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Every week I get emails from people asking questions about the thyroid. It’s no surprise with nearly 200 million people world-wide dealing with some kind of thyroid disorder.
Here are some surprising facts that you might not be aware of.  
1. Your thyroid can affect your LDL Cholesterol When your thyroid is functioning properly, it sends a signal to your liver to upregulate LDL cell receptors. Those receptors pull LDL Cholesterol out of your blood, which your liver uses to make bile so you can digest things like bacon. When your thyroid is not functioning optimally, those LDL receptors are not expressed as much, so that  LDL cholesterol remains in the blood. Too much of that, and your doctor will likely freak out and want to put you on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. That, of course, can cause its own set of health complications, particularly when the cholesterol itself isn’t the problem.   2. 43% of people with gluten sensitivity will manifest some type of thyroid disorder Picture this. Gluten is a protein that is composed of a long string of amino acids. Let’s say that within that string is the amino acid A-A-B-C-D. Someone with gluten sensitivity will make antibodies (the body’s defense mechanism) to that long string of amino acids and will attack them whenever they’re present in the body. Well, the thyroid is also made up of proteins, or long strings of amino acids. Within those long strings of amino acids in the thyroid will be A-A-B-C-D. Are you beginning to see the problem? The immune system mistakenly recognizes the thyroid as a foreign invader and will attack it. This manifests as a thyroid dysfunction, and is often misdiagnosed by many doctors who don’t look into the autoimmune issues or test for gluten sensitivity. 16thy_banner_attend_728x90_primary     3. Your shower could be causing thyroid dysfunction Certain chemicals can clog up hormone receptors on the cells in your thyroid. One of the most common chemicals is chlorine, and we breathe in a lot of chlorine in our nice warm shower every morning. Not everyone has this type of sensitivity, but it’s way more common than people know. One way to tell if this is affecting you is to see if you seem to be able to smell chlorine more acutely that other people. In other words, do you notice a chlorine smell in your water, or can you always tell what floor in a hotel the pool is on as soon as the elevator doors open? If so, it might be time for a filter on your shower. Other chemicals that could affect the thyroid in sensitive people– although to a lesser extent than chlorine– are fluoride and bromine.   4. Thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and it may just be an iodine problem Dr. David Brownstein has discovered, through his research and clinical experience with over 6,000 patients, that approximately 96% of people are deficient in iodine. Iodine is an essential nutrient: it’s something we need to consume. It concentrates in the glandular tissue and its main job is to maintain the proper structure of that tissue. When we remain iodine-deficient, we begin seeing problems like cysts, nodules and eventually cancer in the thyroid and other glands. I recommend having your doctor or practitioner check to see if you’re deficient in iodine, and if so, make sure you’re eating enough iodine-rich foods like smaller fish and shellfish. Again, I do recommend confirming that you are, in fact, deficient before digging into a huge plate of seaweed or supplementing with iodine. Over-doing it on iodine can cause it’s own set of health issues but, generally speaking, eating seafood shouldn’t cause a problem. In fact, iodine is so important, that taking thyroid hormone medication without correcting the iodine deficiency can increase your risk for breast cancer by 50%. Taking thyroid hormone increases your metabolic rate, which increases your need for iodine, which makes your iodine deficiency worse. The thyroid preferentially absorbs iodine,  effectively stealing it from other glands like breast tissue, ovaries and prostate. Studies show that women who take thyroid hormone for fifteen years have a 50% increased risk for breast cancer.   5. A low-carb diet might be the worst thing for your thyroid The majority of thyroid issues manifest in women, and among the dozens of symptoms that those issues can cause is the inability to lose weight. One of the most popular current trends for weight loss happens to be a low-carb diet or even a low-carb paleo diet. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst diets you can subscribe to, particularly for women with thyroid issues. As Dr. Sara Gottfried, author of The Hormone Cure, points out, women have a much more complex system then men. So, what works for us guys won’t necessarily work for women, and that’s even truer for women with thyroid issues. Think of carbohydrates as thyroid food. Studies have shown that fasting or significant caloric restriction can reduce T3 production dramatically. The same has been shown for carbohydrate restriction. This is why it’s fairly common for people – particularly women – to experience hypothyroid symptoms when following a low-carb diet.

You can learn more about the thyroid from the Thyroid Connection Summit Here.


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16 Comments

  1. No. 5 applies to me (I have low T3) but I am forced into a low carb diet bc of sibo and Candida so what are my optionsp?

  2. Great article! Number 3 was a wake up call for me. I have low T3 due to a conversion problem. I used to have a shower filter but I’m so tall that I got tired of hitting my head. I smell chlorine almost every time I’m near water, whether it is coming from the sink or from a sprinkler system. I guess I better get my filter re-attached.

  3. Mike, you suggest kelp up above…I thought with Hashi’s it’s iffy to add iodine to your diet?
    I bought kelp, then threw it out after reading Dr Kharrazain, I believe. And he’s my thyroid guru…and gut guru, too

  4. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this outstanding
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  6. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who
    has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered
    me breakfast because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this matter
    here on your blog.

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