Supplements You Shouldn’t Take With Thyroid Medication - Life Infused (2022)

Article Summary

  • Get a quick reminder of what the thyroid is, what it does, and why it’s so important.
  • Learn about the reasons someone might need thyroid medication.
  • Find out which supplements you shouldn’t take if you’re on thyroid medication.

The thyroid is one of those parts of the human body we often forget about. It’s a gland that lives along the windpipe below your Adam’s apple. Even though we don’t think about it often, your thyroid is actually incredibly important. This small gland helps to regulate hormones throughout your entire body. It has a notable influence on your growth and development when you’re younger, your metabolism throughout your life, and even your body temperature.

There are a number of problems that can affect your thyroid. You might grow nodules that interfere with its function. You can get inflammation (thyroiditis), goiters (swelling), Graves disease (an autoimmune disorder), or even cancer. Two of the most common disorders include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

  • Hyperthyroidism means the body overproduces hormones. It’s often called an overactive thyroid and is typically caused by nodules or Graves disease.
  • Hypothyroidism means the body has an underactive thyroid, resulting in low hormone production. It is most often the result of damage from an autoimmune disease.

Even though this gland is rarely thought about, more than 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime. And recently updated studies have shown that thyroid disease is far more widespread than doctors initially thought, indicating a surprising 3 million people may have an undiagnosed thyroid condition.

Luckily, some people can manage their thyroid challenges with a healthy lifestyle, such as diet, high-quality supplements, and exercise. For most people, however, managing such a condition involves taking medications.

You already know that supplements can be a great way to ensure your optimal health. Taking the right supplements can help you fight food cravings, fill in dietary gaps, support brain health, gut health, bone health, metabolic function, and so much more.

However, some supplements can react with thyroid medications, leaving you with the frustration of coping with a variety of unsavory, even detrimental complications.

To help you avoid negative interactions with your thyroid medication, we have listed five supplements that you shouldn’t take while you are on thyroid medication.

Calcium supplements and thyroid medication

Not everyone realizes this, but there are a few different types of calcium compounds. However, so far, only two types are used in supplements: calcium carbonate, which contains 40% calcium, and calcium citrate, which has 21% calcium.

Both types of calcium have a similar impact on how the body absorbs thyroid medication. One particular study showed that calcium supplements could interfere with your body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medications such as levothyroxine and other thyroid extract supplements. The interference tends to occur when you take both of them at the same time.

Fortunately, this absorption issue can be avoided by taking a few steps:

  • Taking your thyroid medication on an empty stomach to allow your body to absorb it properly
  • Taking it shortly after your wake up, at least an hour before you eat breakfast or have your cup of coffee
  • Waiting at least four hours before consuming a calcium supplement

Pro tip: if you plan to take your thyroid medication at night, be sure to do so at least four hours after taking your calcium supplement so the two don’t interfere with each other.

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Supplements You Shouldn’t Take With Thyroid Medication - Life Infused (1)

Iron supplements and thyroid medication

Getting sufficient amounts of iron is crucial for several reasons. Most importantly, it plays a vital role in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Think about the effects of an oxygen-starved brain. Feeling tired, dizzy, cold, and getting headaches can be symptoms of anemia, an iron deficiency.

Those suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that can cause hypothyroidism, have to be careful that they are getting enough iron. This is because iron is not only crucial to getting oxygen where it needs to go, but iron is also essential to a functioning thyroid.

However, like calcium, iron can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb thyroid medication. And similar to calcium, there are different types of iron. Some are harder on the digestive system than others and can cause constipation.

Only a doctor can tell you to take an iron supplement, but if you do need to supplement your iron intake, as many with hypothyroidism do, choose a plant-based iron supplement. A non-heme iron supplement (plant-based) can be taken twice daily along with vitamin C to enhance absorption.

Thyroid supplements and thyroid medication

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Some supplements are specifically marketed to those who have thyroid conditions. Of course, if your doctor directs you to take thyroid supplements as part of your medical regimen, then it is considered a safe component of your health and lifestyle.

However, taking thyroid supplements without the recommendation of your doctor can create several problems. One of the most significant drawbacks of thyroid supplements is that they may contain hormones that can interfere with your thyroid and medication.

You wouldn’t know if these supplements have hormones from the label, but a 2013 study discovered nine out of ten supplements marketed for those concerned about thyroid health actually contained synthetic and bovine hormones. These were hormones that do not naturally occur in plant-based ingredients, which means they would have been intentionally added to the supplement.

Because there is no way to measure the hormones contained in these supplements, and thyroid management requires precise and predictable hormone levels, it is not recommended that you take thyroid supplements without the explicit direction of your doctor.

Biotin supplements and thyroid medication

Biotin is a common supplement taken to support healthy hair, skin, and nails. Also called vitamin B7, most over-the-counter supplements contain high doses from 5,000 to 100,000 micrograms. However, 30 micrograms is considered adequate.

Luckily, biotin is water-soluble, so the likelihood of overdosing is extremely low. You would need a sustained 200,000 micrograms to produce symptoms of toxicity.

The problem with biotin when it comes to your thyroid is that it can interfere with thyroid blood tests. It actually mimics the results of graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid.

Double-check with your physician before taking biotin if you are on thyroid medication. And it’s generally advised that you stop taking all biotin supplements at least two days before your next TSH blood test, to ensure accurate results.

Ashwagandha supplements and thyroid medication

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Ashwagandha is an herbal plant, also known as Indian ginseng. There is increasingly widespread use of ashwagandha as a supplement because it’s an adaptogen, which means it’s used for a variety of conditions including bipolar disorder, weight management, arthritis, stress management, and neurodegenerative disorders, and a great deal more.

While early studies have shown favorable results when it comes to this herbal supplementation and thyroid conditions, there are just a few noteworthy points that should be mentioned when thinking about taking it with thyroid medication.

First, this herbal supplement does not contain hormones but can have a boosting effect on your hormone levels. For those with hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive thyroid, increasing thyroid activity with ashwagandha may exacerbate the problem. Ashwagandha may actually work against the results your thyroid medication is trying to achieve if you have hyperthyroidism.

Second, preliminary evidence is suggesting that ashwagandha may help hypothyroidism, leading to an increase in the number of people either treating their condition or supplementing their medication with ashwagandha.

Supplements You Shouldn’t Take With Thyroid Medication - Life Infused (2)

Final thoughts

Before taking any supplements, it’s highly recommended to consult your doctor first. However, if your doctor doesn’t have much knowledge regarding these supplements, you can talk to a naturopathic doctor instead. Just make sure to inform your physician who’s responsible for treating your thyroid disease beforehand.

(Video) When to Take Vitamins and Supplements ? – Dr.Berg

If you’re concerned that the supplement you’re taking may have an interaction with your thyroid medication, we recommend checking out the Interaction Checker to understand the potential medically documented drug interactions better.

Some supplements may interfere with your thyroid medications. Ashwagandha and hyperthyroidism, for example, or thyroid supplements and medications, may cause interference. Some supplements just need to be effectively managed, such as iron and calcium. And supplements such as biotin need to be managed to avoid false positives on thyroid blood tests.

As long as you do your research, work with your physician, and take high-quality supplements when you do choose to add them to your health regimen, you’ll be able to reduce symptoms, increase wellbeing, and enjoy a long and healthy life.

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References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/women/picture-of-the-thyroid#1
  2. https://www.thyroid.org/hyperthyroidism/
  3. https://www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism/
  4. https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/
  5. http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/thyroid-prevalence.htm
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097
  7. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/thy.2010.0296
  8. http://www.med.umich.edu/cancer/files/why-is-iron-important.pdf
  9. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hashimotos-disease
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6166193/
  11. https://www.livestrong.com/article/470635-signs-of-too-much-biotin-in-your-system/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114297/#ch11.s14
  13. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/graves-disease
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10956379
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27055824
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25857501
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17959291
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10956379
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22394559
  20. https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html
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FAQs

What supplements to avoid with thyroid medication? ›

Iron and calcium supplements interfere with how your body absorbs your thyroid medications, so these should be spaced at least an hour apart. Another supplement to watch out for is biotin, commonly taken for hair, skin, and nail benefits.

What herbal supplements should not be taken with levothyroxine? ›

Potential Negative Interaction

Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus, Lycopus europaeus) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) may interfere with the action of thyroid hormones. Check with your doctor before taking these herbs with thyroid hormones.

What interferes with thyroid medication absorption? ›

A number of drugs have been shown to impair the absorption of levothyroxine; these drugs include calcium carbonate, aluminum- containing antacids, sucralfate, iron supplements, cholestyramine, sevelamer, and, possibly, ciprofloxacin, raloxifene, and orlistat.

Do any supplements interfere with levothyroxine? ›

As mentioned above, levothyroxine should not be taken within 4 hours of medications and supplements like antacids, bile acid sequestrants, ion exchange resins, iron supplements, or calcium.

Can I take vitamin D with thyroid medication? ›

Vitamin D is often taken sublingually and is recommended to be taken away from your thyroid medication. If you are taking an immunosuppressant medication, please consult your doctor or practitioner.

Which vitamin is not good for thyroid? ›

Should people with thyroid problems avoid these supplements? Iodine: Yes. Avoid it as a supplement whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. The effect of iodine supplements can vary by person, causing the thyroid to produce either too much or too little hormone.

Can I take turmeric with my thyroid medication? ›

Interactions between your drugs

No interactions were found between levothyroxine and turmeric.

Does magnesium affect thyroid? ›

Magnesium supplementation showed a beneficial effect on thyroid economy leading to a normalization of TSH levels.

Can I take magnesium with levothyroxine? ›

Interactions between your drugs

Taking levothyroxine and magnesium oxide too close together may interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine and reduce its effectiveness. To prevent or minimize potential interaction, these medications should preferably be taken at least four hours apart.

Is it OK to take probiotics with thyroid medication? ›

Probiotics ingestion does not directly affect thyroid hormonal parameters in hypothyroid patients on levothyroxine treatment.

Can you take zinc with thyroid medication? ›

Interactions between your drugs

No interactions were found between levothyroxine and Zinc. However, this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider.

What happens if I drink coffee with my thyroid medicine? ›

Current product labels and treatment guidelines recommend patients take thyroid hormone replacement therapy on an empty stomach, but this new research shows that absorption of liquid levothyroxine is not affected by consuming coffee shortly after taking the medication.

Can supplements mess with your thyroid? ›

Thyroid supplements may be unsafe for people who have thyroid conditions, too. This is because people with thyroid issues have specific needs, and taking supplements marketed to enhance thyroid health may negatively affect thyroid function, causing their health and symptoms to worsen.

Can you take vitamins with thyroid medicine? ›

Multivitamins. Like hormones, minerals like iron and calcium can bind to thyroid hormone and inhibit absorption. A good rule of thumb: “Take your thyroid hormone first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and take multivitamins and other supplements at lunch, at least 4 hours later,” suggests Levy.

What vitamins does levothyroxine deplete? ›

Hormone replacement therapy depletes folate, magnesium, B6, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A, B12, vitamin C and zinc. Thyroid hormones such as levothyroxine and armour deplete calcium.

Can I take B12 with thyroid medicine? ›

No interactions were found between levothyroxine and Vitamin B12.

What vitamin helps thyroid function? ›

Vitamin A is required for the activation of thyroid hormone receptors and has been shown to regulate thyroid hormone metabolism and inhibit thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion. Fish (cod, salmon and halibut) is one of the best food sources of vitamin A.

What is the best vitamin for hypothyroidism? ›

Vitamin B is important for people with hypothyroidism because the B vitamins have many interactions with thyroid function and hormone regulation,” Metzak says.

Does CoQ10 affect thyroid? ›

It was shown that CoQ10 and thyroid hormones are inversely correlated [44] . The level of CoQ10 in hypothyroidism (even in subclinical cases) is elevated [36], while CoQ10 level in patients with hyperthyroidism is reduced [44]. ... ... It was shown that CoQ10 and thyroid hormones are inversely correlated [44].

What herbs interfere with thyroid medication? ›

Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus, Lycopus europaeus) and lemon balm(Melissa officinalis) may interfere with the action of thyroid hormones. Check with your doctor before taking these herbs with thyroid hormones. The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Can I take apple cider vinegar with thyroid medication? ›

Take apple cider vinegar capsules or add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink daily. Thyroid Supplements can be taken safely alongside most medications to manage hypothyroidism but you should always speak to your doctor first.

Can CoQ10 be taken with thyroid medication? ›

Interactions between your drugs

No interactions were found between CoQ10 and levothyroxine.

Does zinc affect thyroid? ›

Zinc is another element that is needed for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Zinc is needed for the production of hormones T3, T4, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). A deficiency in zinc can lead to hypothyroidism.

Can vitamin D cause thyroid problems? ›

Importantly, both vitamin D and thyroid hormone bind to similar receptors called steroid hormone receptors. A different gene in the Vitamin D receptor was shown to predispose people to autoimmune thyroid disease including Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

What mineral keeps the thyroid healthy? ›

An essential mineral, iodine is used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones that control many functions in the body including growth and development. Because your body does not produce iodine, it needs to be supplied in the diet.

What meds Cannot be taken with levothyroxine? ›

The medicines and supplements that should not be taken within 4 hours of taking levothyroxine include:
  • Calcium supplements (including those found in multivitamins)
  • Iron supplements (including those found in multivitamins)
  • Antacids.
  • Sucralfate.
  • Phosphate binders (calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, sevelamer, lanthanum)
6 Oct 2021

Why do you have to drink a full glass of water with levothyroxine? ›

Take the tablets with a full glass of water as they may get stuck in your throat or cause choking or gagging. If you are giving levothyroxine to an infant, child, or adult who cannot swallow the tablet, crush and mix it in 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 mL) of water.

What are the long term side effects of levothyroxine? ›

The studies proving this are not limited in numbers, they demonstrate an association between long-term levothyroxine therapy and increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and fractures. In addition to this it also increases the economic burden on the patients owing to price surge [5].

Which probiotic is best for thyroid? ›

What is the best probiotic for Hashimoto's thyroiditis?
  • Yogurt.
  • Chicory.
  • Kimchi.
  • Sauerkraut.
  • Kefir.
  • Kombucha.
  • Pickles.
  • Miso.

Can I take collagen supplements with thyroid medication? ›

Some collagen supplements do contain tryptophan, which, as noted, can cause sleepiness. It's recommended that thyroid patients avoid collagen supplements that contain this ingredient.

Does caffeine interact with levothyroxine? ›

Caffeine and Levothyroxine

Caffeine in coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages decreases the absorption of levothyroxine by causing the drug to move too quickly through the intestines before it has the chance to be absorbed.

Which fruit is good for thyroid? ›

Apples, pears, plums and citrus fruits are abundant with pectins, which help with detoxifying the body of mercury – one of the most critical metals that have been connected to thyroid problems.

Can I eat eggs after taking levothyroxine? ›

Eggs and lean meats can fit into your breakfast plan. Foods such as yogurt and cottage cheese do contain calcium but not in large enough amounts to interfere with Synthroid, as long as you wait 30 minutes after taking your medicine to eat.

Is it better to take levothyroxine in the morning or at night? ›

There is consensus that levothyroxine should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach. A pilot study showed that levothyroxine intake at bedtime significantly decreased thyrotropin levels and increased free thyroxine and total triiodothyronine levels.

Do probiotics affect thyroid? ›

Probiotics have shown beneficial effects in thyroid diseases and are able to have a positive effect on trace elements such as selenium, zinc, and copper.

Does vitamin C interact with thyroid medicine? ›

No interactions were found between levothyroxine and Vitamin C.

Does vitamin D react with levothyroxine? ›

While some minerals and medicines can interfere with your thyroid medication, you can take popular supplements — like vitamin D — with levothyroxine.

Can you take Omega 3 with levothyroxine? ›

Interactions between your drugs

No interactions were found between levothyroxine and Omega 3-6-9 Complex. However, this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider.

Does vitamin B12 interfere with thyroid medication? ›

Interactions between your drugs

No interactions were found between levothyroxine and Vitamin B12.

Can supplements mess with your thyroid? ›

Thyroid supplements may be unsafe for people who have thyroid conditions, too. This is because people with thyroid issues have specific needs, and taking supplements marketed to enhance thyroid health may negatively affect thyroid function, causing their health and symptoms to worsen.

Can I take magnesium with levothyroxine? ›

Interactions between your drugs

Taking levothyroxine and magnesium oxide too close together may interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine and reduce its effectiveness. To prevent or minimize potential interaction, these medications should preferably be taken at least four hours apart.

Can you take zinc with thyroid medication? ›

Interactions between your drugs

No interactions were found between levothyroxine and Zinc. However, this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider.

Is it OK to take probiotics with thyroid medication? ›

Probiotics ingestion does not directly affect thyroid hormonal parameters in hypothyroid patients on levothyroxine treatment.

Does magnesium affect thyroid? ›

Magnesium supplementation showed a beneficial effect on thyroid economy leading to a normalization of TSH levels.

What is the best vitamin for hypothyroidism? ›

Vitamin B is important for people with hypothyroidism because the B vitamins have many interactions with thyroid function and hormone regulation,” Metzak says.

Can you take vitamins with thyroid medication? ›

Multivitamins. Like hormones, minerals like iron and calcium can bind to thyroid hormone and inhibit absorption. A good rule of thumb: “Take your thyroid hormone first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and take multivitamins and other supplements at lunch, at least 4 hours later,” suggests Levy.

Can vitamin D cause thyroid problems? ›

Importantly, both vitamin D and thyroid hormone bind to similar receptors called steroid hormone receptors. A different gene in the Vitamin D receptor was shown to predispose people to autoimmune thyroid disease including Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Does zinc affect thyroid? ›

Zinc is another element that is needed for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Zinc is needed for the production of hormones T3, T4, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). A deficiency in zinc can lead to hypothyroidism.

What meds Cannot be taken with levothyroxine? ›

The medicines and supplements that should not be taken within 4 hours of taking levothyroxine include:
  • Calcium supplements (including those found in multivitamins)
  • Iron supplements (including those found in multivitamins)
  • Antacids.
  • Sucralfate.
  • Phosphate binders (calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, sevelamer, lanthanum)
6 Oct 2021

Why do you have to drink a full glass of water with levothyroxine? ›

Take the tablets with a full glass of water as they may get stuck in your throat or cause choking or gagging. If you are giving levothyroxine to an infant, child, or adult who cannot swallow the tablet, crush and mix it in 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 mL) of water.

What are the long term side effects of levothyroxine? ›

The studies proving this are not limited in numbers, they demonstrate an association between long-term levothyroxine therapy and increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and fractures. In addition to this it also increases the economic burden on the patients owing to price surge [5].

Can I take apple cider vinegar with thyroid medication? ›

Take apple cider vinegar capsules or add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink daily. Thyroid Supplements can be taken safely alongside most medications to manage hypothyroidism but you should always speak to your doctor first.

Can I drink coffee after taking thyroid medication? ›

Although current product labels and treatment guidelines recommend that patients take thyroid hormone replacement therapy on an empty stomach, new research suggests drinking coffee does not affect the absorption of a liquid formulation of levothyroxine (LT4).

Can I take collagen supplements with thyroid medication? ›

Some collagen supplements do contain tryptophan, which, as noted, can cause sleepiness. It's recommended that thyroid patients avoid collagen supplements that contain this ingredient.

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