken on daily basis, and cautiously. The Food and Nutrition Board established 2 types of values in order to help people avoid the harmful effects and disorders that are likely to occur in cases of both iron deficiency and excessive iron intake [6].

Recommended Dietary Allowances of iron

  • Both male and female infants aged 0-6 months are recommended to take 0.27mg iron/day; while those ranging from 7 to 12 months are recommended to take more iron up to 11mg/day.
  • The Children ranging from 1 to 3 years are recommended to take 7mg iron/day; while those aged 4 to 8 years should take 10mg iron daily.
  • The children aged 9-13 years should get 8 mg iron daily, and so should the adults ranging who are 51 years or older.
  • The male children ranging from 14 to 18 years are recommended to take 11mg of iron daily; while the females are recommended to take up to 15 mg of iron per day.
  • The male adults ranging from 19-50 years are recommended to take 8 mg of iron/day; while females are recommended to take up to 18 mg daily.
  • The pregnant women aged 14-50 years should consume 14mg of iron daily; while that amount in breast feeding women, as follows: The breast-feeding women who range from 14 to 18 years should only consume 10mg of iron daily; and not more than 9 mg daily for those aged 19-50 years.

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels of iron

The Tolerable Upper Intake Levels show the maximum amount of calcium that can be safely administered daily, as follows [9]:

  • Since birth and up to 13 years, the daily intake of iron shouldn’t exceed 40 mg.
  • Both pregnant and breast-feeding women who range from 14 to 50 years are allowed to consume up to 45mg of iron daily.

The best sources of iron

In order to get sufficient amounts of iron, 2 point basically should be taken into consideration, including:

  • Certain substances and foods can enhance the absorption of iron as well as its bioavailability in blood, such as ascorbic acid, meat, poultry and seafood.
  • On the other side, other substances are likely to inhibit iron absorption and its bioavailability in blood, including calcium, phytates and polyphenols. Grains and beans are examples of phytates-containing foods; while cereals, legume and spinach are examples of the foods containing polyphenols.

Therefore, it is advised to consume a diet composed of much variant foods, so that you can maintain a balanced level of iron, overcoming the effect of both inhibitory and stimulatory substances.

According to the National Institute of Health, the foods listed below should be considered so as to get sufficient amounts of iron [7].

  • Lean meat and seafood are the highest foods containing heme iron.
  • On the other side, nuts, beans, vegetables, and fortified grain products are the richest sources of non-heme iron.
  • bread, cereal
  • In terms of babies less than 2 months, breast milk is a good source of iron.
  • The majority of infant formulas contain around 12mg of iron.

Along with foods, baby formulas, it’d be beneficial to consider iron-containing-dietary supplements so as ensure getting adequate amounts daily, especially for people who are much likely to iron deficiency, including  the 9 groups shown below:

  • People with cancer
  • Frequent blood donors
  • People with heart failure
  • Infants and young children
  • Women with heavy menstrual bleeding
  • People who underwent a gastrointestinal surgery
  • Pregnant women

During pregnancy, there is an increasing demand of blood that passes placenta to the fetus. Therefore, more iron is required to form hemoglobin. Low iron levels make pregnant women prone to die, in addition to making the fetus prone to both premature birth and low birthweight.

  • People who don’t eat variant foods, especially the elderly and the busy people who are much likely to not pay attention to what they eat/or how much iron they get from each meal.
  • People who are struggling with issues that can negatively affect the absorption rate of iron from the gut, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.


[1] Beard J., et al. Evidence for thyroid hormone deficiency in iron-deficient anemic rats. J Nutr. 1989 May;119(5):772-8.

[2] Hess SY., et al. Iron deficiency anemia reduces thyroid peroxidase activity in rats. J Nutr. 2002 Jul;132(7):1951-5.

[3] Eftekhari MH., et al. The relationship between iron status and thyroid hormone concentration in iron-deficient adolescent Iranian girls. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(1):50-5.

[4] Rafsanjani FN., et al. Effects of thyroid hormones on basal and stimulated gastric acid secretion due to histamine, carbachol and pentagastrin in rats. Saudi Med J. 2003 Apr;24(4):341-6.

[5]Antonijević ., et al. [Anemia in hypothyroidism]. Med Pregl. 1999 Mar-May;52(3-5):136-40.

[6] Food and Nutrition Board. DRI Tables and Application Reports. United States Department of Agriculture. National Agricultural Library

[7] Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institute of Health. Updated: February 11, 2016.

Calcium Effects for Thyroid Health

food containing calcium

While most of us are aware that we need calcium for our teeth and bones, many do not understand the important role which calcium plays in our health, outside of our bones. While it’s true that around 99% of our body’s calcium is stored in our bones, there is 1% which resides in our bloodstream.

What Role Does Calcium Play in Our Bodies?

This calcium plays a role in helping all of our muscles, including our hearts, to contract properly. If you have a calcium deficiency in your diet, your body will draw calcium from your bones in order to keep the muscles working.

This is why if your diet lacks enough calcium, you can become at risk of developing osteoporosis or brittle bone disease. Your body will take the calcium from your bones to keep your heart and other muscles working, meaning your bones are then at risk of becoming porous and fragile.

Calcium also has a really important role to play in blood clotting because it activated particular enzymes in the body. Without these enzymes our blood wouldn’t clot properly when we suffer an injury. If you have a calcium deficiency it can have an impact on blood clotting effectiveness.

What About Thyroid Health?

The thyroid plays an important role in the regulation of the levels of calcium in the blood. The thyroid gland releases a hormone called calcitonin, which carries out this balancing role on the levels of calcium in the blood.

If there is an increase of calcium levels, the thyroid releases calcitonin to help lower the levels back down again.

Certain thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism, are treated with synthetic hormones, which can restrict the amount of calcium your body can absorb, putting you back at risk of osteoporosis and brittle bones, but it’s not straight forward to counteract this because calcium supplements can actually counteract the hormone treatment and make it ineffective for treating the thyroid condition.

Are Calcium Supplements Bad If You Have Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland is not working effectively and is not producing sufficient levels of hormones. These hormones keep your metabolism in check so one symptom of this condition is weight gain.

If you are taking hormone treatment for hypothyroidism, it’s possible this will impact on the amount of calcium your body is receiving. This is because hypothyroidism means you’re your thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones to allow your body to function as it should.

Taking calcium will not impact on the condition in terms of aggravating it, or helping it, however, you should talk to your doctor first in case of any adverse reactions. The hypothyroid medication which you are taking might make it impossible for your body to absorb the normal amount of calcium so you need to be aware of this.

So How Do I Avoid Calcium Deficiency with Hypothyroidism?

People with hypothyroidism are at a higher risk of osteoporosis – also known as brittle bone disease. This is because the medication used to treat hypothyroidism contains thyroid hormones and these can cause your bones to become brittle. The condition itself can also impact on bones.

You need to speak to your doctor as soon as you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism as they are likely to prescribe you with the hormone treatment to get your metabolism back to normal. This will help you to lose any extra weight you put on due to the condition and should help to regulate your body again.

It may be tempting to take calcium supplements to combat the bone issues caused by the medication but you must only do so with your doctor’s advice, because taking calcium supplements can actually prevent your body absorbing the synthetic hormones, making the hormone medication useless.

Always talk to your doctor but the general advice is to take the calcium supplements at least four hours after you take your hormone treatment. The longer the time gap you can leave between taking the medication and taking the calcium supplements, the better it is for you.

That way the treatment will be effective, bringing your thyroid back into balance and you will also gain from the calcium supplement, to try to ward off any potential brittle bone side effects from the medication, which is what you need.

How Do I Get Calcium into My Body?

If you are concerned that you are not getting enough calcium into your body, and you have checked with your doctor regarding any potential impact on current thyroid treatments and medications you are taking, then there are two ways to make sure your body is getting enough calcium.

The first way is by ensuring you have a calcium-rich diet, with foods such as tofu and yogurt and many other dairy products. This is the simplest way to keep up your calcium levels, but if you are suffering from a really severe deficiency of calcium, it might not be enough.

The second option is by taking calcium supplements but these vary and should be taken under medical advice if you have any kind of thyroid condition. However, if you are suffering from a calcium deficiency and are at risk from brittle bone disease then supplements will be more effective for you than diet alone.

Which Foods Contain Calcium?

The key foods which contain calcium are dairy products including cheese, milk and yogurt so try to incorporate plenty of these into your diet, while watching the fat content.

However, if you are allergic to dairy, then you can try other sources, including green leafy plants such as spinach, kale and broccoli. Almonds can provide a really good source of calcium for your daily diet, as do salmon and sardines. If you can incorporate a calcium-rich element into every meal you should improve your calcium levels.

What About Calcium Supplements?

If you are deficient in calcium you will probably need to take a supplement to top up your levels rather than just use diet as they provide a richer and more reliable source which you can ensure you take regularly, every day.

There are several different types of calcium supplements including calcium acetate, which has a really good absorption rate but can be rather costly. It is important not to choose the cheapest but to look for good quality and good absorption when choosing calcium.

There are also other choices which may be cheaper, including calcium lactate, calcium gluconate and calcium citrate – just ask your doctor or pharmacist to advise you if you are unsure.

It’s important not to go for the cheapest option as the quality will vary, but your doctor or local health food shop, or local pharmacy should certainly be able to point you towards the best calcium supplement to suit your particular requirements.

As we mentioned earlier, be careful taking calcium supplements if you are taking thyroid hormones for a thyroid condition because it can interfere with the effectiveness of the medication. Always talk to your doctor in this case and remember not to take the supplement too close in time to the medication.

You can see that calcium is not just important for bone and teeth health, but performs many other functions in our body including supporting our muscles to contract properly, so a calcium deficiency can cause many problems.

Eat a diet rich in calcium-filled foods and if you do suffer from a thyroid problem, such as hypothyroidism, be aware that it can really impact on your body’s calcium levels and put you at much greater risk of suffering from osteoporosis.

It is entirely possible to take a calcium supplement while taking thyroid medication, to help prevent the onset of brittle bone disease, but it should only be done under doctor’s advice, to avoid conflicting with the hormone medication.

Calcium and thyroid health are intrinsically linked together and it’s about maintaining the body’s balance of hormones and calcium levels in perfect harmony, so that you end up with healthy bones, a healthy weight and a healthy body and mind overall.

Bacopa and Thyroid Benefits

This era of modernization and westernization, has ornamented our every problem and query with a precise and subtle solution. Narrowing our talk to the fields of medical and health sciences, we can easily tell the leaps and bounds of success that allopathic medicine has evolved with. It has swept away almost every sphere of pharmacy with its magnificence. But, what gives Ayurveda, the oldest Indian healing technique an edge above the allopathic medicine and treatment? What has made people a tad more inclined towards this natural healing methodology? According to the 1970-WHO report Ayurveda is known to cure a broad spectrum of osteopathy disorders without significant side effects. The fact that allopathic treatment brings with itself a great deal of side effects is consistently making it the lesser preferred of the two options. Moreover Ayurveda is all natural and is beneficial for all age groups whereas allopathic treatment is highly age and gender dependent. Now most of our talk is going to revolve around an emerging ayurvedic drug which is often referred to as waterhyssop or Brahmi, and scientifically coined as Bacopa. It has wide applications in an efficient working of the human body, one among which is curing various Thyroid Disorders.

What is Bacopa?

Bacopa is a broad family of symmetrical, erectile stems with whitish flowers consisting mostly of 5 petals and leaves. The most important species and the one that interests us a great deal is Bacopa Monnieri, which has been in use in Ayurvedic industry for a long time now. It grows mostly in the tropical and the subtropical regions of the world, one of which is The Americas. It has a really wide range of benefits and applications. It positively affects the working of the Central Nervous system and helps recover memory and reduce anxiety. It is known to cure many thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism which will be discussed in detail in the further text. It is used all over the world with different names some of which are Brahmi, Aindri, Lysimachia monnieri L. Cent., Graticola monnieri L.Herpestis monniera L. Kunth., Water hyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola, Indian Pennywort, Jalabrahmi. Its affects are exponentially amplified when taken along with Ashwagandha (another Ayurvedic drug), Milk, green tea and Dietary fatty acids.

Know your Thyroid Gland

Thyroid gland is one of the smallest glands located in front of the neck, made of two lobes along the trachea or the windpipe and joined by a thyroid tissue called the Isthmus. The very basic function of the thyroid gland it take up Iodine from our food and then convert it into the two Thyroid hormones called the Thyroxine (T3) and Triiodothyronine (T4). Most of the body cells depend upon the thyroid gland for efficient metabolism and functioning. The ratio of the production of T3 and T4 is 2:8 whereas the strength ratio is the opposite. The Thyroid gland is tutored by the Pituitary gland, present right below the brain. The pituitary gland acknowledges the less or more levels of T3 and T4 hormones and stimulates the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) to increase or decrease the production of the T3 and T4 hormones respectively. So suppose the T3 level in the blood is less, it signals the TSH to produce more T3 and thereby regulates the balance of hormones in the body or the thyroid gland in this case. The interesting part is that the Pituitary is itself regulated by another master gland known as the Hypothalamus which regulates the formation of TRH (TSH releasing Hormone). It senses the need of TSH in the bloodstream and acts accordingly.

Various Thyroid Disorders

Hypothyroidism is the most prevalent thyroid disorder which as the name suggests is the low activity of the thyroid gland or the Low concentration of the T3, T4 hormones. According to EndocrineWeb, 10 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism and don’t even know about it. The main causes are the inflammation of the thyroid gland which weakens or renders the thyroid cells completely inactive thereby leading to the low thyroid hormone levels. This condition stimulates the Pituitary to produce more and more TSH which further leads to accumulation of this hormone in the gland leading to another disorder called Goiter. It is characterized by swelling of the neck region. This condition also paces down the complete metabolism of the body because the thyroid gland is largely responsible for the regulation of body metabolism.

Another grave thyroid disorder is called Hyperthyroidism which is completely opposite to Hypothyroidism. It is characterized by hyperactive thyroid gland and over secretion of the thyroid hormones. It paces up the body metabolism and leads to restlessness. It could be due to the Overconsumption of Iodine along with the Food products. Hypothyroidism can be greatly tackled with the help of our showstopper, Bacopa monnieri. Let’s find out how.

Benefits of Bacopa for Thyroid Disorders

  • Initially the experiments for finding out the uses of Bacopa for thyroid disorders were conducted on male mice were done by a group of individuals from a Thyroid research Unit. Samples of Bacopa monnieri, Aloe Vera and Aegle Marmelos were taken. The results suggested that Bacopa significantly increased the T4 level in the blood while the other two increased the T3 level in the bloodstream. The concluding fact is that Bacopa regulates the T4 level in the thyroid and can be used to treat Hypothyroidism. People suffering from it have a low concentration of thyroid hormones and must be medicated such as to increase those concentrations as TSH fails to play its part due to inflammation. Therefore Bacopa dosage of 200mg/kg leaf extract is recommended for treating Hypothyroidism. It increases the T4 level by 41% and solves most of the Problem.
  • Another thyroid disorder that it helps treating is Goiter. The main cause of the Goiter as explained earlier is the accumulation of TSH in the thyroid gland which was produced to regulate the T4 level in the thyroid, but could not. So a dosage of 200mg/kg leaf extract of Bacopa coupled with 150mg/kg of Aloe Vera helps counter Goiter. This dosage increases T4 secretion which relaxes the production and thereby the accumulation of TSH. This cures Goiter and is being replaced by the various allopathic and homeopathy treatments as it is natural, cheap, and herbal.
  • The same dosage coupled with 1000mg/kg of Aegle Marmelos, for 15 days significantly decreases the T3 level in the thyroid gland and can be used by people with severe hyperthyroidism conditions. It brings the Thyroid hormone level down by a staggering 62%  and balances the concentrations of thyroid hormones and thereby preventing this grave hyperactivity disorder.

Bacopa has helped counter many thyroid disorders and contains benefits for thyroid hormone production. No doubt they can be treated and cured with allopathic treatments and homeopathy medication but both of them come along with a long list of side effects. Sheer weight gain and loss, acne, intervention by liver and kidney problems and so many more. Moreover they come with innumerable restriction factors like age, gender and timings. Ayurvedic Bacopa is an evolving treatment for the Thyroid disorders and is Promising. Not only because it is natural, cheap, and herbal but because of the fact that it is really fast and effective.  The only significant disadvantage of Bacopa encountered till now has been its adverse taste. But how do you plan to gain without a minimal amount of Pain? You can’t. Ha-ha.

The normal dosage as available in the packed containers is a 300mg tablet. Plus it is widely available on some of the world’s top grossing online markets such as amazon, E-bay and flip-kart and can be therefore conveniently easily bought with some clicks on your Mobile screen.