Hi! I'm new to the board and am wondering if anyone knows if there's any merit in the supposed connection between ceratin foods and thyroid disorders. I have read in a number of different places that foods in certain families, such as broccoli and cauliflower, can cause further thyroid supression. After suffering for years and having to quit school because of my intense symptoms, I was finally just diagnosed with Hashi's last week and I want to do everything in my power to get better! Does anyone know if the emphasis on good/bad thyroid foods that I've read in alt books is just a loi of hype or worth considering?
Sorry for the length of this post : P but one more question. I have tons of food allergies/intolerances which I've been told may be due to my thyroid being so out of whack. My doc thinks that most of them will diminish or go away once I'm balanced. Has anyone else had this type of problem?
Some foods are definitely goitrogenic, meaning that they suppress thyroid function. There is a complete list in our "Information Archive". The ones I can remember off the top of my head are raw (not cooked) cabbage family vegetables, peanuts, soy, almonds, strawberries, peaches.
However, here's my take on the issue. I have Hashi's. It's a progressive condition for which there is no cure. The thyroid gland of a Hashi's patient is doomed to complete failure. If she's lucky, she'll find a doctor early on who will treat the condition the way it should be. The only treatment is to replace the thyroid hormone in an amount sufficient to restore the patient's health. The best way to replace hormones is to do it gradually, so that the gland's function is slowly replaced entirely by the supplemental hormone. Some doctors believe that they should only supplement the amount that the gland isn't making, letting the thyroid do the remainder of the job. This often doesn't work; the patients who feel best are often those who have their glands suppressed, like mine is.
I adore the foods named above, and with the exception of soy (which I believe is next to satanic), I eat many of them on a daily basis. They're healthful foods, packed with nutrition... and besides, ya hafta eat sumthin', right? I refuse to live my life avoiding every single thing I love... especially the things that are otherwise good for me. Since my own gland has been suppressed by the med, I feel I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by eating my favorite healthful foods, even if they're known goitrogens.
One more thing. Just before I was diagnosed, I began eating flaxseed daily, in the recommended amount of 2 tablespoons. I now know that it is a goitrogen. Within one month, I was ready to commit myself to an asylum because of terrible mood swings, temper flares, brain fog, apathy, etc. Terrible mental symptoms. I luckily ran out of flaxseed and was too sick to go get more. Within 3 days of not eating it, I began to recover my faculties. The flax must have suppressed the little thyroid function I had at that point, rendering me nearly myxedematous. It was scary.
So my advice is to limit those foods if you're not in treatment, but go for it once you're optimally replaced.
Fluoride inhibits thyroid function too. It's found in a number of processed foods, salts, tea, mechanically de-boned chicken (I'm not sure how that works), sodas, and cold cereals---and of course our fluoridated water and toothpaste. I guess we're getting too much in our system and they think that this is fueling thyroid problems.
Some suggest 600mg of Calcium---which helps bind up the fluoride.
Thanks for the feeback! I completely agree that soy is nearly satanic (and would really like to hear your reasons/experience with it, if you don't mind). I am insanely allergic to soy and have gone into anaphylactic shock from consuming even the tiniest amount. I was surprised that my new thyroid doctor told me that I should avoid it at all costs before he even knew about how I react to it. That will certainly be easy to do!
As far as limiting the goitrogens is concerned, I have only been on my new thyroid medication for about 5 days so I was wondering if I should cut these foods out entirely for a few weeks (I practically live on broccoli and strawberries!!). Even though it would be a bit of a challenge, I'd like to do whatever I can to speed my recovery.
The flaxseed experience that you mentioned sounds absolutely horrendous. I was taking flax too and feeling worse, but hadn't fully made the connection. I stopped because I was a bit concerened that I wasn't tolerating it very well, but had no idea that it was affecting my thyroid.
I 100% have problems with food related to my Hashi's but my doctor, who is one of the best thyroid docs in the country says typical flucuations of Hashi's are NOT attributed to most foods although he did acknowledge that nearly every one of his Hashis patients claim the same problem. I said to him, "Doc, don't you think if ewvery one of your Hashi's patients claimed a problem with food then it might actually be true?"....he just laughed.
I know I can toggle myself from hyper to hypo by just eating a salami sandwich as insane as that sounds. I eat salami and my thyroid blows up like a golf ball an hour later and causes me pain....same goes for canned tuna....very weird. Maybe its the salt and iodine doing it.
I am insanely allergic to soy ... my new thyroid doctor told me that I should avoid it at all costs before he even knew about how I react to it. That will certainly be easy to do!
We've had discussions here before about how hard it is to avoid it. It seems to be in everything! And not just food, but cosmetics and body lotions, from which it can be absorbed through the skin.
I recently read that the former main use for soybeans was food for swine before butchering. Soybeans have amazing fattening power because they are a goitrogen, efficiently suppressing the hogs' thyroids. Once consumers began demanding leaner pork for health reasons, soy farmers no longer could unload the glut of beans they were then stuck with. Instead of halting soybean production and growing some other crop, in steps the US government with price supports for the 'suffering' farmers. Pretty soon - voila! - there is a huge PR campaign about how "healthy" soybean products are for humans. I wouldn't be surprised if soy is somehow partially implicated in our obesity (and hypothyroidism) epidemic. Of course, the truth of it would be kept hidden for political reasons.
... I was wondering if I should cut these foods out entirely for a few weeks (I practically live on broccoli and strawberries!!).
There are so few absolutes when it comes to thyroid, it's really tough to say you should or shouldn't. If you want to try it, it certainly won't hurt. But I didn't, and if I had it to do over again, I still wouldn't. It's quite possible that because of what I eat, I may be taking a slightly higher dose than I'd need with a different diet. And if I had changed diet several times during the adjustment period, maybe it would have taken me longer to get stable.
I'd rather tailor the dose to the diet, rather than the other way around.
The lack of thyroid hormone is the main thing that has made you ill, and supplying it in the right amount is the main thing that will make you better.
Your stories of food & thyroid issues are incredible! I will have to watch some of these other foods. Before I got T hormone replacement, I would get incredibly achey muscles & tendonitis after my daily pot of tea.
After 6 wks. of T hormone replacement, I can tolerate 1 c. of weak tea w/out that effect. I'm not sure I'm up to the optimum dose yet, but there has been much improvemt.
While I'm all for doing what one can to support thyroid function, I'd agree w/those who are saying that Hashi's is usually not going to "get better" over the long term.
It's incredible to hear about the use of soy for fattening pigs. I've had trouble with chicken in the past and discovered that the company feeds their hens a meal of soybeans and corn, so it does seem to proliferate almost everything.
The canned tuna connection is really interesting too. I get intense brain fog (not the type of thing that can be attributed to the tryptophan in tuna) whenever I have it. I didn't realize that it was because of the iodine.
Do you know if salt is a problem as far as goitrogens go due to its iodine content? I've been salting almost everything I eat like mad for the past few months. My best guess is that it's to do with having low blood pressure and that's the reason behind the cravings, but could it be making my thyroid worse?
Thanks for sharing your experiences with food and your information about its effects. I can't tell you what a relief it is to be able to talk about this without people looking at me like I'm crazy (but then, you probably know how that feels!)
Salt cravings can be indicative of adrenal fatigue, or adrenal insufficiency. If you have any of the symptoms of either of these (which can go hand in hand with thyroid disorder), you could ask your doc for some testing. adrenal fatigue can also cause low blood pressure. Sometimes, if you begin thyroid treatment, it can worsen adrenal fatigue. That is what happened to me, which is why my doc tested my adrenals and discovered their insufficiency. It's not full-blown Addison's, but it's enough to cause a lot of symptoms that add to my misery.
Thanks again for the feedback Does anyone know of foods that are actually beneficial for an underactive thyroid? I know that the dose of medicine is the most important factor, but I would like to do everything that I can to support my thyroid while it is getting balanced. I've been too sick to do anything outside of the house and I'm hoping to be well enough to take summer classes to make up for lost time but they start in just over a week, so time is of the essence. Any ideas of things that might help would be greatly appreciated!
Do you know of any other signs of adrenal fatigue? I'm thinking about calling my dr to ask him to order the test so that I'll have the results for the next time I see him (a week from tomorrow). If you don't mind my asking, how did you figure out that you had it?
Tendency to gain weight and unable to loose it, especially around the waist.
High frequency of getting the flu and other respiratory diseases and these symptoms tend to last longer than usual.
Tendency to tremble when under pressure.
Reduced sex drive.
Lightheaded when rising from a laying down position.
Unable to remember things.
Lack of energy in the mornings and also in the afternoon between 3 to 5 pm.
Feel better suddenly for a brief period after a meal.
Often feel tired betweeen 9 - 10 pm, but resist going to bed.
Need coffee or stimulants to get going in the morning.
Crave for salty, fatty, and high protein food such as meat and cheese.
Increase symptoms of PMS for women; period are heavy and then stop, or almost stopped on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day.
Pain in the upper back or neck with no apparent reasons .
Feels better when stress is relieved, such as on a vacation.
Difficulties in getting up in the morning
Food and or inhalant allergies
Lethargy and lack of energy
Increased effort to perform daily tasks
Decreased ability to handle stress
Dry and thin skin
Low Body Temperature
Unexplained hair loss
Alternating constipation and diarrhea
My Endo tested me 2 years ago, based on my many symptoms and my Hashi's, and my AM and PM Cortisol were both low. She put me on Cortef, but at the time I was on synthetic estrogen/progestin, which caused me to swell up horribly. The Cortef aggravated the swelling and made it worse, so I quit taking it. This past year, after my third surgery, I was a real mess emotionally, so my new doc tested my saliva (you collect the specimens at home at 8AM, 11AM, 4PM and 11PM). Again, the Am and PM were below normal, so he put me on the Cortef. Haven't noticed much improvement, but I guess you have to be on it for awhile - I've been on it only a few weeks.
Thanks for all of the information. I hope that the Cortef starts to work for you soon! I just realized that the salt I've been using is not a dietary source of iodine! An alternative doc that I saw (who greatly exacerbated all of my health problems) had me switch from regular salt to this natural kind ages ago and I've been using it ever since. I just made the connection...I'm probably craving salt because my body isn't getting any iodine and that's usually a good source. No wonder my thyroid problem has gotten so bad! Grr... I'm still going to consider the adrenal tests if there isn't a change soon. It's nice to have a list of symptoms that I can check back on. Thanks for your help! You'll be in my thoughts