Restricting salt, replacing iodized salt with natural unrefined salt, and consuming plant foods that generate isothiocyanate can all have their place in a healthy diet, but raise the risk of iodine deficiency. Here’s how to spot the problem and what to do about it.
If you’re health conscious, you could be making health choices that are actually hurting your thyroid gland, and so you should watch this video.
Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. And you’re watching Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!”
And today we’re going to talk about three healthy habits that could be hurting your thyroid gland. And we’re going to focus in on things that could be making you iodine deficient. Historically it’s been really easy to be iodine deficient because iodine evaporates really easily and eventually it all gets dumped in the ocean. So some foods grown in land are a good source of iodine, some aren’t. You could have a potato from one place and from another place, and one has a hundred times more iodine than the other.
The way that we’ve addressed that in the past is to iodize things like bread or salt. And in the United States, adding iodine to salt to make iodized salt was the public health campaign that eradicated severe iodine deficiency. But here’s the thing. A lot of people, to be healthy, restrict their salt intake. If you do, you could be eliminating one of your key sources of iodine.
Number two: you may not believe in restricting salt, but you may have switched from iodized salt to something like Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. These salts are great sources of other minerals, but they’re not good sources of iodine.
Number three: you could have increased your intake of foods that have compounds that inhibit the uptake of iodine into your thyroid gland, making it harder for your body to make thyroid hormone. The most common example of this is to eat large amounts of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and kale and cauliflower and other vegetables in that family.
These contain compounds that help support detoxification, protect against cancer, and act as antioxidants. Those compounds are the exact same compounds that inhibit the uptake of iodine into your thyroid gland. So moderation is really important. Many people even take supplements of things like sulforaphane, which concentrate these compounds from cruciferous vegetables, making the potential health benefits and the potential risks much more potent. You also could be increasing your intake of foods that release small amounts of cyanide. And that cyanide can be metabolized into compounds that are very similar from what you get from cruciferous vegetables and can have the same impact on iodine metabolism. These foods include cassava, which is often used in gluten-free flours and breads, lima beans, sprouted sorghum, flax seeds, and there’s a corner of the Internet where people advocate using vitamin B17 to cure cancer. Vitamin B17 isn’t a vitamin, and it is a source of natural cyanide. So what do you do with this information? Well the simplest thing to do is to make sure you include a reliable source of iodine in your diet every day.
Seafoods, like fish, shellfish, and seaweed are most reliable. If you don’t eat fish and shellfish all the time, seaweed can be really convenient. You can get roasted seaweed snacks that don’t require any preparation. You can get salt that is made from sea salt and seaweed that provides iodine. Maine Coast Sea Seasonings also makes some shakers that don’t have salt and just have powdered seaweed that you can add to your foods. And with the other foods that I mentioned that can interfere with iodine metabolism, they have a lot of benefits. So I’m not saying avoid them, but moderation is key and more isn’t always better.
So I would limit cruciferous vegetables in most contexts to one serving per day. And I think it’s fine if you’re going to eat a slice of gluten-free bread or two with breakfast that has part of its flour coming from cassava, but I wouldn’t start eating most of your calories coming from those foods. If your cholesterol is running high, or if you feel fatigued or you feel brain fog, or your hair is falling out, or you’re getting puffy underneath the eyes, or cold hands and feet; these and many other symptoms that you could find from googling could be symptoms of hypothyroidism. And so if those are happening in conjunction with making some of these dietary choices, that could be a good reason to suspect that you need more iodine in your diet.
Nevertheless if you believe that you have a thyroid problem, make sure you’re working one-on-one with a healthcare practitioner who can help you investigate all the possible causes and help you find a solution.
All right, I hope you found this useful.
Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. You’ve been watching Chris Masterjohn Lite, and I will see you in the next video.