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Old 02-14-2006, 10:37 AM   #1
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
White Flour Etc.

There was a question about white flour on the "Things we Can Do" thread ... rather than derail that thread, I thought I'd post here.

The question was about the bleaching of white flour ... is chlorine bleach used. IME wheat flour is usually bleached using a bromination process, that is, using a bromine compound. Bleaching is done not just for aesthetics, but also to prevent rancidity & to deter insect infestation. Smart bugs.

Bromine, like chlorine, is in the same chemical family as iodine & can under circumstances of iodine deficiency, bind to iodine receptors throughout the body & make mischief. Having said that, the usual case is that bromine is fairly readily excreted. Exceptions to the usual case of easy excretion are PCBs, which are heavily brominated chemicals, persistent bio-accumulators, and nasty!

But the bromine used to bleach flour is not a PCB. It is important to note that we are awash in all sorts of toxins, every day, in our modern world. They're in the air, in the water, in the food. It can be quite challenging to sort out the contribution of say, the bromine in one piece of toast, from the natural fluoride in the tea used to wash it down, the chlorine & fluoride in the water used to make the tea, the fluoride in the toothpaste used after breakfast, the chlorine & fluoride in the bath water & in the air outside.

If someone has a persistent increase in symptoms (thyroid or other) shortly after ingestion of a single piece of white bread, the first thing that pops to mind would be a wheat allergy/gluten intolerance, not the bromine. Because the bromine in one slice of bread is a tiny part of the picture, unless one has known chemical sensitivity or iodine deficiency.

For people who are hypothyroid & struggling, food allergies can be a big part of the picture. The thyroid gland is replete with mast cells. When mast cells dump histamine in response to allergy, iodine gets dumped too. The allergen-response thus interferes with thyroid hormone utilization, and perpetuates inflammation.

Another very serious consideration is celiac disease, an autoimmune disease set off by exposure to gluten. IME celiacs have a variable reaction time to gluten. Some react quickly, while others take days. Anyone with autoimmune thyroid disease who is noticing problems after eating flour or bread products deserves to be screened for celiac. Up to 35% of celiacs have thyroid disease, although celiac itself occurs in 1/133 people.

While many people are easily treated with supplemental thyroid hormones alone, for some of us life is a little more complex. Just as the thyroid gland affects every organ system in the body, there is a reciprocity -- the immune system, the gut, the brain, etc. -- can affect thyroid gland function & also thyroid hormone uptake at the cellular level throughout the body. Our environment & diet, IMO, can also have an impact on thyroid function.

Anybody else have thoughts?

 
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