Myths and fallacies in thyroid disease

greygoose will appreciate the goitrogens bit!

It is pretty sad that basic information needs to be published as a paper. Just what are endocrinologists and other involved medics taught?

Leading Article

Myths and fallacies in thyroid disease


R Fernando

Full paper (it isn't very long) available from link below - not the fastest download:

48 Replies

  • Wow! I didn't know that there had never been any research done on humans. Just goes to show, doesn't it, if your repeat a myth often enough, it becomes fact.

  • We did have the woman eating mostly bok choi paper recently - but the idea that lack of other nutrients might be the critical issue is intriguing.

  • It is, indeed! I thought that.

    So, I didn't see it mentioned anywhere, but do you think we can still take it as read that 'goitrogens' work by impeding the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland? Or is that a myth, too? Could it be that the rabbits were low in iodine, anyway? Or don't rabbits need iodine... This opens up so many questions.

  • Ironies abound. The classic iodine patch test debunking paper is based, at least in part, on rabbit ears. Yes - all us animals who have backbones, and probably many others, need iodine.

  • OK, so maybe the rabbits were deficient in iodine... Sounds like more research is needed!

  • I think it's hard to compare humans and animals even though we all have thyroid gland and need iodine.

    There are some animals that do very well on very low ft4 and ft3 and they require very little iodine. But they have adapted to recycle iodine better.

    And then we have for example koalas and pandas that are hypothyroid because of eating eucalyptus tree. They had to sacrifice either source of food or normal health if you can say it that way.

    Cats tends to be hyper where dogs tends to be hypo.

    If the soil is very deficient to iodine then rabbit would easily be ID. But we cannot rule out gene mutations that might alter one to be more vulnerable to goitogren.

    So more research is definitely needed.

  • The iodine patch test showed that the iodine patch disappeared even on a dead rabbit's ear! :-)

    The point was to prove that the loss of brown from iodine occurred even with no life processes going on.

    Even that, I'd like to see a proper experiment which shows exactly what happens - and why - in humans.

  • But how do you determine was it evaporated or absorbed? As depending on altitude , weather etc iodine evaporates faster.

  • That is what the experiment needs to determine.

    Completely agreed - altitude and temperature certainly affect what happens to iodine. Which is why the purported test is at the very least unreliable. As it stands, it is simply an uncontrolled experiment with poorly defined end-point.

    We might find that clothing, washing detergent and fabric softener residues, body temperature, air movement, and numerous other factors affect how much is lost and how much absorbed.

    I want to know, though, because even some being absorbed can have its effects.

  • I find most things related to iodine very interesting. It is such a mystery to me. Thing I hate and still want to know more.

  • But just the fact that it's absorbed cannot automatically be translated to mean that you are deficient in iodine.

  • You're right, we shouldn't be comparing humans to animals, nor rabbits to rats, nor dogs to cats, etc. We're all different.

    Pandas and koalas are hypo because they have such a limited diet, Pandas eat bamboo. :)

  • Yeah sorry pandas eat bamboo :D but the point was the limited diet which they have had to adapt in order to survive.

  • "Just what are endocrinologists and other involved medics taught?"


  • No one examined my neck until after I had been diagnosed. I had to ask that I be checked for cancer given that both my mother and sister had suffered from it. As far as I know I never had a goitre, according to the Endo who did the ultrasound scan, my thyroid was a small shrivelled thing unlikely to have any function and deffo no cancer.

    That article does not challenge the myth of suppressed TSH causing bone problems and heart failure but reiterates it. My sisters TSH has been suppressed for over 20 years - her bones and heart are A1. Good to know brassicas are still worth planting.

  • No - it does not challenge all the myths. Mustn't expect too much from one paper! :-)

  • I'm 'lucky'that I have an allergy to brassicas so don't need to ponder about it!

  • I just cannot stand the smell and taste of quite a few of them - at least when cooked. :-)

  • helvella

    they are great at supressing weeds and improving the soil structure tho as part of a crop rotation! Full moon tomorrow so a very good time to plant some 😊🌕🌱

  • Are you putting in seeds or plantlets? Mostly I put in seeds except for tomatoes and peppers that go in end of May. This is Toronto. We can grow tomatoes outside.

    Good you mentioned tomorrow is full moon. I was planning to continue planting the garden today when all of a sudden this afternoon the wind whipped up, the sky turned grey, and the heavens opened. So I took a nap instead. I'll get back out tomorrow.

    My goodness though, despite all the activity I've been at since after Christmas, it would appear my 'gardening muscles' are out of shape. Yesterday I felt as though someone had beat the stuffing out of me. Maybe it's the weather....

    It's been so wet this spring, I'm hoping the place doesn't get over run by slugs and snails.

  • I found I had a problem when airway constricted when with some heavily scented Wall flowers as they are brassicas as well. When I was five I ran away from school because they made me eat cabbage! I must have known they were upsetting me them!

  • Goitrogens can't affect you just by smelling them. :)

    I got kicked out of school dinners when l was about six or seven, because l wouldn't eat the mincemeat tart. I saw a piece of apple core in it, and for some reason that digusted me. They made me sit in front of that mincemeat tart all afternoon, but l wouldn't eat it. So they sent me home with a letter for my mum saying l couldn't have school dinners anymore. Such a terrible punishment! lol

  • I got a bad response and which in minutes I was struggling to breath. It was t just a casual smell but the air was pungent but I didn't connect it at first. I'd been under the hospital for several years and finally told IBS and as I worked in a medical department wasn't formally kept an eye on. Years down the track I was chatting to my GP at the end of surgery and we were talking about the department as he sometimes worked next door when I suddenly remembered a recent article I'd read about hay fever and thatcit didn't have to be sneezing or a runny nose but could. Side construction of the bronchioles and that is what i had so I told him what had happened. He'd been trying for years to solve this for me! He lept out of his chair shouting brassicas! He was an Oxford graduate where medics had to do a pre medical year with a science subject so intedted in flowers he studied botany so knew wall flowers are a brassica. Not eaten any since and been fine!

    Interestingly a few years ago I did a food intolerance test done by electrical resistance. It was one of these living social deals and I was sceptical but it was a lot cheaper so decided to give it a go. Filling out the form I didn't want to give any medication I was on or any health problems but hecwas ok with that. I said suspected some issues so he said well let's see if he found then. He then went on to say more people have one or two and the most he had found was 10 or 20, can't remember now but it was someone who was anorexic. I clicked up 142! This included all brassicas and many other things I knew that had upset me! There were also some minerals I was low in despite despite already taking supplements and E numbers one of which I'm told was in the dye for my cancer op so yes they could manage without it but apparently I would have ended in in ICU had they not known so £22 well spent.

  • So, you're allergic to brassicas, but none of that has anything to do with goitrogens. Goitrogens just affect the thyroid gland.

  • But aren't Goitrogens brassicas? That's what I have always been told.

  • No, brassicas are goitrogens - or rather, they have goitrogenic properties - i.e. they impede the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland.

    But brassicas aren't the only goitrogens. Peaches, strawberries, pears, sweet corn, onions, walnuts, almonds... the list goes on and on. They all have goitrogenic properties. Yet people eat them without thinking twice - unless they disagree with them.

    Which is why it's silly for people to tell you to cut out all goitrogenic food - usually meaning cabbage and Brussels sprouts - because they have no idea just how many goitrogens there are.

  • Thanks for explaining that GG. Though out of the ones you have mentioned I think I'm ok with onions! Peachers only in Venice! Been told strawberries confirmed what I'd always have problems with. I eat a lot of dairy as not much else left! But most of my problems are vegetables. Meat is strange. No turkey but yes to chicken and no beef. Thankfully love lamb.

  • What's special about the peaches in Venice? I didn't even see any when I was there. We just ate burnt pizza. Ugh!

    But the list goes on : millet, asparagus, soy - of course, garlic, peas and beans, chick peas, broccoli... So many I can't remember them all. Can't you eat any veggies or fruit?

    Are you on a full replacement dose of thyroid hormone?

  • Used to get up early and go to the market!

    Eat oranges, bananas red grapes, green is out, pineapple melon. Then a few things I shouldn't eat like the odd slice of tomato, lettuce a definite no no!

    Can get away with the odd bit of fruit in yoghurt. Eat very few veggies if I'm forced the off piece of carrot and peas but ok with a few green beans.

    Plus a shed load of bits and minerals. Have a lot of eggs, cheese rhubarb in season.

    Started my thyroid journey on NDT-called extract then and was fine but NHS prescription but a 3 month strike got me asking for Levo and I was fine most of the time till I was menopausal though hind site says I wasn't but was put on HRT for 10 years then found I was still ovulating but that srewed me up and never really got over that so decided to go back on NDT so been on that nearly two years and feeling good but cancer op etc thrown none back a bit so slowly getting back to normal!

  • Oh my, you have had a rough ride! Not surprised your digestion is all messed up!

  • Which has just reminded me GG. They used to put a little tea in my milk just to get me to drink it. I still hate milk, but cannot drink tea without it.

  • I've always hated drinking milk, too. At school it was awful! But I don't mind flavoured milk, like chocolate.

    Have you tried fruit teas? You don't need milk in them. Not the same as a cup of builders' brew, I know, but I do like the strawberry.

  • Have tried a few herbal teas, but afraid I'll be sticking to ordinary tea.

  • Herbal teas? Ugh! lol No, this is real tea, flavoured with fruit.

  • St Dalfour make some very pleasant teas with flavours - would be a crime to add milk! Unfortunately, their teas do not seem to be available within the UK. :-(

  • Seems like everywhere but the UK! Have you managed to try them elsewhere?

    Strawberry-rose sounds nice. But am l the only person in the world who doesn't like Earl Grey? I really cannot bear it!

  • Yes - can get them sent to the UK! They sell their preserves here - even in supermarkets - but not their teas.

    Their Earl Grey is far nicer than most, certainly than Twinings or any of the "cheap" makes. Black Cherry, Green with or without Mango, Lemon, Mint - all very good.

  • Mmmmm... Sounds delicious! :)

  • Always wondered why I hated brassicas. I used to wait until Mum wasn't looking and put them on my sister's plate -she loved them. Also did not like bread. They do say that children know instinctly what is good for them or not, but what about sweets?

  • What about cream cakes, and ice cream and, and, and... lol I think your dislikes are more telling than your likes.

  • I am afraid I do like cream cakes quite a lot, but as I gf i only have one now and again and suffer the consequences. won't be having any for a while as I have just gone down with a stomach bug, courtesy of my littlest grandson.

  • Oh, kids! They're so generous with their bugs and nasties! lol

    I love cream cakes, too - and I'm not gluten free - no thyroid! lol Yum!!!

  • As far as the cream cakes go, lucky you! I never used to be bad with gluten and think it is to do with poor quality Levo. Was fine on Goldshield Eltroxin.

    Before thyroid problems reared it's ugly head I used to have 2 cream doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts each day and didn't put on an ounce. Maybe it was them that caused the Graves!

  • I should hardly think so.

    We don't have Dunkin Donut in France. Sometimes, I feel so deprived.

  • They're not the same these days GG. This was in 1972 not far from Blackfriars. you are so hard done by in France., but I could easily have fruit tarts.

  • Always hated cabbage and cauliflower too. Found out in my late twenties that it really does not agree with me! Clearly my palate knew what wasn't good for my body.

  • Think sweets fall in the same bracket as selective hearing!

  • That's intersesting, I had a goitre large enough to cause inability to swallow tablets, made my adams apple 'disappear' and it worst it winter caused difficulty swallowing soup or pureed stuff. Yet it was told no goitre, no thyroid problem. After two weeks on potassium iodide it was gone. It started to return only when I ran out of T3 due to supply problems.

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