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Benefits of Vitamin A for the Thyroid

letter a symbolizing vitamin a concept

Vitamin supplements help to boost overall health as well as thyroid health specifically. Of the various vitamins that play a beneficial role in thyroid health, Vitamin A is an important component.

By including the right dose of Vitamin A in the supplements you take, you will be able to enhance the effect of the other thyroid medications you use for your condition. Here is detailed information on how vitamin A can help your thyroid disorder.

Vitamin A overview

Vitamin A is necessary for various beneficial functions of the body including eye health.

Deficiency of vitamin A, which is prevalent in under developed as well as developed countries, can lead to impaired vision in dim light or night time, dryness of eyes, dry skin, inflammation of cornea and eyelids and impaired growth in children.

Vitamin A is a fat soluble type of vitamin like Vitamins K, E and D. It is significant for eye health and helps decrease cataract incidence and macular degeneration. Other benefits of vitamin A include improved repair and inflammatory reactions.

The vitamin also helps prevent development of infections which have the potential to trigger autoimmune reactions. It helps in skin care and treatment of acne.

The vitamin can prevent risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It helps to maintain healthy epithelial tissues in the respiratory tract, genitourinary tract, gastrointestinal tract and skin.

Beta carotene and Vitamin A

Beta carotene belongs to carotenoid compounds and is an active vitamin A precursor.

Taking supplements containing beta carotene for vitamin A deficiency is not considered as the right choice.

Instead taking whole food supplement with Vitamin A is a better choice and so is consuming foods that are rich sources of Vitamin A.

Moreover beta-carotene does not always convert into Vitamin A due to conversion difficulties that many people face. Thus it is best to include foods rich in the vitamin and also whole food supplements to gain the full benefits of Vitamin A.

Vitamin A and thyroid

Thyroid functions are influenced to a great extent by Vitamin A. Thyroid gland also plays a significant role in the utilization of Vitamin A derived from the food we eat.

Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid hormone secretion is insufficient, there is impairment of conversion from beta carotene to bioactive component of vitamin A.

An Acta Medica Austriaca journal publication reveals the connection between hypothyroidism and vitamin A. The study done in 1993 on 36 participants with 12 euthyroid, 8 hypothyroid and 16 hyperthyroid patients revealed that hypothyroid patients had the highest beta carotene levels, while hyperthyroid patients had the lowest carotene levels.

The study confirms that conversion to bio active form of vitamin A from provitamin form requires the presence of thyroid hormone.

Thus taking vitamin A dietary sources that are in the form of carotenes will not be effective as the thyroid function should be normal for activation of the carotenes.

Hence in case of thyroid disorders, it is best to that vitamin A containing supplements that are of non-carotene type.

Vitamin A deficiency affects TSH production. It reduces the secretion of TSH in pituitary gland and this affects the secretion of thyroid hormones resulting in impaired thyroid function. A 2004 study on deficiency of Vitamin A and iodine and goiter reveals that children who had vitamin A supplements and iodized salt showed better improvement of thyroid function than those who received just iodized salt.

The study was done on 138 children.

Further conversion of T4 into T3 requires adequate levels of vitamin A.

As T3 is needed for proper functioning of thyroid gland due to it being the active form of thyroid hormone, you need sufficient amounts of vitamin A to improve the metabolic functions of thyroid gland.

Vitamin A deficiency

Fruits as well as vegetables serve as a rich source of vitamin A.  By taking vitamin A, you can ensure thyroid hormone receptors are functioning normally. The vitamin also helps in regulation of thyroid stimulating hormone.

However while taking Vitamin A supplements you should be careful about the supplementation causing deficiency or reduced absorption of other vitamins of the same category like Vitamins K, D and E. The vitamin can also lead to bone loss and liver toxicity.

The ill effects are more pronounced when the carotenoids present are of synthetic type. The vitamin A should be in the form of mixed or natural carotenoids for it to produce maximum efficacy.

Final takeaway

Since thyroid hormone is essential for conversion to bioactive form of vitamin A from beta carotene people who have reduced hormone levels such as those suffering from Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism will not have sufficient vitamin A.

This can impact other benefits of the vitamin A such as immune health and eye health.

By adding vegetables and fruits rich in the vitamin and with appropriate vitamin A supplementation, you can boost the thyroid treatment protocol you already follow.

 

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