The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate many of the body’s functions. Magnesium is among the many nutrients needed by the thyroid to function properly.
Magnesium deficiencies are common in developed countries and they are linked to underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, says Progressive Health
. In fact, magnesium deficiency affects seven out of 10 Americans. Major causes include poor diets that include lots of processed foods and soda beverages. In addition, too much vitamin C in the diet can deplete magnesium levels in the body over time.
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According to Dr. John A. Robinson in an article on Hypothyroid Mom, calcium can also compete with magnesium
. Because a lot of attention is paid to calcium deficiency, people tend to increase calcium in their diets to a level that is detrimental to magnesium.
Robinson says magnesium is critical to thyroid function because it helps the thyroid produce more T4 hormone. It also is essential for the conversion of inactive T4 hormones into active T3 hormones that are essential to regulating metabolism. Further, magnesium and iodine deficiency is related to a goiter, or an enlarged thyroid gland.
On the other end of the spectrum, an overactive thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism is also linked to magnesium deficiency. However, the cause and effect relationship is different from that of hypothyroidism. According to Natural Endocrine Solutions, excessive thyroid hormones
produced by an overactive thyroid gland can decrease the body’s ability to absorb magnesium.
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Conventional testing for magnesium deficiency is inaccurate, and Progressive Health recommends requesting a red blood cell test, which will more accurately test for levels of magnesium and other minerals.
A diet that is low in processed foods and abundant in vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, is important for magnesium. Avoid boiling or steaming vegetables because the process strips away important minerals. Other sources include nuts and seeds, avocado, and dark chocolate.
Natural Endocrine Solutions says the recommended daily intake of magnesium is 400mg is too low. They recommend supplements to maintain a daily intake of between 600mg and 800mg.
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