Are Resveratrol and Thyroid Medication Safe?

Karen Frazier
doctor examining a woman's thyroid

With all of the news about the benefits of resveratrol, people are flocking to supplement this nutrient because of its reported anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties. People with thyroid disorders, however, often react differently to certain medications and supplements than other people do, and some express concern about taking resveratrol products with thyroid medication.

Resveratrol

Many plants produce resveratrol, which is a phenol, to fight off bacteria and fungi. The current subject of multiple animal studies, researchers have found resveratrol may have anti-cancer, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti diabetic and heart protecting effects. Many of these findings led to a host of supplement manufacturers creating resveratrol supplements designed to cash in on the study findings; however, only one human study with positive findings has been performed to date, and that study lacked peer review.

Resveratrol occurs naturally in many foods, including red skinned grapes and some fruits. The level of resveratrol that naturally occurs in these fruits is far less than the amount typically in supplements. Supplemental resveratrol comes primarily from Japanese Knotweed. No long-term studies exist that show the safety or efficacy of large doses of resveratrol over time. Some people taking resveratrol supplements anecdotally report negative side effects, which suggest you should proceed with caution before jumping on the resveratrol supplement bandwagon.

Thyroid Medication

People on thyroid medication do not produce enough of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Depending on their levels of each of these hormones, as well as the presence of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), someone with a hypothyroid disorder might take synthetic T3 or T4 by itself, or a combination of the two. They may also take natural thyroid hormone replacements, typically derived from desiccated porcine thyroid.

Thyroid medication is quite delicate in nature. Doctors and pharmacists recommend taking it on an empty stomach, and not eating for at least an hour after ingesting the medication, because food may render it inactive. Likewise, many doctors recommend taking certain supplements like calcium at a time as far removed from thyroid medication as possible so that they do not interfere.

Resveratrol and Thyroid Medication

Many people who take thyroid medication wonder about the safety and efficacy of resveratrol with their medications. No research exists that indicates whether it is safe to take resveratrol with thyroid medications, nor is there any research supporting that resveratrol helps those with thyroid difficulties. It is best to talk with your doctor or endocrinologist about your specific thyroid condition and discuss whether reseveratrol might affect your treatment.

With no peer-reviewed positive human studies into resveratrol, supplementation remains an experiment, no matter how promising early animal research with resveratrol may seem. If you already deal with thyroid issues, then you may want to stay away from resveratrol until further information comes to light, or unless your doctor suggests resveratrol may be a beneficial course of action for you.

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Are Resveratrol and Thyroid Medication Safe?