It zaps your energy, affects your mood and causes weight gain that's hard to lose. Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid, leading to a reduction in the production of thyroid hormones, and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Your thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism, and when levels are low, your body's ability to burn calories slows down, leading to weight gain. A healthy diet that includes foods rich in vitamin D, selenium and vitamin B-12 may help you better manage the disease, improve thyroid function and achieve weight loss. Consult your doctor about your need for supplementation.
Diet for Hashimoto's
Weight loss is difficult, but not impossible, for people with Hashimoto's disease. Once your doctor is able to get your hormone levels under control with the appropriate medication and health plan, you can begin to focus on your diet for weight loss, says dietitian Clara Schneider. A healthy diet for Hashimoto's disease is rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats like poultry and omega-3 rich foods like salmon. At the same time, it's low in foods with added fat and sugar and in fast food. In addition to food choices, you also need to control calories to promote weight loss. Your doctor can help you determine your calorie needs. In general, most women can safely lose weight limiting by intake to 1,200 calories to 1,500 calories a day, and men and active women to 1,500 calories to 1,800 calories a day.
Vitamin D and Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency and Hashimoto's disease have a connection, according to a 2013 study published in "Endocrine Practice." The researchers of the study suggested the deficiency may either be related to the cause or progression of the disease, but more studies are necessary. Your body is able to manufacture vitamin D through sun exposure, which helps you meet some of your needs. But it's also important that you get adequate amounts of vitamin D from the food you eat. Good sources include fortified nonfat milk or orange juice, salmon, canned tuna, eggs and fortified breakfast cereal. Adults need 600 to 800 international units of vitamin D a day for good health. You may need to consider vitamin D supplementation if you're deficient, according to dietitian Cheryl Harris.
Selenium for Thyroid Health
Selenium is found in high concentrations in the thyroid gland and is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. It has been suggested that supplementing with selenium may help reduce the need for medication in people with Hashimoto's and may also improve mood and health. According to a 2014 review article published in the "European Thyroid Journal," however, there is not enough evidence to claim whether selenium supplementation is beneficial or not, and more research is necessary. Adults need 55 micrograms of selenium a day, and including foods such as Brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, turkey, brown rice and eggs in your diet can help you meet your needs.
Need for Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is common in people with Hashimoto's disease, according to a 2012 article published in "Today's Dietitian." It assists with the formation of red blood cells and is necessary for neurological function. Malabsorption, pernicious anemia -- a condition caused by lack of intrinsic factor, which is necessary for vitamin B-12 absorption -- and poor intake are the most common causes of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. If malabsorption is suspected, supplementation may be necessary. Adults need 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 a day. Good food sources include fortified breakfast cereals, salmon, eggs and milk.
- National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases and Information Service: Hashimoto's Disease
- Today's Dietitian: Thyroid Disease and Diet
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Healthy Eating Plan
- Endocrine Practice: The Association Between Severity of Vitamin D Deficiency and Hashimoto's Disease
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Selenium
- European Thyroid Journal: Selenium Supplementation for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Summary of a Cochrane Systematic Review
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B12