To say that your thyroid only requires copper for proper function is incorrect. In fact, while it does need copper, your thyroid also requires zinc and combined, zinc and copper have a very complicated role to play in your overall health and directly the health of your thyroid. The complexity is magnified by the fact that both works in unison only when there is a balance between them in your system.
The thyroid gland produces a hormone called thyroxine. In an inactive form the hormone is called T4. When it is in its active form thyroxine is known as T3. Zinc in your body is responsible for converting T4 into T3. Zinc can be very easy for us to obtain from the foods we eat.
However, zinc deficiencies exist mostly due to those who either choose not to have red meat in their diet or have poor diets due to busy lifestyles and stress. In fact, vegetarians tend to suffer from a lack of zinc more than anyone else. Fortunately, there is supplementation available to ‘top up’ any deficiency. Zinc and copper deficiencies commonly occur in individuals suffering from diseases related to the gastrointestinal tract.
Although zinc naturally exists in every cell of your body, when you use it to combat hypothyroidism something unusual happens. You end up reducing the amount of copper in your system. To prevent this from becoming an issue, you just need to include a copper supplement if you are taking zinc for upwards of a couple of weeks as a hypothyroidism treatment.
Why You Need Copper
Copper is required for your body as it works to regulate a balance between progesterone and estrogen. Although, copper taken alone is good for your thyroid as it stimulates hormone production. It also ‘filters’ the volume of T3 that can enter your bloodstream. As for your blood, copper works to keep calcium levels in check. Calcium is used to assist with mineral absorption.
Copper is a mineral that dates back several centuries. In fact, the Egyptian Ankh symbol, which represents eternal life, is used to identify the mineral. In ancient times the mineral was found to be an antibacterial which was used to contain the growth of bacteria in airborne and water locations. As for your body, you need copper in order to properly absorb vitamin C and iron.
The Dosage Of Copper You Need For Hypothyroidism
As stated above, the combination of zinc and copper work together in creating a healthy environment for your thyroid gland. However, because they work so well together, there is a balance that needs to be followed for best results. This is because if you end up with slightly more of one and too little of the other, you will not see much progress.
Scientific data shows that people suffering with hypothyroidism have a significantly higher level of zinc. The same study reveals that copper levels are considerably lower in those with hypothyroidism. This gives us something to measure against. Plus, the amount of supplementation required of zinc and copper will be different for men and women.
A general rule of thumb is that men will require a ratio of 5:1 of zinc to copper. Women will require a ratio in the amount of 10:1 of zinc to copper. What makes this very delicate balance even more interesting is that it not only has an effect of hypothyroidism, it can impact hyperthyroidism (an over active thyroid gland) as well. This means that any significant imbalance can lead to the development of either hypo or hyperthyroidism.
The recommended cycle of supplementation revolves around taking zinc to begin and adding copper later. Copper should be consumed on the days when zinc is not and you will have to make adjustments as you go in order to strike the correct balance between the minerals. The treatment of hyperthyroidism is the exact opposite of that for hypothyroidism.
Mineral supplementation is successful in treating thyroid conditions however, following the information on the bottle labels is a must. Pregnant women and nursing mothers must seek permission from their doctor prior to adding any kind of supplementation to their diet.