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A guideline to supplements

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I know that everyone would very much prefer to have a simple list of what to take and then just go pick up the bottle that will give you what you need, take a pill every morning and be done with it. 

Unfortunately, to get the best results, it's not quite that simple.

What I'd like to share with you here is what I've learned, and applied, to my own supplement program and allow you to use it as a guideline for your own program.

First, the RDA guidelines for vitamin and mineral supplements 

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Vitamin A 5000 I.U.   Calcium 3240 mg
Vitamin C 60 mg Iron 18 mg
Vitamin D 400 I.U. Phosphorus 1000 mg
Vitamin E 60 30 I.U. Iodine 150 mcg
Vitamin K 80 mcg Magnesium 400 mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 1.5 mg Zinc 15 15 mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 1.7 mg Selenium 70 mcg
Niacin 20 mg Copper 2 mg
Vitamin B6 2 mg Manganese 2 mg
Folic Acid 400 mcg Chromium 120 mcg
Vitamin B12 6 mcg Molybdenum 75 mcg
Biotin 60 300 mcg Chloride 3600 mg
Pantothenic Acid 10 mg   Potassium 4000 mg

 So, this is our point of reference in determining what we should be taking. There are four of items that need to be considered separately.

Two items should not be taken, as supplements, in the full RDA amount. We get both from food and both are harmful to us if taken in excess:

1) Potassium is usually included in supplements at about the 2% mark
2) Calcium is obtained in a lot of the foods that we eat, and, if needed, can be taken as a separate tablet or capsule.

Another thing to keep in mind has to do with the particulars of supplements/nutrients which are needed for thyroid care, which we'll be getting into on this page. These two nutrients, selenium and iron.

There is one more that needs to be mentioned. Iodine. There seems to be a great push to add excessive amounts of iodine to the system in the mistaken belief that this will somehow cure a thyroid disorder. While the addition of iodine is beneficial to a person suffering from iodine deficiency goiter.. the addition of iodine supplements, and even the minor amount found in multi-vitamin supplements or foods such as kelp, can actually be quite harmful, especially those individuals dealing with Hashi's or ThyCa.

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Basic principles in proper vitamin and mineral dosing

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There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind when setting up a supplement program for your better health.

1) water soluble vitamins are readily absorbed but still easily flushed from the body (via urine and sweat) and, depending on how they are taken, can easily be at levels that are insufficient to provide benefit to your body.

2) oil based vitamins are readily absorbed and stored within the body and can, potentially, build to toxic levels.

3) MOST vitamins and minerals are best taken with food, after a meal, with water. This allows the nutrients in the tablet/capsule to combine, chemically, with the nutrients and amino acids in your meal to allow the body to utilize them ALL more efficiently. Taking vitamins and minerals on an empty stomach has about the same benefit to your body as simply flushing the pill down the toilet and not bothering with swallowing it in the first place.

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Vitamin/Mineral Supplements, their best use for those undergoing thyroid treatment

I'd like to make sure, first, that you understand who I am. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist or anyone of any vast medical knowledge. I'm an individual that has been dealing with the lack of having a thyroid for 17 years (destroyed by RAI) and have picked up information along the way that I've applied to myself. I have a body that is hypersensitive to change and is usually pretty good at telling me when I've messed something up. Taking what I've learned over the years, and my personal observations, I've come up with the following.

You are more than welcome to use it as a guide to setting up your own vitamin/supplement regime.

How a hypo body works
(this includes anyone that has TSH levels that are above 2.0 and/or Free T4 or Free T3 levels that are too low within their ranges as well as those that have suffered from long term hypo and are experiencing continued symptoms including poor digestion, inability to maintain a healthy weight, and many of the other symptoms on the list for hypo symptoms)

A body that is dealing with insufficient levels of thyroid hormone is a body that is dealing with some pretty severe and debilitating challenges. Once you understand how you can help your body with those challenges you are another step closer to better health...

... and life.

You may have noticed, depending on the level of your thyroid hormones and the degree of 'hypo' that you are dealing with, that you fatigue more quickly than before, than the people around you. Many of the processes in our bodies are quickly fatigued as well. And when it's not able to complete the job, it simply has to take a break, stop. The specific process I'd like to talk about right now is digestion.

Digestion involves several things, the breakdown of food for energy and for nutrients. If our body does not have the stamina and endurance to do either of these tasks adequately, efficiently, we end up dealing with both weight issues and nutritional deficiencies. But there are two ridiculously simple adjustments that I've made to my lifestyle which have helped with both of those things. Perhaps they may work for you as well.

First. We're used to eating 'three squares a day'. Many of us, as weight issues become more of a problem, try to skip meals, reduce portions and drastically reduce caloric intake to reduce weight gain, and hope of all hopes, lose weight.

The problem is that doing that adds to the stress that our bodies are already dealing with. I won't go into all the intricacies of metabolism and how it's affected by our eating habits and thyroid hormone levels, I've done that on my Mini Meals page. But I would like to stress that every hour that your body has to struggle to keep you going without the energy and nutrition it needs to run at it's best is negating all the positive things that you are trying to do to regain your health and life.

What I found, that helped me tremendously was switching from the 'standard' way of eating and switching to mini-meals AND combining that with taking part of my vitamins with EACH meal. I accomplish that by buying my vitamins in a caplet form and splitting them into 8 pieces.

There is no hard and fast rules with this... remember that. You need to determine the best way for YOU to take your vitamins and supplements so that you don't forget. The only sure rule is that they need to be taken with meal to get the best from them.

Topper (Linda)
aka ThyroGeek

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