It seems there might be a correlation between the increase in toxins that we encounter in our daily lives and the increase in Hashimoto’s, which is the main reason for hypothyroidism.
Root causes for Hashimoto’s can go deep, and can be hard to find, but it’s likely that our environment has an impact. Luckily, our environment is pretty easy to change.
Plastics and hypothyroidism
Plastics are a big one. They are absolutely everywhere. I always say sugar is everywhere but plastic trumps sugar! But there are certain times that you’ll need to prioritise avoiding it.
Bisphenol A (aka BPA) is a compound found in many plastics – drink bottles, sauces, ready meals, baby formula, receipts. It has been linked to cancer and reproductive and development disorders. It’s an endocrine (hormone) disruptor. It binds to T3 (the form of thyroid hormone that our cells use) receptors meaning that it competes with thyroid hormone and basically steals its seat.
So I recommend avoiding all plastics in relation to food and drink (as far as possible). This is particularly important when it comes to HEATING it or foods that are ACIDIC (like tomato sauces). This is because the heat and the acid start to break down the plastic so it gets mixed into our food and drink.
N.B. Many products now say ‘BPA free’. Sadly the replacements are often just as bad. Their structure is very similar and they have the same effects on the endocrine system.
What can I do about it?
- Transfer ready meals to glass or ceramic dishes before heating
- Buy ketchup and tomato sauces in glass
- Buy glass baby bottles if heating milk
- Only use plastic tuppaware for dry foods and replace with glass
- Avoid cling film and use beeswax wraps or glass containers
- Never leave a plastic water bottle in the sun or a hot car and drink the water from it (even when it’s cooled)
Plastics can have a dramatic effect on thyroid health and it needs to be taken seriously – just as seriously as diet and lifestyle changes.
Halogens and hypothyroidism
Halogens are elements (from the periodic table, remember that guy?) that are structurally similar. The ones I’m talking about here are similar to iodine. Iodine is fundamental in making thyroid hormone. We have a special ‘iodine trap’ that is very good at capturing iodine that we consume and saving it for thyroid hormone. However, some of these halogens can get in the way.
The big ones are fluoride and chlorine. As they are shaped similarly to iodine, they can take iodine’s place and block its uptake so we need to be careful we don’t consume too much of them. Fluoride is in tap water in some places. It’s also in toothpaste (don’t let your kids eat it). Chlorine is in tap water everywhere. It’s in swimming pools, hot tubs, cleaning products, plastics and PCBs (in industrial products)
What can I do?
- Filter your water. Reverse osmosis removes fluoride and chlorine.
- Avoid swallowing swimming pool water and favour the sea over the pool.
- Reduce or avoid hot tub use.
- Use natural cleaning products and always rinse really well.
- Use fluoride free toothpaste, especially for kids.
I originally spoke about this in my free Facebook group