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Main diseases related to the Thyroid gland : Goitrogens and weight gain - Diabetes - Cardiovascular disease - Hyper-Hypothyroidism (part 2)

To cure thyroid disease, or any autoimmune disease, you should go to the source of the imbalance.
"Your lifestyle is your first line of defense in the treatment of hypothyroidism."


Symptoms of hypothyroidism

Unexplained weight gain – Irritability – Fatigue – Slow heart rate – Sensitivity to cold or heat – Dry skin – Depression – Frequent infections – Decreased libido – Sore joints or muscles – Loss of appetite – Constipation – Hair loss – High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) – Brain fog – Elevation of markers for hardening of the arteries – Other signs of heart disease – Heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat – Abnormal menstrual cycles.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism

Anxiety – Nervousness and irritability – Soft feces – Difficulty sleeping – Swollen eyes "overflowing" (in patients with Graves' disease) – Brittle hair – Hair loss – Irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), especially in the elderly – Changes in the menstrual cycle, including lighter bleeding and less frequent periods – Muscular weakness, especially in the thighs and arms – Fast nail growth – Acceleration of heart rate, usually more than 100 beats per minute – Trembling hands – Sweat – Thinning of the skin – Weight loss despite increased appetite.

Thyroid and diabetes

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are autoimmune diseases. In other words, the immune system defends itself against its own cells, and develops antibodies against them to destroy them. This explains the relationship that can exist between thyroid diseases and type 1 diabetes.

The frequent association between diabetes and thyroid problems justifies its detection by the search for specific antibodies at the time of diagnosis.

But most doctors do not test antibodies that show the presence of autoimmunity during a thyroid examination.

When a hyperthyroidism occurs in a person already diabetic, it risks suffering from frequent hyperglycaemia, despite a suitable anti-diabetic treatment.

In case of hypothyroidism, insulin requirements decrease. Untreated hypothyroidism often leads to hypoglycaemia.

Thyroid and heart

Diseases of the thyroid gland can directly alter the normal function of the heart, cause symptoms and lead to significant complications.

With regard to thyroid diseases, it is important to understand two principles. First, because the heart itself is a muscle, it needs oxygen to function and receives oxygen through special arteries called "coronary arteries". If these coronary arteries have a disease that causes an obstruction in the lumen of the vessel, resulting in reduced blood flow to the coronary artery, the heart muscle then functions with insufficient oxygen supply and heart pain, or "Angina" may result. Second, for the heart to be able to beat in a coordinated fashion and expel the blood evenly and efficiently, the heart muscle is stimulated to contract in a synchronized manner by specialized tissue inside the heart that emits electrical impulses. The impulse normally starts from the top of the right atrium and descends by spreading through the heart.

Hyperthyroidism and heart

An increase in the level of thyroxine secreted by the thyroid gland stimulates the heart, which then beats faster and stronger. At first, this can cause a rapid heartbeat, called tachycardia.

However, if the accelerated heart rate worsens, the patient may feel palpitations, that is, he will be aware of the heartbeat in his chest.

Palpitations can occur in other types of heart disease, but if they are caused by an hyperactivity of the thyroid gland, it does not necessarily mean that there is a serious underlying heart disease.

Usually, angina and heart failure do not occur in young hyperthyroid patients with healthy hearts. However, in older patients with underlying heart disease, the presence of an overactive thyroid gland may be sufficient to unmask underlying heart disease and worsen symptoms that are already present.

Hypothyroidism and heart

The symptoms and signs seem to be the opposite of those mentioned above for an excessive thyroid function. They consist of a slow heartbeat and low blood pressure. None of these signs usually produce symptoms in patients. Prolonged hypothyroidism causes metabolic changes in the body and can produce elevated cholesterol levels. However, it is known that high cholesterol can cause or worsen the narrowing of the coronary arteries. However, as heart rate and blood pressure also drop, the complications of angina and heart attack are relatively rare.

In cases of severe and prolonged hypothyroidism, the fibers of the heart muscle may be affected; the heart becomes weak, which can lead to heart failure. There is often an accumulation of fluid around the heart, called pericardial effusion, which rarely produces symptoms.

There may be an increased risk of coronary heart disease. As with hyperthyroidism, cardiac complications occur more often in patients with underlying heart disease caused by factors other than thyroid problems.

Definition of thyroid

The thyroid is a large gland located in the neck. Under the effect of iodine brought by the diet, it synthesizes hormones essential to the proper functioning of the body: digestion, heart, muscles...

The thyroid rests on the trachea, just below the larynx and is considered the largest of the purely endocrine glands.

It has a great affinity for iodine. The latter is thus captured by the thyroid in the diet, then it is oxidized and then binds to the tyrosine (amino acid) of a protein, thyroglobulin in two forms: monoiodotyrosine or T1 (binding of 1 atom of iodine to a tyrosine) and diiodotyrosine or T2 (binding of 2 iodine atoms to a tyrosine).

This association between iodine atoms and thyroglobulin molecules contributes to the formation of the two thyroid hormones: thyroxine or T4 (formed from two molecules of diiodotyrosine) produced in large quantities and triiodothyronine or T3 (formed of a monoiodotyrosine and a diiodotyrosine) which will be secreted by the thyroid gland into the bloodstream.

In order for thyroid hormones to be secreted according to the needs of the body, the pituitary gland, a small endocrine gland at the base of the skull, produces a regulatory hormone, TSH (pituitary thyroid stimulating hormone).

The decrease in the blood thyroxine level results in the release of TSH from the pituitary gland and thus that of thyroxine.

On the other hand, the increase in the blood thyroxine level interrupts the stimulus triggering the release of TSH and consequently, thyroxine.

Effects of thyroid hormones

The two thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyrosine have several actions, spread over almost all tissues of the body. They play a role in the metabolism of food, but also within the nervous system or in growth.

Both thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyrosine (the latter being 10 times more active than the first) act on the cells of almost all tissues (except for certain adult organs: the brain, the spleen, the testicles, the uterus and the thyroid gland itself).

They are thus lent a large number of shares:

  • They activate all metabolisms (lipid, protein and carbohydrate), have a caloric effect, promote the development of the nervous system in the fetus and the infant and are essential to the functioning of the nervous system in adults.
  • They also promote normal heart function, skeletal growth and maturation, and the development and function of the muscles.
  • They allow the normal functioning of the genitals and stimulate lactation in women, they promote mobility and gastrointestinal tone and are necessary for the hydration of the skin.


In the industrialized countries, all newborns undergo a screening for congenital hypothyroidism in the hospital. It is a question of measuring the TSH level in the blood to determine if it is normal or not and act accordingly.

Early detection of the disease allows it to be treated quickly and to avoid the evolution towards cretinism and dwarfism.

In adults, there is no systematic screening. The TSH level in the blood is measured to detect hypo or hyperthyroidism only in those at risk.


Some diseases cause a significant increase in the production of thyroid hormones. The consequences can be serious: cardiac arrhythmia, weight loss, general weakness, ...

Hyperthyroidism is an excessive production of thyroid hormones.

It may depend on a purely thyroid disorder: thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland) or a toxic adenoma characterized by localized hyperfunction ... but it may also be an anomaly of the regulatory system.

The most common hyperthyroid disorder is Graves' disease. This autoimmune disease is manifested by the production of antibodies which reproduce the effects of the TSH hormone and thus leads to the synthesis and secretion of T3 and T4. The result is a hypersecretion of thyroid hormones.

The thyroid is therefore hyperactive continuously and this despite a low rate of TSH.

Graves' disease is characterized by diffuse goitre (increase in the homogeneous volume of the thyroid gland) associated with exophthalmos (excessive projection of the eyes).

Hyperthyroidism generally results in an increase in basal metabolism and thus an increase in body temperature (often causing hot flushes), rapid and irregular heartbeat, and increased nervousness, weight loss despite adequate food intake, atrophy and muscle weakness, skeletal demineralization, hand trembling, sweaty, hot skin, fine, brittle hair, soft nails, mild diarrhea.

Hyperthyroidism is more common in young women between 20 and 50 years of age. Treatment involves surgically removing the thyroid gland or administering radioactive iodine that binds to the thyroid gland and selectively destroys the most active cells.

Rest is always necessary.


In the event of too great reduction in the production of thyroid hormones, many disorders can occur: weight gain, depressive state and goitre in adults and cretinism in children (irreversible diminution of mental faculties).

Hypothyroidism corresponds to an insufficient production of thyroid hormones.

It is more often due to a local cause than to a pituitary. The causes of local hypofunction are numerous: thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland) infectious or autoimmune, surgical or physical thyroidectomy (radiation), sclerosis secondary to cancer, congenital enzymatic deficiency, taking medicines causing an iodine overload (such as lithium or amiodarone, etc.) and consequently a stoppage in the production of thyroid hormones…..

In adults, hypothyroidism is characterized by a decrease in basal metabolism, cold sensations, constipation problems, thick, dry skin, weight gain, facial edema, hypotonia, joint pain, irregular and abundant menstruation, depressed and decreased mental ability.

If hypothyroidism is caused by iodine deficiency, the thyroid gland becomes hypertrophied, producing endemic or myxoedematous goitre.

Hypothyroidism is more common in women than in men, especially after 50 years, hormonal reasons are assumed. Thus, there seems to be a causal relationship between the decrease in female hormones at the time of menopause and the aging of the thyroid gland.

It should be noted that it is mainly by urine that the elimination of iodine (70%) occurs, but it is also done by saliva, sweat and bile.

How to minimize the effects of goitrogenic

If your thyroid gland is not functioning properly or is not producing enough hormones, or if you are worried about the presence of goitrogenic agents in your diet, there are some easy methods to reduce the risk of negative effects of foods that disrupt the thyroid gland:

Always cook vegetables from the cabbage family…

Crucifers, that is, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, but also mustard greens, rutabaga, radish, horseradish, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, peanuts and millet. These plants contain natural chemical nutrients called goitrigenes, which can slow down the functioning of the thyroid gland. Normally, cooking these foods inactivates these goitrogenic.

Blanch the vegetables

If you like raw and fresh cabbage or kale spinach, such as smoothies, try blanching the vegetables and then freezing them before squeezing them. This technique limits their impact on the thyroid gland.

Sufficient iodine intake is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland

Saltwater fish, shellfish and seafood, seaweed, eggs, beans, nuts, bananas, avocados and for people not allergic or contraindicated, some dairy products based on organic milk are also a good iodine intake.

Replace regular table salt (sodium chloride) with real sea salt. Sea salt is much better assimilated than ordinary salt. Moreover, it is a source of natural iodine and contains many other minerals easily assimilated and essential to the body.

Balanced diet and selenium

A sufficient protein intake containing all essential amino acids, vegetables and cereals rich in B vitamins and minerals. Selenium is an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It is difficult today, even with a well-balanced and natural diet, to obtain the daily amounts required for selenium. This mineral is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid. Pollution and soil depletion are largely responsible for this deficiency.

Very good sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, fish, meat, sunflower seeds, tofu, cooked beans, portobello mushrooms, whole wheat pasta and cheese.

Zinc is another important mineral for thyroid hormone production and conversion

Zinc plays a vital role in hundreds of mechanisms. It plays a role in the constitution of the genetic material of DNA and RNA, and is involved in cell growth.

Most of the foods recommended to promote the proper functioning of the thyroid contain zinc.

Attention coffee consumption and certain medications prevent proper absorption of zinc.

The pumpkin seed is very rich in zinc and also contains good amounts of tyrosine and selenium, two nutrients that are necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

Practice relaxation

Chronic stress results in high levels of cortisol, a hormone that can cause some damage to the thyroid gland and slow down the absorption of thyroid hormones. The practice of a relaxation technique, lasting 30 minutes a day, will reduce considerably or completely the negative effects of stress.


A discussion about thyroid disease and good health is not complete without emphasizing the importance of physical activity.

Find a fun physical activity and practice it often. Physical exercise is very important for healing. It stimulates glutathione levels and thus helps boost the immune system, improve detoxification and improve your body's antioxidant defenses.

Sweating helps eliminate toxins, especially you need to drink plenty of water.

Avoid all sources of fluoride

Fluoride is harmful to the thyroid gland and is likely to be the leading cause of hypothyroidism. Drink spring water, avoid soft drinks, use fluoride-free toothpaste, use a shower filter, and discard used nonstick utensils*. Coffee and tea naturally contain fluoride.

Conflicting information about the thyroid

Because of their potential to affect the absorption of iodine, those with hypothyroidism may be inclined to avoid goitrogenic foods like cruciferous, but that would be a big mistake.

Indeed, a plant substance found in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, (goitrogenic), helps to replenish the glutathione stock.

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and is one of the pillars of the fight against Hashimoto's disease. It can stimulate your body's ability to modulate and regulate the immune system, protect and heal the tissues of the thyroid. Although few foods contain glutathione, there are foods that help the body produce glutathione: asparagus, broccoli, peaches, avocado, spinach, garlic, squash, grapefruit, and raw eggs.

* The walls of the non-stick pans are covered with a Teflon-containing coating, which, when subjected to a very high temperature or when cracked or worn, releases a toxic gas. So use them only on low heat, without wear, or better, buy ceramic utensils…

Previous article:

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