How Long After Thyroid Medication Can I Eat (And Why)?

Exact Answer: At least 45 minutes 

Among the major “do’s and don’t” of taking thyroid medicines, the most important one is having the medicine on time and a time gap before consumption of a meal. According to most physicians, it is ideal to have a gap of at least 45 minutes before a meal consumption as certain foods may cause impairment of absorption of thyroid medication. These kinds of foods include milk, spinach, cheese, kale, and similar foods with high calcium content. 

Also, there is a long-standing belief that consuming thyroid medicine in the morning time in an empty stomach is the best, however recent studies have shown that milk can reduce the efficacy of thyroid medicine, and thus for people who like adding milk to their morning tea or cereal are now being advised to take their thyroid medicine at the night time.

How Long After Thyroid Medication Can I Eat?

Doctors prescribe most patients to take the medication 30 or 40 minutes before their breakfast on their empty stomach in the morning and three or four hours after their dinner. Taking the medicine too early or too late can reduce the efficacy of the medicine up to 64% from 80%. Apart from taking the medicine at right time, it is important that the patient does not mix the medicine with other medicines like antacids, iron supplements, and cholesterol drugs.

It is also important that the patient does not start or stop taking other medications without informing their doctors as then the patient might need to alter their thyroid medication or dosage altogether. Another thumb rule of taking any medication is that not being consistent or regular with it, which includes not taking the medicine on time, taking it in the morning one day while taking it in the evening another day.

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Summary: 

Night TimeDay Time 
ProsResearches suggest that taking thyroid medicine at night helps it get absorbed in a better proportion. The patients do not have to wait a long time before their morning breakfast.If a patient has a long-formed habit of taking the medication in the morning then it is only natural to keep it that way.
Cons It might be difficult for some patients to sleep after taking this medication at night. May enjoy little snacks before bed.Other supplements or foods rich in calcium and iron can reduce the absorption of the medicine into the bloodstream. It might be difficult to wait for an hour or 45 minutes before the morning breakfast. 

Why Do I Need To Wait After Taking My Thyroid Medication? 

If a patient eats just after taking their thyroid medication it will not only lower their ability to absorb the medicine but also increase their thyroid-related symptoms, which include fatigue, constipation, dry skin, muscle weakness, and so on. However if for any reason the patient needs to take their meal just after their medication, their doctor can amp up or change their dosage amount or time of taking the medication, which does not lead to major complications in most cases. 

Apart from these people with various internal issues like celiac disease, autoimmune gastritis, Helicobacter pylori infection, Malabsorption syndromes, and so on can cause complications for the patients, and hence it is important the patients take extra precaution while taking the medication. Also, it is important that the medicine is stored away from direct sunlight, heat, and excessive moisture as that will reduce the effectiveness of the medicine as well. It is also important to note that taking T3 supplements, which is the body’s active form of thyroid, might not always help or increase the effectiveness of the thyroid medication, and it should be talked over with the medical practitioner. Now after various studies, major patients are advised to take the medicine at night three or four hours after their dinner, that way the patient does not have to wait for their morning coffee without comprising the efficacy of the medicine. 

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Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be said it is better to suit the lifestyle of an individual to their medicine habits rather than the other way around, keeping in mind their health and well being is not compromised upon. For some maybe it is better at night while for some it is better consumed first thing in the morning, the thumb rule being a time difference after the consumption of the medicine. 

References

  1. https://www.getroman.com/health-guide/feel-better-thyroid-medication/
  2. https://hypothyroidmom.com/are-you-taking-your-thyroid-medication-properly-are-you-sure/
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