Can calcium supplements interfere with hypothyroidism treatment?
Answer From Juan Brito Campana, M.B.B.S.
Yes, they can. Hypothyroidism treatment usually involves thyroid hormone replacement medications. They include synthetic thyroid hormones levothyroxine (Synthroid, Unithroid, others) and liothyronine (Cytomel), as well as thyroid extract supplements. Calcium supplements — or antacids containing calcium — can interfere with how the body absorbs those medications.
The problem happens mainly if you take thyroid hormone replacement and calcium supplements at or near the same time. Follow these steps:
- Don't take calcium supplements or antacids at the same time you take thyroid hormone replacement.
- Take any products containing calcium at least four hours before or after taking thyroid hormone replacement.
Other supplements — especially those containing iron — also can interfere with thyroid hormone replacement. Some foods and other medications can too. If you are prescribed thyroid hormone replacement, tell your health care provider about all the other drugs and supplements you're taking.
Juan Brito Campana, M.B.B.S.
Sept. 14, 2022
- Surks MI. Drug interactions with thyroid hormones. https://uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 3, 2022.
- Ross DS. Treatment of primary hypothyroidism in adults. https://uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 3, 2022.
- Thyroid hormone treatment. American Thyroid Association. https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment. Accessed Aug. 3, 2022.
- Synthroid (prescribing information). North Chicago, Ill.: AbbVie Inc.; 2020. https://www.synthroid.com/. Accessed Aug. 3, 2022.