Know Your Poison: Goitrogens

Goitrogens are a number of chemical agents that come in various forms. You’ll find them in antibiotics, plastics, pesticides, NSAIDs, environment pollution, and in some plant-foods. Actually, all goitrogens are derived from naturally occurring plant pesticides called glucosinolates. Plants have three main types of goitrogens; goitrins, thiocyanates, and flavonoids.

  • Goitrin is the result of the enzymatic breakdown of the glucosinolate called progoitrin. It targets thyroid peroxidase (TPO), which is an enzyme found in the thyroid gland that is crucial for thyroid hormone production.
  • Thiocyanates are positively charged ions that bind to iodine, competing for the uptake of this essential and extremely important element.
  • Flavonoids are naturally occurring plant pigments and pesticides. They are the real bad boys, exerting their effects by both attacking TPO and rendering iodine useless.

In short, goitrogens bind to iodine, they inhibit the actual release of thyroid hormone by your thyroid gland, and they disrupt the conversion of the ‘storage’ thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) into the active thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3).

So, what does this mean? Well, if not enough iodine is available, thyroid function is affected as it cannot produce sufficient levels of T4 and T3 hormones. When this happens, the hypothalamus senses the low levels of T4 and releases a hormone in response. This hormone triggers the pituitary gland to produce thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

The thyroid responds to TSH by trying to make more T4 and T3 hormones. However, as it’s lacking iodine and goitrogens are interfering with the release and conversion of thyroid hormones, the thyroid gland will get inflamed and start to grow bigger by trying – which will lead to goiter (swelling of the thyroid gland).

Other important nutrients needed for thyroid function include vitamin D3, selenium, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin A. If any of these are lacking, thyroid function will be impaired. And as we see in vegans, this can happen rapidly as they can’t get enough bioavailable vitamin D3, vitamin A, and iron – and they are also usually deficient in zinc, magnesium, and copper.

Therefore, goitrogens and any kind of thyroid inhibitor, will directly interfere with the functioning of your thyroid gland, which will result in a slowed metabolic rate, lowered body temperature, mood swings, trouble sleeping, dry skin, depression, cold sensitivity, and lowered overall hormone response. Typical signs of iodine deficiency are thinning of the eye brows and greying of hairs that cannot be linked to genetics/heredity. This can be seen in most vegans after a few years of malnutrition due to their starvation diet.

Goitrogens are very common cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, canola, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, choy sum, collard greens, gai-lan, horseradish, and kale. They are also abundant in the Rosaceae family of fruits, such as almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries, and strawberries. And finally, they can also be found in vegetable oils, millet, mustard, peanuts, pine nuts, radishes, soy, spinach, sweet potato, tapioca, turnips, and yucca.

Crucifers are the biggest goitrogenic offenders. Cooking these vegetables for 30 minutes will lower the contents by 60 to 90 percent, but at the same time leave you with nothing more than a mush of useless and harmful fiber, as the little nutrition found in these awful plants will be destroyed by heat and leak out into the water.
Steaming until fully cooked can reduce goitrogens by 30 to 60 percent. Still, you’ll lose most of the little available nutrients that might exist – and then you have more than 10 other defense chemicals and antinutrients to consider. There’s simply not one single reason to consume plant foods from a nutritional perspective. They are all useless.

Also consider that thyroid issues are on the rise due to daily pollutants/chemicals and because of a ‘modern diet’ heavy in dangerous plant-based ‘foods’. Almost 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease – and up to 60% of those may not even be aware of it.

The best way to avoid all these defense chemicals, antinutrients, and pesticides? Follow our natural species’ appropriate animal-based “carnivore” diet! Cutting out vegetables, fruits and other plant foods is the best thing you can do for your health!

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