Environmental toxins impede thyroid function

It is estimated that at least 50 percent of us have hypothyroidism.

by Dr. Mark Starr — 

Almost all of us have perchlorate in our bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is a by-product derived from the manufacture of rocket and jet fuel, car air bags and fireworks. It is virtually everywhere as it leaks into much of the nation’s drinking water supply.

Perchlorate is a good example of how toxins come at us from so many different angles. The farmer uses contaminated water on his crops. One Environmental Working Group study found perchlorate in more than half of all store-bought winter lettuce samples. When grasslands are contaminated with water containing perchlorate, you then get exposure from milk and milk products as the cows have grazed on the contaminated grass. Babies get exposed through powdered infant formula.

Perchlorate, at low levels, has been found to cause thyroid cancer, goiter and hypothyroidism. This toxin inhibits the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine from the bloodstream which is a building block of thyroid hormone. Without enough iodine you will suffer from an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism.

It is estimated that at least 50 percent of us have hypothyroidism. One reason for this is environmental pollution. Synthetic chemicals play havoc with the little thyroid gland in our necks. Different toxins interfere in different ways. Fluoride, for example, is hugely toxic to thyroid gland tissue. Chlorine displaces iodine which every cell in the body needs to detoxify chemicals.

When your body cannot produce enough thyroid hormone, you do not have enough fuel to run the “power factories” inside each of the 50 trillion or so cells which are the source of energy for everything you do.  Many body functions get sluggish — it is like trying to drive a car with watered down gasoline. Thyroid is so fundamental to human health, that when it is low, symptoms can be all over the map: fatigue, brittle hair and nails, joint pain, high cholesterol, depression, headaches, muscle pain like fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, weight gain, tendency to have infections and more.

We hear of studies that link hundreds of environmental chemicals to health problems. Very often, the first place things go wrong is in the thyroid. When you are chronically low on thyroid, you progress from the list of symptoms above, to full-blown medical conditions like obesity, chronic inflammation, heart disease and cancer.

The number of chemicals in our environment by the year 2050 is expected to be four times greater than what we have today. So avoidance is getting tougher.

Sometimes the best solutions are simple and cheap. This can be the case with hypothyroidism. Many people have found that a daily dose of natural, desiccated thyroid replenishes what our toxic world steals from us. Synthetic thyroid does not have the same molecular make-up; studies show desiccated is more effective.

Blood tests will miss low thyroid in large numbers of people because this diagnostic test measures how much hormone is circulating, but not how much is actually getting into the cells to provide energy and that is the most important thing. Measuring these levels works better with basal temperatures. If your body cannot maintain a first-morning temperature of 97.8 or better, it is a clear sign that you do not have enough thyroid to fuel the millions of processes that your body needs to carry out every hour. But this information is not part of the daily barrage of television commercials for expensive pharmaceuticals and procedures, so many people unnecessarily suffer the effects of too little thyroid.


Mark Starr, M.D.(H), author of Type 2 Hypothyroidism: The Epidemic, is an international lecturer on the use of iodine and desiccated thyroid and is board certified by the American Board of Pain Medicine. 480-607-6503 or www.21CenturyMed.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 2, February 2010.

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