3 Common Tests For Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

By Corri Peterson

If you are being tested for thyroid peroxidase antibodies, there is a reason your doctor believes you may have an autoimmune thyroid disease.

Thyroid peroxidase antibodies’ presence indicates that the cause of thyroid disease is an autoimmune disorder, such as Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease. With these autoimmune disorders, your immune system makes antibodies that attack the normal thyroid tissue, causing swelling and tenderness and leading to increased or reduced thyroid function. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) is an enzyme typically found in the thyroid gland. TPO plays an essential role in producing thyroid hormones. A TPO test detects antibodies against TPO in the blood. If you have a thyroid disease diagnosis, your doctor may suggest a TPO antibody test and additional thyroid tests to help find the cause.

How Do They Test For Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

After a physical exam, blood samples are drawn to test the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones and the levels of thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

Here are the reference ranges for the three antithyroid antibodies:

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb): Less than 35 IU/mL.
  • Thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb): Less than 20 IU/mL.
  • Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin antibodies (TSI): Less than 140% of basal activity

Here are the reference ranges for thyroid hormones:

TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone): Reference range- 0.5-4.70 mIU/L

Some labs have upper limits of 8-10 mIU/L, while others have upper limits of 5.0 mIU/L. Many functional medicine and holistic doctors use upper limits of 2.5 mIU/L.

T4 (Thyroxine): Reference range: 4.5-12.5ug/dl

FT4 Free t4-(free thyroxine): Reference range: 0.8-1.8ng/dl

T3 (Triiodothyronine): Reference range: 87-180 ng/dl

FT3 (Free T3): Reference range-230-420pg/dl

RT3-(reverse T3/reverse triiodothyronine)– Reference range-10-24 ng/dl

Free T3/reverse T3 ratio– A ratio of 2 or higher

Your doctor may request a Radioactive iodine uptake test to measure the rate the thyroid absorbs iodine. This test reveals if the thyroid is overactive or underactive.

Your doctor may also request imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imagery (MRI).

The Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases

Graves’ Disease

Graves’ disease creates an overactive thyroid that makes more thyroid hormone than the body needs, known as hyperthyroidism. In addition, Graves’ disease causes your immune system to produce antibodies known as thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins. These antibodies attach to healthy thyroid cells causing your thyroid to create too much thyroid hormone.

These symptoms are more specific to Graves’ disease:

Feeling tired

Fast or irregular heartbeat

Irritability and anxiety

Frequent bowel movements

Trouble sleeping

Weight loss

Sensitivity to heat

Risk Factors of Developing Graves’ Disease

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Family History- Having a family member with Graves’ disease increases your risk

Sex- Women are more likely to develop Graves’ disease

Age- Graves’ disease usually develops before the age of 40

Pregnancy- Being pregnant or childbirth may trigger Graves’ disease, especially if there’s a family history

Physical or Emotional Stress- Illness or stress may trigger Graves’ disease, again, if there’s a family history

Other autoimmune disorders- If you have one autoimmune disease, you are at risk to develop another. Diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are examples.

Smoking- Cigarette smoking increases the risk of Graves’ by lowering your immune system. Smokers with Graves’ disease also have an increased risk of Graves’ ophthalmopathy.

Treatment Options for Graves’ Disease

Radioactive iodine-

The most common treatment for Graves’ disease is radioactive iodine (RAI) or radioiodine. This treatment destroys overactive thyroid cells and is given in liquid or in a capsule.

There are concerns that radioiodine may put you at a higher risk for Thyroid Eye Disease. Consult with your health care provider if you feel at risk.

Antithyroid Medicines-

Antithyroid medicines reduce the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces, however, lasting results depend on treating the actual autoimmune disease and slowing the production of thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

Surgery-

The least common form of treatment for Graves’ disease is a Thyroidectomy, the complete or partial removal of the thyroid gland. This is for those with extremely enlarged thyroids or goiter and pregnant women who can’t tolerate antithyroid drugs.

Those patients who have had radioactive iodine or surgery will have to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives.

While RAI is sometimes necessary, many people receive this treatment method when they could have restored their health through natural treatment methods. Functional medicine doctors will recommend adding selenium and a whole foods diet to slow the production of thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

FYI- Most conventional doctors will not give their patients any options other than RAI. They tell their patients that is the only treatment available and that Synthroid is the only replacement hormone that works!

There are many people who have received radioactive iodine therapy who are depressed and angry when they realize that they might have “saved” their thyroid gland instead of permanently damaging it.

They wonder if natural remedies would have corrected the disease without damaging or removing it.
Keep in mind that even if you have had RAI or surgery, following a natural thyroid healing program will help ease any remaining symptoms and help restore your health.

After all, damaging or removing your thyroid does nothing to address the autoimmune disease, but does leave you at risk of developing another autoimmune disease.

How to Know If Natural Thyroid Treatments Will Work

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Ultimately, the goal of natural thyroid treatment is not to manage symptoms but to get to the underlying cause of the disease. Natural treatment methods will often restore the individual’s health, eliminating the need for thyroid medication for the rest of their lives.

However, other times it’s not possible to completely restore their health. Still, it is possible to strengthen other areas of their body that led to their thyroid condition, which will help prevent future diseases from developing.

The reason is radioactive iodine therapy does nothing for the root cause of the thyroid condition. While it does help manage some of the symptoms, one needs to understand that the malfunctioning thyroid gland isn’t the cause of a hyperthyroid disorder in most cases. Destroying the gland makes absolutely no sense unless someone has severe symptoms and has tried every treatment method available.

However, the truth is that while RAI should be used as a last resort, you need to know that this is how most endocrinologists and other medical doctors are trained to treat such conditions.

While some great endocrinologists are out there, most are trained to use drugs and radioactive iodine therapy as their only treatment methods for hyperthyroid conditions. So, if you asked your endocrinologist or general practitioner about natural treatment methods, they would advise you not to follow such an unproven protocol.

Even if this isn’t the case, remember that what initially caused your thyroid condition to develop most likely still exists. Because of this, you should consider natural thyroid treatment methods to “optimize” your health and help prevent other autoimmune conditions from developing in the future.

Risk Factors for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

While some scientists believe a virus or bacterium triggers the response, others feel it’s a genetic flaw, and a growing number believe environmental toxins are to blame.

These symptoms are more specific to Hashimoto thyroiditis:

Enlarged thyroid, also known as a goiter

Fatigue (tiredness) and sluggishness

Weight gain

Sensitivity to cold

Slowed heart rate

Memory problems

Constipation

Pale, dry skin

Puffy face

Fullness in the throat

Untreated Hashimoto’s Can Cause Several Health Issues

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Here are five of the most common-

Goiter
Hypothyroidism is a common cause of goiters. Your thyroid’s constant stimulation to release hormones can cause the gland to enlarge, known as a goiter. A large goiter affects your appearance and may interfere with swallowing or breathing.

Heart Problems

Hashimoto’s disease slows thyroid function, so heart rate is slower, blood pressure increases, fluid retention is more significant, and increased cholesterol levels. Severe hypothyroidism can lead to heart failure.

Mental health issues

Thyroid disorders often cause emotional or mental health symptoms along with physical symptoms. As a result, it’s common for people to see a doctor for symptoms they had no idea were linked to thyroid disease.

A few of the most common mental health symptoms-

ADHD Depression and anxiety

Difficulties with concentration

Short-term memory lapses

Lack of interest and mental alertness

Slowed mental functioningIrritability

Short-temper

Dementia

It’s common for a person with symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and “brain fog” to mistakenly receive a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. As a result, they receive prescriptions for antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sedatives, or all three, instead of thyroid dysfunction treatment.

Myxedema (miks-uh-DEE-muh)

This life-threatening condition can develop due to deficient hormone levels caused by severely advanced hypothyroidism due to untreated Hashimoto’s disease. Symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, and hypothermia.

In addition, due to progressive thyroid disease, skin changes include swelling of the face, lips, eyelids, tongue, and thickening of the skin anywhere on the body, especially on the lower legs.

A life-threatening condition created by hypothyroidism is a myxedema coma, also known as a myxedema crisis. A more accurate term since a person experiencing a myxedema coma doesn’t always fall into a comatose state.

A myxedema coma can be triggered by colds, sedatives, infection, or other stress on your body. Myxedema coma requires immediate emergency medical treatment.

Higher Risk of Birth defects

Babies born to women with hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s disease or hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease may have a higher risk of congenital disabilities. Studies show that these children are more prone to intellectual and developmental problems.

In addition, there are links between hypothyroid pregnancies and birth defects, an increased risk of heart, brain, and kidney defects, and risk of premature birth, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

Because thyroid hormones are crucial to your baby’s brain and nervous system development, untreated hypothyroidism can cause problems with low IQ and normal development, especially during the first trimester.

If you’re planning to get pregnant or are in early pregnancy, be sure to have your thyroid level checked. This checkup is crucial there is a history of thyroid disease in your family.

Monitoring Your Thyroid During Pregnancy Helps Avoid Dangerous Health Issues:

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Preeclampsia- A severe high blood pressure condition in which organs like kidneys and liver are not working correctly. This pressure also stresses the heart and can cause pregnancy problems.

Pulmonary hypertension– This type of high blood pressure is in the lungs’ arteries and the right side of your heart.

Placental abruption– This is a condition where the placenta separates from the uterus wall before birth. The placenta delivers food and oxygen through the umbilical cord to the baby.

Heart failure– Your heart isn’t pumping as it should.

Thyroid storm– Your symptoms get much worse, suddenly. This rare, life-threatening condition puts pregnant women at high risk of heart failure.

Anemia– A lack of healthy red blood cells; they carry oxygen to every part of your body.

Gestational hypertension– This high blood pressure starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy and goes away after giving birth.

Myxedema– Severe, untreated hypothyroidism that may cause coma and death is a rare condition.

Postpartum hemorrhage-When a woman has heavy bleeding after delivery. The severe but rare condition usually happens one day after birth but is possible up to twelve weeks after the delivery.

Developing Fetuses Face Multiple Health Problems

Premature birth– Babies born before 37weeks of pregnancy are considered premature.

Goiter– When there is a lack of iodine, the thyroid gets larger, trying to capture all the iodine it can to make the right amount of thyroid hormone.

Low birthweight– A baby born weighing less than five pounds, 8 ounces.

Thyroid problems– Babies whose mothers have autoimmune thyroid disease risk developing thyroid problems because the antibodies can cross through the placenta.

Miscarriage or stillbirth– Rates for miscarriage are double in women with mild thyroid dysfunction. Simultaneously, stillbirth risk is seven times greater than women with normal thyroid hormone levels.

Infantile myxedema– Severe hypothyroidism can cause dwarfism and intellectual disabilities, leading to low intelligence and a lack of daily life skills.

Ongoing Problems with growth and brain and nervous system development– The nervous system helps you think, move, and feel. If left untreated, particularly in the first trimester, hypothyroidism can cause low IQ in a baby.

As you can see, if you suspect you have a thyroid problem or thyroid disease runs in your family, thyroid testing is vital for your health and the health of your developing baby. Remember, your body attacked your thyroid; your thyroid just responded. Many experts believe that the increase in thyroid disorders is a combination of stress, poor diet, and environmental toxins.

Lifestyle Changes Improve Thyroid Function

Holistic and functional medicine doctors recommend less processed food, avoiding toxins when possible (they are everywhere and in everything, so avoiding them is impossible), and reducing stress to ease any symptoms and improve your thyroid function. As I mentioned earlier, whole foods slow the production of thyroid peroxidase antibodies, making it easier for your thyroid to function properly.

I have written a post about how toxins affect your thyroid health. You can read it here: https://knowyourthyroid.com/improving-your-thyroid-gland-function-17-toxins-to-avoid/ Keep in mind: these toxins have a cumulative effect, even if you are getting a tiny amount of toxins from different sources, it adds up and your thyroid suffers.

You can improve your thyroid health and ease your symptoms with a few changes. It will be totally worth it!


Take care,

Corri


References:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/thyroid-disease/expert-answers/faq-20058114https://www.healthline.com/health/graves-disease#symptomshttps://www.healthline.com/health/graves-disease#treatmenthttps://www.google.com/search?q=heart+problems+linked+to+hypothyroidism&oq=heart+problems+linked+to+hypo&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j33i22i29i30l4.29669j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/expert-answers/thyroid-disease/faq-20058228https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20351855https://www.btf-thyroid.org/psychological-symptoms-and-thyroid-disordershttps://www.arundellodge.org/thyroid-dysfunction-is-often-confused-with-mental-illness/https://www.healthline.com/health/myxedemahttps://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20020118/thyroid-disease-increases-birth-defectshttps://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/pregnancy-thyroid-diseasehttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321886https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/thyroid-conditions-during-pregnancy.aspxhttps://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/patient-information/conditions-treated-a-to-z/goiterhttps://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/766266#:~:text=Hypothyroidism%20has%20been%20linked%20to,subclinical%20hypothyroidism%20has%20remained%20uncertain.SHAREhttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hashimoto-diet#supplements

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease-Are You At Risk

By Corri Peterson

Hashimoto thyroid disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, aka chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S. This condition tends to run in families and it’s most common in adult females, but anyone can develop it.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease targeting the thyroid, causing inflammation. This inflammation causes the thyroid to leak excess hormones causing hyperthyroidism. As the disease progresses, the inflammation causes thyroid cells to die, causing hypothyroidism. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

It is common for those diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease to experience hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) symptoms, followed by hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) symptoms as the disease progresses. Many patients diagnosed with Hashimoto’s describe it as being on a huge roller coaster ride.

In the early stages of Hashimoto’s, many are misdiagnosed with depression. In addition, fatigue, along with adrenal gland imbalances, often accompany Hashimoto’s.

Misdiagnosis Is Common With Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Early symptoms of Hashimoto’s have also been confused with several conditions, including:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS
  • An anxiety disorder
  • Cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder
  • ADHD

Being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease increases the risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Addison’s disease
  • Graves’ disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Vitiligo
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura

What Causes Hashimoto thyroid disease?

It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to make antibodies that attack your thyroid gland. Although doctors don’t know the exact cause, some think a virus or bacterium may be a trigger; others believe genetics may be involved. Heredity, sex, and age may also factor into the likelihood of developing the disease; plus, many researchers link environmental toxins, poor diet, and chronic stress to the rise in thyroid disorders.

As the disease progresses, the hypothyroidism symptoms become more and more apparent. However, many times symptoms are not noticeable until the condition has advanced or a goiter is noticed.

Here are a few of the symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Depression
  • Memory lapses

Diagnosing Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

After a physical exam, blood samples are drawn to test the levels of thyroid hormone. Your doctor may also test for thyroperoxidase antibodies if there is a suspicion you may have an autoimmune thyroid disease.

TPO antibodies’ presence suggests that the cause of thyroid disorder is an autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease.

Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) is an enzyme typically found in the thyroid gland. TPO plays a vital role in the production of thyroid hormones. A TPO test detects antibodies in the blood. If you have a thyroid disease diagnosis, your doctor may request antibody tests combined with TSH, Free T3, and Free T4 to help find the cause.

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Five Tests for Hashimoto’s:

1. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

2. Free liothyronine (T3)

3. Free thyroxine (T4)

4. Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb)

5. Thyroglobulin antibodies (TGAb)

You may undergo a Radioactive iodine uptake scan to measure the rate at which the thyroid absorbs iodine. This test reveals if the thyroid is overactive or underactive.

Your doctor may also request imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) to help confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Options

Conventional doctors will prescribe Synthroid or its generic version, levothyroxine. However, since most don’t believe or aren’t taught that diet and supplements help with recovery, they will tell you not to bother with either of them. Because Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid, treating just the thyroid will not resolve all symptoms. You have to treat the autoimmune disease also.

If you see a naturopathic or a functional medicine physician, they may switch you to desiccated thyroid hormones like Armour Thyroid or Nature-Throid containing T4 and T3 and calcitonin. Some patients with thyroid disease have trouble with the conversion of T4 to active T3, desiccated thyroid hormones have active T3 ready for the body to use.

Also, many patients who have had their thyroid removed or damaged by RAI report having better symptom control with natural thyroid hormones.

Naturopathic doctors will also test vitamin and mineral levels in the body to set up a recovery plan that focuses on healing the whole body, including supplements like vitamin D3, vitamin A, selenium, and amino acid L-tyrosine that support thyroid function.

Some medications and supplements that may affect levothyroxine absorption include:

  • antacids- that contain aluminum hydroxide
  • calcium supplements
  • iron supplements and multivitamins that contain iron
  • cholesterol-lowering drugs like cholestyramine (Questran)
  • sodium polystyrene sulfonate is used to treat high levels of potassium in the blood

Some foods can also affect absorption, including soy products and very high-fiber foods.

Cholesterol and Thyroid Hormones

Your body uses thyroid hormones to make cholesterol and remove the excess it doesn’t need.

Hypothyroidism slows bodily functions making it more difficult for your body to break down and remove LDL cholesterol, causing a build-up in your blood.

People with slightly low thyroid levels or subclinical hypothyroidism may have higher than normal LDL levels. Conversely, studies have found that high TSH levels can directly affect and raise cholesterol levels, even if thyroid hormones aren’t low.

FYI- Conventional doctors will advise you to start taking a statin if your cholesterol levels are high. If your thyroid hormones are slightly low, they may not give you thyroid hormone, but they advise you to take a statin or cholesterol-lowering drug while ignoring the thyroid connection.

Holistic or functional medicine doctors work with you through diet and lifestyle changes to improve your thyroid function, so hormone and cholesterol levels balance out naturally. They try to avoid prescriptions if possible.

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease Can Cause Reproductive Problems

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Without treatment, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to several reproductive complications. These include:

  • infertility issues
  • miscarriage
  • birth abnormalities

In addition, severe Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can result in several serious health conditions, including heart failure, seizures, or a coma.

Untreated, the disease may have links with Hashimoto’s encephalitis, inflammation of the brain that causes confusion, seizures, and jerking of the muscles. However, it’s unclear whether there is a direct link or how the two may be related.

Diet Choices Help Ease Symptoms

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Research does not suggest that dietary changes can cure or prevent Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. But research shows that diet and lifestyle changes can significantly affect the severity of your symptoms.

Most patients still have symptoms that affect their quality of life, even after treatment with medication. The medication may control the symptoms of hypothyroidism but doesn’t address the autoimmune disease, which is the root of the problem.

Researchers link inflammation to a wide range of Hashimoto’s symptoms, and inflammation is often tied to diet.

Diet and lifestyle changes will ease the inflammation within your body, and nutrition, combined with supplements, supplies your body with the support it needs to heal.

Since everyone responds differently to treatment, this disease is best treated with an individualized approach, including testing each person’s vitamin and mineral levels to implement the proper treatment plan.

Supplements That Support Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Many with Hashimoto’s are deficient or will benefit from these supplements:

  • Selenium. Selenium helps reduce antithyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies and improves overall well-being.
  • Zinc. Zinc is essential for thyroid function. When used alone or with selenium, taking this mineral every day may improve thyroid function.
  • Curcumin. Studies have shown that this potent anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant supplement may protect the thyroid.
  • Vitamin D. People with Hashimoto’s disease are known for significantly lower levels of this vitamin than most. Studies link low vitamin D levels with disease severity.
  • B complex vitamins. People with Hashimoto’s disease tend to be low in B vitamins. Many benefit from taking a B complex vitamin to boost B12 and other essential B vitamins.
  • Magnesium. Low levels increase the risk of Hashimoto’s disease and higher thyroid antibodies. Improving magnesium deficiencies often improves symptoms in those with thyroid disease.
  • Iron. People with Hashimoto’s disease commonly develop anemia. Some may need supplements to correct the deficiency.

Supplements like fish oil, alpha-lipoic acid, and N-acetyl cysteine may also help ease symptoms for people with Hashimoto’s disease.

Be aware it’s common to develop more than one autoimmune disease.

Thyroiditis has been linked to celiac disease and lactose intolerance. However, many with thyroid disease find avoiding dairy and gluten helps their thyroid-related symptoms.

Patients with Hashimoto’s should limit sugars and processed foods. Processed food is high in saturated fats that increase cholesterol and preservatives that harm your gastrointestinal tract. Fast food is also full of preservatives and additives, plus the wrappers and boxes are coated with hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Those with Hashimoto’s run the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, so eating a thyroid-boosting diet focusing on your specific needs eases symptoms and helps control weight.

Nourishing Your Thyroid

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

These foods support and nourish your thyroid for better health:

  • Eggs: Egg whites are full of protein, and the yolks have iodine and selenium.
  • Meat: Protein is vital to thyroid function, so include lamb, beef, and chicken in your diet. Avoid processed meats; they have chemicals that mimic our hormones.
  • Fish: Including salmon, tuna, halibut, and shrimp; avoid fish high in mercury. This heavy metal leads to thyroid inflammation and hypothyroidism by slowing or altering hormone response.
  • Vegetables: Consume as many vegetables as possible—they have the needed nutrients to heal and rebuild your body. You have more than likely heard not to eat cruciferous vegetables if you have thyroid disease. These vegetables have compounds that slow thyroid hormone production and reduce iodine uptake by the thyroid.
  • Fruits: Including berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc. Just like vegetables, your body needs the nutrients found in fruits. Try to avoid pesticides, but that’s not always possible. I soak my fruits in a sink full of cold water with a cup of white vinegar for 10-15 minutes, then rinse well. It’s incredible (disgusting) how dirty the water gets!
  • Gluten-free grains and seeds: Try rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, and flax seeds. You can experiment with this food group to determine which ones you like, and which best nourish your body.
  • Dairy: This category is somewhat controversial—dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., supply many beneficial vitamins and minerals. However, many with hypothyroidism experience inflammation and excess mucus after consuming dairy. Most feel better after avoiding dairy altogether.
  • Beverages: Filtered water and other non-caffeinated beverages. Try to avoid fluoride in your drinking water. A little know fact- fluoride was used until the 1950s to slow thyroid function in patients with hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease.

If you have Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, you should focus on a diet based on vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. They offer vital nutrients, are filling, and don’t have empty calories.

Which Foods Should You Avoid?

  • Soy foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc. There has always been concern over the harmful effects of the compounds in soy called isoflavones on the thyroid.
  • Certain vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc. As mentioned earlier, these cruciferous vegetables have compounds that slow the thyroid and inhibit iodine uptake.
  • Fruits and starchy plants: cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc. These are prone to raise blood sugar, so they are best limited or avoided altogether.
  • Nuts and seeds: These are harmful to some, so take caution when consuming millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc

These are not the only troublesome foods to avoid or limit; as you learn how to manage this disease, you will learn the foods that make you feel better and the ones to avoid.

As you work to regain your health, you may run across those who don’t believe that food and nutrition affect your thyroid and health, including most conventional doctors. Doctors are taught in medical school that thyroid disease is an “easy, quick fix. One test, one pill, and you’re done.”

The problem is for many; nothing could be further from the truth.

These doctors treat thyroid dysfunction but fail to address the root cause of the thyroid problem, the autoimmune disease.

As I mentioned before, many Hashimoto’s patients are deficient in magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Supplementing vitamin deficiencies helps fight the root cause of thyroid disorder, the autoimmune disease, and ease inflammation.

Hashimoto’s patients who still struggle with symptoms even while on medication can find relief following a custom treatment plan created for them by a holistic or functional medicine doctor. These doctors test vitamin and mineral levels to target deficiencies and are more likely to prescribe natural hormones than levothyroxine. In addition, these doctors focus on treating and healing the whole body, including clearing heavy metals and environmental toxins.

Take care,

Corri


References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/

https://www.healthline.com/health/thyroid-issues-and-cholesterol

https://www.webmd.com/women/whatis-autoimmune-thyroiditis

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266780#diet

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/ask_can_hashimotos_cause_other_autoimmune_diseases/article_em.htm

https://drjewilliams.com/five-tests-tell-hashimotos/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hypothyroidism-diet

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hypothyroidism-diet#effects-on-metabolism

https://www.verywellhealth.com/armour-thyroid-for-hypothyroidism-3233291

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/aip-diet-autoimmune-protocol-diet#how-it-works

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/aip-diet-autoimmune-protocol-diet

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0203335#:~:text=The%20thyroid%20gland%20like%20the,action%20%5B29%2C%2030%5D.

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/what-best-diet-hypothyroidism

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326275

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/thyroid-pictures/foods-to-avoid/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-with-hypothyroidism/vitamins/SHARE

How To Ease Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

By Corri Peterson

Underactive thyroid symptoms are most common in women over age 50. It’s a condition caused by an underproduction of thyroid hormone and it affects women six times as often as it does men.

It’s estimated that roughly 13 million people in the U.S. struggle with underactive thyroid symptoms, although many experts believe that number to be closer to 20 million.

However, low thyroid or underactive thyroid symptoms, also known as hypothyroidism, are on the rise in women of childbearing age, plus more young children are showing development issues linked to an underactive thyroid.

An Underactive Thyroid Can Trigger Many Illnesses and Diseases

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

The thyroid gland is linked to the immune system and metabolism. Everything from an inadequate diet to heavy metal poisoning to pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables can affect it. The thyroid can be linked to just about any condition.

This small, butterfly-shaped organ regulates our metabolism in every body cell and is linked to many organ system dysfunctions. (We are focused on sharing information and solutions to improve your health and quality of life. If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

The thyroid produces about one teaspoon of hormone per year. However, too little of this hormone results in fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, appetite loss, recurrent infections, muscle cramps and weakness, constipation, a slowed heart rate, depression, and dry and scaly skin.

Two common symptoms people complain about are fatigue and always feeling cold.

For women, painful periods, problems with fertility, and discharge from the breasts can commonly occur. Hormonal imbalances also occur when excess estrogen dominates over progesterone. Typically, a women’s ratio of progesterone is about 10:1 to estrogen. Too much estrogen has been shown to slow thyroid production. Progesterone, on the other hand, encourages it.

These providers also may suggest antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, anti-anxiety medications, and weight-loss aids when diet and lifestyle changes make a huge difference.

Many women who are going through menopause also develop problems with their thyroid glands. These women have several hormone disruptions that cause all kinds of symptoms, however, many conventional healthcare providers don’t link the two. Your provider may suggest HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) to ease hot flashes, but keep in mind, that HRT is known to cause blood clots. Plus, no one will tell you that when you stop HRT, it’s like starting the hot flashes all over again.

FYI-Adding progesterone helps ease several symptoms of both low thyroid and menopause.

If you are suffering from the above symptoms, check with your health care provider for a TSH test. Be aware that you may have symptoms, but your TSH test will be normal.

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

Many times, those with underactive thyroid symptoms will experience discomfort and illness symptoms but don’t show concrete evidence they are sick, known as subclinical hypothyroidism. Many women will experience hypothyroidism symptoms – fatigue, constantly feeling cold, low heart rate, weight gain – however, the disease is within normal ranges when medically tested. However, the results will most likely be at the high or low end of the acceptable levels.

Health care providers can be hesitant to prescribe thyroid hormone for subclinical hypothyroidism. Many believe exterior factors have affected the thyroid and will straighten itself out. However, other providers believe it is the beginning of full-blown thyroid disease.

The standard treatment of hypothyroidism is to prescribe thyroid hormone replacement drugs. Those can include Synthroid, Armor thyroid (the natural form of the thyroid), or levothyroxine. All three are effective at eliminating symptoms; treatment, however, will be ongoing for a lifetime.

Self-Testing for An Underactive Thyroid

If you have fallen into the category where your provider doesn’t believe you have a thyroid problem and there are millions who have, there is a standardized self-test for detecting an underactive thyroid developed by Dr. Broda Barnes.

After years of extensive research, Dr. Barnes concluded the TSH tests used by standard medical practitioners weren’t reliable indicators of thyroid function. Instead, he found that a six-day average of one’s basal temperature was a more accurate indicator of the thyroid’s ability to regulate the body’s function and metabolism.

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

How to Take Your Basal Temperature

Start with a thermometer next to your bed. First thing in the morning, before rising, place the thermometer under your arm for 15 minutes. Do not move while doing this, as movement can alter the reading. Do this for a minimum of at least five days and record the readings. Temperatures of 97.6 F or lower may indicate an underactive thyroid, or subclinical or borderline condition, especially if the readings are consistent.

If you suspect hypothyroidism, start by having your hormone levels in the blood tested. For blood tests come back within the normal range, but you are still experiencing symptoms, you may have a subclinical condition, this occurs when TSH levels in the blood are elevated, but T4 and T3 levels are normal.

Easing Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

Dr. Mark Ladner, a co-author of, The Encyclopedia of Women’s Health, believes nutritional deficiencies and stress are two significant factors of hypothyroidism. He also argues that iodine deficiencies, the main factor in hypothyroidism, are rare since common table salt, found in most people’s diets, has been supplemented with iodine.

However, some practitioners believe the use of healthier forms of sea salt leads to iodine deficiencies since many home cooks tout rink Himalayan salt as the ultimate mineral-rich seasoning, but this salt has no iodine, so the debate goes on.

Reduce Stress

Stress is known for slowing thyroid function and is a deterrent to maintaining a healthy thyroid. Ongoing stressful events strip many vital nutrients from our body and hinder the immune system’s functioning.

If you have ongoing stress on the adrenal glands, excessive cortisol amounts are secreted into the bloodstream. Over prolonged periods, high cortisol secretion levels suppress our immune system by making disease-fighting leukocytes less effective, weakening their ability to detect and kill off viruses and even cancer.

In addition, this shifting of immune function slows thyroid functioning by decreasing levels of active T3, causing underactive thyroid symptoms.

Since a slow-functioning thyroid is linked to sluggish immune function, finding ways to reduce stress is crucial.

Exercise, deep breathing, meditation, aromatherapy, journaling, listening to music, and long nature walks help manage stress levels.

High blood sugar from excessive carbohydrates and processed foods can also be a factor. High blood sugar increases cortisol production, causing blood sugar swings that alter the body’s thyroid hormone production.

Additional culprits Dr. Lader implicates To Underactive Thyroid Symptoms:

1 – Minimal calorie intake in women

2 – Diets high in caffeine

3 – Food allergies and sensitivities

4 – Imbalances in intestinal microflora, as the gut is where many problems can start, and thyroid hormones are broken down for absorption

5 – A stressed, abused, overworked liver, where enzymes that break down and help detoxify toxins also break down thyroid chemicals

6 – Certain medications, like antidepressants, affect thyroid function

Correcting Nutritional Deficiencies

Many times underactive thyroid symptoms are triggered by poor diet and other environmental factors. Improving nutrition and adding natural resources can help ease bothersome symptoms.

I share the danger of environmental toxins in this post – https://knowyourthyroid.com/improving-your-thyroid-gland-function-17-toxins-to-avoid/

Now that you know why you feel the way you do, what can you do to improve your thyroid health and function?

The following suggestions may help:

Keep in mind, that everyone has different triggers to their thyroid disorder, so what will help you feel better may not help someone else and vice-versa. The best way to supplement is by having your levels tested, so your specific deficiencies can be addressed.

The nutrients and supplements covered below are commonly recommended to those with underactive thyroid symptoms.

Under-active Thyroid Symptoms

Selenium, glutathione, and zinc– These three nutrients are required for converting T4 to T3, the thyroid hormone form used in tissues.

Although the link between selenium and hypothyroidism is unclear, many hypothyroid patients are deficient.

Glutathione-The Web Site, mindbodygreen.com, states that glutathione is a critical component because of its powerful antioxidant capacity to modulate and regulate the immune system. It also calms autoimmune flare-ups and protects and heals the thyroid.

Kelp-A natural way to increase the amount of iodine in your diet is to take a kelp supplement. Kelp is seaweed naturally rich in iodine. This may be beneficial if you are on an extremely low-salt diet. You can safely take up to 3,000 mg. daily.

Beware! If you have hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease, avoid adding iodine to your diet. Your body is already producing too much thyroid hormone, so adding iodine will only compound the problem.

B-vitamins-These vitamins are essential to immune function and healthy thyroid function. In addition, they are vital in fighting stress. Several nutritional supplements contain the entire vitamin B complex, plus you may need additional vitamin B12. Functional medicine or holistic practitioners use blood tests to reveal any nutrient deficiencies to recommend the correct supplementation.

Omega-3s-Adding more omega-3’s to your diet helps optimize thyroid health and eases symptoms linked to thyroid disorders. Essential fatty acids support thyroid function; studies have found that omega-3s can decrease inflammation that causes thyroid function. EPA and DHA, two fatty acids that help makeup omega-3s, create resolvins that ease inflammation and promote healing. In addition, omega-3 fats offer cellular membrane integrity, which protects them from damage and enables your cells to communicate well.

Vitamin C– is vital to immune function. Low vitamin C levels are linked to a risk of memory and thinking disorders like dementia. Conversely, a high intake of vitamin C from foods and supplements has been shown to have a protective effect. Those with adequate levels have fewer colds and viruses, less risk of chronic disease, lower blood pressure, and lower heart attack risk.

Foods to Limit or Omit

Because of their thyroid-blocking actions, there are foods to eat in moderation or omitted, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. In addition, holistic nutritionist and author Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, recommends cutting out kale, mustard greens, peaches, pears, radishes, spinach, and turnips.

Many practitioners recommend eliminating gluten from the diet. According to some researchers, the cellular makeup of gluten is similar to that of thyroid tissue. Many doctors will also recommend limiting or eliminating dairy from the diet.

Focus on removing foods that cause an inflammatory reaction. Inflammation-triggering foods cause stress on the body, asking it to work harder to fight the inflammation. With less stress, your body and liver aren’t working as hard, freeing your immune and endocrine systems, and making them more efficient.

Improving Liver and Gut Health

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

I can’t stress the health of your liver enough. This organ has more than it can handle detoxifying chemicals from our food and the environment. An overworked liver can work against someone with thyroid problems because when the liver becomes overtaxed, the enzymes working overtime then trigger thyroid hormone elimination. One more reason why a healthy liver is so important.

Foods to limit or eliminate include high sodium processed foods, caffeine, sugar, trans and saturated fats, and all foods containing synthetic chemicals for color, freshness, or texture.

Improving and maintaining a healthy gut with healthy intestinal microflora can significantly affect overall well-being and improve thyroid health. Your body detoxifies and eliminates thyroid hormones through the gut, where enzymes break down the thyroid hormones to absorb them into the bloodstream.

Individuals with inadequate or poor diets can have intestinal problems that lead to imbalances in microflora, reducing their body’s ability to absorb active thyroid hormone.

A probiotic is helpful, along with a diet rich in dark greens that supply plenty of digestive-friendly vitamin K. Look for fruits and vegetables that aren’t on the “Dirty Dozen” produce list. Many thyroid patients find that adding digestive enzymes may also be beneficial in aiding thyroid hormone absorption.

Nutritional supplementation can be tricky, let alone knowing how to supplement when working with a complex health condition. I can’t stress enough how important a customized supplementation program is; everyone has different chemistry, and everyone’s reaction to nutritional supplementation can vary.

Therefore, it may be necessary to be evaluated by a qualified professional. Personally, my health was declining from my Graves’ disease until I saw a functional medicine doctor. He tested my blood, urine, and saliva, and then he laid out a complete treatment plan from the test results.

Any time you are dealing with a chronic disease, there is always room for the positive aspects of the experience and opportunities for lifestyle improvements. People suffering from hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroid symptoms can view this chapter of their life as one that opens doors to enhancing well-being.

Take care,

Corri

References

Balch, Phyllis, A., and Balch, James R.; Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 3rd ed. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2000

“Alternative Thyroid Treatments, Hypothyroid Diets, & Natural Hypothyroid Therapies.” Dr. Podell. Podell, Dr. <http://www.drpodell.org/alternative_thyroid_treatments. HTML.>

“Alternative Treatment for Hypothyroidism – Help for low thyroid and hypothyroidism.” Womentowomen. Pick, Marcelle, OB-GYN-NP. <http://www.womentowomen.com/hypothyroidism/alternativetreatments.aspx>

“Can Hypothyroidism Be Treated Naturally?” About, 9 Nov 2006. <http://thyroid.about.com/b/2006/11/09/can-your-hypothyroidism-be-treated-naturally.html>

“Hypothyroidism.” MedlinePlus. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothyroidism>

“Hypothyroidism: Diet & Exercise.” Livestrong.

<http://www.livestrong.com/article/209155-hypothyroidism-diet-exercise/

“13 Ways to Treat Hypothyroidism Naturally.” Mindbodygreen, Grunewald, Jill.

<http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3139/13-Ways-to-Treat-Hypothyroidism-Naturally.html>

“Thyroid Disease: A natural/herbal perspective.” About. Shomon, Mary. 12 Aug 2009. <http://thyroid.about.com/cs/expertinterviews/a/shasta.html>

https://www.foodnetwork.ca/healthy-eating/blog/how-to-choose-healthiest-type-of-salt-for-cooking/

Randi Meares Brodmann, ND, MFA, CNC

Integrative Wellness Services for Women

http://www.iwellnesswomen.com

Holistic Health – Nutrition – Women’s Wellness

https://hopeforhealingfoundation.org/17-simple-ways-to-relieve-worry-stress-and-anxiety/

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Can-You-Take-Too-Much-Vitamin-B.aspx

https://www.google.com/search?q=Essential+fatty+acids+support+thyroid+function&oq=Essential+fatty+acids+support+thyroid+function&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160.1334j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.pnas.org/content/117/20/10621

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#2.-May-help-manage-high-blood-pressure

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-with-hypothyroidism/vitamins/

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a31916678/dirty-dozen-foods-2020-list/

https://www.designedforthriving.com/i-am-thriving/tag/Dr.+Broda+BarnesSHARE

Improving Thyroid Gland Function-17 Toxins To Avoid

By Corri Peterson

Are you trying to lose weight, or maybe you are struggling with depression? What if I told you that improving your thyroid gland function would improve your overall health?

Let’s talk about the weight issue, those pounds that won’t budge no matter what you try. But instead, the scale keeps creeping up.

You probably tried every diet there is, some you don’t want to tell anyone about because they were so crazy and bizarre, but you were desperate. Yet, you are here wondering what is wrong with you because no diet, program, or amount of exercise has done anything to help you lose any weight or feel any better. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

So, what gives! Even if you lose even a pound, you often find you have gained two or three back?

What about the depression? And the anxiety? Why does that keep showing up?

Why Does Thyroid Gland Function Matter?

What if I told you seventeen toxins are causing harm to your thyroid and creating the uncomfortable symptoms you are experiencing!

After treatment for my Graves’ disease, I slowly became sicker and sicker and heavier and heavier. So, about three years ago, after visiting several doctors trying to find relief for my symptoms and a way to stop or slow down the weight gain, a friend of mine who has Multiple Sclerosis recommended I see a holistic or functional medicine doctor.

I found a functional medicine doctor who could also write prescriptions due to my thyroid hormone replacement needs. FTI: not all holistic doctors can write prescriptions.

My initial consultation, which lasted over 3 hours, concluded with blood, saliva, and urine samples.

The results from the tests were eye-opening. The doctor explained how exposure to environmental toxins led to the build-up of toxins and chemicals that created this toxic overload within my body, starting with my thyroid gland function. Since only the over-active thyroid was treated, and not the autoimmune disease, I still suffered from debilitating symptoms.

His plan came in a three-inch-thick 3-ring binder that covered all the steps I needed to take to heal my body.

Here’s part of the information he shared:

Thyroid Gland Function

The endocrine glands are the drivers of metabolism. They direct activities by releasing chemical messengers called hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism and endocrine, cardiovascular, neurological, and immune function.

These glands include:

  • Thyroid and Parathyroid
  • Pancreas
  • Hypothalamus
  • Pituitary
  • Ovaries and Testes
  • Adrenals
  • Several other organs containing some Endocrine Tissues

These hormones in these glands also regulate our mood, growth, development, sexual function, and every other body function.

He shared The Neuroendocrine Theory states that “we age because our hormones decline, rather than the reverse assumption that our hormones decline because we age.”

Most aging-related diseases have their basis with hormone dysfunction: imbalances, insufficient levels, or hormone resistance.

Food, activity levels, stress, environmental factors, and many drugs can alter your hormones’ balance and effectiveness.

Furthermore, some cells become resistant to your hormones. The best-known hormone resistance is that of insulin resistance, found in diabetics. However, cells may become resistant to other hormones as well.

He explained how the chemicals, toxins, and the borderline lead poisoning in my body (that was a surprise), had made it impossible for me to feel well, let alone lose weight.

He had pages of recommendations for me to follow.

He made it clear that if I were to get better, I needed to clean up my diet and remove as many toxins as possible from my body and environment.

This purge included cleaning supplies, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, water bottles, plastic food containers, and processed foods.

He advised me to look at every aspect of my life and eliminate all the toxins I could.

One of the main areas he targeted was my diet.

One Of The Main Areas Targeted Was My Diet

Thyroid Gland Function

He discussed the chemicals in our food supply that had most likely contributed to my autoimmune thyroid disease, plus my grandmother’s family history of having a goiter removed. Then, he bluntly told me if I didn’t follow his plan, I wouldn’t get better.

He explained how the chemicals in my food and environment affected how my hormones interacted with each other.

His plan included organic beef and chicken, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. The program also stated no Teflon pans, no plastics, no processed food, no fast food. He explained that if it’s not a whole food, it most likely has chemicals added that are harmful to all my endocrine glands.

All these toxins and chemicals clog up the natural hormone balance in your body, making it difficult for your hormones to regulate your body’s functions. The problem with these toxins is they bear a structural similarity to thyroid hormones.

The thyroid is designed to pull iodine (a halogen) and selenium (a metalloid) to the thyroid to produce and metabolize thyroid hormones. Unfortunately, the thyroid also pulls harmful halogens and metals within the gland since the thyroid’s toxins mimic thyroid hormones. As a result, your thyroid can’t distinguish between natural or toxic halogens or heavy metals.

While doing some research on the seventeen chemicals my doctor wanted me to eliminate, I discovered their official name:

Obesogens

These are chemicals found in most common household products, cosmetics, plastics, pesticides, food, and water; these chemicals mimic hormones, disrupt your metabolism, and cause weight gain among other problems.

Once these chemicals are inside of us, even low doses can have a negative effect.

As a general rule, these toxins are divided into four categories:

-Industrial chemicals

-Pesticides and herbicides

-Toxins in consumer goods

-Heavy metals

These are the most common and disruptive Obesogens by category:

Industrial Chemicals:

Thyroid Gland Function

These toxins are byproducts of manufacturing processes.

PCBs- Polychlorinated biphenyls– These chemicals have been linked to cancer as well as several other non-cancer severe health issues that include your immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system. They reduce the number of receptors with which thyroid hormone can bind in the body, lowering the amount of circulating T4 and weakening the liver enzymes responsible for converting T4 to T3.

PCBs have been used as coolants and lubricants for electrical equipment. The manufacture of PCBs was stopped in 1977 due to evidence of build-up in the environment and harm to humans. Catfish, carp, and buffalo fish commonly have high PCB levels.

Perchlorate- This chemical hinders thyroid function and inhibits early brain development. It’s used to eliminate static electricity and is found in dry food packaging and drinking water. This chemical is used in military applications like rocket fuel and explosives and has leaked into the groundwater around most military bases. It’s also used in the production of leather, rubber, paint, and batteries.

Dioxin-Acceptable levels in the United States have been linked to decreased T4 and reduced thyroid function, with females more affected than males. This is because dioxin mimics thyroid hormones and reduces T4 by binding to cell receptors that enhance the biochemical process that facilitates the body’s excretion of hormones.

Toxins in Consumer Goods:

PBDEs Polybrominated diphenyl ethers-  These are flame retardants found in computer and TV screens, furniture, carpet padding, and synthetic textiles. PBDEs mimic thyroid hormones, and they displace T4 from hormone-binding proteins preventing them from being transported in the blood. They also disrupt estrogen activity making postmenopausal women particularly vulnerable to their effects.

BPA-Bisphenol A– This chemical is found in food-can linings and plastic bottles; BPA mimics the hormone estrogen structure and function. It also interacts with hormone receptors, like your thyroid, altering their function. We know low thyroid is linked to weight gain and out-of-balance estrogen, and progesterone is contributed to increased waist circumference, similar to what happens during menopause.

I also didn’t know that shopping receipts also contain BPA, so now I avoid them as much as possible.

My doctor also observed that you would automatically limit your BPA exposure if you eat fresh, whole foods. Plus, it’s worth noting that many BPA-free products have just replaced BPA with bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF), which aren’t any better for our health or hormones.

Phthalates– 

Thyroid Gland Function

These chemicals are used in vinyl flooring, adhesives, plastics, and as emollients in personal care items. These chemicals are not a single chemical but a family of chemicals linked to variations in sex hormone levels, problems with genital development, and low sperm count. As a result, these chemicals have been banned from products and toys for children under 3.

Triclosan- This antibacterial and antifungal agent is used in toothpaste, soaps, detergents, toys, and surgical cleaning treatments. It is associated with a decrease in thyroid hormone levels. Triclosan has a close cousin called triclocarban and an alternative name Microban, also in clothing and plastics. 

PFOA- Is used in nonstick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics. Studies suggest that triclosan and PFOA decrease T4, lowering thyroid function. PFOA from nonstick cookware can leach into food and be ingested.

PFCs Perfluoroalkyl chemicals- Lead to low-birthweight babies and issues with the immune system, thyroid, and fertility. They are found in fast-food wrappers, cardboard packages, water-repellant fabrics, and nonstick pans.

Microplastics– These tiny particles of plastics have made their way into our lakes, rivers, and oceans, leading to contamination of our food and water. Plus, much of our food comes wrapped in plastic, leading to these tiny particles breaking off into our food. Over time these particles leach off BPA and phthalates adding to our toxic overload.

Food Preservatives-

This Includes bromates in bread, nitrates, or nitrites in processed meats, MSG, dyes, and artificial sweeteners all harm your body and hormones.

The body’s detoxification systems have difficulty processing artificial chemicals that don’t occur in nature.

Artificial Food Colors-

Studies found these food colors aggravate symptoms of children with ADHD. They are found in all types of food products, particularly those for children.

Nitrates and nitrites

These chemicals interfere with thyroid function and the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen to the body. They may also increase cancer risks. They are found in processed foods, particularly meats, to preserve and enhance color.

Mercury-

Common mercury exposure sources include dental amalgams, seafood, and pollution from coal-burning power plants.

Although mercury is not technically in flu shots, Thimerosal is. Thimerosal is a compound containing mercury that prevents the growth of bacteria and fungus. The injectable flu vaccine contains 25 mcg of Thimerosal per 0.5-mL dose.

Aluminum-

This toxin damages the thyroid, affecting iodide uptake and hormone production. Aluminum triggers an immune response leading to the production of antibodies that may target the thyroid.

Fluoride

Thyroid Gland Function

This chemical is known for slowing thyroid function. There is a history of fluoride-causing goiters starting in 1854.

1949 – Richard May reports on the highly successful use of the organic fluoride compounds Pardinon (IG Farben) and Capacin (Knoll AG) to treat hyperthyroidism. Up until 1943, 10,000 patients had been cured using these compounds.

1950 – Richard May reports that between 1935 and 1947, over 5000 hyperthyroid patients had been treated successfully with Pardinon and Capacin in the May clinic alone.

1978 – George Waldbott writes that in most cases of poisoning from fluoridated water in which he had studied the thyroid gland’s action, its function was low. Within three months of consuming no fluoridated water, the thyroid function had returned to normal (BMR=0). Also, Waldbott writes that “simultaneously, other symptoms associated with low-grade fluoride poisoning – including excessive thirst, headaches, blurred vision, arthritis in shoulders, elbows, knees, and gastrointestinal disturbances – also disappeared.”

He did not know that the symptoms he ascribed to “low-grade fluoride poisoning” would likewise be considered symptoms of hypothyroidism some 20 years later.

Yet, dentists will tell you fluoride poses no danger; however, beware of the exposure levels.

Pesticides and Herbicides- These chemicals interfere with thyroid gland function by interfering with gene expression, reducing iodine’s thyroid uptake, binding to thyroid transport proteins, and reducing cellular uptake of thyroid hormones.

They also cause cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, neurotoxicity, kidney and liver damage, congenital disabilities, and developmental changes.

Heavy metals-

The heavy metals most often associated with poisoning are lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. In addition, heavy metal poisoning may occur due to foods, medicines, industrial exposure, air or water pollution, the ingestion of lead-based paints, and improperly coated food containers.

Lead exposure has been linked to lowered thyroid function and elevated TSH. But, beware of how you could be exposed; these heavy metals are everywhere! (My lead exposure came from an old lead water pipe that ran from our house to the street)!

Now, I know these chemicals are everywhere, and it’s impossible to avoid them altogether; but, there are some steps you can take.

  • Add two or more servings daily to the amount of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables your and your family eat.
  • Serve fewer processed meats.
  • Avoid heating or microwaving foods or beverages in plastic containers. Heat causes BPA and phthalates in plastic to leach into your food or drinks. Also, wash plastics by hand rather than the dishwasher.
  • Switch to using more glass and stainless steel in place of plastic.
  • Avoid plastics with these numbers: 3, 6, 7.
  • Clean all fruits and vegetables thoroughly. I soak fruits and vegetables in a sink of cold water and a cup of white vinegar. Let your produce soak for 15 minutes, rinse well, and pat dry.
  • Cut back on canned fruits, vegetables, and beverages.
  • Focus on reducing or eliminating fast and processed foods.
  • Buy naturally made and fragrance-free lotions, soaps, and beauty products.
  • Make your cleaning products. There are several sites with recipes on the internet, or you can use baking soda or vinegar.
  • Avoid nonstick cookware.

You will also notice your body feeling heavy and sluggish after eating processed foods once you have removed most of these toxins and chemicals from your diet. You will naturally avoid eating certain foods because you don’t like how they make you feel.

I want you to know, by just making some changes in your diet and lifestyle, you can improve your health and increase your weight loss efforts.

Take care,

Corri

References:

https://www.healthline.com/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.epa.gov/

https://www.cdc.gov/

beyondpesticides.org

https://www.webmd.com/

https://www.revivechiro.com/

https://www.reuters.com/article/legal-us-otc-roundup/800-million-common-fund-dispute-in-roundup-highlights-settlement-premium-issue-idUSKBN2AM2MQ

https://warddeanmd.com/articles/neuroendocrine-theory-of-aging-chapter-1/

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/heavy-metal-poisoning/https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/heavy-metal-poisoning/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/common-food-additives-and-chemicals-harmful-to-children-2018072414326

https://www.google.com/search?q=triclosan&oq=triclosan&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l9.1144j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://kresserinstitute.com/environmental-toxins-harm-thyroid/

https://kresserinstitute.com/environmental-toxins-harm-thyroid/https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2004/05/cdc-neutral-thimerosal-flu-vaccine-toddlers

What Causes Hypothyroidism- 3 Common Triggers

By Corri Peterson

Thyroid disease is on the rise, but what causes hypothyroidism symptoms?

It’s common to know a friend, relative, co-worker, or neighbor who has some version of thyroid dysfunction, the symptoms are becoming well-known.

But what causes hypothyroidism? According to Dr. Kevin Dobrzynski, D.N., A better question is, “What are the causes of my hypothyroidism?”

Possible Causes of Your Hypothyroidism

What Causes Hypothyroidism

These triggers cause the most common hypothyroidism in the U.S., Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

• Gluten intolerance

• Insulin surges

• G.I. infections

• Pregnancy

• Estrogen surges

• Heavy metal toxicity

• Iodine excess

• Vitamin D receptor polymorphism

• Combination of all of the above

There is Good News, says Dr. Kevin Dobrzynski-

You can control many of these triggers. However, you will need some help in identifying and treating the causes of your problem.

Looking at the list, you’ll notice most of them can be controlled by what you put on and in your body.

Gluten intolerance, insulin surges, and G.I. infections result from the incorrect diet.

Pregnancy and estrogen surges may be a little more challenging to correct.

First, start looking at how you can reduce the estrogen in your body.

Estrogen is everywhere, including the makeup and creams you put on your face and skin. It’s in the food you eat and the water you drink.

You can reduce many toxins, including heavy metals, by knowing what you’re putting in your body.

As for excess iodine, check the medication you may be taking and stop taking iodine supplements.

Most people are not getting enough vitamin D, and if you have hypothyroidism, you will need more than the average Joe.

The bottom line is you have to start doing some research and understand what’s going into your body. But, unfortunately, your doctor will not do this for you.

“The causes of hypothyroidism are many, but you can control many of these triggers by educating yourself about your condition – that is the best pill you can take”- Dr. Kevin.

Common hypothyroidism symptoms include:

What Causes Hypothyroidism
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • High cholesterol
  • Irritability
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Slow heart rate
  • Sluggishness
  • Irregular uterine bleeding

The thyroid is a primary member of the endocrine system and regulates nearly every organ in the body. For example, it regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, respiration, body temperature, brain development, cholesterol levels, the heart and nervous system, blood calcium levels, menstrual cycles, skin integrity, adult hippocampal neurogenesis, etc.

With the thyroid regulating every system in our bodies, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out there are many symptoms caused by thyroid disease that no one realizes. 

Many healthcare providers report patients scheduling appointments for symptoms they have no idea were related to their thyroid.

Some Lesser-known Symptoms of Thyroid Disease:

  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Period problems
  • Puffy face
  • Blurry vision
  • Carpal Tummel syndrome
  • Hair loss 
  • Coarse, brittle, straw-like hair
  • Dull facial expression
  • Coarse facial features
  • Yellowing skin and eyes (jaundice)

What Causes Hypothyroidism?

According to experts, the three main reasons for increasing thyroid problems are poor nutrition, stress, and environmental toxins.  

Poor Diet and Nutrition

What Causes Hypothyroidism

The levels of thyroid hormones are an essential factor to consider as a part of well-being and health. Many fatty, sugary, refined, and highly processed foods, do more than add unwanted weight. 

Nutrition, not age, determines the quality and resiliency of every organ, cell, and system in the body. As a result, your eating habits significantly contribute to your thyroid function and overall well-being.

How well your body renovates and repairs organs, tissue and DNA determines how you age on a cellular level. When the body needs new materials used for repairs, it must use what you give it: your food. The quality of that food determines the quality of the repair. 

Herbicides and pesticides 

These chemicals affect the thyroid’s ability to use iodine and cause excess thyroid hormone to be removed from the body. 

When improving your diet quality, focus on organic fruits and vegetables. However, if you find the cost of organic produce prohibitive, soaking your produce in a sink of cold water and a cup of white vinegar will dissolve the pesticides and other toxins so they can be rinsed off.

Be Aware of Goitrogens

What Causes Hypothyroidism

These compounds may interfere with the iodine uptake of the thyroid gland. Their name comes from the term goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland that may occur with hypothyroidism.

Surprisingly, many common foods contain goitrogens, including:

  • Soy and soy products included tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.
  • Vegetables including are cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc.
  • Fruits and starchy plants like sweet potatoes. Cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds like millet, pine nuts, and peanuts are also included.

People with hypothyroidism are advised to avoid goitrogens. However, this seems to be an issue for people who have an iodine deficiency or eat large amounts of goitrogens. In addition, research shows that goitrogens affect some individuals more than others.

FYI– cooking foods with goitrogens may inactivate these compounds.

One noted exception is pearl millet. Studies have found that pearl millet might interfere with thyroid function, even without an iodine deficiency.

In the last century, we have tipped the scales of food production technology with mass-produced goods made of concentrated sugars, refined flours, and preservatives. 

As a result, experts believe money saved on natural food production is now needed to pay billions of health care expenses associated with metabolic disorders. 

Gluten

Certain foods, such as gluten-containing bread and baked goods, can negatively affect thyroid balance and cause acne.

Immune reactions to gluten can trigger an autoimmune thyroid attack in many people. In addition, studies have shown a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten sensitivity.

The protein structure of gluten shares an amino acid that resembles the thyroid. So when a person reacts to gluten, the immune system may also respond to thyroid tissue. Unfortunately, this mistaken identity causes inflamed immune cells to attack the thyroid.

Sugar

What Causes Hypothyroidism

Sugar ages the skin and excites the thyroid. In addition, sugar adds to mood disorders, and inflammation and is Endocrine Disruptive. It can disrupt the sebaceous glands, cause acne, create dryness and add to premature aging. 

Sugar also causes leaky gut syndrome, is often the precursor to autoimmune disease and mucks up the whole endocrine system.

Excess sugar triggers insulin ( a hormone) to deal with excess glucose. Daily sugar spikes can destroy adrenal function, and challenge the thyroid & the endocrine system.

The human body has evolved with a limited ability to break down sugar and minimal access to it in concentrated forms, so processing the comparatively giant loads we consume nowadays puts a significant strain on our systems. 

In addition, excess sugar loiters in the blood and causes trouble by latching onto protein molecules; an age-accelerating process called glycosylation that causes cellular aging.

 In addition to damage caused by insulin, a sluggish thyroid gland will slow insulin removal from the bloodstream.

Acne

Acne can result from blood sugar issues and chronic inflammation. These trigger hormonal reactions that increase sebum production, blocked pores, and overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria. 

In addition, gluten can contribute to acne. It damages the small intestine and causes inflammation, leading to nutritional deficiencies and an increased toxic body load (leaky gut syndrome).

Environmental toxins

These chemicals are found in most common household products, cosmetics, plastics, pesticides, food, and water. These chemicals mimic hormones to disrupt your metabolism and cause obesity. Once these chemicals are inside us, even low doses can negatively affect you.

What Causes Hy
pothyroidism

These toxins are divided into four categories: 

BPA – BPA is a chemical used when manufacturing plastics and epoxy resins. BPA is commonly used in food storage containers and beverage containers like water bottles. BPA is also used to line metal food cans, water supply lines, and bottle caps. 

Not only does BPA damage the thyroid gland, but BPA exposure can also cause cardiovascular problems (hypertension, heart attack, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease), reproductive disorders (infertility, libido, and impotence), and increased risk of breast and prostate cancer.

In addition, BPA can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain and increase asthma and wheezing if that isn’t enough.

PFCs – PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) disrupt thyroid function, especially in women. PFCs are used to manufacture several items, including takeout containers, pizza boxes, and mattresses. 

PFC is a known endocrine disruptor that takes a long time to break down in the body. Currently, PFCs are being phased out in the United States; however, imported products could still contain PFCs.

Heavy Metals – Most people are aware of the dangers of lead, but many don’t know that several heavy metals can negatively impact the thyroid gland. These include mercury, aluminum, and cadmium.

Lead has been used in paint and gasoline. In addition, children’s toys and cheap jewelry have been known to contain lead. 

Cadmium is found in plastics, batteries, certain fertilizers, pigments, and sewage. Aluminum and mercury disrupt iodine uptake. Mercury is found in dental fillings, seafood, and vacines. 

Aluminum is used in cookware, vaccines, deodorant, antacids, and food additives. So, as you can see, it’s difficult to avoid being constantly exposed to heavy metals in our daily life.

Flame Retardants – This chemical reduces the flammability of fabrics, clothing, furniture, and carpeting can cause thyroid dysfunction. 

Flame retardants contain bromine (halogen) which mimics thyroid hormone and competes to attach to thyroid hormone receptors. Bromine can be found in pool cleaners, carpets, pasta, drinks, baby blankets, and everything in between.

A primary concern is bromine affecting the fetus’s development and the development of infants and children.

All these toxins and chemicals disrupt the natural hormone balance in your body, making it difficult for your hormones to regulate your body’s functions. 

The problem with these toxins is they bear a structural similarity to thyroid hormones.

What Causes Hypothyroidism

Fluoride

In today’s world, skin rashes and thyroid problems have ties to ingesting fluorides. In addition, the U.S. National Research Council has stated that fluoride exposure can affect thyroid function. 

Therefore, someone who drinks a lot of fluoridated water may risk developing thyroid problems. It has also been associated with perioral dermatitis, and acne-like bumps that form around the mouth as a chemical. A skin disorder that is often mistaken for acne.

Even though fluoride is added to water to prevent cavities, it can damage your thyroid health. Studies show that consuming small amounts of two to five milligrams of fluoride over a few months can lower thyroid function and can contribute to what causes hypothyroidism.

Sadly, that is about the amount of fluoride you drink in fluoridated water each day. Therefore, drinking fluoridated water could lower your thyroid function.

Fluoride also interferes with your cellular process, as well as causing the release of superoxide free radicals in resting white blood cells. As a result, minor infections take longer to clear and cause more severe illnesses. 

When people are bombarded with fluoride in fluoridated water, toothpaste, mouth rinses, muscles, and connective tissue elements, particularly collagen fiber and bone tissue, start to degenerate.

The most readily identifiable symptom of soft-tissue fluorosis is fatigue, frequently linked to thyroid deficiency.

Additional issues include:

  • Calcium levels fall as fluoride levels in the body rise.
  • Gastrointestinal tract mucosa damage, causing irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Blood fluoride levels are on the rise due to continuously using fluoridated toothpaste.

I will also note that through the 1950s, fluoride was used as a treatment for hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease due to its ability to slow thyroid function.

Adrenal Glands

Adrenal glands sit above the kidneys and secrete hormones. For example, the adrenals produce the stress hormone cortisol; too much results in Cushing’s disease, and not enough is adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease.

Nontraditional doctors (holistic or functional medicine) also recognize adrenal fatigue, a condition when you’re under continuous stress, and your adrenal glands fail to keep up with the body’s need for hormones.

The health of the adrenal gland can dictate the health and recovery of many types of disorders, including thyroid and skin issues. 

Skin issues can range from dry, itchy rashes, thin skin, aging, or dry scalp and weak, peeling fingernails. 

Stressed adrenals are another reason the body hangs onto weight. 

What Causes Hypothyroidism

Stress

When under chronic stress, the body produces the stress hormone cortisol. However, too much cortisol forces your thyroid gland to work harder to produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to thyroid hormone imbalances in your body.

Stress causes the thyroid to produce fewer hormones, slowing your body’s metabolism. Slowed metabolism leads to weight gain along with other symptoms. 

As thyroid function slows due to stress, T3 and T4 hormones fall, leading to lower conversion rates of T4 to T3. T3 is the useable hormone and the one needed for energy.

When under stress, men and women both release epinephrine and cortisol. Excess cortisol can cause sleep disturbances which can bring on more stress. 

Our cortisol levels can wreak havoc with unhealthy sleep habits and extra stress. 

As you can see, it’s a vicious circle. Plus, as you sleep, the skin eliminates toxins. So unhealthy toxins start to accumulate without a good night’s sleep, compounding existing symptoms.  

Healthy food, reducing toxins, and moderate exercise will help rejuvenate your skin, boost mood, and balance your thyroid health. In addition, a few lifestyle changes lead to feeling better and enjoying life. 

Take care,

Corri



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