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Thyroid

Iron Deficiency and Thyroid- What's the Connection?

by andMe Bioactive Beverage 16 Aug 2022

It's important to know that iron deficiency can also affect your thyroid gland. This means that if you have iron deficiency, your thyroid gland will not be getting enough of the right amount of hormones. For example, due to illness, suppose your thyroid gland is not getting enough hormones from the foods you eat or lacks proper absorption of nutrients. In that case, your body will start using energy too quickly, which can cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism depending on what happens next. Before going into detail, let's clarify the basic concept of hypo and hyperthyroidism. 

When you have hypothyroidism symptoms, your body doesn't make enough thyroid hormone. Your thyroid is responsible for keeping the number of hormones in your body at an average level. When this hormone is not produced correctly, the result can be too little or too much thyroid hormone. A person with too little thyroid hormone may experience fatigue, weight gain, depression and constipation. 

If you have hypothyroidism, you may also experience symptoms such as dry skin and hair, constipation and dry eyes (which can be caused by a lack of tears). In addition, severe cases of hypothyroidism can lead to another medical condition called Hashimoto's disease, which causes your immune system to attack your thyroid gland. A person with hyperthyroidism might experience symptoms such as weight loss without trying, feeling nervous or anxious and having an irregular heartbeat (tachycardia). Hyperthyroidism can also cause heart palpitations (rapid heartbeat) due to high blood pressure. 

What is iron deficiency? 

Iron deficiency is a common problem worldwide, especially among women of childbearing age. Iron deficiency is widespread in pregnant women due to increased blood volume and iron loss during pregnancy. The primary dietary iron sources are meat and poultry, but plant foods also contain small amounts of iron. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue. Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the most common cause of tiredness.  

Iron deficiency anaemia occurs when your body doesn't make enough red blood cells or store enough haemoglobin to meet your body's needs for oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This can lead to weakness, pallor (white skin), dizziness and shortness of breath. Iron deficiency can also weaken your immune system and increase the risk for infections such as colds and flu. Iron supplements are available over-the-counter as pills or tablets you take by mouth or inject into a muscle (intramuscularly). They're often recommended for children to prevent or treat anaemia caused by chronic disease or bleeding disorders.  

What Causes Iron Deficiency? 

Iron deficiency is caused when your body doesn't get enough iron from food, or you don't absorb it properly. For example, if you eat many foods high in iron but don't absorb it well, like meat and seafood, you might become iron deficient. On the other hand, if you have an illness like Crohn's disease or celiac disease that prevents your body from absorbing nutrients properly (like vitamin C), you could also become iron deficient. 

The connection between Thyroid disorder and iron level: 

Iron deficiency can cause fatigue and may be linked to thyroid symptoms. Thyroid disease in women is common worldwide. Thyroid disease can affect your energy level, mood, and weight. It's also associated with increased heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. If you have a thyroid disorder or are at risk of developing one, you may consider taking iron supplements or eating more iron-rich foods (such as red meat) to improve your energy levels. However, iron deficiency can also lead to fatigue and worsen symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. 

 

If you have hypothyroidism, you may be at risk for iron deficiency anaemia if you don't get enough thyroid hormone. This is especially true in older people who already have low iron levels. You may also be at risk for iron deficiency if you take medications that interfere with iron absorption from food. These include aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and some antibiotics. In addition, low levels of thyroid hormones can lead to anaemia by making your body unable to absorb and use iron. The result is too little oxygen reaching your cells, which can cause fatigue and other symptoms of illness. 

Prevention: 

There are always better ways to treat hypo and hyperthyroidism symptoms; iron deficiency and thyroid issues are also no exception. One of the convenient ways to increase your iron deficiency is to include iron-enriched food in your daily diet.  

Animal-based sources: 

  • Red meat 
  • Organ meat 
  • Poultry or lean meat 
  • Eggs 
  • Shellfish 

If you are eager to go for vegan and vegetarian options, here are some of the options: 

  • Dried fruit 
  • Nuts 
  • Fortified cereal bread 
  • Dark leafy greens 
  • Legumes 
  • Tofu 
  • Oats 

You can also include some healthy supplements or herbal tea in your diet, like andMe's plant-based Thyrodiet tea. This herbal tea contains minerals like Zinc, selenium, and Ayurvedic herbs like Kanchar, Guggul, and Ashwagandha. It will help your body restore the T3 and T4 levels and reduce inflammation. 

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