How Fiber Can Benefit Your Thyroid

The thyroid is often overlooked but is vital to your body’s proper functioning. Located on your trachea (windpipe) between your Adam's apple and collarbone, the thyroid produces key hormones related to metabolism that keep your body working properly. 

Your health can be significantly impacted without a working thyroid, so keeping this gland healthy and functioning properly throughout your life is vital. 

In this article, we’ll explore common thyroid conditions, how a high-fiber diet and taking a fiber supplement can help manage thyroid conditions, and how to conduct a quick self-assessment to determine if you have an immediate risk of thyroid disease.  

Understanding Thyroid Conditions 

The thyroid produces specific hormones such as T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) which tell your body’s cells how much energy to use, therefore helping to control your metabolism. As these hormones are used up, your thyroid will replace them appropriately.  

Thyroid conditions (often referred to as thyroid disease) occur when the thyroid produces the wrong number of hormones. The two main thyroid conditions you can suffer from are hyperthyroidism and hypotension. 

hyperthyroid conditions and symptoms versus hypothyroid conditions

Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone which causes your body’s cells to use energy too quickly. This can result in increased heart rate, diarrhea, feelings of nervousness/anxiety, feelings of tiredness/fatigue, having trouble sleeping, experiencing an enlarged thyroid, muscle weakness and tremors, irregular menstrual cycle, and/or vision problems or irritation. 

Hypothyroidism occurs in the opposite instance when your thyroid produces too few thyroid hormones. This can result in involuntary weight gain, feelings of tiredness/fatigue, moments of forgetfulness, inability to tolerate cold temperatures, intensified menstrual cycles, having a hoarse voice, having dry hair. 

Why Fiber Can Help 

Eating a diet high in fiber has been linked to the maintenance of your digestive, heart, and overall health. It can also reduce the probability of developing a thyroid condition; those already suffering from a thyroid condition can benefit greatly by ensuring they consume a high-fiber diet.  

Only 5% of Canadians are currently meeting Health Canada’s recommended daily intake of fiber, which is 25g per day for women and 38g per day for men. In fact, most Canadians are only consuming about half that amount. 

Fiber has been linked with numerous health benefits, most notably: 

    • Improving digestion and regularity 
    • Functioning as a prebiotic to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut to flourish 
    • Lowering and regulating LDL and total cholesterol levels, improving heart health 
    • Helping to regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels 
    • Increasing satiety, which can help with weight loss 


strawberries, blueberries, fruits


Those with a thyroid condition are at a higher risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and gut health issues like diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Fiber can be particularly useful to reduce the effects of thyroid conditions by: 

    • Lowering cholesterol to promote a healthy heart 
    • Slowing digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels, after meals, to prevent sugar from being absorbed too quickly 
    • Promoting regular and healthy bowel movements. Insoluble fibers help with constipation, and soluble fibers will bulk your stool to help with diarrhea.  
    • Increasing your satiety. Fiber will help you reduce your caloric intake by making you feel fuller for longer, and therefore, helping you to lose weight, which is a challenging area for those with hypothyroidism. 

What’s the best fiber supplement for helping your thyroid? 

While many Canadians try to meet their fiber needs purely through diet, the reality is it can be hard to get enough. Taking a fiber supplement is a great way to ensure you are getting all the health benefits fiber can provide. 

 When selecting a fiber supplement, look for one with the following attributes: 

  • Contains both soluble and insoluble fiber 
  • Has a clean ingredient deck (beware of added sugars and flavoring) 
  • Naturally grown and produced (many psyllium fibers such as Metamucil are chemically extracted) 
  • Is produced by a reputable brand, preferably domestically 
  • Is backed by research (barley beta-glucan for example is one of the most heavily researched and beneficial types of soluble fiber you can introduce into your diet) 

Cerabeta beta-glucan fiber is an excellent choice because it contains both soluble (beta-glucan) and insoluble fiber, contains a single ingredient (barley), and is produced using a chemical-free process. 

Are there any risks known by supplementing fiber for a thyroid condition? 

The only risk related to taking a fiber supplement is that it can delay the digestion of medications. Because fiber slows the digestion of nutrients in the digestive tract, it can delay medications from being absorbed as well. As a result, it's best to take any medications before or 2 hours after taking a fiber supplement.  

How to conduct a thyroid self-check 

While not exhaustive, this quick self-check provided by the Cleveland Clinic is a good starting point to determine if you are at immediate risk. 

To do this check, you’ll need a mirror and a glass of water. 

  1. Your thyroid is located between your Adam's apple and the collarbone 
  2. Look in the mirror and tilt your head back 
  3. Drink some water, swallow and watch your thyroid move upside down 
  4. Look for any lumps or bumps when you swallow 
  5. Repeat a few times 
  6. If you see any lumps, bumps, or protrusions, you’ll want to see your doctor right away to get yourself checked 

Here’s a detailed video that outlines these steps and what to look for: How to Do a Self-Thyroid Exam 


two women of color sitting at a table, collaborating together, looking at a apple macbook laptop screen
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