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Magnesium and Thyroid Health

Thyroid health has become a hot topic nowadays as many people struggle with weight gain, occasional fatigue, and low mood. However, you can have perfectly normal thyroid blood tests with suboptimal thyroid functions or metabolism. Magnesium is involved in numerous biochemical reactions in the body, including thyroid hormone production and function. Therefore, a magnesium deficiency…

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Thyroid health has become a hot topic nowadays as many people struggle with weight gain, occasional fatigue, and low mood. However, you can have perfectly normal thyroid blood tests with suboptimal thyroid functions or metabolism.

Magnesium is involved in numerous biochemical reactions in the body, including thyroid hormone production and function. Therefore, a magnesium deficiency that currently affects 50-80% of Americans can show similar symptoms as suboptimal thyroid function. In this article, we will explain why.

Key Background: How Your Thyroid Axis Works

To understand what makes the thyroid work optimally, let’s first learn about various factors in your body that affect thyroid function.

The thyroid axis delivers regulated amounts of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream, which then acts on the thyroid hormone receptors on target cells. Diagram source

The thyroid axis or hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis controls thyroid function and hormone levels. It maintains your metabolic balance by responding to signals from the body and the environment. The thyroid axis involves various glands in the body, including:

  1. Hypothalamus: At the base of your brain, the hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) in response to low thyroid hormone levels or stress.
  2. Pituitary Gland: Sitting below the hypothalamus, TRH stimulates the pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
  3. Thyroid Gland: TSH prompts the thyroid gland to produce and release thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), which regulate metabolism, energy production, and growth.

For any hormones, 

After the thyroid gland secretes your T4, which is mainly inactive, it travels to various tissues. Certain tissues and your gut bacteria convert T4 into T3, the active thyroid hormone.

Most (99%) of the T4 and T3 in your blood are bound to a protein called thyroxine-binding globulin or other proteins in the blood at any given time. This helps adjust your active thyroid hormone levels.

It’s the minuscule percentage of your T3 that works as the active thyroid hormone, such as increasing metabolism in various cells. 

This axis adjusts thyroid hormone levels in response to feedback from circulating hormones and environmental cues, ensuring the body’s metabolic processes remain balanced. 

Now that you understand the complex processes that regulate thyroid functions, let’s look at how magnesium helps with so many of these.

How Does Magnesium Support Thyroid Health and Function?

In short, magnesium is involved in nearly every step of thyroid hormone production and the end results of thyroid hormone functions. 

Iodine Uptake for Thyroid Hormone Production

Iodine is a critical component of thyroid hormones. Magnesium helps your thyroid take up iodine to produce thyroid hormones.

  • Sodium/Iodide Symporter (NIS): Magnesium is involved in the functioning of the NIS, a protein that helps bring iodine into the thyroid gland. Adequate magnesium levels ensure that your thyroid can efficiently absorb iodine and use it to produce thyroid hormones.
  • Iodine Metabolism: By supporting the enzymatic processes involved in iodine metabolism, magnesium helps maintain proper thyroid function and hormone production.

Thyroid Hormone Activation

Once your thyroid secretes T4, it is bound to the carrier protein thyroglobulin and travels in your bloodstream. Your receiving tissues, especially the gut, liver, muscles, and brown fat cells, remove an iodide from T4, creating the active thyroid hormone T3. It’s T3 that turns on energy production in your cells. 

Magnesium plays a pivotal role in the activation of thyroid hormones:

  • Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3): Magnesium is a cofactor in the conversion of T4 to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. T3 is the main thyroid hormone that regulates your metabolic function and energy production.
  • Hormone Secretion Regulation: Magnesium helps in the secretion of thyroid hormones by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, ensuring that thyroid hormones are released in the right amounts to maintain homeostasis.

Cellular Energy Production

Your thyroid hormones stimulate energy production in every cell. Thyroid hormones, particularly your active thyroid hormone T3, stimulate gene readouts and the mitochondria to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from nutrients such as carbohydrates and fats

ATP is the main energy currency of the cell. ATP powers various biological processes. Aside from making you feel energized and awake, you also need ATP for normal bodily functions and overall metabolic health. Low ATP can result in low energy states such as fatigue and brain fog.

Thyroid hormones can also activate energy-wasting processes that don’t involve ATP production, such as pumping sodium and potassium, increasing heart rate, and body heat.

Magnesium is essential for numerous steps in ATP production and usage, such as:

  • Glucose breakdown for energy: Magnesium acts as a cofactor in the enzymatic reactions that convert glucose into ATP, providing the energy needed for cellular functions. Without adequate magnesium, the efficiency of ATP synthesis is compromised, leading to reduced energy levels.
  • Mitochondrial health and functions: Magnesium is crucial for mitochondrial function, where oxidative phosphorylation occurs. This process generates the majority of ATP in the body, and sufficient magnesium levels ensure optimal mitochondrial energy production.
  • Assisting in the usage of energy for ATP. Most biochemical reactions that use ATP need ATP to come with a magnesium ion.

Stress Management: HPA Axis Regulation

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis manages your body’s response to stress and maintains homeostasis. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Hypothalamus: In response to stress, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). The hypothalamus also produces thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH).
  2. Pituitary Gland: CRH stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Also, TRH stimulates thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is the main hormone tested to screen for thyroid problems.
  3. Adrenal Glands: Sitting on top of your kidneys, ACTH prompts the adrenal glands to produce and release cortisol, the primary stress hormone.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis plays a significant role in stress response. Aside from sharing the hypothalamus and pituitary, the HPA axis also strongly influences thyroid axis functions:

  • Cortisol Regulation: Magnesium helps break down cortisol after a stressful event. Excessive cortisol can inhibit thyroid function and hormone production. For example, high cortisol can increase the conversion of T4 into reverse T3 (rT3). rT3 blocks thyroid hormone receptors, overall reducing thyroid function in your body.
  • Promoting a Balanced Stress Response: By supporting a healthy stress response, magnesium helps reduce the negative impact of stress on the thyroid gland, promoting overall thyroid health.

Interaction Between HPA and HPT Axes

The HPA and HPT axes are interconnected and influence each other. Elevated cortisol levels from HPA axis activation can inhibit the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, reducing TRH and TSH secretion, and consequently lowering thyroid hormone production. So, stress would make TSH a less reliable marker for lower thyroid function. 

This interplay ensures that the body appropriately adjusts metabolic and stress responses to maintain overall homeostasis.

How Do You Know If You Need to Take Magnesium?

Magnesium deficiency can manifest in various ways, indicating the need for supplementation. To learn more about common signs of magnesium deficiency, check out this article: What is a magnesium supplement good for?

1) Fatigue and Low Energy

Since magnesium is essential for energy production, deficiency can lead to persistent fatigue and low energy levels, especially during stress.

An 8-week phase 4 clinical trial compared magnesium 300 mg lactate dihydrate with and without 30 mg vitamin B6 in 264 healthy but stressed adults. Across the board, subjective well-being, mood, and energy/fatigue scores improved compared to baseline in both groups. However, only subjective stress scores significantly improved more in the vitamin B6 group compared to magnesium alone

2) Poor Sleep Quality

Magnesium supports relaxation and sleep quality, so unrestful sleep could be a sign of deficiency. To learn more about how magnesium helps with sleep, check out this article How much magnesium for sleep.

Magnesium supplementation significantly improved subjective and objective sleep measures, especially in the elderly.

3) Lower Stress Resilience

Magnesium helps regulate the stress response, and low levels can contribute to worse health effects of stress.

In an 8-week randomized controlled trial, researchers investigated the effects of magnesium with and without vitamin B6 on mental health and quality of life (QoL) in individuals with low serum magnesium and experiencing severe/extremely severe stress. The study involved adults with high stress levels (DASS-42 stress subscale score >18), randomly assigned to either magnesium + vitamin B6 (Magne B6®) or magnesium alone (Magnespasmyl®).

Mental health measures based on DASS-42 showed significant improvements in both treatment groups from baseline to week 8, particularly in the first 4 weeks (p<0.05).

Quality of life, measured using the Short Form-36 Health Survey, improved continuously over the 8 weeks, with greater perceived physical activity capacity in the magnesium + vitamin B6 group at week 4.

This study implies that magnesium supplementation, especially when combined with vitamin B6, offers meaningful clinical benefits for individuals with stress and low magnesemia, enhancing mental health and QoL.

4) Suboptimal Thyroid Function and Worsen Thyroid Issues

A magnesium deficiency can contribute to suboptimal thyroid function even in the absence of thyroid disorder.

Magnesium does not treat hypothyroidism. Please speak to your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any disease. However, because magnesium plays many roles in the thyroid axis, correcting a magnesium deficiency with medical supervision can be very beneficial.

Hypothyroidism can further lower magnesium levels by:

  • Lowering Stomach Acid: Reducing the absorption of inorganic magnesium salts.
  • Increasing Magnesium Excretion: Hypothyroidism can increase the excretion of magnesium in urine and increase magnesium deficiencies
  • Lowering Magnesium Transport: Decreased efficiency in transporting magnesium to various tissues.
  • Digestive Issues: Hypothyroidism can slow gastrointestinal motility, leading to constipation and poor nutrient absorption, including magnesium.
  • Impairing Vitamin D Metabolism: Vitamin D is crucial for magnesium absorption, and hypothyroidism can impair vitamin D metabolism, reducing magnesium absorption efficiency.

A study explored the relationship between low serum magnesium levels, autoimmune thyroiditis, and thyroid function in a cohort of 1,257 Chinese participants.

Participants were divided into quartiles based on their serum magnesium levels, with the lowest quartile being ≤0.55 mmol/L.

The median serum magnesium level was 0.89 mmol/L, with 5.9% of participants having severely low levels (≤0.55 mmol/L). Participants in the lowest magnesium quartile had significantly higher risks of TGAb positivity, Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT), total hypothyroidism, and subclinical hypothyroidism compared to those in the adequate magnesium group (0.851–1.15 mmol/L).

Severely low serum magnesium levels coincided with increased risks of TGAb positivity, Hashimoto thyroiditis, and hypothyroidism. However, based on this study, it’s unclear whether magnesium had any preventive or therapeutic roles. Also, having TGAb alone is not diagnostic of any disease.

If you have a thyroid disorder, speak to your doctor about correcting a magnesium deficiency. Keep in mind that magnesium supplements can lower the effectiveness of thyroid medications, so you want to take it away from your daily thyroid medications.

For healthy people, it’s generally beneficial to maintain adequate magnesium levels.

What Is the Best Type of Magnesium for Thyroid Health?

To date, there has been no specific clinical trial that compares various magnesium supplements for thyroid health. 

However, the following considerations can help you choose the best magnesium for thyroid health.

1) Choose Organic Forms of Magnesium for Best Absorption

Suboptimal thyroid function can lower gut function and stomach acid, reducing your absorption of inorganic forms of magnesium. Therefore, it’s a good idea to prioritize organic forms of magnesium, such as magnesium bisglycinate or magnesium malate. The following forms, present in Magnesium Breakthrough, do not require stomach acid for absorption.

Magnesium Breakthrough includes seven different forms of magnesium, each selected for its specific benefits and bioavailability:

  1. Magnesium Chelate: Known for its high absorption rate, it supports muscle building, recovery, and overall health.
  2. Magnesium Citrate: Supports metabolic health.
  3. Magnesium Bisglycinate: Known for its calming effects, it supports relaxation and sleep quality.
  4. Magnesium Malate: Supports energy production and muscle function.
  5. Magnesium Sucrosomial: Highly bioavailable, it supports immune function, bone strength, and overall well-being.
  6. Magnesium Taurate: Supports healthy heart, brain, and blood sugar levels.
  7. Magnesium Orotate: Promotes heart health and supports DNA and RNA synthesis.

2) Take Multiple Forms to Replenish All Tissues

Additionally, remember that thyroid hormone functions go beyond your thyroid. Many tissues that receive your thyroid hormones also need magnesium to activate the hormone, create ATP, and use the ATP. Therefore, taking multiple forms of magnesium simultaneously ensures that all tissues receive adequate magnesium. This helps with thyroid hormone activation and energy production in all tissues, optimizing overall thyroid health and function.

3) Take Higher Doses

Many people also find it beneficial to take a higher dose to replenish a magnesium deficiency. Also, it can temporarily relieve constipation. Magnesium Breakthrough exceeds the RDA dose in only 2 small capsules, making it easy to reach this goal.

By choosing the right types of magnesium, at the right dose, and combining multiple forms, you can provide your body with sufficient magnesium to optimize thyroid function. 

How Much Magnesium Should You Take for Thyroid Health?

Dosage and Usage

Start with two capsules of Magnesium Breakthrough daily, preferably with a meal. This ensures that the magnesium is effectively absorbed and utilized by the body.

Consulting with a Healthcare Professional

Before starting any supplementation regimen, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any medical condition. They can help determine the appropriate dosage based on your individual needs and health status.

Conclusion

Magnesium Breakthrough is a scientifically formulated supplement designed to provide a source of magnesium for all biochemical needs in the body, including thyroid health. Its unique blend of seven different forms of magnesium ensures optimal absorption and efficacy, helping you maintain balanced thyroid hormone levels, support iodine uptake, and promote healthy stress response. 

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