There is no question that in today’s world we are bombarded by toxins in our daily environment- from the air we breathe to the water we drink to the food we consume to the products we use on our body.
This toxin overload in conjunction with modern high levels of stress, poor nutrition, suboptimal sleep and other factors may render a lot of people dealing with autoimmune issues unable to detoxify their bodies, leading to perpetuation of autoimmunity.
In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported average Americans have 116 out of 148 synthetic compounds in their bodies- that includes dioxins, polycyclic hydrocarbons, and organochloride pesticides.
This is especially significant for those who want to get pregnant.
The average umbilical cord contains 217 neurotoxins, 208 of which are known to cause birth defects.
Currently, we have more than 80,000 different chemicals.
Many of them have not been evaluated for human safety, yet we encounter them daily.
Since it’s a practical impossibility to mention all of them, we are going to discuss the ones with the most profound effect on thyroid health.
More information can be found on ewg.org– the consumer website of Environmental Working Group, a US environmental health research and advocacy organization.
Unfortunately, research shows that many chemicals that are prevalent in our everyday life may be detrimental to people dealing with autoimmune issues, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, lupus, etc.
Endocrine Disruptors in Your Home
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with our hormones.
Some of these chemicals may affect thyroid activity; some mimic estrogen; while others may cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and developmental disabilities.
The halogens bromide, chloride, and fluoride compete with iodine for the receptor binding sites in the thyroid, but instead of activating the receptors, they build up in thyroid tissue and cause thyroid cell death and inflammation.
Studies have shown that individuals exposed to a variety of halogen-containing substances had a higher incidence of thyroid antibodies.
These substances were studied in the industrial world, where exposed workers showed a trend in increased incidences of Hashimoto’s.
Unfortunately, they are commonly found in consumer products as well.
Starting in 1945, most American communities began adding fluoride to drinking water in an effort to prevent tooth decay.
While various studies show fluoride reduces the incidence of dental cavities and tooth decay, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor.
Studies confirm fluoride is directly toxic to thyroid cells and causes thyroid cell death, suppressing thyroid activity.
In fact, fluoride was actually used to treat hyperthyroidism up until the 1950s, prior to the development of other thyroid-suppressing medications.
Fluoride is effective as a thyroid suppressor at doses of 0.9 to 4.2 mg per day for hyperthyroidism.
Most adults in fluoridated communities are ingesting between 1.6 and 6.6 mg of fluoride per day from water, inadvertently suppressing their thyroid function.
Studies from China, India, and Russia show reduced T3 and increased TSH levels in those exposed to fluoride in the workplace or through drinking water.
Whenever TSH increases, more TPO is released, leading to the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).
In the absence of sufficient selenium and glutathione, hydrogen peroxide damages the thyroid cells.
This triggers a stress response from the cells, leading to an accumulation of white blood cells and resultant inflammation.
In those with increased intestinal permeability, this inflammation becomes permanent, and thyroid antibodies develop.
Another Government-Induced Disease?
A dentist, Dr. Weston A. Price traveled around the world photographing the teeth of various cultures.
He found those who ate a traditional diet had perfect arches and no cavities.
In contrast, those who adopted a “modern” diet containing flour, sugar, and processed vegetable fats began to have improper jaw development, resulting in crowding teeth as well as tooth decay.
Fluoridation partially began as a collaborative effort between dental associations, the US government, and sugar lobbyists who wanted to find a solution that would allow people to have fewer cavities while continuing to consume the same amount of sugar.
Getting proper nutrition in the diet should be emphasized and should eliminate the need for fluoride.
Just like other halogens, fluoride may act as a trigger in inducing thyroid cell death and inflammation, leading to the development of thyroiditis / autoimmune thyroiditis.
The United States is one of the only countries that adds fluoride to its water system.
Almost all (97 percent) European countries have rejected water fluoridation due to the toxicity associated with it.
Austria, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland, however, do allow the addition of fluoride to salt.
Some people have reported improvement in thyroid symptoms and thyroid function tests after removing fluoride from their lifestyle.
Common Sources of Fluoride
- Supplements (check labels)
- Bottled beverages
- Black tea
- Red tea
- Canned food items
- Black / red rock salt
- Chewing tobacco
While boiling water removes many toxins and impurities, it concentrates fluoride.
Freezing water, on the other hand, does not affect the concentration of fluoride. Fluoride is also found in tea, especially red and black teas.
Tea leaves accumulate fluoride from the soil and pollution.
The longer they stay on the tea tree, the heavier the fluoride content.
An article published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology stated that there is up to 4.5, 1.8, and 0.5 mg/L of fluoride in black, green, and white teas respectively when brewed for five minutes.
Chamomile and herbal teas contain 0.13 mg/L.
Fluoride can be removed by the following methods; distilling the water, installing a reverse-osmosis filtration system, adding activated alumina or stainless steel defluoridation filters, like the Watens water filter.
Most other filters do not remove fluoride.
Exchanging black and red tea for white or herbal tea may help reduce our fluoride exposure as well.
Fluoride-containing medications include anesthetics, antacids, anti-anxiety medications, antibiotics, antidepressants, antifungals, antihistamines, cholesterol-lowering medications, anti-malarial medications, chemotherapy, appetite suppressants, arthritis medications, psychotropics, and steroids.
Some of the most commonly used medications containing fluoride include:
- Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Paxil: used for depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Prevacid: used for acid reflux
- Diflucan: an antifungal used for yeast infections
- Fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox): used for UTIs and other infections
- Celebrex: used for pain
- Lipitor, Zetia: used to lower cholesterol
Note: Not all fluoride-containing medications are detrimental to thyroid health. Substances containing two other halogens – chlorine and bromine – have also been found to induce autoimmune thyroiditis.
Studies show bromide-containing substances – polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) – are connected to an increased incidence of Hashimoto’s.
Bromide is found in baked goods, plastics, soft drinks, and tea as well as in our mattresses, which now contain brominated flame retardants.
This is a “safety feature” instituted by the US government to prevent mattresses from rapidly bursting into flames from cigarettes if someone falls asleep while smoking in bed.
Great help for the minority who like to smoke in bed but no so much for health-conscious people who do not smoke.
PBDEs are also frequently found in furniture foam and plastics used in computers, appliances, and electronic products.
Over time, PBDEs can leach from these products into the environment.
Chlorine-containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been shown to promote the onset of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Studies show PCBs increase TSH, thyroid autoantibodies, and thyroid size.
In addition to industrial products, chlorine is found in water systems, pools, cleaning products, and plastics.
It is also found in the crop pesticide organochlorine, which accelerates thyroid hormone elimination and can play a role in autoimmunity.
Xenoestrogens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen and include soy, BPA, phthalates, and parabens.
The continued use and accumulation of these substances may lead to estrogen dominance and can have a profound impact on the immune system and adrenal and thyroid function as well as causing birth defects, infertility, and cancers.
Soy isoflavones are found in many processed foods as well as some supplements.
Always be sure to read your food and vitamin packaging.
Better yet, avoid all processed food like the plague!
BPA (bisphenol-A) is found in plastics such as containers, baby formula cans, and even in the coating of store register receipts.
It has been linked to cancers as well as reproductive and developmental disorders.
BPA also antagonizes T3 receptors, essentially shutting them down.
You should look for “BPA-free” plastic products.
The best option is to avoid cooking or storing your food in plastics.
Phthalates are found in many detergents, laundry products, and washable items.
In addition, they are present in cosmetics, plastics, moisturizers, soaps, house paint, and perfumes.
Implicated in cancers, endocrine disruption, diabetes, and obesity, phthalates may be listed on product packaging (e.g., diethyl phthalate), or they may be disguised under the word “fragrance”.
Check the ingredient list of your beauty products and only use those that do not contain dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
Avoid using personal care products, detergents, and cleansers that contain “fragrance” in the ingredient list as this usually denotes phthalate ester (DEP).
Triclosan is found in antibacterial soaps, deodorants, hairsprays, and toothpastes.
The structure of triclosan resembles the structure of thyroid hormones and has been associated with altered levels of thyroid hormone in animals.
Avoid the use of “antibacterial” products.
They are not necessary in the home.
If you must use an antimicrobial product for work or disinfecting purposes, choose an alcohol hand rub or rinse product that does not list triclosan or “fragrance” in the ingredients.
Used as antimicrobial agents, parabens are found in body washes, shampoos, and lotions.
They have been implicated in breast cancers and associated with causing skin reactions.
Look for the ending “paraben” (as in methylparaben) in your personal care products.
Choose products that do not list parabens in the ingredients.
Better Living Through Chemistry?
Much controversy has come from the advertisements we watch on television and see in magazine ads that make us think we are inadequate, unattractive, dirty, and flawed.
Teenage girls are especially susceptible, and glossy magazines with pictures of airbrushed models have been blamed for eating disorders and self-esteem issues in young women.
Examining an average American woman’s bathroom, you will likely find close to 100 personal care products, including nail polish, lotion, shampoo, makeup remover, eyeliner, face masks, hairspray, and perfume… the list goes on and on.
These products are full of chemicals that have not undergone safety studies to verify their non-toxicity to humans.
Most cosmetic chemists only test the chemicals on themselves to see if the products make them more aesthetically appealing.
Conducting laboratory tests to assess blood levels and changes in organ or immune function – or any other available medical tests, for that matter – are not a practice followed by the cosmetic industry.
Partial List of Environmental Agents That Interfere with Thyroid Function
|Agent||Example of Sources||Mode of Action||Human Studies|
|PCBs||Coolants and lubricants||Thyroid receptor agonist/antagonist can alter levels of T4 and TSH||Increase in TSH, thyroid volume, thyroid antibodies|
|Organochlorine pesticides||Pesticide on crops||Accelerate the metabolism of T4||No human studies|
|PBDEs||Flame retardants||Bind to thyroid receptors, displacing T4 from binding proteins||Increase in Hashimoto’s|
|BPA||Plastic bottles||Antagonizes thyroid receptors||No human studies|
|Perchlorate, thiocyanate||Rocket fuel, fertilizer, smoking||Antagonizes thyroid receptors||No human studies|
|Triclosan||Antibacterial soaps||Reduces serum T4||No human studies|
|Isoflavones||Soy products||Inhibits TPO activity||Potential increase in Hashimoto’s|
You may think only the things you eat matter, but the skin is another excellent delivery system for chemicals.
In fact, many topical patches and creams are used to administer pharmaceuticals and hormones directly into the bloodstream (i.e., Xulane birth control patch). When products are swallowed, the liver usually works to make them less toxic before they enter the circulation.
This is known as first pass effect, and only a small percentage of the original product may wind up in the circulation system.
By contrast, products applied to the skin bypass the liver and go directly into the circulation, potentially producing systemic effects until they arrive at the liver and are eliminated.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone, the well-known anti-aging dermatologist, reports that many facial creams, lotions, and serums marketed to women actually contain estrogens.
Men generally use fewer personal care products, so perhaps women’s routine use of endocrine-disrupting products is partly responsible for the disproportionate female predominance of thyroid and autoimmune conditions.
The use of lipstick, in particular, has been connected to the development of systemic lupus erythematosus.
How to Prevent Toxin Exposure
Prefer natural beauty and cosmetic products that don’t interfere negatively with the body’s chemistry.
One rule to follow: if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body.
That includes shampoos, perfumes, make-up, hair styling products, shaving creams, eye creams, etc.
Trustworthy, high-quality and gluten-free brands that use natural, safe, certified-organic ingredients include:
Additionally, going make-up, perfume and body-wash free for a few days won’t hurt either.
Once you realize the TV commercials, magazines, and Internet ads are programming you to consume more without taking your health, happiness, or well-being into account, you will think twice about what you put in your home, in your body, and on your skin.
What’s Hiding in Your Bathroom
Avoid the following ingredients in your personal care products / cosmetics:
|Type of Product||Ingredients to Avoid|
|Moisturizers, lotions||Retinyl palmitate, retinol|
|Lip glosses and lipsticks||Retinyl palmitate, retinol|
|Shampoo and conditioner||Fragrance, PEG, ceteareth, polyethylene, parabens (e.g., propyl paraben), DMDM hydantoin|
|Nails||Formaldehyde, formalin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate|
|Sunscreen||Retinyl palmitate, oxybenzenone|
Other Toxic Chemicals
Other toxins that may not have a specific effect on thyroid function but can burden the body’s ability to detoxify and heal itself include dioxins, which are found in bleached paper products.
Tampons are especially problematic as they can be absorbed through the vaginal membranes into the circulation.
Chemicals used in dry cleaning are extremely toxic and have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Also, conventional cleaning supplies used to clean our bathrooms, kitchen, and floors are full of toxic chemicals.
You can make your own cleaning supplies or purchase ones made from natural ingredients.
Non-toxic Alternatives for Cleaning
- Baking soda: makes water soft, increases cleaning capacity of soap, good for scrubbing
- Borax: cleans and removes odors, excellent disinfectant
- Soap from plants: non-toxic and biodegradable; available as liquid, flakes, and bars; the best are without synthetic additives, flavors, and colors.
- Vinegar: cleans grease and limestone residue
- Citric acid and lemon: removes grease and limestone residue and also refreshes
- Natural essential oils: natural extracts and essential oils enhance antibacterial and antiviral properties of cleaning products; antibacterial options include camphor, cardamon, citronella, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper, lavender, lime, lemongrass, orange, lemon, pine, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, tea tree, and thyme; antiviral oils comprise cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, oregano, sandalwood, and tea tree. Two essential oil brands we use and recommend are Phatoil and Bubbly Belle.
Homemade Cleaning Product Recipes
- Juice from 3 lemons
- 1 1/2 water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup vinegar
- Mix and boil for 10 minutes while stirring, until liquid thickens. Pour into glass container while still warm.
- 1/3 baking soda
- Add warm water to make into paste. Use on a sponge to scrub.
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Pour into toilet bowl, leave for 1/2 hour, wipe and flush.
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vodka
Wood Floors, Panels
- 1 1/2 cups vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 20 drops of chosen essential oil (we like lavender)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 quart warm water
- Add to spray bottle and wipe with crumpled newspaper
- Grind half a lemon to clean and freshen
Ceramic Floor Tiles
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 31/2 cups hot water
- Put in a spray bottle and apply as desired.
Washbasin, Bathtub, Tiles
- 1/2 baking soda
- 2-3 tablespoons vinegar
- Wipe with a soft cloth.
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon water
- Make into a paste.
Toxins in Our Foods
Herbicides and pesticides are used in conventional farming to deter pests and increase yields.
Chronic exposure to the corn herbicide Atrazine has been linked to obesity and mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to weight gain and insulin resistance.
This herbicide has also been found in our water systems.
Most of our corn is grown in the Midwest, and there is an overlap between where the herbicide is used and where obesity is prevalent.
Eating Organic Foods
According to the Environmental Workgroup, a non-profit consumer protection agency (www.ewg.org), some non-organic produce may be especially contaminated with pesticides.
Many of these foods are heavily sprayed with pesticides to the point that workers have to wear gas masks.
|2020 Dirty Dozen: Foods with HIGHEST Pesticide Residues||2020 Clean Fifteen: Foods with Lowest Pesticide Residues|
|Grapes||Sweet Peas Frozen|
|NOTE: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.||Honewdew Melon|
Heavy metals may also interfere with thyroid function.
Mercury fillings, in particular, have been found problematic in those with Hashimoto’s.
As mercury is a metal that vaporizes when heated, the heat generated from the friction of chewing causes it to be released into circulation.
In those who are sensitive to mercury, removal of mercury fillings (by a specialized holistic dentist) has been associated with a reduction in TPO antibodies.
Additional sources of mercury are found in fish.
Tuna contains a lot of mercury and should be avoided, while anchovies, salmon, flounder, and whitefish may be enjoyed up to twice a week.
Other metals can also leach into our bodies.
The most common, aluminum is present in antiperspirants and some cooking pans.
Scratched non-stick pans are a source of leaks.
Stainless steel cookware is recommended instead.
When it comes to toxin-free / aluminum-free antiperspirants we use and recommend Paper Cosmetics.
Mercury Levels in Fish
|Highest Mercury: AVOID eating||High Mercury: Eat no more than three 6-oz. servings a month||Lower Mercury: Eat no more than 6-oz. servings a month||Lowest Mercury: Enjoy two 6-oz. servings a week|
|Marlin||Sea bass (Chilean)||Bass (striped, black)||Anchovies|
|Swordfish||Mackerel (Spanish, Gulf)||Croaker (White Pacific)||Clam|
|Shark||Tuna (canned, white albacore)||Halibut (Pacific and Atlantic)||Crab (domestic)|
|Mackerel (king)||Tuna (yellowfin)||Jacksmelt (silverside)||Crawfish / crayfish|
|Tuna (bigeye, ahi)||Lobster||Croaker|
|Snapper||Mackerel (North Atlantic, chub)|
|Sea Trout (Weakfish)||Mullet|
|Tuna (canned chunk light)||Oysters|
|Tuna (Skipjack)||Perch (ocean)|
Body’s Detoxification System
We have an innate detoxification system than can help us clear toxins from foods, chemicals, and other exposures.
However, when the body cannot keep up with the elimination of toxins because of compromised digestion, toxins accumulate in our cells and the fluid around the cells (extracellular fluid).
Our cells take in nutrients and oxygen from the blood, perform their functions, and give off waste products.
The waste products are expelled from the cells into the extracellular matrix where they undergo an exchange with the bloodstream for the entering nutrients.
The blood transports these wastes to the liver to be detoxified and then to the organs of elimination- intestines, kidneys, lungs, and skin – for final disposal.
When our organs are burdened with excessive wastes, they show signs of stress:
- Skin: Rashes, pimples, or offensive body odor.
- Kidneys: Frequent, painful, or urgent urination or dark or offensive-smelling urine.
- Liver: Gas, diarrhea, and constipation; green, mucous stools, or right-sided chest pain.
- Lungs: Congestion, coughing, or wheezing.
Each person may show different signs of stress, depending on their particular weakness and the toxins to which they are exposed.
The liver is our main detoxification organ, and proper liver function is necessary for converting T4 to the active T3 hormone.
In addition, the liver filters blood, stores glucose for energy, breaks down steroid hormones, and produces and secretes bile, which is necessary for fat digestion. The liver also gets rid of toxins we encounter.
Liver function may be impaired in these with Hashimoto’s.
The elimination of toxins by the liver is done through a two-step enzymatic process.
During Phase I, a family of enzymes known as cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP450) metabolizes fat-soluble toxins into intermediary substances.
Foods, drugs, toxins, and other substances undergo processes such as oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, hydration, and dehalogenation to prepare them to attach to detoxifying nutrients during Phase II.
These intermediates are often more toxic than the original substances ingested.
The required nutrients in Phase I are B vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, glutathione, and flavonoids).
In Phase II, the intermediaries undergo conjugation, sulfation, glucuronidation, glutathione conjugation, acetylation, amino acid conjugation, and methylation reactions, which detoxify them and make them water-soluble so they can be excreted in stool or urine.
The required nutrients in Phase II are folic acid, magnesium, glutathione, B5, B12, and vitamin C, as well as the amino acids methionine, cysteine, glycine, taurine, glutamine, and choline.
Due to low HCL levels, gluten intolerance, and other absorption issues present in Hashimoto’s, the body does not properly absorb nutrients required for detoxification pathways.
Since the body is constantly bombarded with toxins in the form of undigested foods, pesticides, medications, exhaust fumes, and so on, this results in a “backlog” or “liver congestion” in which the toxins build up, get back into the blood, and may wind up stored in our fat.
Drug Metabolism in the Liver
CYP450 enzymes are the primary mode of drug metabolism in our bodies.
Some medications can saturate, speed up, or slow down the enzymes, which can lead to adverse drug events and drug-to-drug interactions.
Tylenol overdose: Tylenol is a medication commonly used for headaches, pain, and fevers.
When taking Tylenol at normal doses without any interacting drugs or liver impairment, the liver converts Tylenol into a toxic intermediary, which is then quickly bound by glutathione and eliminated.
When the total daily dose of Tylenol exceeds 4 grams a day, the body runs out of glutathione and the toxic metabolite builds up, leading to liver failure and even death.
N-acetyl cysteine (which converts to glutathione) is given to people who overdose on Tylenol to help the liver clear the toxic metabolite.
Some medications (and a substance found in grapefruit) can inhibit liver enzymes, resulting in a toxic buildup of medications that require the particular enzymes for metabolism.
Acid-Alkaline Food Balance Affects Detoxification
Creating a more alkaline environment in the body may help with the detoxification process and can improve alkaline phosphatase function.
While this initially seems to contradict the previous recommendation to increase stomach acidity, it does not.
Keeping the stomach acidic and the rest of the body alkaline is the key to optimal health and can be achieved through diet and digestive enzymes.
The alkaline and acidic properties of foods are confusing, mostly because people use the same terminology to describe the taste of the food as well as to discuss whether the body needs to produce more acid or alkaline enzymes to digest the food.
A food such as a tomato, for example, may be considered an acidic food to those who eat it, but it requires alkaline enzymes to digest it, thus leaving an alkaline residue in the body.
In contrast, milk doesn’t taste acidic, but it requires acidic enzymes to be digested.
Foods that are high in protein but low in potassium are generally going to be acidic.
This includes most meats, dairy, some nuts, and cereals / grains that are poor in potassium.
Additionally, most processed foods are considered acidic as well.
In contrast, foods rich in potassium but low in protein, such as fruits and vegetables, require an alkaline environment for digestion.
Eating too many animal products and starches without the correct balance from alkaline vegetables and fruit may create a net acidic residue in the body but will not help make the stomach more acidic.
Protein-based acidic foods are important for building up the body, while alkaline foods are utilized to detoxify our bodies.
Both types of foods are required for proper health.
A ratio of 20 percent acidic foods to 80 percent alkaline foods has been suggested for a proper acid / alkaline balance.
Since we are all different, this ratio may not be appropriate for everyone, and different ratios may be used depending on whether our bodies need more building or cleansing.
Not all acidic foods are equal.
Organic eggs (if someone is not sensitive to them), meat, and animal fat are nutritious, while foods such as refined flour, sugar, and processed vegetable oils are detrimental and should be avoided or limited.
While nutritious acidic foods are required for proper body function, they should be limited when attempting to detoxify / cleanse the body.
Additionally, not all alkaline foods are created equally when it comes to cleansing.
Raw fruits and vegetables are more alkaline than their cooked counterparts.
Almonds and cashews are generally considered to be more alkaline, but no everyone may be able to tolerate them (cashews are often contaminated with mold).
Raw fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices have the most potent detoxifying effects.
Cleansing should be performed once or twice a year for a period of one to two weeks, but long-term diets that rely on alkaline foods at the exclusion of nutritious acid foods are not recommended for Hashimoto’s.
|Acidic Foods||Alkaline Foods|
|Meat, fish, and poultry||Fruits|
|Processed foods||Most nuts|
|Fried Foods||Gluten-free grains|
What Is a Detoxification Protocol?
Detoxification is a broad term used to describe a variety of different methods that can help cleanse the body’s internal system and organs.
Detoxification protocols may include nutritional supplementation, herbal medicines, raw vegan / vegetarian diets, fasting, juicing, probiotics, hydrotherapy, sauna, colonic irrigation, and exercise.
Detoxification addresses four different types of toxins: heavy metals, chemical toxins, microbial compounds, and byproducts of protein metabolism.
Detoxification protocols cleanse the body of a buildup of accumulated toxins as a result of our dietary habits, toxic environment, and overburdened detoxification system.
Proponents of detoxification report clearer skin, reduced symptoms of many conditions, improved vitamin and mineral absorption, and better bowel function.
Detoxification is an important part of re-establishing healthy thyroid function.
Our main detoxification organ, the liver may become “congested” from the countless toxic substances we are exposed to on a daily basis.
Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, pesticides, and chemicals is a great way to kick start the detoxification process.
However, sometimes additional interventions may be required.
Approaches to Detox
Vitamins and minerals: Necessary for proper liver and metabolic function they are used to support the body’s internal detoxification pathway.
Detoxifying herbs: They bind to toxins helping with their breakdown and excretion.
Some herbs also work by stimulating the liver’s innate detoxifying ability.
For high-quality, wild-harvested, organic herbs you may visit Starwest Botanicals.
Foods and diet: Clean diets give the body a break from being burdened by toxins from foods, allowing it to process the backlog of accumulated toxins.
Fasting: During fasting, the body breaks down fat for fuel, which helps accumulated waste stored in our fat tissue to get mobilized and expelled.
Hydrotherapy: Hot water and baths stimulate blood circulation through the liver, helping the liver filter out more toxins.
A significant amount of toxins gets excreted through the skin via sweating.
Probiotics: Probiotics minimize harmful gut bacteria that make toxins while helping preserve the protective intestinal lining, which enables toxic substances to pass through the digestive tract for elimination.
Sauna: The heat in saunas stimulates blood circulation and sweating, allowing for more effective excretion of toxins.
Colonic irrigation: Flushing the colon with water and herbs flushes out toxins that accumulate in the pouches (haustra) and intestinal lining of the large bowel.
Toxin binding: When taken internally, fiber and clay are thought to bind to toxins and heavy metals present in our intestinal tract, aiding in their excretion from the body.
Exercise: Exercise helps with detoxification by increasing blood and lymphatic flow throughout the body’s filtration system as well as excreting toxins through sweat.
Fasting is the cheapest and one of the most effective ways of detox but may exacerbate adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Fiber and vegetables rich in sulfur also support liver detoxification, as do raw fruits and vegetables.
However, raw fruits and vegetables are not an option for those with impaired digestion.
Additionally, fiber can be aggravating to many Hashimoto’s patients due to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Generally, detox diets eliminate animal proteins and rely on nuts and seeds for protein, but these may also be difficult to digest for some with Hashimoto’s.
Many liver detoxifying products are powders designed to be made into shakes and taken as a meal replacement.
Unfortunately, most of these products contain allergenic additives, such as rice or soy which may be problematic to Hashimoto’s patients with associated food sensitivities.
Most of these products also contain insoluble fiber, which can be fermented by the pathogenic bacteria and perpetuate autoimmunity.
If you haven’t already, watch the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead– a documentary about a man who was able to put his autoimmune condition (chronic urticaria) into remission by following a sixty-day juice fast.
During a juice fast, a juicer machine is used to extract the liquid part of fruits and vegetables.
The liquid is extremely easy to absorb by the body and only contains vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants, enzymes and cofactors as well as some soluble fiber (if not strained) that binds to toxins, while the insoluble fiber is left behind.
By juicing, we get almost all the benefits of raw fruits and vegetables without putting the extra stress of digestion on the body, allowing it to rest, heal and regenerate.
Although the man in the documentary transitioned to a vegan diet after the juice fast, we know that vegan, raw, and fasting diets are not 100% optimal for those with Hashimoto’s.
This is because people with Hashimoto’s are depleted in many of the nutrients typically obtained from animal sources (e.g., zinc, iron, selenium, and fatty acids).
We also know that animal proteins are the hardest to digest and are often not digested properly by those with Hashimoto’s due to low hydrochloric acid.
Thus, taking a one-day to two-week break from animal protein and giving the body an opportunity to rest from digestion can be very regenerative for the gut and liver.
Soups and broths only can give the bowels a rest, helping to restore the intestinal lining, but they may not provide all the required micronutrients often found in fresh fruits and vegetables, which are necessary for detoxification.
Juice and Soup Fast
The fast begins with two to three days of homemade broth mixed to a puree consistency with well-cooked, low-residue vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, and pumpkin.
The vegetables should be prepared with ample fatty acids like coconut oil, duck fat, lard, and cod liver oil.
A tablespoon of coconut oil is added to each soup.
Juices are introduced after three days for those without diarrhea.
Those experiencing diarrhea may need to be pushed out by a few weeks.
Juices should be taken on an empty stomach, before the soups.
Drinking filtered / purified water and herbal teas can be both soothing and relaxing.
It is also important to start a probiotic regiment at this time.
The juice fast is a low-residue diet and will likely cause a die-off of bacteria in the small intestine.
After a few days of ingesting both the juice and soup, you can transition off the soups into a full juice cleanse lasting anywhere between one to seven days.
Afterward, the soups are added back in, and we transition to introducing meats and other more difficult-to-digest foods.
Alternately, smoothies of well-pureed raw vegetables can be used in place of the juices.
Fruit should be limited to low-fructose fruits like granny smith apples, lemons, limes and tomatoes and should be mixed with vegetable juices.
Goitrogenic raw vegetables like broccoli and horseradish should be limited.
Some ideas for juicing vegetables include carrots, celery, cucumber, and leafy vegetables.
Small amounts of apple may be added to sweeten the juices, but avoid using too many fruits due to their high sugar content.
Lemons also mix well with juices.
You may also wish to add small amounts of ginger root, onion, or turmeric root to the juice.
Note: When consuming liquid foods such as soups, juice, and smoothies, try to get in the habit of “chewing” them (swishing around the mouth). This action generates salivary enzymes, helping to prepare the pancreas for digestion.
Best Juice Extractors
For fruit juicing (oranges, lemons, tangerines, pineapple, pomegranate, apple, pears, grapes, all melons, tomatoes, berries), the best option is a vertical, single-auger juicer, like the Slowstar®, as it costs less and offers a much higher yield on soft fruits (saving you $) than a horizontal juicer.
Slowstar® has a very low speed of 47 RPM that prevents oxidation, with a 200 Watt motor and 3-stage speed reduction gears that produce the equivalent amount of torque as a 9 HP motor.
It operates very quietly, is 100% BPA-free, and comes with an extra mincing attachment that can transform it into a multi-purpose tool that allows you to create your favorite recipes, like sorbets, nut butters, and sauces.
It also comes with a 10-year warranty and FREE shipping for all US states.
Slowstar® Vertical Slow Juicer & Mincer
For solo vegetable juicing and mixed fruit/vegetable juicing, we recommend the mighty Greenstar® Elite Jumbo Twin Gear Slow Masticating Juicer.
This is the one we personally use, and is perfect for anyone interested in hopping on a prolonged juice fast or Solid Food Vacation (SFV).
Greenstar® comes with two advanced heavy-duty jumbo twin gears that use the same magnetic and bioceramic technology as the original twin gears, but extend the juicing process from two to three stages – crushing, mixing, and pressing.
Its new locking mechanism also includes a stationary latching system, which offers optimum convenience and an easier way to assemble and disassemble the machine.
It’s safe to use, easy to clean-up, and all its parts that come in contact with food are 100% BPA-free.
Its magnets, which are built into the rotating twin gears, enhance the paramagnetic properties of the alkaline minerals found in the juice, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and substantially reduce the rate of juice oxidation.
Unlike other juicers with high-speed chopping blades that create heat and impact shock, Greenstar® slowly and gently presses the juice out.
This allows users to store their juice in the refrigerator for 72 hours, without any significant loss of nutritional value.
In this manner, its users are able to enjoy high-quality, enzyme-rich juice all day long.
Greenstar® comes with a 12-year warranty – for household, not commercial use – and FREE shipping for all US states.
Greenstar® Elite Jumbo Twin Gear Slow Masticating Juicer
1) Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has healing, cleansing properties and helps detoxify the liver.
It can be taken in the morning on an empty mixed with a half-cup of filtered/purified water or vegetable juice.
A good water filtration system is the gravity-fed Watens water filter.
It is easy-to-use, affordable and removes 99% of fluoride, halogens, heavy metals, pathogens and odors.
Fiber helps bind the toxins and eliminates them through stool.
Fiber found in fresh fruit and vegetables such as inulin, FOS, and psyllium husk are healthful fibers that may aid with binding toxins.
However, they may be too abrasive for those with increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and may aggravate small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
3) Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay also has strong cleansing and absorptive properties when taken internally.
It is gentler for those with gastrointestinal issues and has been helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The clay is not absorbed by the body or fermented by the intestinal bacteria.
It attracts and binds toxins such as viruses, parasites, heavy metals, pesticides and chemicals as it passes through the intestinal tract.
The toxin-filled clay is expelled in bowel movements.
In addition to being taken internally, clay can be used in baths and facials to help detoxify the body through skin pores.
The clay should not be taken during pregnancy and should be spaced out from medications by at least 3 hours as it is likely to bind the medication as well.
Bentonite clay is available in liquid, powder or pill form.
The liquid may taste better.
We prefer it as a pill along with other detoxifying ingredients such as those found in products like Ultracleanse.
The required nutrients for Phase I and II liver detoxification include B vitamins (B2, B3, B5, B6, B12), folic acid, glutathione, flavonoids, magnesium, vitamin C, and the amino acids methionine, cysteine, glycine, taurine, and glutamine.
1) N-Acetyl Cysteine
N-acetyl cysteine, which turns into glutathione, not only helps reduce TPO antibodies by neutralizing hydrogen peroxide, but it also helps heal intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and aids with detoxification.
Doses of 1.8 grams (1,800 mg) are usually recommended.
2) Amino Acids
Amino acids are necessary for rebuilding and healing the body.
Although proteins are our major source of amino acids, protein breakdown is burdensome to the body and takes away from healing and cleansing.
Pure amino acids require little work on the part of the body and are easily absorbable.
Unfortunately, they taste disgusting.
Prolonged juice fasts that exclude proteins may result in protein deficiency and severe muscle wasting.
Thus, supplementing with pure amino acids mixed with cranberry juice and stevia or taken in supplement form may help support the body in its rebuilding efforts.
A variety of herbs has been reported to be helpful with cleansing, and many commercial “liver detox support” products may have one or more of the following ingredients, sometimes in combination with the vitamins and supplements listed below.
Substances That Support Liver Detox
4) Chlorella / Spirulina
Chlorella and spirulina are sometimes recommended as detox supplements, but they may have immune-stimulating properties that can induce or exacerbate autoimmune conditions through the upregulation of TNF-A (the Th1 branch).
This same reaction has also been reported with echinacea.
Actually, believe it or not, there have been a few cases of new-onset autoimmune conditions following the use of these supplements.
Activities to Support Detox
In addition to diet and supplements, a variety of activities may also help with the detox process, including Epsom salt baths, enemas, colon cleansing, massage therapy, and oil pulling.
The skin is a major elimination organ for toxins. Sweating especially helps eliminate toxins.
Low sweat production is a symptom of hypothyroidism (although most people complain about the other hypothyroid symptoms such as weight-gain and hair-loss).
As people with hypothyroidism usually have a lower body temperature, they often need to make themselves sweat.
A great way to do that is through exercise, hot baths, hot yoga or using an infrared sauna.
Speaking of, a product we absolutely love, use and recommend to all our clients for detoxification, inflammation-suppression and relaxation purposes is the Infrared Sauna Blanket V3.
Infrared Sauna Blankets increase the body’s thermal energy and promote a temporary increase in blood flow – so you sweat like you’re working out, without working out.
Plus, they are portable and easy to use.
No matter how many times we use Infrared Sauna Blanket V3, it’s an intense, revitalizing and rejuvenating experience that leaves us feeling euphoric.
Dry brushing is another manual method of increasing toxin elimination and stimulating lymph flow.
Elimination of toxins also occurs through the gastrointestinal tract.
When we are detoxifying the toxins may not always clear out efficiently from our bowel, being trapped and adding to our already high toxicity burden.
Enemas and colon cleanses may help with toxin elimination, as they clean the mucus-laden bowel mucosa, especially for those who are more on the constipated side.
When you start a detoxification program it is essential to ensure the you “move” regularly, making sure that stagnant toxins that are being mobilized end up out of the body and do not stay in polluting it again.
The lymph system is a lipid-based system that is also reponsible for transporting toxins around the body and facilitating their elimination.
Increasing lymphatic flow consists of lifestyle modifications almost everyone enjoys, including bouncing on a trampoline (or mini-trampoline), massages, and inversion exercises such as Shoulder Stand in yoga.
A wonderfully relaxing detoxification tool, massage therapy helps with tissue cleansing.
Massage induces the release of toxins from tissues and facilitates their elimination.
It turns the extracellular matrix from a jelly-like substance into a more liquid state, allowing for easier elimination.
Remember to always drink plenty of water before and after a massage to further enhance your elimination and replenish your body’s supply of water.
Halogens are more likely to accumulate in the case of iodine deficiency.
It may be helpful to reduce iodine intake while striving to eliminate thyroid antibodies.
Once the antibodies have been eliminated, you can start reintroducing iodine to facilitate thyroid hormone production (as it is a precursor to thyroid hormones).
Some physicians report “halogen detox” may occur when reintroducing iodine, which presents as acne, palpitations, and other detox symptoms.
Once thyroid antibodies are in remission, you may also start supplementing with iodine but very gradually.
Concerning iodine supplements, our favorite product is Liquid Iodine Drops by Future Kind, as it is: 1) Certified organic 2) Alcohol-free 3) Created from ancient salt deposits located more than 7,000 feet below the earth’s surface.
Signs Your Detoxification System May be Impaired
- Elimination problems
- Inability to lose or gain weight
- Allergies, congestion
- Skin disorders such as acne
- Dark circles under eyes
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Hormonal imbalances
- Frequent infections
- Joint and muscle pains
- Chemical sensitivities
✔ Toxins are found in foods and personal care products.
✔ Mercury and halogens like fluoride, bromide and chloride have been associated with Hashimoto’s and thyroid dysfunction.
✔ The liver is our main detoxification organ
✔ The skin is a major port of toxin removal.
✔ Cleansing allows the body to rest and get rid of toxins, which would otherwise disrupt physiologic function.
PS. If you haven’t already, you may check out our Recommendations List for high-quality supplements, health products and services you can trust. There is probably nothing health-related you won’t find there + special discount codes are waiting for you.
You May Also Like
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Environmental Chemical Exposure | Is There a Connection?
- Best Supplements for Hashimoto’s | Which Ones Can Help
- What Is The Best Diet For Healing Hashimoto’s Disease?
- Arthritis Natural Remedies | How To Alleviate Pain and Swelling
- What Is Insomnia | Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment + Natural Remedies
- Calcium | Benefits, Sources, Deficiency, and Risks
- The Benefits of a Low Sodium Diet
- Top Potassium Rich Foods | How Potassium Can Improve Your Health and Fitness
- Iodine Deficiency | Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis
About George Kelly
George Kelly M.Sc is a Sports Nutritionist, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP), and Metabolic Type expert. He is the CEO and lead author of Metabolic Body.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Metabolic Body nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.