Expert Advice

Food & Nutrients That May Interact with Thyroid Medication

Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC., is partnering with Nicole German Morgan, RDN, LD, CLT to bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post is sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor about your individual medical situation.

Thyroid medication often comes with a warning label to inform you that you should take it on an empty stomach and wait 30 minutes to 60 minutes before eating. What does these guidelines mean? And are there any foods that should not be eaten soon after taking thyroid medicine? We have your guidelines for what not to eat when you are taking thyroid medication in the morning.

Top 5 Foods & Nutrients to Limit in the Morning

1. Calcium-Fortified Foods and Supplements

One other warning you may see on your thyroid medication is to avoid taking calcium or iron-containing supplements within four to five hours of taking this medicine. It may also be wise to look at foods you consume in that are fortified with calcium, such as orange juice and non-dairy milks. Other foods that contain high levels of calcium are:

  • All dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Sardines
  • Whey protein
  • Cooked leafy greens

2. Iron-Rich Foods and Supplements

Not only should you avoid taking iron supplements in the morning, you should also consider limiting these foods that are high in iron:

  • Iron-fortified cereals and grains
  • Beef
  • Sardines
  • Liver and organ meats
  • Soybeans and tofu
  • Cooked spinach

3. High-Fiber Foods

Some research indicates that taking thyroid medication along with a meal high in fiber can increase thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels due to a decreased absorption of the medication.¹ If you need to continue to eat a high-fiber breakfast, you can work with your doctor to optimize your thyroid hormone levels. Here are a few examples of high fiber foods:

  •  Artichokes
  • Raspberries
  • Chia seeds
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • High-fiber cereal such as bran cereals
  • Fiber-fortified products such as cereal bars, granola bars and protein bars
  • In addition to high-fiber foods, you may want to limit fiber supplements in the morning.

4. Iodine-Rich Foods

There is some research that suggests that taking thyroid medicine around the same time as eating iodine-rich food can reduce its effectiveness.² Here are some foods that are rich in iodine that you may want to consider limiting:

  • Seaweed and other sea vegetables
  • Cod
  • Shrimp
  • Milk
  • Iodized salt

5. Coffee and Tea

Many forget about waiting to drink coffee or tea after taking their thyroid medication in the morning. However, it is just as important to wait 30 minutes to 60 minutes after taking your medication to have these beverages.

As always, check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your diet, medications and supplements. This guide should give you a good start for planning your morning meals and routine, and help you take a step closer to optimizing your thyroid health.

Important Risk Information

Drugs with thyroid hormone activity, alone or together with other therapeutic agents, have been used for the treatment of obesity. In euthyroid patients, doses within the range of daily hormonal requirements are ineffective for weight reduction. Larger doses may produce serious or even life-threatening manifestations of toxicity, particularly when given in association with sympathomimetic amines such as those used for their anorectic effects.
  • NP Thyroid® is contraindicated in patients with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency, untreated thyrotoxicosis, and hypersensitivity to any component of the product.
  • In the elderly and in patients with cardiovascular disease, NP Thyroid® should be used with greater caution than younger patients or those without cardiovascular disease.
  • Use of NP Thyroid® in patients with diabetes mellitus or adrenal cortical insufficiency may worsen the intensity of their symptoms.
  • The therapy of myxedema coma requires simultaneous administration of glucocorticoids.
  • Concomitant use of NP Thyroid® with oral anticoagulants alters the sensitivity of oral anticoagulants. Prothrombin time should be closely monitored in thyroid-treated patients on oral anticoagulants.
  • In infants, excessive doses of NP Thyroid® may produce craniosynostosis.
  • Partial loss of hair may be experienced by children in the first few months of therapy but is usually transient.
  • Adverse reactions associated with NP Thyroid® therapy are primarily those of hyperthyroidism due to therapeutic overdosage.
  • Many drugs and some laboratory tests may alter the therapeutic response to NP Thyroid®. In addition, thyroid hormones and thyroid status have varied effects on the pharmacokinetics and actions of other drugs. Administer at least 4 hours before or after drugs that are known to interfere with absorption. Evaluate the need for dose adjustments when regularly administering within one hour of certain foods that may affect absorption.
  • NP Thyroid® should not be discontinued during pregnancy, and hypothyroidism diagnosed during pregnancy should be promptly treated.


NP Thyroid® (thyroid tablets, USP) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat a condition called hypothyroidism from any cause, except for cases of temporary hypothyroidism, which is usually associated with an inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis). It is meant to replace or supplement a hormone that is usually made by your thyroid gland.

NP Thyroid® is also used in the treatment and prevention of normal functioning thyroid goiters, such as thyroid nodules, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multinodular goiter, and in the management of thyroid cancer.