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Causes of Low Thyroid Function

Low Thyroid Causes

If you think you've got low thyroid function, its sometimes not easy to figure out where it came from. It could be something in your diet, a hereditary condition or even a food allergy.

All that really matters is that you get diagnosed properly, but here are a few things that might just have caused your hypothyroidism.

Iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency is a problem all around the world, and particularly in developing nations. However it is now becoming ever more common in the developed world.

So many of us are cutting back on our salt intake for health reasons, that many people are simply not getting the Iodine that we need. Unfortunately this is causing an epidemic of Iodine deficiency.

So why does Iodine deficiency matter? Iodine is actually a trace mineral that is essential for the thyroid. Without it, your thyroid simply can’t function properly.

Good sources of Iodine are dairy products, seafood and all types of seaweed. Check out our page on Iodine deficiency to learn more.

Food containing Goitregen

Foods that contain Goitregen tend to inhibit your thyroid. If you’re already susceptible to low thyroid function, eating too much of these foods may well cause you problems. This applies especially to vegetarians who substitute large quantities of soy products for meat.

Recent studies have also shown that members of the Brassicas family can impair thyroid function. These include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, and mustard.

If you’re a broccoli fan though, don’t despair! It is believed that once these healthy vegetables are cooked, the thyroid inhibiting substance is destroyed.

There are a few more foods to watch out for, although it's thankfully a short list.

Hashimoto’s disease

Hashimoto’s disease is a genetic condition where the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland. It is also one of the main causes of low thyroid function.

Unfortunately there is no cure, and no way to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. A weakened thyroid gland leads to underproduction of thyroid hormone and ultimately results in hypothyroidism.

Although sufferers of Hashimoto’s disease are stuck with it for life, the symptoms of hypothyroidism can at least be treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy and drugs like Levothyroxine.

Hashimoto’s disease is one genetic condition that can cause low thyroid function, but there are others. Any chronic auto-immune disease is likely to result in impaired thyroid function and hypothyroidism.

Hormonal Changes

Hypothyroidism can occur during or after pregnancy. Approximately 1 in 20 women actually develop the condition, although it tends not to be long-lasting.

It’s extremely important to treat your hypothyroidism during pregnancy. It has been established that untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy can detrimentally affect your child’s IQ.

Hypothyroidism is very common among women going through menopause. During these difficult years, estrogen and progesterone levels become unbalanced, disrupting the thyroid gland and possibly leading to low thyroid function.


Drugs can cause low thyroid function

Certain drugs cause the thyroid gland to malfunction. These can include Lithium, Amiodarone, Phenytoin, and Carbamazepine.

One of the most frequent causes of hypothyroidism is actually the overtreatment of hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). Sufferers simply over-medicate and end up causing the opposite problem.


Exposure to radiation is linked with hypothyroidism. Many people who have been treated with radiation, especially in the head and neck, show a high incidence of low thyroid function. People in close proximity to a nuclear accident have also been shown to a high risk of hypothyroidism.

Food Allergies

Gluten allergies in particular cause disruptions to your thyroid function. Each case is different though - some people find when they eliminate a certain food from their diet, their thyroid function stabilizes.

Pollution & Toxins

Many experts are now looking at pollutions and toxins as the source of widespread low thyroid function.

Even as we breathe we are unknowingly inhaling toxins like cigarette smoke, car pollution, paints, hairsprays and household cleaners.

Even more worryingly, by the time food reaches our plate it contains a variety of pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, insecticides, food additives, preservatives, hormones and antibiotics.

This toxic load can weaken and disrupt your thyroid function - check out our page on chemicals and toxins to learn more.

Are You Exhausted Right Now?

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