Chemicals & Your Thyroid
In a previous article on a similar topic I discussed how household chemicals can impact hormones. In this article I go into more detail on how specifically the thyroid may be affected by self care products. I also list some of my favourite natural alternatives that I use for self care.
It’s not yet clear how exactly chemicals hurt the thyroid. Most of the chemicals studied decrease thyroid function. Some over-stimulate the thyroid. This is a very difficult area to make conclusions about. Chemical effects happen so gradually over time so it’s hard to detect in a study. Much of the research is in its early stages but it’s gaining attention.
Not all the chemicals that may hurt the thyroid are in self care products, but some are. Until more is known on this subject it may be worthwhile to play it safe.
WHAT ABOUT ANTIBODIES
When you have an auto-immune thyroid condition, your body produces antibodies that lead to an attack on your thyroid. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease both fall into this category. Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Graves’ is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
There is emerging research showing that certain chemicals can increase thyroid antibodies.
Often people with auto-immune thyroid conditions are genetically predisposed to them. It’s believed that a trigger may be the final straw that “activates” the condition in such people. Possible triggers include infections, mental or physical stress, nutrition levels and chemicals.
Here are some potential products to keep your eye on with some alternatives that I love:
– Soap with triclosan: choose soaps without this antibacterial ingredient or more natural soaps like castile soaps
– Fragranced perfumes, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, creams: either get more natural versions from a health food store or at least fragrance-free versions
– Perfume: switch to essential oils (many places sell great blends)
– Body, hand, face creams: switch to oils and keep them in a glass jar (yes, it’s long been established that even oily skin benefits from certain plant oils)
– Face: right now, I blend jojoba and olive oil, I’ve also done grapeseed or almond oil
– Body: in the summer I prefer coconut which is often not hydrating enough for winter, in the winter I prefer olive or grape seed oil
– If you’re attached to creams use cocoa or shea butter. These have to be melted. You can also use a blender to combine them with other oils so they stay soft.
– Nail polish: I can’t think of a good alternative so I just limit my use!
– Hair spray: same idea as nail polish
– Exfoliant: just use sugar, coffee or salt blended with some olive or almond oil
– Masks: stick with masks that are just clay combined with some plant oils/ herbs
– Lip balm: use 100% shea in a little glass jar, it warms up as you rub it with your finger
– Spot treatment: tea tree oil or castor oil
– Face cleanser: I don’t wear full makeup often so when I do I will use a makeup remover even if it’s not 100% natural. Otherwise, when I just wear eye makeup I remove my eye makeup with olive oil and wash my face with honey
Try using this list to do a little inventory of your self care products. Pick and chose what you want to swap out.
If you want to learn more about how naturopathic medicine can help your thyroid, book an appointment or a FREE-15 minute consult at HLHC!
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].