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Interactions With Hypothyroid Supplements

author image Cydney Walker
Cydney Walker is a registered dietitian and personal trainer who began writing about nutrition and exercise during her dietetic internship in 2000. She has been featured in "Voices" and by the National Medical Association for her HIV research. She earned her master's degree in human sciences from Texas A&M University in Kingsville.
Interactions With Hypothyroid Supplements
A doctor checking a woman's thyroid. Photo Credit: JackF/iStock/Getty Images

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that describes an underactive thyroid with a gradual reduction in your metabolism. Symptoms include fatigue, hair loss, intolerance to cold and foggy brain. You can take supplements that are rich in iodine to boost thyroid hormone production. Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician, believes hypothyroidism isn’t always caused by dysfunction of the thyroid gland itself, but possibly caused by poor adrenal function, pituitary and hypothalamus dysfunction, which can be helped with the right supplements.

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Bladderwrack, kelp or other preparations high in iodine can be contaminated with heavy metals because of pollution of the Earth’s seas and oceans. Because of the high probability of heavy metal contamination, you need to exercise caution when taking these supplements. Bladderwrack, amiodarone and kelp’s thyroid-promoting action can intensify when combined with lithium, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar has been reported with the use of bladderwrack. Exercise caution if you are taking medications to control blood sugar levels. According to the NIH, bladderwrack has the potential to lower your blood sugar levels, so the effect of medications like insulin or oral diabetic medications that lower blood sugar levels will be intensified if used together with bladderwrack.


Ginkgo biloba, garlic and saw palmetto have the potential to decrease clotting abilities and increase the risk of bleeding if taken together with bladderwrack. The NIH says this usually is not a problem and no reported cases have been documented.

Laxative Effect

Long-term use of bladderwrack and other brown seaweed supplements can lead to loose stools or diarrhea. The alginic acid that is in bladderwrack, brown seaweeds and also in laxatives increase the motility of the large intestines leading to increase bowel movements. When all preparations are taken together, bowel movement frequency increases.

Stimulant Effect

Caffeine derivatives like guarana, and other stimulants like ma huang--ephedra--can intensify the stimulatory effect of bladderwrack on thyroid hormone production. You may experience increased jitters and rapid heart beats if bladderwrack is combined with a central nervous system stimulant.

Flax Seeds

Omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seeds are recommended to help with hypothyroidism symptoms. Flax seeds contain lignans that act like weak estrogens. These lignans can interfere with thyroid hormone production and activity and increase hypothyroid symptoms, according to holistic physician Carol Roberts.


L-tyrosine is a precursor for thyroxine--thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, epi and norepinephrine--adrenaline hormones. Thyroxine levels can rise too quickly when L-tyrosine is used with synthetic thyroid hormones. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, L-tyrosine is a precursor to thyroid hormones and may artificially raise levels along with synthetic medications used to treat hypothyroidism.

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