zinc levels on Hashimoto's disease

Effect of inadequate zinc levels on Hashimoto’s disease

Anna Kowalczyk-Soszynska

Zinc is an essential mineral in your organism. As a catalyst it has various functions. It is important in the production of TSH, for normal bowel function, tissue healing, immune system function and the conversion of T4 to T3, as well as the action of T3 on cells. 

Its deficiency may manifest in impaired vision, depression, appetite loss, skin problems, impotence, diarrhoea, hair loss, allergies, respiratory infections and white spots on the nails. 

If you have developed Hashimoto’s disease, it may be difficult to differentiate what is causing particular symptoms. Part of them may be the effect of insufficient amount of zinc in the organism. Often, people suffering from Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism lack this mineral. 

About zinc

Probably the shiny metal is the first thing you think about when the word ‘zinc’ comes up. Remember, this is an important trace element for your body. Zinc is essential for health and well-being, but the body cannot produce it on its own. It catalyzes enzymatic reactions needed for various processes. It is also involved in cell division, DNA and protein synthesis, given its role in achieving and maintaining healthy intestines, zinc may be a good recommendation for patients with Hashimoto’s disease. It is important to remember that deficiency of this mineral increases the risk of developing this disease. Supplementing its levels can help deal with the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease or hypothyroidism. 

Hashimoto’s disease and zinc 

Zinc is important for the thyroid gland functioning. Insufficient amount of zinc may hinder the conversion of the hormone T4 to T3, which will manifest in fatigue, hair loss and body mass gain. Interestingly, even when taking levothyroxine, zinc deficiencies may mean there is no improvement in mood as a result of taking the medication, as this ingredient enables T3 to act on cells. 

Zinc deficiency symptoms

In the case of zinc deficiencies as a result of weakened action of T3 on cells, you may experience symptoms characteristic of hypothyroidism: fatigue, lethargy, dry skin, cold extremities or others.

Symptoms indicating a zinc deficiency in your body are: smell and taste disorders, brittle nails, white spots on the nails, poor healing of wounds. In case of zinc deficiency, your immunity will be weakened which will make you more likely to catch infections of respiratory tract, frequent colds and allergies. 

The causes of zinc deficiency 

Zinc deficiency may be linked to other conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders or other components in the food that hinder the utilisation of this element. These factors include: 

  1. Malabsorption syndromes and celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease involving gastrointestinal tract and manifested by impaired absorption of most nutrients, including zinc. It often co-occurs with Hashimoto’s disease. Such co-occurrence was found in 20% of patients suffering from Hashimoto’s disease. 

  1. Foods rich in phytates

Phytates found in legumes, seeds, nuts and grains can block the body’s absorption of zinc. 

People with Hashimoto’s disease or hypothyroidism are more likely to have a zinc deficiency in their organism. 

  1. Iron or copper supplements

Taking iron or copper supplements with meals may impair the absorption of zinc. This is caused by the competition of these components for the place of absorption in the digestive tract. 

How to optimise zinc levels in the body?

To ensure the correct levels of this mineral in your body, you can take supplements and eat foods rich in zinc. 

Nutrients sources

Zinc is found in food such as meat or oysters. Nuts, seeds and grains, as well as whole grain cereals are also high in zinc. 

Supplements

Autoimmune diseases, which include Hashimoto’s disease, may require the use of zinc supplements, especially in the case of zinc deficiency. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor about testing your body’s zinc levels in your body and implement an adequate action if needed. 

To ensure proper absorption, take zinc supplements with meals. If you supplement iron, make sure that the interval between them and zinc supplement is about two hours. Waiting increases the absorption of this mineral. 

Precautions

Unless the doctor recommends otherwise, do not take more than 30mg of zinc per day. A zinc overdose may decrease the level of copper in your body. ZInc supplements may also reduce iron levels. 

Conclusion

Zinc is an important nutrient with many functions in the body, including making sure the thyroid is functioning properly. Proper zinc levels enable: tissue healing, repair of intestinal walls and stabilizing the immune system. Hashimoto’s disease symptoms may often result from zinc deficiencies. Therefore, it is worth consuming food rich in this ingredient. Supplementation can also be helpful if needed. When taking supplements make sure you take the right dose as recommended by your doctor.

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Anna Kowalczyk-Soszynska

Clinical dietitian, psycho-dietician. A graduate of dietetics at the Medical University of Warsaw and psychodietetics at the University of Social Sciences in Lublin. Currently, Ania is constantly expanding her studies, this time in psychology at SWPS. Privately, Ania loves to practice yoga, sew and sail in her free time. At Hashiona, Ania is also working on the service of our application, and our new operator to exit our application for cutting Hashimoto