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Why You Shouldn’t Detox with Hypothyroidism

By | 2017-10-30T08:49:53+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Healthy Living, Hypothyroidism|20 Comments
  • thyroid detox

In recent years, detoxing your body has become quite the health trend.

But is detoxing your body all that good for your health?

NOT if you suffer from hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

In the case of thyroid conditions, forced detoxification can actually cause a lot more harm than good.

Why?

Because your ability to detoxify toxins depends largely on the health of your liver and thyroid.

And with hypothyroidism, liver dysfunction is a major problem.

This is why forcing detoxification when your thyroid and liver are unhealthy is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

It simply backfires and tends to blow up in your face.

In the end, you end up becoming even more hypothyroid when you first started.

This has much to do with one of your essential detox pathways, which becomes blocked due to your hypothyroidism.

The Dangers of Detoxification with Hypothyroidism

Toxins generally come in two forms, water soluble (able to dissolve in water) and fat soluble (able to dissolve in fats, but not water).

Water soluble toxins are easy to detoxify. You simply excrete them through your urine.

It’s the fat soluble toxins that are tricky because they can’t be excreted quite so easily.

For fat soluble toxins, your body depends on a process called glucuronidation.

Glucuronidation is a very important detox pathway that allows your liver to take fat soluble toxins and hormones and make them water soluble by attaching glucuronic acid (an acid derived from sugar).

This allows you to make these “fat soluble toxins” water soluble and excrete them through your urine as well.

Sounds simple right?

Attach the glucuronic acid and presto! You can now detoxify these problematic toxins.

Well, not exactly.

It’s very well documented that with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, your glucuronidation pathway becomes blocked…

…along with your ability to detoxify these dangerous fat soluble toxins.

So think about this.

If you’re hypothyroid and you can’t eliminate these toxins, what do you think happens when you attempt to force these toxins out of your fat cells?

They simply end up being dumped back into your bloodstream, where they cause further stress and further suppress your thyroid, before being stored right back in your fat cells again.

There’s a much better and safer way.

And that is to fix your detoxification pathways so you can actually eliminate these toxins.

I’ll show you some simple ways to help support your detox pathways in a second.

But first, you need to understand this…

Some of the Most Dangerous Thyroid Suppressive Toxins Are Not What You Think

Sure, toxins are everywhere.

And we’ve all become increasingly concerned about the increase in use of toxic chemicals in everything we come into contact with including, but not limited to, toxins in our:

  • Water supply
  • The air we breath
  • Cosmetics and beauty products
  • Personal care products
  • Pesticides and Herbicides
  • Beds, carpets, paints, and other household items
  • Plastics
  • Drugs and medications
  • And the list goes on and on…

There’s a lot we can do to minimize our exposure to these toxins which is always recommended as the best approach.

But some of the most dangerous toxins inside your body don’t come from the outside world.

Some of the most dangerous toxins are produced from within your own body.

And many of these toxins are posing a much greater threat to you and your thyroid.

The toxins I’m referring to are actually certain thyroid suppressive hormones including:

  • Estrogens
  • Cortisol
  • Aldosterone
  • And others…

While all of these hormones serve specific physiological purposes… they are designed to be quickly detoxified and NOT exist in large amounts in your body for extended periods of time.

However, when you’re hypothyroid (and glucuronidation is blocked) you can’t detoxify these hormones.

So, they can build up within your tissue where they can become very thyroid suppressive.

And then there are the natural toxins in your food.

I’m not talking about chemicals from pesticides and herbicides.

I’m talking about foods that are well known to be quite toxic to your thyroid that you may be unknowingly eating every day.

Foods like polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) for example.

Not only do PUFAs block every single part of your Thyroid Hormone Pathway

…PUFAs are also known to block your glucuronidation detox pathway, which as you’ve seen, can further worsen your thyroid function.

Evidence that unsaturated fatty acids are potent inhibitors of renal UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGT): kinetic studies using human kidney cortical microsomes and recombinant UGT1A9 and UGT2B7.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14667942

“These data indicate that LA and AA are potent inhibitors of 4-MU glucuronidation catalysed by human kidney UGTs and recombinant UGT1A9 and UGT2B7.”

(Note: Learn more about your Thyroid Hormone Pathway and how unblocking it can help you overcome your hypothyroidism by clicking here.)

5 Dangerous Ways NOT to Detox Your Body

From cleanses and fasts to special detox diets, there’s no lack of recommendations and celebrity endorsements out there.

And they’re always pushing some new and improved yet illogical and unscientific way to lose weight and get healthy.

But, like most health advice out there, it’s mostly all bunk.

And to make matters worse, most of these fad detox trends typically cause more harm than good too.

Let’s take a look at some common examples.

1. Water Detox

water-detox

The idea of forcing yourself to drink more and more water throughout the day is never a good idea.

The over-consumption of water will increase urination, but also tends to deplete you of important electrolytes as well.

And in the case of hypothyroidism, when energy production is low and your cells are already weakened, forcing more water into your cells only further weakens them and can contribute to increased edema or water weight.

The best advice is to simply listen to your body and drink based on your thirst.

2. Fiber Detox

fiber-detox

Another common detox fad is the use of large amounts of dietary fiber to help pull toxins out of your digestive tract.

While there is some merit to this idea, there’s one major problem.

Most forms of fiber feed the dangerous bacterial overgrowth in your gut increasing endotoxin, digestive leakiness, and making you more prone to the absorption of toxins in your gut.

This is why we recommend getting your fiber from safe sources such as carrots or bamboo shoots which don’t feed those bacteria.

(Note: Learn how to use a carrot a day to improve your thyroid health in this article on “How to Boost Your Thyroid in 60-Seconds with a Carrot”.)

3. Vegetable Juice Detox

green-juice-detox

Vegetable juices like green drinks and carrot juice have become quite the fad as well, with many problems of their own.

Keep in mind that while we do use carrot fiber for therapeutic purposes, carrot juice is actually quite thyroid suppressive.

Thyroid sufferers can’t process excess beta-carotene due to impaired liver function, which oftentimes results in the skin developing a yellowish color.

Other green vegetables like Kale contain natural thyroid suppressive goitrogens, which can further impair thyroid function.

And concentrated vegetable juice also contains higher amounts of PUFAs, which as mentioned previously, suppress both your thyroid and your ability to detoxify thyroid suppressive toxins and hormones.

4. Exercise Detox

exercise-detox

Yet another common detox trend is to use intense exercise to sweat out toxins.

However, this fails on so many levels.

With hypothyroidism, over-exercising simply depletes liver and muscle glycogen, elevates stress hormones, elevates estrogen, increases blood PUFA levels, increases endotoxin production… and the list goes on and on.

All of these effects are very thyroid suppressive.

5. Fasting Detox

fasting-detox

Much like over-exercising, fasting in any way shape or form is generally bad for your thyroid health.

Fasting also depletes liver and muscle glycogen, elevates stress hormones, elevates estrogen, increases blood PUFA levels, etc… which again, all suppress your thyroid.

And this includes intermittent fasting as well.

5 Thyroid-Friendly Ways to Support Detoxification

Before you jump at the next forced detox fad and end up doing more harm than good… know that there are plenty of things that you can do to help.

Instead of forcing detoxification, it’s much safer and more effective to support your body’s natural detoxification pathways.

This involves not only avoiding toxins, but giving (or feeding) your liver what it needs to do its job.

Here are some easy ways to do this.

1. Get Adequate Thyroid Hormone (T3)

thyroid-hormone

Your liver is quite dependent on thyroid hormone (T3) to perform its many functions, including detoxification.

If hypothyroidism itself impairs glucuronidation and inhibits your ability to detoxify, then anything that improves thyroid function will help support detoxification.

2. Avoid PUFAs

seed-oils

As mentioned previously, polyunsaturated fats from the foods you eat not only suppress your thyroid, but also the ability of your liver to eliminate toxins.

And one of the easiest ways to improve detoxification is to simply remove anything that blocks your detox pathways.

So, simply reducing and avoiding PUFAs can help both your thyroid and liver significantly.

(NOTE: Want to learn all the ways that PUFA’s block your thyroid hormone pathway? Check out this article on the “The Worst Food for Your Thyroid (and Doctors Claim It’s “Essential” to Your Health)“.)

3. Eat Your Carrot Salad

carrot-salad

Two of the biggest burdens to your liver are estrogen and endotoxin, both major problems with (and common causes of) hypothyroidism.

Reducing these burdens on your liver can significantly improve both thyroid and liver function.

And this is something that can be accomplished through the daily use of carrot salad.

(NOTE: Get our Carrot Salad recipe and learn how it can help boost your thyroid health in this article on “How to Boost Your Thyroid in 60-Seconds with a Carrot“.)

4. Get Adequate Protein

broth

Adequate protein is essential for supporting proper liver function and detoxification.

As Dr. Raymond Peats points out…

“Low protein diets definitely interfere with the liver’s ability to detoxify estrogen and other stressors.”

So, what is adequate protein?

According to Dr. Peat, at least 70 to 100 grams of high quality protein per day is necessary to support proper thyroid and liver function.

Using thyroid supportive protein sources such as collagen protein powder, broth. and dairy is oftentimes best.

(NOTE: Learn how Grass-Fed Collagen Protein can help improve your thyroid function on this page detailing the health benefits of “Collagen Protein Powder”.)

5. Orange Juice to the Rescue

orange-juice

Not only is adequate protein essential for liver health and detoxification, adequate carbohydrates are as well.

As mentioned previously, your glucuronidation detox pathway requires the production of glucuronic acid, which is derived from sugar.

Orange juice happens to be one of the most beneficial foods for supporting liver function as well as increasing glucuronic acid production.

This is one of many reasons that orange juice is ideal for supporting liver health and detoxification.

Using orange juice properly can also have a huge impact on your thyroid health.

But combining it with other thyroid-boosting foods can have an exponential thyroid-boosting effect.

And that’s something I show you how to do in our 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol.

If you’re not using this daily protocol, then download it right now and get started today. See for yourself the difference it can make while feeling calm, clear, and full of energy.

3-food-email-image2

Click here to download the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol for free right now.

About the Author:

Tom Brimeyer is the founder of Forefront Health and the creator of the popular Hypothyroidism Revolution program series. Specializing in thyroid and metabolism disorders, Tom's work has impacted over 50,000 people spanning more than 60 countries. Tom is also a highly sought after practitioner who runs a successful health consulting practice where he continues to help clients across the globe to take back control of their lives from their devastating health conditions.

20 Comments

  1. Bhavani May 19, 2016 at 7:36 am - Reply

    I just want to find out if detoxing with the warm water, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in the morning is bad for thyroid. I have hypothyroidism. I have just been put on Levothyroxine. Please let me know. I am trying to correct my thyroid issue as soon as possible.

    Thank you.

  2. Joe May 19, 2016 at 8:10 am - Reply

    How about Omega 3s? The study you linked to talks about two omega 6 fats, LA and AA… but you say PUFAs, presumably including Omega 3s as well in being thyroid suppressive. I’ve heard Ray Peat talk about this quite a bit, but never the distinction between Omega 3s and Omega 6s so may be you can clear this up?

    Also, I thought the goitrogens in cruciferous veggies were not really a problem? I’ve heard several experts saying that realistically you’d need to consume kilos of raw cabbage to create a noticeable thyro-supressive effect. Maybe it’s only really seen in people with low iodine status? Also, might the inhibition of iodine uptake be beneficial in the short term when dealing with Hashimoto’s, at least untill the antibodies are under control?

    Thanks, Joe

    • Tom Brimeyer May 19, 2016 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Joe, Here’s a study that specifically looks at omega-3 FFAs as well as omega-6 showing the same effects yet even more potently by DHA. And they are all shown to inhibit the glucuronidation of estrogen as well which contributes the problem: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24104695

      “Out of the 15 tested fatty acids, oleic acid, linoleic acid, DHA, EPA, palmitoleic acid, arachidonic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid strongly inhibited UGT1A1 activity…”

      Regarding goiterogens, I’ve discussed that in detail here: http://www.forefronthealth.com/cruciferous-vegetables-thyroid/

  3. Annemarie Bennick May 19, 2016 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Question: so if I am to stay away from polyunsaturated fats, then I need to stop eating salmon and tuna? There is very little I can eat, because of all the food sensitivities I have. I also thought salmon and tuna were good and healthy. Am I mistaken? It is not good if I have a thyroid issue?

  4. Joan May 19, 2016 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom. I was diagnosed as hypothyroid and having Hashimoto thyroiditis a few years ago. I started doing your routine especially the orange juice and coffee and milk for breakfast. All of a sudden now the doctor believes I am hyperthyroid and took me off the Synthroid I was on so now I am not taking any thyroid medication. What do I do now that I am completely opposite of what I was? Do I continue with your routine or am I doing myself harm? I am confused.

  5. Kathy Egger May 23, 2016 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    Where do I make a appointment for a consultation? Please let me know on my email. Thank you

  6. Dale Valiukas June 5, 2016 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    I’m very skeptical about trying the triple thyroid boosting protocol because the Dr.says it’ll make my hypothyroidism worse.
    Tom, after reading and watching your stuff for the longest while and I really want to try this triple posting protocol, I really need to improve my health because I’m falling into a bad depression.
    Please help with some advise Tom and thanks in advance!!
    Kind regards & Respect,
    Dale

  7. Dave September 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    How would you recommend one goes about losing weight once they fix their hypothyroidism? A slight calorie deficit while maintaining all the core principles? Or once a week refeedso at around maintenance calories?

  8. MStevens November 6, 2016 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I would love to come in for a consultation I think your in Boulder I’m not far… and I have been dealing with this thyroid issue / Hashimotos for 10years and I’m just sick of it … I’m on a good thyroid Medication NatureThroid but to loose weight and have tried everything under the sun and to loose nothing having a sluggish thyroid makes your body hold on to fat I can’t even build muscle to burn fat … Your knowledge of thyroid health has me very intrigued … Help

    • Tom Brimeyer November 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      Hi MStevens, right now I’m booked through into the new year, but feel free to contact support for more information.

  9. gabby November 6, 2016 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Can i take aloe

  10. Johanna November 21, 2016 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Hi! What do you think about coffee enemas? Some groups favour them in estrogen dominance.

  11. Shasha October 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Sweating may help detox heavy metals fast and then sea salt and supplements of minerals may help replace the good minerals lost. Detoxing too fast may detox thyroid medicine/bioidentical hormones etc which may hurt. Too much detoxing causing low thyroid helps give me clots. Sweating bypasses the liver/kidneys so they have less stress on them. Now Brand- Detox support at night far from food may help detox well. Cilantro/green vegetables/Vit C/glutathione may help detox. Organic sulfur drink or Epsom salt (MgS04) bath may help detox.

    • Tom Brimeyer October 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Keep in mind that sweating only affect water-soluble components. Many of dangerous thyroid-suppressive toxins that we’re concerned about are fat-soluble and require detoxification via the liver.

  12. Angela October 30, 2017 at 5:56 am - Reply

    Hi, I have cll (chronic lymphocytic leukaemia) which can cause autoimmune problems. My oncologist says my hypothyroidism is caused by the cll. Does this mean I can’t cure my hypothyroidism naturally? She says she’s never heard of anybody with cll getting over it. I wondered what you thought?

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