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Thread: Goitrogens

  1. #1

    Question Goitrogens

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    ...what, why, huh??

    I know the topic of goitrogens crops up when discussing eating brassicas / crucifers.

    But what are they, how do they affect us, and is it really something to be concerned about?

    I eat broccoli or sometimes cabbage most days and LOVE it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Cooking or fermenting the cruciferous veggies breaks down some of the the phytates that remove iodine from your body. I wouldn't consume a bunch raw...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Cooking tends to kill the goitrogenic properties of most foods. That's about all I know. I am hypothyroid myself but I love cruciferous veggies, so I just try to eat them cooked and eat reasonable amounts. I seem to be doing fine.

    This is an interesting article regarding goitrogens - whether you agree or not:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I always assumed they messed with your TSH or T3 and T4? If its just iodine we are woried about, if I eat seaweed/kelp/lotsa iodine does that mean I can eat my raw brassicas again?!?!?! Please say yes please say yes.
    Last edited by Tara tootie; 04-06-2010 at 12:20 PM. Reason: I apparently cant spell.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I'd love more info on this as well. From what I've read, they are far worse raw. They inhibit iodine absorption (I believe), which can lead to thyroid problems...This is all from memory. I don't feel like they are nearly so bad when cooked though...

    Here is a WAPF article on goitrogens: And here is a summary of it:

    The use of cruciferous vegetablesóthose in the cabbage familyóbegan 7,000 years ago in China and spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. The oldest writings emphasize the medicinal utility of crucifers, but these vegetables have now gained culinary importance worldwide.

    When raw crucifers are chewed, or when microwaved and steamed crucifers are digested by intestinal bacteria, they release substances called goitrogens that increase the need for iodine when consumed in small amounts and can damage the thyroid gland when consumed in large amounts.

    These goitrogens also inhibit the transfer of iodine into mother's milk.

    Steaming crucifers until they are fully cooked reduces the goitrogens to one-third the original value on average. Since release of the goitrogens from steamed crucifers depends on intestinal bacteria, however, the amount released varies from person to person.

    Boiling crucifers for thirty minutes reliably destroys 90 percent of the goitrogens.

    Fermentation does not neutralize the goitrogens in crucifers. When foods like sauerkraut are consumed as condiments, however, the small amount of goitrogens within them is not harmful if one's diet is adequate in iodine.

    An increased dietary intake of iodine compensates for the consumption of moderate amounts of crucifers but cannot reverse the effects of large amounts of crucifers.

    Paradoxically, the goitrogens found in crucifers may offer some protection against cancer. The jury is still out on whether or not this is true.

    The use of sauerkraut as a condiment and several servings of steamed crucifers per week is probably beneficial. People who consume more than this amount, especially lactating mothers, should be sure to obtain extra iodine in their diet from seafood. People who make liberal use of crucifers on a daily basis should boil a portion of them to avoid excessive exposure to goitrogens.

    The safety of concentrated sources of crucifer-related chemicals such as broccoli sprouts or supplements containing indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3-3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) is questionable. These supplements should be avoided until continuing research can further elucidate their risks and benefits.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I had one hell of a sluggish throid when I used to eat something like 5 cups of raw cabbage a day, and I was taking spirulina, kelp and eating iodized salt. I started supplementing with iodine (great idea, seriously) around the same time as I stopped eating cabbage so I don't know which to attribute to improved thyroid function. Probably both but as WARF said, in the presence of ample iodine I don't think a moderate amounts of goitrogens are problematic. It might be a good idea to take days off of them entirely like it is with nightshades. Switch it around ya know?

  7. #7
    Boil for 30 minutes??? Yeeach!
    Mind you, I don't like the current trend of having them crunchy - "preserves the enzymes" donchaknow

    So going on the boiling vs microwaving, I presume the goitrogens are leached into the cooking water, so that shouldn't go into stock/soup?

    ETA: how would I know if I'm low in iodine? I never add salt to cooking, occasionally eat wakame (every 2-3 months perhaps)... Should I glug some antiseptic solution?? (JOKE! )
    Last edited by NorthernMonkeyGirl; 04-06-2010 at 12:50 PM. Reason: to add stuff

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Nashville, TN
    You can get an iodine loading test where they measure how much you excrete in your urine. 95% of people in North America have low iodine levels, so I'd assume that it's true for other areas as well. My levels tested low.

    There is one big caveat to using iodine, though- you have to make sure you don't have Hashimoto's, which a lot of hypothyroid people actually do have, although they may never have been diagnosed. Taking iodine increases TPO production and then the immune system attacks the TPO (mistaking it for gluten particles) and the thyroid gets destroyed. I would get a TPO antibody and a TaB antibody test to figure that out.

    As far as fermented cruciferous, fermenting actually makes them even more goitrogenic. Flax seed is another not commonly discussed goitrogen. In fact, it's one of the worst.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Upstate of SC
    1,328're telling me the love I've recently developed for kale and collard greens is actually bad for my thryoid.

    I want to cry What the heck veggies are left to eat???
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    kale and collards are like my top 2 favorite veggies so i hope they arent destroying my thyroid

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