The Vitamin You Need If You Have Issues With Your Thyroid

Even if you've never taken an anatomy class, you probably know that your thyroid gland plays a vital role in your overall health. The Mayo Clinic describes the thyroid as a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that regulates your body's metabolism by making thyroid hormones. When the thyroid doesn't function properly, it can cause thyroid disease. According to Medical News Today, the most common thyroid disorder is hypothyroidism, and the most common cause is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. 

Endocrine Web defines hypothyroidism as when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone to control the body's metabolism. This can cause weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, and depression. Additionally, researchers believe there may be a connection between vitamin B levels and thyroid health. 

MaryAnne Metzak, a New York registered dietician, says, "Vitamin B is important for people with hypothyroidism because the B vitamins have many interactions with thyroid function and hormone regulation" (via Everyday Health). According to a 2020 paper published in Medical Principles and Practice, patients diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism should be checked for vitamin B12 deficiency. 

How to improve your vitamin B levels

You can improve your vitamin B levels by incorporating certain foods into your diet. According to Healthline, salmon, beef, liver and organ meats, oysters, and trout are some of the best sources.

It may sound easy enough to include these foods in your diet, but it's important to keep in mind that how you prepare your food can affect the overall nutrient quality. According to Healthline, vitamin B is water-soluble, making it more susceptible to leaching out of your food during the cooking process, and it's not an insignificant amount. Experts found that up to 60% of B vitamin content can be lost while simmering meat. However, if you consume the juice that the meat's cooking in, you're getting between 70 to 90% of the B vitamins that would otherwise be lost. 

Another strategy for upping your intake is by eating more vitamin B-rich foods that don't require cooking, like raw vegetables, yogurt, and nutritional yeast. However, if you still suspect you're not getting enough vitamin B from your diet, you may want to work with a healthcare provider who can check your thyroid health and recommend a supplement if needed.