Related Topics: Diet, Features, Thyroid

Can Foods Affect Your Thyroid?

A frequent question is whether thyroid medication can be used with bioidentical hormones and the answer is yes. But what you eat can make your thyroid problem worse.

Dr Andrew Weil

January was Thyroid Awareness Month in the United States. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, about one in eight women will develop a thyroid problem in her lifetime.

Foods to avoid or minimise

You can help to promote thyroid health by knowing what foods may interfere with optimal thyroid function.

The first is foods containing natural goitrogens, chemicals that cause the thyroid gland to enlarge by interfering with thyroid hormone synthesis.

Common sources include:

*  cabbage

*  kale

*  Brussels sprouts

*  broccoli

*  cauliflower

*  corn

*  sweet potatoes

*  lima beans

The role of soy
Another culprit may be soy. Excess consumption of soy can affect thyroid function, but is generally only a problem in those taking thyroid replacement medication. If you are on such medication, tell your doctor how much soy you consume so your dosage can be adjusted, if necessary.

You should also know that if you eat soy foods at the same time that you take thyroid hormone, they may interfere with its absorption. To be safe, do not eat soy within three hours of taking your medication.

Moderate soy consumption should not be a problem – that means one serving a day of whole soy products, such as one cup of soy milk or a half cup of tofu, soy protein (tempeh), or crispy soy nuts.

If you are concerned about your thyroid, simple tests can help determine if your thyroid is over- or under-functioning, and proper medications and lifestyle changes can help address any concerns; consult with your physician.

The role of progesterone

Oestrogen dominance is associated with low thyroid as excess oestrogen is often responsible for the symptoms of Hypothyroidism, despite normal serum levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).  Natural Progesterone, however, re-directs the activity of oestrogen by increasing the sensitivity of estrogen receptors and, most importantly, inhibits many of unopposed oestrogen’s undesirable side-effects, which includes interference with thyroid hormone activity.

The late Dr John Lee, and other bioidentical experts since, have remarked on the surprising number of women who have low thyroid and that many have found that thyroid function has been normalised within a few weeks when supplementing with bioidentical progesterone.

If you are taking thyroid medication it is perfectly safe to use progesterone alongside it, but as a precaution have your doctor monitor your thyroid as the amount of medication needed may be subject to change.

Further reading:

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