Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Hypothyroidism diet: Can certain foods increase thyroid function?

Is there any truth to the hypothyroidism diet? Can certain foods increase thyroid function?

Updated: 11-23-2010

Answer

Generally, there's no hypothyroidism diet. Although claims about hypothyroidism diets abound, there's no evidence that eating or avoiding certain foods will improve thyroid function in people with hypothyroidism.

If you have hypothyroidism, take thyroid hormone replacement as directed by your doctor — generally on an empty stomach. It's also important to note that too much dietary fiber can impair the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone. Certain foods, supplements and medications can have the same effect.

Avoid taking your thyroid hormone at the same time as:

  • Walnuts
  • Soybean flour
  • Cottonseed meal
  • Iron supplements or multivitamins containing iron
  • Calcium supplements
  • Antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium
  • Some ulcer medications, such as sucralfate (Carafate)
  • Some cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as cholestyramine (Questran) and colestipol (Colestid)

To avoid potential interactions, eat these foods or use these products several hours before or after you take your thyroid medication.

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