Drowning in a Sea of "Endocrine Disrupter Toxins"

In my previous post I spoke about the close connection between gut health and thyroid health. Of course, as someone who lives with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I have a keen interest in anything related to the thyroid.

Just today, I came across an article revealing the 100 most-prescribed drugs in America and was stunned at what drug topped the list with more than 23 million prescriptions in 2013 – levothyroxine – the most commonly prescribed drug for treating hypothyroidism (but not necessarily the best in my opinion).

Some observers have warned about a pending epidemic of thyroid disorders. I believe the revelation of a thyroid drug as the most prescribed drug in America suggests that this epidemic is already a “fait accompli” (that’s French for the more colloquial expression “it’s a done deal!”).

I also believe it is due, in part, to the grim observations of experts like Dr. Davis who warn that we are literally “swimming in a sea” of endocrine disruptors, toxins that disrupt our hormonal glands such as the thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, ovaries, and testes. I would go farther to say we are drowning in that sea. Here are just a few examples of how ubiquitous and pervasive these toxins are.

Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic containers has gotten a lot of bad press recently yet it still considered by the FDA to be safe in certain applications even though it has been shown to disrupt the sex glands and bind to thyroid receptors.

Triclosan is commonly used in hand-sanitizers and similar applications. Triclosan is known to decrease circulating levels of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4).

Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) is common used to make flame retardant clothing. PBDEs have been shown to disrupt both estrogen and thyroid hormones. The effects of PBDE exposure both in utero and shortly after birth can persist into adulthood.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Teflon coated pots and pans and even microwave popcorn bags has been detected in the blood of more than 98% of the general US population. PFOA has implicated as both a carcinogen as well as an endocrine disruptor associated with thyroid disruption.

With all these “thyro-toxins” floating about it might not seem you like have a fighting chance to achieve thyroid health. But, the first step is to educate yourself - then take action. It is the essential sequence in what I call “Informed, Self-directed, Healthcare” (ISH).

Now that you have a better understanding of how to navigate the “thryo-toxin minefield” there are also positive steps you can take to stack the odds in favor of a healthy thyroid. If you participate in the Cureality program make certain to check out the Thyroid Health Track for a powerful list of proactive steps you can take.

Chris K. (aka HeartHawk)
Cureality Member Advocate

Source: IMS National Prescription Audit, IMS Health.

Thyroid and the gut: Hidden health partners

Though I have personally dealt with both auto-immune thyroiditis (Hashomoto’s) and several gut issues (wheat sensitivity, gastritis, etc.), it was not until recently that I discovered how close the thyroid and gut work together to keep you healthy – and how problems with one can affect the other along with your overall health.
Most of us understand that the primary function of the gut, that 25 to 30 feet of “tubing” that includes everything from your stomach to your large intestines, is to process the food we eat and allow the “good stuff” (essential nutrients) to pass into our blood stream while keeping the “bad stuff” (harmful proteins) out. However, it may surprise some that the gut also holds as much as 70% of all the immune tissue in the body.
Now, imagine all the health havoc that could ensue if, suddenly, the gut stopped doing its job – particularly if it failed to stop toxic proteins from entering the blood stream and then mounted an overzealous immune response against them.  Sometimes, those overzealous immune responses reach beyond their intended targets to attack otherwise healthy tissues and organs – like the thyroid gland.
Recent studies indicate that thyroid hormones play a significant role in maintaining gut integrity, preventing leaky gut that can, in some cases, lead to auto-immune attacks against the thyroid.  A properly functioning gut also aids the production of thyroid hormones by converting some of the inactive “T4” thyroid hormone into the functional “T3” hormone.  Failure to simultaneously maintain both a healthy gut and a healthy thyroid can create a vicious cycle leading to chronic health problems and declining vitality.
What it all means is that to enjoy optimal health, you must promote good thyroid health to promote good gut health and vice versa.  Unfortunately, traditional medicine tends to focus on one issue to the exclusion of others.  A typical endocrinologist may treat your under active thyroid without spending a moment to address underlying gut issues.  A gastroenterologist will work alleviate a gut problem but will rarely address a potential thyroid problem.
This illustrates, once again, how our bodies work as a system and why it is necessary to bridge the “healthcare gaps” in traditional medicine by becoming personally responsible for your health.  I encourage everyone to consult the Cureality Program Guide and online Cureality Diet and Thyroid Health Tracks to learn more about how to optimize both your gut and thyroid health on your journey to realizing complete, whole-body health.