Do you still believe that goiters and nodules today are caused by iodine deficiency?
If so, you’re in for a big surprise.
Supplementing iodine can actually make your thyroid condition much, much worse.
More on that in a minute.
Today, goiters and nodules are most commonly caused by a much bigger and more complicated problem.
It’s one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism today and a reason why so many thyroid sufferers are trapped in a perpetual state of hypothyroidism, with no end in sight.
It’s something that we talk about a lot here at Forefront Health… and this is yet another way it can ruin your thyroid health.
I want to show you how you can protect your thyroid by preventing and shrinking goiters and nodules…
…yet to do so, you have to first understand how goiters and nodules develop.
What Causes Thyroid Goiters and Thyroid Nodules
The most common cause of goiters and soft nodules today is the hormone estrogen.
In hypothyroidism, excess estrogen accumulates in your body for two reasons:
- Estrogen is overproduced through aromatization of androgens into estrogen.
- Estrogen further builds up because it can’t be properly detoxified due to blocking of the glucuronidation detox pathway.
As estrogen accumulates within your body, it tends to affect your thyroid gland in two ways:
- Estrogen increases Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), which increases the amount of thyroid hormone the thyroid gland produces.
- Estrogen inhibits the proteolytic enzymes that allow the thyroid gland to release that thyroid hormone.
Think of your thyroid gland like a balloon.
The effects of estrogen are such that air (thyroid hormone) is being continuously added to the balloon (your thyroid), without any air (thyroid hormone) being allowed to escape.
The balloon (your thyroid) will just continue to get bigger and bigger.
The solution to the problem is to stop adding more air to the balloon while at the same time, letting air out, allowing the balloon (your thyroid) to shrink and normalize in size.
We’ll cover this in more detail in just a second.
First, let’s cover where most people go wrong…
Dangers of Iodine Therapy
Many people today still believe that goiters are caused by an iodine deficiency.
Let’s get one thing clear.
Iodine deficiency does exist, and if one is severely deficient in iodine, they will develop an iodine deficiency goiter.
Iodine deficiency must be confirmed through a 24 hour urine collection test.
But, it’s much more rare than you realize.
What’s more, supplementing iodine when you’re NOT deficient can make your thyroid condition much worse.
Taking excess iodine has been shown to cause:
If excess iodine itself can cause goiters and nodules, it doesn’t make sense to use iodine therapy if you’re not truly deficient.
Iodine toxicity is a very real threat to your thyroid when using iodine supplements.
(NOTE: Most iodine supplements contain toxic doses of iodine and should be avoided. Learn more about why iodine supplements should be avoided in this article on “3 Dangers of Iodine Supplements for Hypothyroidism”.)
So, iodine therapy should be avoided unless proper testing is done, or it can surely make your thyroid matters worse.
Goiters, Nodules, and Thyroid Storms
Goiters and nodules can sometimes be a little tricky. As the thyroid gland becomes enlarged with too much thyroid hormone (colloid), you can run into issues where the thyroid gland unloads too much thyroid hormone at one time.
This is called a thyroid storm.
You see, this buildup of thyroid hormone in the gland can make you very hypothyroid because your gland isn’t releasing much thyroid hormone.
Then, all of a sudden, your gland can unload thyroid hormone very quickly.
This large amount of thyroid hormone being secreted very quickly can put you into what we call a transient or temporary hyperthyroid state.
We generally see symptoms such as:
- Elevated heart rate
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling jittery
- Feelings of extreme stress
Often, thyroid storms occur in a cyclical pattern.
It’s a cycle where you transition between symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism as your thyroid gland is blocked and enlarges (hypothyroidism), then unloads (hyperthyroidism) before becoming blocked again, starting the process all over.
We have clients who have been misdiagnosed as hyperthyroid because they were seen by their doctor during an unloading phase, when hyperthyroid symptoms are often present.
This can lead to unnecessary medical treatments such as thyroidectomy (surgical removal of thyroid gland tissue) or Radioactive Iodine (RAI) treatment, both of which cause permanent damage to the thyroid gland.
Yet, the important thing to realize is that you are actually hypothyroid.
In reality, this is just a “transient” or temporary hyperthyroid condition.
The underlying issue is actually hypothyroidism due to estrogen suppressing your thyroid gland and driving this whole cycle.
And unnecessary medical treatments that permanently damage your thyroid gland only make matters worse.
How to Properly Prevent and Shrink Goiters and Nodules
Obviously, we don’t want to trigger the thyroid gland to unload too quickly and cause a thyroid storm.
Instead, we want the thyroid gland to unload, or shrink, slowly and safely.
This does take longer, but it’s a much more tolerable and comfortable experience.
So, let’s break this down into a few simple to understand steps.
Step 1: Suppress TSH
TSH is a pituitary hormone that signals your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone.
If you want your goiter or nodules to shrink, then we have to stop your thyroid from over-producing thyroid.
Typically, we do this by supplementing enough thyroid hormone to suppress TSH to levels as close to zero as possible.
(NOTE: A TSH close to zero is NOT a sign of hyperthyroidism as many doctors would have you believe.
Want to learn more?
Keeping your TSH suppressed is also very protective of your thyroid gland and helps prevent thyroid gland abnormalities.
Once we stop the overproduction of thyroid hormone, we still have to work on shrinking the gland slowly.
Step 2: Shrinking the Thyroid Gland
Shrinking the thyroid gland involves promoting the release of thyroid hormone from your thyroid gland slowly. This can be done through a few ways, including:
The most effective way to shrink a goiter is through the use of progesterone.
Just as estrogen blocks your thyroid gland from releasing thyroid hormone, progesterone does the opposite – it activates the proteolytic enzymes that release the thyroid hormone.
Ordinarily, this is a very good thing, because we want to promote the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone properly.
Yet, we have to be careful when the thyroid gland is enlarged or there’s a goiter or soft nodules.
This is because the progesterone can activate your thyroid gland to unload too much thyroid hormone at one time, which can give you hyperthyroid symptoms and make you feel very uncomfortable.
(NOTE: This rapid unloading of the gland doesn’t cause any real harm. However, caution should be taken if one has a heart condition, as this can put increased stress on the heart.)
That uncomfortable feeling is not something we want for our clients to experience.
So, we often do a trial of progesterone while looking for signs of increased heart rate, heart palpitations, anxiety, etc.
If these symptoms are experienced, then it’s best to focus on Vitamin E and metabolism first and re-introducing the progesterone later, because it still plays an essential part in fixing the underlying cause of the problem.
Vitamin E is anti-estrogenic and can be used to reduce estrogen’s thyroid-blocking effects without unloading the thyroid gland too quickly.
Then, we want to focus on diet to up-regulate (increase) healthy oxidative metabolism so that your body begins using more thyroid hormone and using it more efficiently.
This will allow the gland to slowly secrete thyroid hormone, allowing goiters to shrink over time.
Step 3: Correcting the Estrogen Dominance
(NOTE: Learn more about how to fix estrogen dominance in this article on the “3-Step Plan Can Lower Hidden Hashimoto’s Hormone by More than 55% In 10 Weeks”.)
By correcting the underlying estrogen issue, you’re not only helping to return your thyroid gland to its normal function…
…You’re helping to protect your thyroid and prevent the future development of goiters and nodules too.
And keep in mind that regulating estrogen also applies to the prevention of goiters and nodules too.
You can never be too safe with your thyroid health. If you have a goiter or thyroid nodules, then you can use these same steps that we use to help our clients too.