Millet and Fermented soy bad for thyroid - Thyroid UK

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Millet and Fermented soy bad for thyroid


Just found this which I found interesting as I had thought both millet, being gluten free, and fermented soya were okay ... according to this article, which I haven't checked for reliability as I have to leave for work, both are goitrogens. Here's a link to an article:

I'd be very interested to hear informed comments and yet again this shows just how much Greygoose knows as she told me long ago to avoid soy - thanks again GreyGoose.

17 Replies

I believe GG thinks fermented soy is OK in small doses so hope she spots this.

Rubbish article. lol

Yes, millet does contain goitrogens, and yes, millet goitrogens are more potent when it's cooked. But...

a) goitrogens do not damage the thyroid. They impede the uptake of iodine by the thyroid. Without iodine, you cannot make thyroid hormone, and therefore become hypo.

b) however, you would have to ingest a hell of a lot of goitrogens for this to happen.

c) plus, as soon as you stopped eating them, the thyroid would start taking up iodine again, and resume normal functions.

d) PLUS this does not apply if you are taking a full replacement dose of thyroid hormones (levo etc.) which I presume you are, because your thyroid does not need to produce hormone and therefore does not need the iodine.

But, all things in moderation. You're not going to live on millet alone, are you? One bowl of millet porridge in the morning is not going to do any harm.

As for soy, that's the first time I've ever heard that. I don't have time to fully investigate it this morning, but I will say that I always suggest that fermented soy is ok in small quantities. One should never make soy the main meal, like people tend to in the west. In the east, it's just a condiment, like mustard. You wouldn't eat a whole plate of mustard, would you? lol But people do tend to eat soy as a substitute for meat, etc. which means eating large quantities, and that is bad, fermented or unfermented. :)

Hi...sorry to come to this late, but can I revive this post please? I have Coeliac and have loved millet porridge and used the flour as part of my baking for many years now, it makes a great crumble!! I've been a bit alarmed at suggestions often seen online recently that some believe millet is bad for the thyroid, and so I read Greygoose's response with interest. As far as I'm aware I have no issues with my own thyroid, but my mother has serious issues and has ongoing treatments. Does anyone have nutritionist/medical training or know of a factual NHS type study on this topic? Much of what I found on the net appears a bit vague/faddy.

greygoose in reply to Whin

I think the answer to that question is no. Very few people - if any - have medical training on this site, and even if they did, they wouldn't learn about this in med school. I don't know if we have any nutritionists on this site, but I doubt they would know, either because not much has been done in the way of research. A lot of people have their own opinions - including me, gathered from all I've read and experienced, and through talking to other people on this subject. But I'm pretty certain no-one knows anything much for certain.

I take it you're wondering if your mother's hypothyroidism was caused by millet porridge? Well, based on the fact that the porridge hasn't affected you, I think you can take an educated guess that no, it wasn't. So many things can cause hypothyroidism. And, unless your mother lived exclusively on millet porridge for many years, I doubt that that is one of them. Does she still eat it? If not, and she still has problems, then the millet wasn't the cause. Has she had her antibodies tested? Autoimmune thyroiditis is the main cause of hypothyroidism, and that has nothing to do with goitrogens. And, as I said, goitrogens don't actually damage the thyroid, the majority of articles on the subject will agree on that.

I'm not sure you're going to be able to revive this post, because that's not how this site works. Post just continue to drop lower and lower on the list and posting on the thread does not bring them to the top again, as it does on a lot of sites. If you're really interested in this subject, write your own question and post it. Then more people will see it than responding on an old thread like this. :)

Whin in reply to greygoose

Thanks very much Greygoose for your response, I appreciate your time and care!! Just thought I'd ask in case anyone had found anything since. No worries, I will perhaps try coeliac-uk see if they've anything about it. I was told by the hospital Nutritionist who gave me dietary advice 30 years ago to try millet, so they thought it was ok once!!

No, as far as I know my Mum has never eaten millet, and she's not coeliac, but has a few other immune system things like polymyalgia rheumatica, so your thoughts are likely to be correct. I only mentioned it as these things sometimes 'run in families' and I don't want to exacerbate a potential future problem if there's anything in the stories.

OK Thanks again!! :o) x

greygoose in reply to Whin

I don't think there's any connection between goitrogens and Coeliac, if that's what you're saying. As far as I know, goitrogens only affect the thyroid by impeding the up-take of iodine. Although, soy does have a secondary effect in that it impedes the up-take of thyroid hormone by the cells, so that you can have good levels in your blood tests, yet still have hypo symptoms.

Millet is ok. Lots of people eat it with no ill effect. You'd have to eat a hell of a lot of it for it to have any effect on your thyroid - which is something a lot of people don't appreciate. But, as with all things, if you think it's having a bad effect on you, just stop eating it, and see if symptoms improve. If they don't, then the millet wasn't doing any harm. The list of goitrogens is long, and it would be rediculous to cut them all out 'just in case'. You probably eat a lot of them, without even realising they're goitrogenic, like strawberries and pears.

Hypothyroidism does run in families - especially Hashi's. Which is one of the reasons why testing antibodies is essential.

Whin in reply to greygoose

No I didn't mean there was a connection between it and coeliac, just that both are auto immune diseases. My mother had an overactive thyroid due to Graves, and I believe some think that may have a genetic link, so it's possible that I might have an increased risk, since I have an impaired immune system myself? I like millet, it's different from oats, and when you're restricted it's just nice to have alternatives. I don't eat that much of it, so I think you're right that I should just carry on as I am!!

Thanks again!

greygoose in reply to Whin

So, your mother had a TT? Graves is autoimmune, so yes, it can run in families. But, I don't know that you would automatically have an impaired immune system.

Whin in reply to greygoose

Is a TT a thyroid test? She had loads of tests and medicines and nothing worked and she was going downhill fast, so she had her thyroid irradiated and is now taking medicine to compensate for it not functioning at all now, she was very poorly, and is still not right. She has other autoimmune things too, none of which I have, but I'm coeliac which is an autoimmune disease. Some people have multiple AA idea obviously if I might be in line for more...hopefully not, but this was the reason I'd been interested in the millet. If you are coeliac they offer you vaccinations and other tests as it makes your immune system more vulnerable, so I am impaired yes.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Whin

My Abbreviations and Acronyms document:

TT = Total Thyroidectomy

greygoose in reply to Whin

OK, so the important thing is, your mother no-longer has a thyroid. And, by the sound of it, is under-medicated.

What she's taking is more likely to be thyroid hormone replacement than actual medication. Thyroid hormone replacement will only help if you take the right amount of the right one for you. But, doctors don't know that. Maybe you should suggest your mother join us on here? :)

But, if nothing worked to help her Grave's, then she probably didn't have Grave's! It's a very common misdiagnosis. We get a lot of people on here diagnosed with Grave's who actually have Hashi's, but their doctors didn't do the right tests.

Have you had your thyroid tested at all? As you say, if you have one AA disease, you're very likely to develop another. And, if your mother had an autoimmune thyroid problem, then it's possible you have, too. But, you won't know unless you get full testing:




TPO antibodies

Tg antibodies


But, forget the millet, and all goitrogens, because they're really got nothing to do with anything. :)

Whin in reply to greygoose

Yes they're still trying to get her levels correct...she has several on-going medical things which have all been interacting and making things complex. Yes she's on replacement, and has seen the local hospital specialist, as well as her own GP. We were just saying last night that she feels older women's health issues are not taken as seriously, she's nearly 80...but there's another discussion!!

Yes mum keeps asking me to have tests...a couple of years ago I had some mystery abdominal pain and had a barrage of tests and scans so I asked my GP if thyroid had been one of them and they said yes and it was fine for I left it at that for now, but I will keep thyroid always in mind as I've seen first hand how devastating it going awry can be in my mum. I thought we'd lost her last December.

Hashi's is underactive is it?? She was overactive according to her readings I think.

greygoose in reply to Whin

Hashi's swings from 'hyper' to hypo. That's why it's often diagnosed as Grave's. So, she might have appeared to be over-active at one point, but without testing the antibodies, they wouldn't really know if she was truly over-active, or just having a Hashi's 'hyper' swing. They very rarely do the right tests.

Now, of course, with no thyroid, she will be truly hypo - not possible to be over-active. But, doctors have this weird idea that older people don't need their TSH as low as younger people, hence a lot of older people are permanently under-medicated and kept sick. But, she would need to have full testing - TSH, FT4 and FT3 - to know.

Saying that your thyroid bloods were 'fine for you', is just another way doctors avoid the issue. They cannot possibly know what is fine for you, because you weren't tested when you were fit and healthy. One has to be on constant look-out for their weasley ways of avoiding diagnosis and proper treatment. And they will avoid it if they possibly can!

Whin in reply to greygoose

I will perhaps ask her exactly what tests she had, I know there were a lot, and done in the hospital's specialist department. It's too late now though I suppose since the radiation.

Apart from having stomach pain I was healthy otherwise, they tested just about all of my functions through bloods, and also various scans, and it all came back as within normal bounds. They're guessing I had adhesions

but they said unless they went in there to look they'd not know, and that would make scar tissue worse. I'd had undiagnosed coelic for 25 ish years, and a C-section, so plenty of local scarring I guess. I've been ok since it went away LOL. I might ask about the thyroid again some time, but I don't think I have any symptoms?

Cheers GreyGoose :D x

greygoose in reply to Whin

You're welcome. :)

I used to drink soy milk every day, & eat tofu most days, I found my low starting dose of NDT began to work once I stopped. I eat tempeh (fermented soy) regularly as a substitute, & notice no ill effects whatsoever, even if I eat it every day for a few weeks. Sometimes I eat a small amount of soy when that's the only food on offer, & have found occasional use isn't detrimental as soy lecithin is a common emulsifier in dark chocolate. Tamari is fine, too. I think millet is in my favourite seeded sourdough, but in such a small quantity, I've not noticed this affecting me, either.

I cut out a lot of cruciferous vegetables & nuts for a while, but noticed no difference when I reintroduced them to my diet, even raw cruciferous as my favourite salad is watercress, rocket & spinach. Whilst I'm ok eating these, they may have a more pronounced effect on other people.

thyr01d in reply to BadHare

Thanks BadHare, it's very interesting to read what you experienced.

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