Hey everybody Dr Hagmeyer here, When it comes to thyroid disease, one of the questions that commonly comes up is about goitrogens.
Many times when reviewing a patient’s 7 day food journal, I notice they are lacking so many of the nutritious foods I like to see people eating, and when I pry a bit and ask why don’t you eat Broccoli, kale , cabbage or cauliflower, I’m told that they read somewhere or they listened to some doctors podcast that cruciferous vegetables (vegetable like the ones you see listed here are harmful to the thyroid because they cause goiters.
Now this is a huge problem because a lot of you out there, are living in fear of eating these highly dense nutritious foods like the ones you saw just a moment ago.
These food should be enjoyed they should be eaten often especially if you are a woman.
In today’s short video I want to dispel the myth about these foods and goiters, but most importantly I want you to know the real reasons behind why goiters develop and finally, If you or a loved one has a goiter what you want to do to address the root cause of why you have these goiters.
A few words about a Goiter-
First and foremost- a Goiter is a symptom. It’s a side effect and a warning that you potentially have a very serious problem on your hand. You will understand why I’m saying its very serious in just a moment.
When you hear about someone say, “I have a Goiter”- you might be visualizing someone that looks like this. But perhaps your doctor told you that the reason you have a goiter is because you have an iodine deficiency.
And this my friends is one of the biggest misunderstanding, when it comes to goiters. It’s almost as big of a misunderstanding as having a normal TSH and normal T4 and your doctor telling you that nothing is wrong with your Thyroid..
Here’s the real deal. A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland tissue. Its most commonly caused by excessive stimulation of the gland as in the case of Hyperthryoidism or in the case of a undiagnosed autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s. Either way if you have a Goiter you can almost bank of the fact that you have an autoimmune disease. Both Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are autoimmune diseases.
In the United States- the #1 Cause of Hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s.
When a person has Hashimotos its important to recognize that you may have symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and symptoms of hypothyroidism– you can almost bet they have Hashimotos even if they have a normal TSH and a normal T4.
Here is a person who I began working with and as you can see. TSH is what? Its normal, can you see T4 levels? They are also what? Normal….
But now look at their antibodies. Are they normal? Absolutely not! There lab value shows 714. I don’t care what the number is…. Any number out of range- is a serious problem. As you might have guessed, this persons doctor told them everything was normal because the only testing run was a TSH and Free T4. This is why it is so important to have a full and complete Thyroid panel. Cases like this one are missed every single day!
Ok…. So here’s what’s going when you have a goiter in simple laymen’s terms.
If you look at this picture- here’s your pituitary gland- When you pituitary gland produces TSH (TSH stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), that TSH is like a microphone- it’s going to stimulate or yell at the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones. The thyroid then make (T3 and T4).
Now in response to that TSH signal from the brain- your thyroid will do one of two things- it will make appropriate hormones like we want it to or it will ignore the signal.
If it ignores the signal- the pituitary gland yells a bit louder. If the pituitary gland needs to continue yelling at the thyroid at some point the gland enlarges. And that’s an important concept to understand.
Now, while it is true that the thyroid can enlarge due to other reasons such and iodine deficiency, or pregnancy or even thyroid cancer- all of these reason if you added them together are still not going to add up the primary reason of a Goiter- which again is rooted in autoimmune disease (hyper or hypothyroidism)
Again chronic undiagnosed stimulation of the gland caused by Hashimoto’s or Hyperthyroidism that is the real reason behind the cause of your goiter.
Three things I want you to remember about Todays video-
#1- Over 90% of woman who are diagnosed with Thyroid disease have an underlying undiagnosed autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.
#2 You can have Hashimoto’s and have very normal TSH and T4 levels– I showed you just one patient- I have hundreds of patients like this- and I guarantee you that the more doctors begin testing a complete thyroid panel– they too will start picking up on cases like this.
#3 If you have Hashimotos disease, your problem is not your thyroid. Your problem is your immune system.
With those Three facts- the odds are… If you have a goiter- you either have Hashimotos or you have Hyperthyroidism (Graves Disease)- and chances are if you have hyperthyroidism- that is not usually misdiagnosed. That’s usually an easy one for a doctor to spot.
So now that we talked about the most common causes of Goiters- and that they are not being caused by consuming cruciferous vegetables, you are going to want to start including these Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale back into your diet.
These food are loaded with hormone balancing, anti-cancer, antioxidant properties. Some of the root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, and rutabaga provide a rich source of complex carbs.
These Cruciferous vegetables as well as sweet potatoes and strawberries contain carotenoids, which are precursors to vitamin A- (which by the way very important for Gut health)
By avoiding these foods, you may be setting yourself up for not only nutritional deficiencies but
A natural means of maintaining healthy hormone and estrogen levels.
Estrogen dominance is a term that describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal or excessive estrogen, but has little or no progesterone to balance its effects in the body.
I’ll say that again, Even a woman with low estrogen levels can have estrogen dominance symptoms if she doesn’t have enough progesterone.
This imbalance can create
- Decreased sex drive.
- Irregular or abnormal menstrual periods.
- Bloating (water retention)
- Breast swelling and tenderness.
- Fibrocystic breasts.
- Mood swings (irritability and depression)
- This is a huge problem for woman during peri menopause, menopause or woman on BCP.
Many of the cruciferous vegetables- the very ones you have been avoiding help break down and metabolize estrogen and that means if you are not eating them, your estrogen levels could be rising. Avoiding these foods nullifies all the benefits.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that we also know that estrogen in many ways interferes with thyroid hormones
Here is a great study from 2011 showing the powerful benefits of a compound found in Broccoli called 3,3 diindolmethane (a sulfur based compound) If we look at the conclusion of the study says it has anti-estrogenic activity– and It reduces thyroid proliferative disease (TPD)
This is incredible stuff! Food is medicine! So the point of all this is to show you don’t be afraid! eat your cruciferous vegetables.
What do you do if you have goiter?
Number one– If you feel a lump, bump in your thyroid- bring this to the attention of your primary care doctor. Most of the time, if a patient has a goiter and they haven’t already had an ultrasound, I send them out for an ultrasound.
Second, you need to determine the underlying cause or mechanism behind the Goiter. Do you do you have elevated levels of TSH or HCG, do you have Hashimotos or Graves disease, do you have Thyroid antibodies that have been picked up on testing-
If you haven’t been tested for these- watch my video on Thyroid antibodies, I go through the different antibodies and why you want to make sure your doctor checks you for them.
To wrap this video up- I have 5 important reminders because I know we talked about a lot of things today.
#1-Goiter is a symptom.
#2 We talked about cruciferous vegetable not being the cause of Goiters.
#3- We talked about how these cruciferous vegetable are of tremendous benefit to both men and woman with hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance or Andropause.
#4 The most common cause of goiter in the United States is not iodine deficiency or over consumption of goitrogenic foods but rather an undiagnosed autoimmune condition called Hashimotos or Graves disease
#5- in order to reduce a goiter, you need to address the cause. You now know that the cause of a goiter is almost always related to autoimmune disease. With this being said I suggest you go to my website and begin learning more about the Triggers or causes of Autoimmune Hashimoto’s.
There you have it… If you liked today’s video be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, share it with someone you know and comment below- Tell me what you liked about today’s video.
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