Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a recommendation or medical advice. I’m simply sharing my experience and strategies that have helped reduce my symptoms in hopes this will help you find what works for you. If you are looking to make changes (especially nutrition or supplementation specific) then please work with medical practitioner in integrative medicine. If you are in the Chicagoland area and looking to work with a registered dietitian,
please contact me.
I have been considering writing this series for some time and although it's taken me a while to get here I'm excited to finally share my experience managing my health in a 4 part series. I hope you will join me along the way!
If you've been reading my blog or gotten to know me through my bio you may already know I have an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. If not, you can learn more about hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's here.
Today I'm discussing my experience adding supplements as part of my routine, and the benefits of doing so. When considering supplementation for chronic disease management it can helpful to undergo lab testing to really understand your current levels and then asses the body’s needs. In my case, routine labs over the last several years showed my Vitamin D levels to be quite low, but when regularly supplementing with the right dose of Vitamin D, my levels improve drastically.
Remember, supplements are meant to supplement other areas of disease management, like eating health supportive foods and exercising.
Considering Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition it can be helpful to support the body's immune system and ease inflammation with supplements, which is the approach I've taken. In addition to my own individual approach, research demonstrates there are a few supplements that can support individuals with autoimmune conditions.
There are three core supplements I currently take everyday - Vitamin D, Omega 3 fatty acids (in the form of Fish Oil), and Probiotics. I've pulled together research and information that supports why these supplements can be beneficial for those with Hashimoto's and autoimmune conditions.
Vitamin D plays a role in immune health. Because of Vitamin D’s ability to change the body’s immune response, it’s believed the nutrient can positively impact autoimmune diseases. A study found low levels of Vitamin D3 are associated with autoimmune thyroid disease (like Hashimoto’s) in women. Considering an estimated 75% of the population are Vitamin D deficient, supplementation may be necessary.
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 decrease inflammation in the body, which may be beneficial for autoimmune conditions. In general Americans don't consume enough omega-3 fats through food so supplementation is good way to replenish the body stores. Fish oil is my preferred source of omega 3 supplementation.
Probiotics are the "good" bacteria living in the digestive tract that help make up the body's immune system. Probiotics or “good” bacteria should flourish in the digestive tract, however antibiotics, poor nutrition, and stress can kill off the good guys. Poor digestive health is believed to be linked to autoimmune conditions so a healthy gut imperative in managing autoimmunity.
When selecting a probiotic look for a high CFU (colony forming units) count, which are the amount of live cells capable of forming new colonies. Generally, 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 are not always best. Here are a few supplement brands I use, recommend, and trust.
Bottom line: Supplements may be helpful in supporting the body's ability to manage Hashimoto’s.
Look out for the next post in this series - 4 Strategies I Use to Manage Hashimoto's: Part 2 - I Quit the Gym (and joined a yoga studio).