Table of Contents
- 1 This Is Why You Should Take Vitamin E Supplements To Support Your Thyroid
- 2 What You Should Know About Your Thyroid Gland
- 3 An Overview Of Vitamin E
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 References
This Is Why You Should Take Vitamin E Supplements To Support Your Thyroid
The Thyroid, a gland that has a shape often said to represent a butterfly, sits in front of the windpipe in the throat. This gland is an essential part of the endocrine system and releases two particular hormones that have a function to serve in various parts of the human body.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are two common conditions that affect the Thyroid gland and causes a deficiency or excess of Thyroid hormones in the body.
Understanding the functioning of the Thyroid gland and the importance of the hormones secreted by the gland is essential in better addressing particular diseases, disorders, and deficiencies that may affect the Thyroid gland’s ability to produce an adequate amount of hormones.
Synthetic Thyroid hormones are among the most common treatments provided when the Thyroid produces too little hormones, while the antithyroid medication is often provided when the Thyroid gland is overactive.
In addition to these treatment options, obtaining the right vitamins and minerals are also considered necessary. In this guide, we’ll take a look at vitamin E specifically, and discuss whether increasing your intake of this vitamin can help to promote a healthier Thyroid.
What You Should Know About Your Thyroid Gland
The Thyroid gland is an important part of the human body. The gland produces and secretes two hormones, including Thyroxine, considered a prohormone, and Triiodothyronine considered the active hormone of the Thyroid gland.
There is a connection between Thyroid gland malfunction and many diseases and disorders, including obesity, some forms of cancer, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, cognitive decline and certain mental problems1.
The function of the Thyroid starts within the brain – the pituitary gland, to be more specific. The pituitary gland produces a hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, or TSH, in response to the level of Thyroid hormones detected in the blood circulatory system.
When levels of Thyroid hormones are low, the pituitary gland produces more TSH. If levels of Thyroid hormones are high, then the production of TSH is reduced.
The TSH produced by the pituitary gland is sent to the Thyroid gland, which then generates and secretes Thyroxine in response to the TSH. The Thyroxine is then activated and converted to Triiodothyronine, which is the more powerful of the two hormones considered to be Thyroid hormones.
An Overview Of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known as one of the most potent antioxidant nutrients in existence and contributes to many vitally important functions in the body.
Unlike some nutrients, such as vitamin K and vitamin D, the body is not able to produce vitamin E on its own; thus dietary sources and supplementation is the only way to provide the body with this vitally important nutrient.
One of the primary roles that vitamin E plays in the human body is the provision of protection against oxidation stress, which is linked to many health ailments, ranging from cancer to arthritis and more2.
The term vitamin E does not refer to one particular substance but instead refers to a collective group of fat-soluble substances.
These substances can be divided into two major categories, including tocotrienols and tocopherols3. Each of four groups of different forms of the vitamin, including:
The majority of these substances found in natural sources usually consist of the alpha and the gamma varieties, with alpha-tocopherols forming the most significant part of these substances.
Alpha-tocopherols are also absorbed faster than the other substances that form part of the vitamin E term, mostly because the substance is bound to alpha-tocopherol transfer proteins.
In addition to binding to these proteins, alpha-tocopherols are known to also attach to other sites of the body, including those where the production of free radicals is significant.
Some of the benefits that the right vitamin E supplements can contribute to in the human body include4:
- Healthier cholesterol levels.
- Slower biological aging.
- Reduced risk of heart disease and many other diseases.
- Improvements in damaged skin.
- Wounds heal faster.
- Improvements in the overall hormonal balance in the body.
- Improvements in PMS symptoms among the female population.
- Improvements in vision, and a reduced risk of developing macular degeneration.
- Reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Enhanced muscle strength and physical performance.
Vitamin E And Your Thyroid Gland
The protection that vitamin E provides against oxidative stress and free radical damage are primary benefits that should be considered when discussing the relationship between this vitamin and the Thyroid gland.
Many conditions can have an adverse effect on how well the Thyroid functions – impairing its ability to produce enough hormones or, on the other hand, causing the gland to create too many hormones.
One review paper5 describes that recent studies found a connection between Thyroid gland disorders and a reduced level of antioxidant activity in the body, including a reduction in Coenzyme Q10 plasma count.
Thus, it becomes evident that, since vitamin E is considered to be one of the most potent antioxidants, the supplementation of this vitamin would be vitally necessary for the protection against free radical damage and oxidative stress – not only in the Thyroid but also throughout the body.
Additionally, we should also note that one particular study explains how oxidative stress has a direct impact on Thyroid function.
They found a strong adverse connection between an increase in oxidative stress applied to the Thyroid gland and the production of T3 and T4 hormones. In most cases, an increased count of T3 and T4 levels were observed, while levels of TSH were significantly reduced6.
This also led to the conclusion that testing for T3, T4, and TSH levels could provide an indication of current oxidative stress being placed upon the Thyroid gland.
Another important reason why an adequate supply of vitamin E needs to be consumed daily for optimal Thyroid health is the fact that this vitamin plays a part in Thyroid hormone conversion.
It has been found that vitamin E, along with a mineral is known as selenium, play a crucial role in the Thyroid gland’s ability to have T4 hormones converted into T3 hormones7.
Signs That You May Have A Vitamin E Deficiency
Certain side-effects have been associated with the excessive intake of vitamin E, such as diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and muscle weakness8. A risk of bleeding has also been associated with an intake of more than 1000mg vitamin E supplements on a daily basis, especially over an extended period of time.
On the other hand, when vitamin E supplementation from the dietary intake is insufficient, symptoms of vitamin E deficiency may also start to develop.
It is essential to know about these symptoms and to start increasing your intake of this essential vitamin in order to improve antioxidant activity in your body, as well as to promote a healthier Thyroid function.
Up to 90% of American adults do not consume enough vitamin E daily9. When vitamin E levels in the body are insufficient, you are at a higher risk of suffering from a weak immune system. Your risk of developing heart disease and cognitive deterioration also greatly increases.
Symptoms that may signal an insufficient intake of vitamin E in your daily diet may include:
- Vision problems, which may include visual field constrictions and abnormal movements of the eyes.
- Dementia-related symptoms.
- A reduction in your muscle mass.
- Overall muscle weakness.
- Kidney problems.
- Liver problems.
Apart from these symptoms, some people also tend to suffer from chronic diarrhea when the levels of vitamin E in their blood becomes too low, and their stools may also become greasy.
How Much Vitamin E You Need
Since some problems may occur with too much vitamin E supplementation, it is essential to know how much of this vitamin your body needs daily.
Healthy men and women are advised to consume a minimum of 15mg vitamin E on a daily bases, which equals 22.4IU.
It is, however, usually safe to consume more than 15mg vitamin E daily for additional benefits, but the upper intake limit should never be exceeded. For healthy adults over the age of 19, an upper intake limit of 1,000mg vitamin E per day is advised, which equals 1,500IU10.
Increasing Your Daily Vitamin E Intake
Most people who think they may be suffering from a vitamin E deficiency tend to buy the first vitamin E supplement they see on the shelves at their local supplement store.
The problem with the majority of these supplements is that they do not contain all of the different substances that make up vitamin E but usually only include the particular form of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, which is known to have the highest bioavailability in the human body.
While alpha-tocopherol does have many benefits to contribute to the body and overall health, it is essential to consider that only taking alpha-tocopherol in a supplement form can cause an imbalance in the different types of vitamin E substances found in your body.
Additionally, it is important to point out that one review paper, compiled by the University of Western Australia School of Medicine and Pharmacology, explains that alpha-tocopherol has been associated with some adverse effects when taken as a supplement, including a higher risk of certain diseases that are associated with mortality11.
When opting for vitamin E supplements, it is essential to consider the forms of vitamin E that the particular supplement contains. Look for supplements that do not only include alpha-tocopherol but rather ones that have a more extensive variety of substances that form part of the vitamin E group.
It is, however, usually recommended to consume vitamin E in its most natural form – by consuming an adequate supply of foods that are rich in this vitamin. Here is a look at some of the top natural vitamin E sources12:
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat germ oil
- Hazelnut oil and hazelnuts
- Almond oil
- Pine nuts
- Raw red sweet pepper
- Raw green turnips
- Rainbow trout
Keeping your Thyroid gland healthy should be a priority.
The hormones secreted by this gland is involved in the metabolism of cells.
Diseases affecting the secretion of Thyroid hormones can cause obesity, mood alterations, memory loss and other symptoms. Optimizing your daily nutritional intake is known to contribute to improvements in overall Thyroid function.
In this post, we looked at the role of vitamin E in Thyroid function, provided information on the signs that you may be lacking an adequate supply of vitamin E in your daily diet, and we advised on how you can improve your intake of this powerful antioxidant.
1 Gregory A. Brent. Mechanisms of thyroid hormone action. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 4 September 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3433956/
2 Multiple Authors. The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal. 7 April 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997530/
3, 4 Brigelius-Flohe R., Traber M.G. Vitamin E: function and metabolism. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 13 July 1999. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10385606
5 Multiple Authors. Thyroid Hormones and Antioxidant Systems: Focus on Oxidative Stress in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 9 December 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3876084/
6 Mohan K. Kale. Thyroid Gland in Free Radical-Induced Oxidative Stress. Springer Link. 6 October 2014. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-81-322-2035-0_12
7 Vitamin E and Thyroid Health. Natural Thyroid Treatment Methods. 25 February 2013. http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/vitamin-e-and-thyroid-health/
8 Larry E. Johnson. Vitamin E (Tocopherol). MSD Manual: Professional Version. https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/nutritional-disorders/vitamin-deficiency,-dependency,-and-toxicity/vitamin-e
9 Dr. Mercola. Vitamin E Deficiency Is Rampant – Why You Don’t Want To Be. Mercola. 8 August 2016. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/08/08/vitamin-e-deficiency.aspx
10 Vitamin E. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-vitamin-e#1
11 Clarke M.W., Burnett J.R., Croft K.D. Vitamin E in human health and disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18712629
12 Atli Arnarson. 20 Foods That Are High in Vitamin E. Healthline. 24 May 2017. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-vitamin-e#section2