December 10, 2015

Thyroid part 2 of 5

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

In the last article, we looked at what functions the thyroid plays in our health and general information on it. In this week’s edition we will take an in depth look at factors that disrupt thyroid function.

There are 7 factors we will discuss in this article. These are heavy metals, medications, gluten, soy, fluoride, bromines and adrenal function/stress.

Heavy metals collecting in our bodies interfere with production of thyroid hormones. Lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals come from many sources. Lead comes from some old paint and industrial wastes. Mercury is found in many vaccinations and contaminated water.

Medications such as steroids, barbiturates, cholesterol-lowering drugs and beta blockers can disrupt thyroid function.

Gluten and other food allergies lower thyroid function by causing inflammation. Gluten causes autoimmune responses which can be responsible for Hashimoto’s disease. Gluten sensitivity can cause your gastrointestinal system to malfunction, leading to leaky gut syndrome. The body produces antigens to fight the leaked particles. These antigens are similar to molecules in the thyroid gland. Your body then accidently attacks the thyroid.

Whether you believe me or not, soy is not a health food. I’ve written entire articles on why soy is bad for you; go to my website to find them. Specific to the thyroid, soy phytoestrogens are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

Fluoride is a toxic chemical linked to many health problems. Recent research has now linked it to thyroid dysfunction. Yes, we are talking about the fluoride that can be added to your water, and the stuff dentists say is good for your teeth. In areas where fluoride in water is over the 0.3 mg/L (0.7 mg/L is the level added to water supplies in the USA), the incidence of hypothyroidism is 37% higher than areas that do not fluoridate. Because fluoride is more electronegative than iodine, it displaces it in the body, disrupting thyroid function and affecting your metabolism. Fluoride promotes and exacerbates iodine deficiency.

Next are bromines. Bromine is also a halide which competes for the same receptors the thyroid gland uses to capture iodine. When you ingest bromine, you displace iodine, which leads to increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid, ovary, and prostate.

Where is bromine found in our daily lives you ask? More places than you’d ever think. It is in pesticides used on foods such as strawberries. It is in the plastics where we store our food, and it leaches into the stored food. Potassium bromate is added to baked goods and flours as a ‘dough conditioner.’ Polybromo diphenyl ethers or PBDE’s is a fire retardant used on fabrics, carpets, upholsteries and mattresses. Medications such as Atrovent inhalers and nasal sprays, ProBanthine for ulcers and in some anesthesia all contain bromines. Brominated vegetable oils (BVO’s) are found in citrus flavored soft drinks like Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Fresca.

Lastly, stress is one of the worst thyroid offenders. The function of the thyroid is directly tied to your adrenal function, which is ultimately tied to how you handle stress. Chronic stress results in increased adrenalin and cortisol levels. Higher levels of cortisol negatively affect thyroid production, exactly when you need it the most. This is how stress causes obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and unstable blood sugar levels. Prolonged stress causes adrenal exhaustion, or adrenal fatigue, often found alongside hypothyroidism.

In the next article on the thyroid, we will look at the associated symptoms of low thyroid hormones and how to best test your levels.