How to destroy your thyroid

I know we were supposed to get to the good stuff and tell you how to nourish your thyroid but I thought it would be a little bit better if you knew some really cool ways to destroy your thyroid before I told you how to build it back up!

{For detailed information on the thyroid and how to tell if your thyroid is not functioning properly read What is Your Thyroid and Is It Out of Whack? To find out how your thyroid works with and is affected by other systems in the body read You Can Have Fleas AND Ticks: A New Look at Thyroid Issues.}

Aside from low thyroid symptoms like the inability to lose weight, (although low thyroid function often can happen even in those with normal body weight), cold hands and feet, depression, anxiety, and many others listed in our thyroid definition post, if hypothyroidism goes untreated it can lead to  rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, heart failure, diabetes, osteoporosis, hormone imbalance (estrogen dominance), infertility, cholesterol issues, and adrenal fatigue.

Let’s talk about what kinds of  foods can inhibit thyroid function (thyroid inhibitors or goitrogens) and figure out the best way to destroy your thyroid function::

Soy:: Although soy, in and of itself is not bad {See Soy:: The Good, the Bad, and the Truth} when eaten in small amounts and properly prepared, preferably soaked and fermented, because soy is one of the top three most genetically modified crops and is isolated (concentrated soy protein, soy isolates, soybean oil, etc.) and is one or more ingredient in most packaged foods.  A little fermented soy, ie, tofu, tempeh, traditionally brewed soy sauce can be heart protective but a lot of isolated soy products is, in a word, bad for the thyroid.  Soy is also high in the anti-nutrient phytic acid which have been shown to decrease assimilation of magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron, all necessary for healthy thyroid hormone conversion and liver detoxification pathways which are imperative to proper conversion.  Phytate molecules from the grain attach to minerals in the digestive tract and make them unavailable to the body.

It should be noted that phytic acid is present in nuts, seeds, (including flax and chia, incidentally)  and legumes  as well as grains!

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs):: Vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, safflower, flax, etc. and foods high in them: nuts and seeds (yes, nuts and seeds are high in poly unsaturated fats!), factory farmed poultry, battery eggs and just about every processed food on the market. PUFAs  become powerful anti-thyroid compounds ( capable of suppressing the metabolic rate) and can suppress the immune system. Free radicals are highly reactive molecular fragments that occur even in healthiest cells, and can damage those cells. When unsaturated oils are exposed to free radicals they create chain reactions of free radicals that spread the damage in the cell, and contribute to the cell’s aging. These free radicals are most known for being responsible for premature aging signs such as hyperpigmentation, wrinkling, and sagging due to the breakdown of collagen.

Note:: Nuts are not intrinsically bad, in my opinion, when properly prepared and eaten judiciously but, since many people buy nuts that have been sitting in bulk bins exposed to light and air and harvested God knows when, the chances that these nuts have rancid oils (making PUFAs even more dangerous).  Buy your nuts as close to local as possible and store them in air tight containers away from the light.

Grains:: Healthy eaters all over the world right now are arranging a protest outside of my door.  The thing is when you have a thyroid function issue,  the anti-nutrients; the phytates, saponins (as in quinoa) are a huge problem for thyroid health as they bind to essential nutrients affecting conversion of thyroid hormone, detoxification pathways (saponins have been known to bind to magnesium which can suppress immune function and even affect insulin sensitivity) .  Even if you properly soak your grains, indulging in a great deal of grain is just shoveling starch into your system triggering insulin release which can, over time, lead to insulin resistance.  This can lead to a stress reaction in the adrenals which can trigger thyroid disfunction.  Gluten intolerance and/or Celiac’s Disease is almost universally found to be an issue in those diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. Lectins, found in grains,  are heat-stable and resistant to breakdown in the gastrointestinal tract.These lectins bind to the human intestinal lining and block nutrients from being absorbed, as well as initiating mild allergic reactions/immune responses.  Lectins also have a strong correlation with leptin resistance. Leptin is an important hormone that is made by your brain(your hypothalamus), telling your body to stop eating. Lectin then ruins your body’s ability to regulate leptin causing you to begin overeating. Leptin resistance is, among many other destructive things, associated with insulin sensitivity/metabolic syndrome which, as we have discussed, can trigger hypothyroidism as well as obesity.

Cruciferous vegetables:: (Includes broccoli, bok choy,cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts.)  But, but but these are HEALTHY????!!!  And I am not negating this fact, however, these contain compounds that inhibit iodine uptake to the thyroid (goitrogens).  If you are even slightly hypothyroid or suspect that you might be, avoid these vegetables unless they are cooked very well and add butter, or, if vegan, coconut oil, which can help inhibit these negative compounds.

Note::  I know this won’t be positively received but I never recommend eating the above mentioned vegetables raw (or juiced) with the exception of cabbage juice on occasion (which is good for a stomach ache).

Let’s talk about other things you can do or have to destroy your thyroid.

Have an estrogen dominance issue::  Estrogen dominance (or ‘unopposed estrogen dominance’ due to low progesterone)  can cause low thyroid function by blocking the release of thyroid hormone from the gland.  Low thyroid can cause high estrogen as well!    Women under stress with thyroid deficiency tend to have elevated estrogen.  Diseases/health issues related to or affected by elevated estrogen and low progesterone include PMS, weight gain (weight gain around the middle, or “muffin tops”), migraines, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, infertility and breast cancer.  A common pattern is: low thyroid – low progesterone – high estrogen – high stress – bacterial overgrowth.

Note:: Xenoestrogens such as chemical compounds in beauty and personal care products, cleaning products, plastics, phtalates, etc. contribute to the problem.  They are absolutely everywhere so if you think organic skincare products and eco-friendly cleaning supplies are too expensive/not as effective, then you are in luck.  Xenoestrogens are some of the best paths to estrogen dominance!

Damaged your intestinal lining / suffer from leaky gut:: Bacterial (particularly yeast or candida) overgrowth in the small intestine can be caused by hypothyroidism, and endotoxins (substances produced by these bacteria) can damage the lining of the small intestine, causing the loss of digestive enzymes and nutrient malabsorption issues.

Allow your insulin to go unchecked::  Hypoglycemia, diabetes, and insulin resistance all wreak havoc on thyroid function. It is important to havesufficient glucose in the liver regulates the enzymes that convert T4 (inactive form of thyroid hormone) to T3 (active form), therefore low blood sugar or diabetes or even metabolic syndrome (where glucose doesn’t enter cells efficiently) will cause hypothyroidism, with an inability to convert T4 to T3. Very low calorie diets, fasting (especially fruit juice fasting with no protein), and even skipping breakfast can affect this process.  This is further exacerbated by PUFAs, which block the cell’s ability to absorb sugar therefore keeping the serum blood glucose levels high.

Stress:: Emotional or physical (including excess exercise) stress  lowers thyroid function.  It has been shown in many studies that high intensity aerobic exercise is NOT an effective way to induce fat loss, it can actually encourage the body to store fat (the body’s natural stress response).

Don’t eat enough protein::  Protein insufficiency is one of the fastest ways to destroy your thyroid.  Although vegetarian diets and vegan diets can be healthy for a person in tip top shape, much of the time, to heal from hypothyroidism, adrenal issues, or immune disorders, vegetarian proteins really don’t cut it.  (I know this will not be a popular statement among my vegan readers.  I completely respect a person’s food choices however sometimes, to completely heal a body, sacrifices must be made and high quality animal protein should sometimes be considered as a way towards that healing.).  Vegetarian proteins are often incomplete and bound up in so much starch and anti-nutritional compounds the protein, in a body with dysfunction in the endocrine system, is not readily assimilable.  Believe it or not, I treat many people that have been vegetarians for many years with depleted thyroids and dysfunctional metabolisms.  (Not everyone that follows a vegetarian diet has these issues but many do.)  I am not suggesting a “High” protein diet either, especially if you are just over-eating a whole lot of lean muscle meat.  ”Adequate” protein is the healthiest approach and will depend on a person’s individual needs.

So there you have it….  Several ways to properly destroy your thyroid.  Tomorrow we will finally discuss what you can do to rebuild your thyroid.  See How to Nourish Your Thyroid for delicious ways to help heal your entire endocrine system.


7 replies
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Becky, please understand I am not suggesting you NOT eat them, just to cook them which is contrary to the “en vogue” raw diet these days…. You MUST cook these vegetables whether you are hypo or hyperthryoid.

  1. Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club
    Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club says:

    I do cook all of my vegetables, except things typically in a salad like radishes and carrots, leafy greens, etc. It just agrees with my belly more. Even a warm salad always sounds better to me. My grandmother was always cooking her vegetables on the stove. I do it too;)

  2. loraine
    loraine says:

    Hi there…luv luv luv your article….very informative and not repetitive….I am definitely going to start the gelatin asap…quick question though…I really want to introduce bone broth in my diet…is there a particular brand you can recommend? I notice a lot of people are saying that if’s difficult to find the grass fed bones and where I live in Orlando, it is kinda difficult but if you know an online company that is reputable I would be grateful…Thank you again for writing this blog….

    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I can recommend some companies for you that will be happy to send you grass-fed bones (for a price) but yes, I always believe bone broth should be made at home. Look for my email shortly.

  3. Yasmine
    Yasmine says:

    Amazing article! I’m a high-raw vegan and I’m suspecting my first hypothyroid episode, period is late by 3 weeks, i’m tired all the time (except for short peaks of energy). I’m totally willing to eat some fish to try and see what happens.. thank you for writing this and sharing with those in need, xxx


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