Thyroid Health: Things to Avoid
How stress, weather, household chemicals, etc. may adversely affect the health of your thyroid.

There are a number of environmental factors which may be linked to thyroid problems:

  • Dark cold weather
  • Stress
  • Fluoride and chlorine
  • Sulfa drugs and antihistamines
  • Iron supplements
  • Microwave radiation
Scroll down for more information.

Cold, dark weather.

I live in Seattle. In October when daylight savings time goes into effect, I go into hibernation. I get vaguely depressed and cold and tired. And it lasts, strangely enough, until the Spring when daylight savings time comes back.

Your thyroid regulates metabolism and body heat. If it is not functioning well, you may first realize it during the cold and dark months of the year.

There is nothing you can do about the seasons (and most of us can't move to sunnier climes), however, I have found that it helps somewhat to waken to a "dawn simulator." This is a light on a timer in my bedroom, which turns on gradually, starting about 1/2 hours before I'm due to get up. I find the light is a gentle wake-up, and seems to help set my body clock to face the day.

This year I am planning to think more about how to mitigate the effects of the cold. Besides my dawn simulator, I plan to eat more nourishing "cold weather" food (soups, stews, etc.), be sure to keep toasty warm, and escape on at least one sun-break vacation if at possible.


Many researchers have confirmed that there is a strong "mind-body" component to health. My own thyroid problems began during a period of stress at home and at work. Its hard to avoid stress completely, but exercise increases coping ability, as does a diet which includes raw fruits and veges. Taking more time to pray, breathe, and intentionally choosing to keep life in balance is essential.

Fluoride and Chlorine.

My city water is fluorinated and chlorinated, and my toothpaste has added fluoride. The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. states that fluoride can interfere chemically and depress thyroid function:
"Chlorine, fluoride, and iodine are chemically related. Chlorine and fluoride block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland, resulting in reduced iodine-containing hormone production and finally in hypothyroidism."

I have now switched to a health store toothpaste, without fluoride, and I am filtering my drinking water. I've also switched to a kelp-based cleaning product which is billed as being more healthful than some other commercial cleaners. Most health food stores offer biodegradable, gentle shampoos, laundry soap, etc.

Sulfa drugs and antihistamines.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing also recommends that you don't take sulfa drugs or antihistamines unless specifically directed to do so by a physician.

Iron supplements.

An article in the Southern Medical Journal from June 12, 1997, indicates that iron supplements can interfere with absorption of thyroid hormones.

Microwave radiation

Mark Dargan Smith, N.D., Ph.D., a naturopath from New Mexico, warns:

"Radiation directly affects the thyroid in a deleterious way, particularly microwave radiation. If you use microwaves, please don't stand in front of them and always keep them unplugged when not in use as they are 'on' all the time."

My Favorite Books
I read a lot, but these are the books I trust. If you're feeling lousy and are confused about food choices, these books will give you hope and new direction. If this web site has been helpful to you, you can help us by ordering a book now through Amazon. Here's wishing you good health!

Prescription for Nutritional Healing is a wonderful reference book, written by an MD and a certified nutritional consultant. The book suggests sound nutritional strategies for coping with more than 250 diseases, including hypothyroidism. You'll turn to this book again and again!

In the Complete Book of Juicing, Dr. Michael T. Murray (one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicines) reveals how fresh fruit and vegetable juices can help combat cancer, aging, arthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney stones, ulcers, and other health conditions. Over 150 easy recipes included.

I love the balanced approach presented by Annemarie Colbin in Food and Healing. She analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of a number of alternative diets, explains the remarkable healing qualities of specific foods, and describes how to tailor a diet approach that is right for you.

Fit for Life changed the way I think about food. If you're confused about what to eat, you'll appreciate the simple, natural advice in this book. This is the book I buy and give to friends who ask me the secret of my good health.

Living Well with Hypothyroidism is a great resource for those of us dealing with the condition. In her book Mary Shomon discusses symptoms, conventional treatments and alternative treatments, including new research on the value of adding T3 to the more traditional T4 hormone replacement. Very helpful!

Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices is the first and still the best book on why and how juicing restores health. The book was written by Dr. Norman Walker, who literally invented juicing and reportedly lived well past 100. This affordable little book contains very specific advice for treating hypothyroidism and many other conditions, and is available in most health food stores.


The Thyroid Health Homepage has provided this material for informational purposes only. We do not prescribe and we do not diagnose. If you use the information on this website without the approval of a health professional, you prescribe for yourself, which remains your constitutional right, but neither the author nor the Thyroid Health Homepage assume any responsibility.

Return to the Thyroid Health Homepage

Thyroid Health Home page / revised November 2003.
Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004. All rights reserved.