Apparently one possible symptom of hypothyroid is losing the outer third of your eyebrows. I don’t know why it was that of all things that really got my attention, but it did when I heard it recently on a Revolution Health Radio podcast episode with Chris Masterjohn as guest, in which they were touching on thyroid and goitrogenic (thyroid-suppressing) foods, which I realized have for a few years made up a significant portion of my daily dietary intake. I had noticed the eyebrow thing with myself in comparison to old pictures before I’d ever considered the possibility of having a thyroid issue or iodine deficiency.
Goitrogens include cruciferous vegetables like kale, collards, and broccoli, along with sweet potatoes (these have been out for a couple of months for me since being on GAPS, though), almonds, pears, raspberries, strawberries, etc. That’s not to say that I aspire to cut all of these out, but it does mean that I need to be more careful to have sufficient iodine intake, something I had never really been mindful of until recently.
So I ordered a urine iodine and bromide spot test from Hakala Research Laboratory (Bromide is another halide that adversely affects iodine utilization, found in brominated flour and Mountain Dew, as well as potentially leaching from plastics and other manufactured goods). Amazingly, from ordering to having the results in the mail was about ten days. My iodine was .137 mg/L, with the World Health Organization defining deficiency as anything below .15 mg/L. Bromide was .82 mg/L, while 5.0 mg/L or above can affect iodine utilization.
Both of these were actually what I hoped to see. The iodine gives me one clear abnormal marker that may be a contributor to my issues (Rosacea, primarily). I’m glad for the low bromide as well since I read everywhere that the bromide detox from iodine supplementation is a motherfucker, potentially causing rash, digestive distress, bromide acne, and all kinds of other terrific symptoms. But thankfully, not the case.
The alarming goitrogen for me was sauerkraut, which I’ve been destroying with nearly every meal in keeping with the GAPS fermented food guideline. And no, the fermentation does not eliminate the goitrogenic effect of cabbage. I really haven’t been eating that much fish or other seafood either, apart from a can or two weekly of sardines and maybe biweekly salmon. The sardines are small portions and probably don’t add up to much in the iodine department, and salmon being a freshwater fish part of its life isn’t the best source.
So I’m planning on starting iodine supplementation using the iodine protocol guide in the Personal Paleo Code (shameless affiliate link), eating more seafood, and working with my naturopath on what other thyroid support might be necessary.
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