Nutrition and Supplements: Whats good and whats not good for your thyroid
Your thyroid is a very sensitive and complicated machine. It makes immediate, medium and long term alterations to your metabolism according to what you eat, how much you use your muscles, your mood, your age and any stresses you are under and you will probably already be aware, that even the weather makes a difference.
To keep this remarkable and priceless piece of equipment running, its demands could not be more modest. It needs a good diet and a copious supply of clean drinking water. The ingredients of your food, which are of special concern to the thyroid, are iodine, a vital element, which no other hormones use, and various vitamins.
Sources of iodine for most of us:
1. Dairy products 56% (this is at a maximum during the spring and summer months.
2. Bread and cereals 16%
3. Meat and fish (especially sea fish and shellfish) 11%
4. Sugar 11%
5. drinks 4%
Which vitamins and where to find them:
Vitamin A Go for yellow carrots, cheese, butter or margarine, egg yolk, fresh apricots and, the exception, green vegetables.
The B-group vitamins:
1. Thiamin: This is found in whole-wheat, pulses, nuts and pork, but rice, white flour and raw fish interfere with your being able to use it.
2. Riboflavin: This is found in liver, cheese and eggs, or meat and yeast extracts.
3. Niacin: This is found in liver, kidneys, eggs, yeast extract and instant coffee.
4. Vitamin B12: Meat, poultry, liver, eggs and milk.
5. Vitamin B6: This is available in almost all foods. The biggest danger is accidentally overdosing with vitamin pills.
Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, peppers, salads, green vegetables.
Vitamin D: Herrings (including kippers), sardines, margarine and eggs plus a regular dose of sunshine.
Vitamin E: Margarine, sunflower seed oil and other polyunsaturates, wheat germ.
Water: A good supply of clean, uncontaminated drinking water.
Too much iodine: These are called goitrogens, because eating them freely leads to goitre and the symptoms of under-active thyroid. They are all plant foods:
1. Cabbage and many other members of the brassica family, sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, horseradish
2. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds
3. Rape and mustard seed
4. Maize (sweet corn), millet, sorghum
5. Soya especially as part of a high-fibre diet, since too much thyroid hormone and iodine are excreted from the body
6. Cassava a minor problem in Third World countries
7. Kale, raw swedes and turnips fed to cattle and coming through in their milk, as has occurred here in the UK
MEDICINES THAT CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS.
Any of the following can interfere with the smooth working of the thyroid gland and can upset the tests:
1. Tolbutamine (Rastinon) for diabetes
2. Chlorpropamide (Diabinese) also for diabetes
3. Phenylbutazone (Butacote) for ankylosing spondylitis
4. Diazepam, Valium for anxiety
5. Heparin to prevent clotting in heart problems
6. Lithium (Priadel) to prevent relapse in psychiatric illness
7. Beta-blockers (e.g. Inderal) for high blood pressure
8. Salicylates, including aspirin (e.g. Disprin) a pain-killer
9. Steroids (e.g. prednisolone) for any severe physical reaction
10. Phenothiazines (e.g. Largactil) major tranquillizers
11. Amiloride (e.g. Moduretic) a water tablet
12. Androgens (e.g. testosterone) male sex hormone
13. Tamoxifen an anti-oestrogen to ward off breast cancer
14. Sulphonamides anti-bacterial drugs
15. Acetazolamide (Diamox) for glaucoma and fluid retention
16. Resorcinol (Anusol) used for piles
17. PAS for tuberculosis
The following medicines have a different effect:
1. Phenytoin and related medicines these anticonvulsants, used to control epilepsy, use up the thyroid hormones unusually quickly and this may cause a shortage.
2. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) this anticonvulsant inhibits the release of T4 into the blood.
3. Co-trimoxazole (Septrin) for urinary infections, also inhibits the release of T4 into the blood.
4. Levodopa (Sinemet) and bromocriptine (Parlodel) are both used for Parkinsons disease and both stop the stimulating action of TSH, leading to T4 and T3 lack.
Medicines that appear to increase T4 and T3:
1. Oestrogen (in the contraceptive pill and HRT) provides more of the transport protein.
2. Furosemide type water tablets (e.g. Lasix) by getting rid of fluid, make the blood more concentrated so there is more of the hormones per millilitre.
Medicines containing iodine:
1. Amioarone (Cordarone X) causes thyroid problems in 6% of people taking it
2. Cough medicines containing iodides including over-the-counter preparations
3. X-ray contrast media given for instance for gall-bladder investigations;
4. Povidone skin antiseptic (Betadine) and tincture of iodine
5. Multivitamins/multimineral health pills
Your genes autoimmune disorders:
1. Vitiligo patchy loss of pigment in the skin
2. Diabetes the type that requires insulin
3. Rheumatoid arthritis
4. Pernicious anaemia
5. Myasthenia gravis a rare muscle weakness
7. Parkinsons disease
Stresses that can affect your thyroid:
1. Starvation, as in anorexia nervosa or drastic slimming
2. Aroad-traffic or similar serious accident
3. Surgical operation
4. Severe burns
5. Radiation, for treatment or by accident
6. Emotional upset, such as bereavement
7. Important examinations
8. Major psychiatric illness, such as schizophrenia, mania or severe depression, but not Alzheimers disease or being a psychopath, nor neurotic problems
9. Great restriction of freedom, e.g., in prison
10. Withdrawal symptoms for heroin or alcohol
11. Taking amphetamines or Ecstasy
12. Physical illness you can expect the thyroid to bounce back to normal as soon as your body does, except when the liver or kidneys are involved
13. Feverish illness
14. Common illnesses, such as cystitis, bronchitis, tummy upsets and flu, all lead to the low-T3 syndrome
15. Serious illnesses, either acute or long-term, such as pneumonia, a coronary heart attack, cancer, especially of the lung, severe anorexia nervosa, diabetes or alcoholism all cause a reduction in both thyroid hormones
17. Heroin, methadone or other narcotic abuse
18. Chronic diarrhoea
19. Liver disorders
20. Kidney disorders