5

votes

Can Paleo Exacerbate Hyperthyroidism?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 28, 2010 at 5:16 PM

This question is an inverse of a previous one: http://paleohacks.com/questions/1/hypothyroidism-and-paleo

In the other question, the role of iodine in hypothyroidism was discussed, as well as ways that iodine can be increased in the diet.

With hyperthyoidism, especially disorders like Graves Disease, increasing iodine in the diet can potentially exacerbate existing problems. Eggs and some seafood has a lot of iodine apparently (http://paleohacks.com/questions/405/how-do-you-get-dietary-iodine).

Also, can excessive carb intake increase thyroid capacity? It was suggested that low-carb could cause the reverse, hypothyroidism.

Are there anything people should keep in mind to avoid hyperthyroidism while eating Paleo?

8a525a942a37c3faf3d7ee524e64e57d

(40)

on January 01, 2014
at 08:42 PM

Hi Theresa,

How is your hyperthyroidism?

I have been borderline hyper since I was 25 and get tested every year or so as it's pretty stable. I avoid seaweed and salt, but would find it very difficult not to eat fish and seafood!

I'll be having another test some this year and hopefully it will be unchanged. The goitre does increase, but at a slow rate, and it's not really noticeable, although I do see it more now that's I've lost a bit of weight!

The potential connection between gluten and Hashimoto/Graves looks interesting. In Europe we blame Chernobyl!

Best wishes for 2014.

922888e45ab551d9705c95c45c5353ff

(0)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:27 PM

Hey TheresaS. How is your Graves Disease going with your elimination of wheat, eggs, dairy, etc?

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on January 03, 2012
at 10:26 PM

Sue, I and my family had bad luck with endos for thyroid treatment--to a person, they had precisely one response: bring down TSH (to a level that wasn't low enough) with Synthroid (or its generic brethren). None cared about symptom remission; none would even entertain alternative drugs. I finally found relief with an "integrative" doctor who was willing to discuss natural thyroid products like Armour, as well as diet, lifestyle, supplements, etc. Maybe you can find help with such a doctor, if endos aren't doing the trick.

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 28, 2011
at 04:53 PM

thank you Ed, and sorry about the added letters and miss-spells in my questions. I see you are a very knowledgeable civilian ;>) I really appreciate your help. UVA and MCV are excellent institutions, I guess I can blame my thyroid on not thinking about them as a resource. Again, thanks

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:04 AM

Sue, according to the rules of PaleoHacks, I'm a civilian. Your profile states that you're from Gloucester. It may be worth the drive for you to see an endocrinologist at a university hospital. UVa and MCV are both excellent institutions, but I'm not familiar with their endocrinology departments.

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:35 PM

Hi Ed, thanks, I thought this picture of my grandaughter would be appropriate for this site ;>) So, I really want to reverse my hypothyroidism, I havent had radiation or surgery......my autoimmunity, well, I dont know. I cant seem to find a good endo dr. the one I have now says I should eat flinstone vitamins for my iron......aaaiiiiiieeeee. Are you and endo?

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:59 PM

Hi Sue, love your avatar! Hypothyroidism can only be reversed if there is sufficient mass of functioning thyroid tissue that hasn't been destroyed by autoimmunity, radiation or surgery. Bromine can interfere with thyroid function, but I don't know the level of exposure from pools and hot tubs.

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:02 AM

Hi Ed, I was wondering, since you seem to know so much about thyroid function and issues with thyroid, do you think it is possible to revere hypothyroidism? I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid about 9 years ago, and have been on various levels of synthroid, the highest was 135 mcg, now I am on 88 mcg and 5 mcg of cytomel. I still feel lousy sometimes, but so much better after changing my diet. Also, our pool uses bromine instead of chlorine, is that going to mess me up too? aiieee.. hope this gets to you and isn't too annoying. thanks

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 05, 2010
at 10:41 PM

David, interesting question, and thanks for the bounty. The literature appeared to be rather thin on this subject. Sorry I couldn't find out more. Cheers,

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on May 05, 2010
at 09:27 PM

Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on May 05, 2010
at 08:43 PM

Thank you Ed, great list of relevant articles.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on May 05, 2010
at 08:43 PM

Allan, you provided a lot of great "food for thought" but the plethora of linked articles in Ed's answer has convinced me to vote on his. Thank you for your lengthy and well thought out response, I sincerely appreciate it!

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on May 02, 2010
at 12:23 AM

Wow. Sure enough, that's what the salt institute says, "Salt used in processed foods is not iodized. Given that people are cooking less at home and buying either restaurant or processed foods, iodine intakes in the U.S. have declined from about 250 μg/day to 157 micrograms/day. Public health authorities recommend 150 μg or more and the need is particularly acute for expectant mothers. Daily Iodine intakes of 1,000 - 1,100 μg are safe for adults and children over 4 years of age." http://www.saltinstitute.org/Uses-benefits/Salt-in-Food/Essential-nutrient/Iodized-salt

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2010
at 11:38 PM

i read that the salt in processed food doesn't have iodine it it. just table salt.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on April 29, 2010
at 06:37 PM

I demand people vote up this question because I used the word "exacerbate" in a sentence. LOL

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

3 Answers

best answer

6
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 01, 2010
at 06:54 PM

A paleo lifestyle does not cause pathologic hyperthyroidism. However, under certain conditions it can unmask or exacerbate hyperthyroidism.

Some paleo adherents take pretty hefty doses of iodine supplements (for example, see the comments section of this Free the Animal thread: http://freetheanimal.com/2010/01/the-hidden-benefit-of-the-sad-iodine.html ). This could contribute to hyperthyroidism. I recognize that taking megadoses of iodine is not paleo per se.

Soybeans contain isoflavones, which are reputed to interfere with thyroid function ( http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/soydangers.htm ). If someone went paleo and eliminated soy from their diet, it could unmask a hyperthyroid state.

Some wheat flours in the United States are still bromated ( http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bromated-flour.htm ). Bromine is a competitive inhibitor of iodine, so stopping wheat flour consumption (as in a paleo diet) could unmask hyperthyroidism.

Celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is sometimes associated with either Graves' disease or Hashimoto's thyroiditis (hyper- or hypo-thyroidism). It has not been shown that eliminating gluten from the diet will affect thyroid function in either direction, but it's theoretically possible.

Finally, Vitamin D and thyroid function have complex interactions and synergies. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can lead to reduced Vitamin D levels ( http://www.goodhormonehealth.com/VitaminD.pdf ). Vitamin D supplements have been shown to inhibit the growth of thyroid cancers ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1850654/ ). However, it has not been shown that Vitamin D supplements, commonly taken by paleos, can actually trigger hyper- or hypo- thyroidism.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 05, 2010
at 10:41 PM

David, interesting question, and thanks for the bounty. The literature appeared to be rather thin on this subject. Sorry I couldn't find out more. Cheers,

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on May 05, 2010
at 08:43 PM

Thank you Ed, great list of relevant articles.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:04 AM

Sue, according to the rules of PaleoHacks, I'm a civilian. Your profile states that you're from Gloucester. It may be worth the drive for you to see an endocrinologist at a university hospital. UVa and MCV are both excellent institutions, but I'm not familiar with their endocrinology departments.

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:02 AM

Hi Ed, I was wondering, since you seem to know so much about thyroid function and issues with thyroid, do you think it is possible to revere hypothyroidism? I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid about 9 years ago, and have been on various levels of synthroid, the highest was 135 mcg, now I am on 88 mcg and 5 mcg of cytomel. I still feel lousy sometimes, but so much better after changing my diet. Also, our pool uses bromine instead of chlorine, is that going to mess me up too? aiieee.. hope this gets to you and isn't too annoying. thanks

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:59 PM

Hi Sue, love your avatar! Hypothyroidism can only be reversed if there is sufficient mass of functioning thyroid tissue that hasn't been destroyed by autoimmunity, radiation or surgery. Bromine can interfere with thyroid function, but I don't know the level of exposure from pools and hot tubs.

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:35 PM

Hi Ed, thanks, I thought this picture of my grandaughter would be appropriate for this site ;>) So, I really want to reverse my hypothyroidism, I havent had radiation or surgery......my autoimmunity, well, I dont know. I cant seem to find a good endo dr. the one I have now says I should eat flinstone vitamins for my iron......aaaiiiiiieeeee. Are you and endo?

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 28, 2011
at 04:53 PM

thank you Ed, and sorry about the added letters and miss-spells in my questions. I see you are a very knowledgeable civilian ;>) I really appreciate your help. UVA and MCV are excellent institutions, I guess I can blame my thyroid on not thinking about them as a resource. Again, thanks

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on January 03, 2012
at 10:26 PM

Sue, I and my family had bad luck with endos for thyroid treatment--to a person, they had precisely one response: bring down TSH (to a level that wasn't low enough) with Synthroid (or its generic brethren). None cared about symptom remission; none would even entertain alternative drugs. I finally found relief with an "integrative" doctor who was willing to discuss natural thyroid products like Armour, as well as diet, lifestyle, supplements, etc. Maybe you can find help with such a doctor, if endos aren't doing the trick.

3
5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

on May 01, 2010
at 04:19 PM

If I may, you are asking a couple questions here that I believe are a bit in conflict.

Concerning your last question, "Are there anything people should keep in mind to avoid hyperthyroidism while eating Paleo?" I can answer quite certainly, if philosophically, no. The tenet of the Paleo way of eating is that it alone is the proper, no compromises manner of consumption for which humans are evolutionarily suited. If you accept that tenet then you cannot fear Paleo could potentially lead to a chronic condition like hyperthyroid.

BTW, that tenet is an important point. From it follows the important distinction between simple low carb dieting and true Paleo way of eating. A simple low carb diet will allow someone to lose weight and improve many of their health markers. However, low carb-ing on KFC, McD, and whatever other hydrogenated seed oils we are bound to get from Big-Ag once low carb has grabbed the mainstream attention is not Paleo. Paleo encompasses the right fats, the right vitamins, and the right minerals in proper portion from natural, whole foods.

Now, the topic question was "Can Paleo exacerbate hyperthyroidism?" That is an altogether different question than "can Paleo lead to hyperthyroidism". In fact, I would rephrase it with emphasis as: "Are there aspects of a Paleo style of eating which may exacerbate a pathological cause of hyperthyroidism?"

I think the emphasis are important. Without those emphasis one may jump to fearing that Paleo may lead to hyperthyroid (or any chronic condition). As to the potentially exacerbating aspects, as concerns hyperthyroid I don't have an answer. I will say there are other conditions for which aspects of Paleo can have a negative effect. For instance, if you are already iodine deficient or very close to being so, the lack of iodine laced salt that comes with the processed food in the SAD can be problematic. One must mitigate that aspect of Paleo (ie. no industrially processed and manufactured food) by eating fish, seaweed or supplementing. Another condition is PKU. Meat causes these people harm. They must instead consume dairy for protein and non-grain based complex carbohydrates. Yet another aspect of Paleo is eating nutrient dense food and lots of animal fat. One must mitigate those aspects with moderation and exercise. Beef liver appears to be nature's multi-vitamin, however, like commercial multi-vitamins you can overdose on them, so moderation is key. Animal fats from commercial commodity producers can be high in omega-6 fats. One must mitigate again by moderation, preferring ruminants over pork and chicken, and grass-fed over feed lot corn fed, and perhaps supplementing omega-3 capsules.

Finally, this may be more of a philosophical answer than you were expecting (you can thank a Friday home with the kids). If so I'll hold no ill will for missing the bounty (as much as I would like to win it!). I do think it is an important answer though.

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on May 05, 2010
at 09:27 PM

Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2010
at 11:38 PM

i read that the salt in processed food doesn't have iodine it it. just table salt.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on May 05, 2010
at 08:43 PM

Allan, you provided a lot of great "food for thought" but the plethora of linked articles in Ed's answer has convinced me to vote on his. Thank you for your lengthy and well thought out response, I sincerely appreciate it!

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on May 02, 2010
at 12:23 AM

Wow. Sure enough, that's what the salt institute says, "Salt used in processed foods is not iodized. Given that people are cooking less at home and buying either restaurant or processed foods, iodine intakes in the U.S. have declined from about 250 μg/day to 157 micrograms/day. Public health authorities recommend 150 μg or more and the need is particularly acute for expectant mothers. Daily Iodine intakes of 1,000 - 1,100 μg are safe for adults and children over 4 years of age." http://www.saltinstitute.org/Uses-benefits/Salt-in-Food/Essential-nutrient/Iodized-salt

1
D44e4c1586c3c782a99ff9f020cd2d3a

on January 03, 2012
at 06:52 PM

I just came across this thread and felt compelled to add insight from all of my research and LIVING with HYPERthyroid..which I was diagnosed about 5 months ago. Bottom line- there are distinct benefits to paleo diet and there is also potential significant detriment...potential for further aggravating HYPERthyroid making your condition and health worse. ALSO-it seems that there is some confusion in the discussion. It is VERY imporant not to confuse HYPO with HYPER..as well as understand that a paleo diet will not cause HYPER..HYPER is most often caused by Graves Disease- an autoimmune disease. To go further into the "rabbit hole" of HYPER/Graves, there is strong evidence/research that supports diet influence on HYPER (some say diet can "trigger" HYPER in those who are pre-disposed (genetic influence), and this is mostlikely compounded with environmental conditions (including what we put in our bodies- food, water, chemicals), and lastly stress.

Focusing on purely the diet since this is what the thread discussion is about- those WITH HYPER should stay away (research suggests) foods with glueten as well as ANY HIGH iodine food (Eggs, fish, anything from the sea, Dairy). This is the journey that I am about to embark on and hopefully go into "remission" from Graves Disease / HYPERthyroid. I can update anyone who may be interested.

Lastly, I will add two other components that may be of help to anyone trying to go into remission..from HYPERthyroid-

1) the above foods (groups) also can become allergens to our bodies...after a certain period of elimination, we may be able to introduce certain items back without issue like eggs and CERTAIN types of dairy (though there is much research that milk is not "good" for adults period).

2) There is also a significant of evidence out there that shows starting with a very restrictive diet along with probiotics to get your system "clean" and your gut flora stablized is a smart starting point to heal your body..which means further elimination of foods with sugars in them (fruit even)...but I am still researching on the length of the elimination with probiotics to get to that stablized state.

I hope this helps.

922888e45ab551d9705c95c45c5353ff

(0)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:27 PM

Hey TheresaS. How is your Graves Disease going with your elimination of wheat, eggs, dairy, etc?

8a525a942a37c3faf3d7ee524e64e57d

(40)

on January 01, 2014
at 08:42 PM

Hi Theresa,

How is your hyperthyroidism?

I have been borderline hyper since I was 25 and get tested every year or so as it's pretty stable. I avoid seaweed and salt, but would find it very difficult not to eat fish and seafood!

I'll be having another test some this year and hopefully it will be unchanged. The goitre does increase, but at a slow rate, and it's not really noticeable, although I do see it more now that's I've lost a bit of weight!

The potential connection between gluten and Hashimoto/Graves looks interesting. In Europe we blame Chernobyl!

Best wishes for 2014.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!