I am sure that you, like me, often work with women patients and clients who wrestle with a familiar cluster of symptoms: low energy, often feeling cold, sluggish metabolism, trouble losing extra weight, constipation, elevated triglycerides, and hair loss, especially the outer one-third of the eyebrows. Hormone imbalance is extremely common, especially among women, and several hormones can be involved e.g. progesterone, cortisol. In particular, hypothyroidism is a highly under-diagnosed challenge, especially subclinical cases.
Like the classic canary in a coal mine, a struggling thyroid gland may be an early wake-up call to the persistent effects of stress, inflammation and – especially – toxicity on the body. There are many toxins we could discuss, but in this week’s video I focus on the damaging effects of fluoride. Chemically quite similar to iodine – they are both halogens in the period table of elements – fluoride can wreak havoc on the thyroid both through direct competition for uptake into thyroid hormone and also by calcifying thyroid tissue itself. Thyroid inhibition is particularly prevalent in those with suboptimal iodine levels, a common mineral challenge for our clients.
A run down on all the research into the potential negative health effects of fluoride is beyond the scope of this article. But you might appreciate this collection of clinical studies and also this blog article which is clearly biased but also includes many interesting research references. This is also a provocative write-up in Scientific American magazine. In fact, even the government-sponsored US Research Council investigation into fluoride in 2006 validated key findings about fluoride’s negative effects including calcification/dysfunction of the pineal gland, thyroid gland, and reproductive hormone balance. I also find very provocative repeated research findings into lowered IQ and ADD/ADHA-like behavior in children as a result as both/either pre-birth and early childhood, chronic exposure to fluoride.
We are perhaps still early in the clinical exploration period of the long-term effects of fluoride on health. Given early evidence and because exposure is unavoidable in so many products and community settings, my recommendation to my clients is to avoid it wherever possible. Especially via water filtration – if using any municipal water supply – and the use of fluoride-free toothpastes. For the latter, there are many excellent national brands I suggest to clients, including Jason, Peelu, and Nature’s Gate, all typically available at Whole Foods Market or local health food stores and also online. For the former, it’s important to educate clients that your typical Britta or similar charcoal-filtered pitcher model does not eliminate fluoride. Spring water, distilled water, and some multi-staged filtered waters are typically fluoride-free e.g. some reverse osmosis and ion exchange resin systems.
Removal of fluoride exposure is obviously the most important step for long-term relief and healing of fluoride toxicity. Daily intake of low-dose iodine is usually quite helpful to help the body to excrete stored fluoride. Because detoxification effects can be significant as the chemical is freed and put back into circulation in the body temporarily, I recommend using a low-dose to start e.g. 1-2mg or a low-dose kelp supplement twice daily [this is contraindicated for those with rare, hyperthyroid conditions].
If you would like to become confident and effective in supporting thyroid dis-ease in your clients – and the oh-so-common adrenal dysfunction counterpart – you might be interested in the SAFM Adrenal/Thyroid Myths and Truths clinical course.
P.S. If you know that healthcare must be transformed to be sustainable and effective, and you believe strongly that Functional Medicine is key to making that happen, we urge you to learn about our semester program.
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