Let’s face it, environmental toxins are everywhere! It is impossible to avoid all of the chemicals, all of the time. However, it is possible to decrease our exposures, little by little, day by day.
The toxins listed below are specific to the Thyroid. There are plenty of other dangerous chemicals associated with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s and Grave’s Disease. The specific ones listed below are a just starting point.
1. PCBs and Dioxins
-Found mostly in non-organic meat and diary (important to buy these foods organic)
-Studies show these toxins induce thyroid hormone metabolism by altering an enzyme in the liver that metabolizes the hormones
-They also directly attack the thyroid gland and the protein that carries the hormone
Simple Solution: Buy grassfed beef, pastured chicken and eggs that have not been vaccinated or treated with antibiotics. If you live in the Charlotte area check out Baucom’s Best, www.baucomsbest.com
-Numerous studies link pesticides to thyroid disease (too many to count)
-A resent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed women married to men who use pesticides have almost a 2 fold increase in thyroid disease. WOW!
Simple Solution: Buy organic fruits and veggies as much as possible. Visit www.ewg.org and download a copy of their Dirty Dozen vegetables and fruits.
3. Heavy Metals
-The heavy metals with a strong link to thyroid disease are cadmium, mercury and lead
-cadmium from cigarette smoke was one of the most studied
-mercury has been shown to bind to the hormone receptors because of its affinity for selenium, rendering thyroid hormones ineffective (thyroid receptors are selenium receptors)
-In studies mercury has been shown to deplete selenium which affects the receptor and can trigger an autoimmune response, like Hashimotos
-Mostly from plastic and cosmetics
-studies indicate even at low doses consistent with what the average person would be exposed to, there are links to changes in thyroid hormone
Simple Solution: Avoid using plastic bottles, storage containers and canned foods. Replace with glass or stainless steel containers and buy dried or fresh fruits in BPA free containers.
5. Halogens (AKA Goitrogens)
-Fluoride, bromine and chlorine are known as Goitrogens because they can cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland
-These chemicals are in the same family as iodine, and therefore, compete with iodine in the thyroid.
-Fluoride and chlorine are in the water supply in the U.S, commonly found in most toothpastes and fluoride is frequently used by dentists
-Bromine replaced iodine in bread in the 1980’s and is now in certain soft drinks like Mountain Dew and Gatorade
-It is also found in pesticides, electronic equipment and fabrics because of its use as a flame retardant
Scantz SL, Widholm JL. Cognitive effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in animals. Environ Health Perspect. 2001;109(12):1197-1206.
Langer P et al. Possible effects o fpolychlorinated biphenyls ad orgaochlorinated pesticides on the thyroid after long-term exposure to heavy environmental pollution. J Occup Environ Med 2003;45:526-532.
Koopman-Esseboom C et al. Effects of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls on thyroid hormone status of pregnant women and their infants. Pediatr Res. 1994;36;468-473