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What is a Goitrogen?

Written by Wellness Club on June 10, 2009 – 7:44 pm -

By Nurse Mark

Marilyn writes to ask:

I had read that flaxseed is a goitrogen.  Is this true…I have a thyroid problem already.  Thanks!

Here is my reply:

Marilyn, there are many, many things that are goitrogens – so many that it would be very difficult to avoid them all!

Here are excerpts from the textbook Minerals in animal and human nutrition:

Some natural goitrogens include cassava, cabbage, disulfides of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons from geological sediments in drinking water, bacterial products of E.coli in drinking water, soybean, cottonseed, flaxseed, peas, peanuts [...] Even tobacco smoking was associated with a two-fold increase in goiter [...] Brassica species (i.e., kale, cabbage, broccoli, rutabagas, mustard, cauliflower, turnip, Brussels sprouts and rape) produce active goitrogens [...] Small aliphatic disulfides, the major volatile components of onion and garlic, also have marked antithyroid effects.

So, rather than worrying about avoiding everything that might possibly be a goitrogen, you might want to concentrate your efforts toward actually correcting your thyroid problem. Dr. Myatt has written an excellent resource page on Hypothyroidism and a well-researched article titled Iodine: the "Missing Mineral" for Thyroid, Heart, Healthy Immunity and Cancer Protection. Since Iodine is so intimately tied to thyroid health you will want to consider testing to determine your Iodine levels. Dr. Myatt is highly skilled at interpreting your Iodine test, and at treating and correcting thyroid problems – a Telephone Consultation would be a wise investment!

Here’s to improving your thyroid health!


1. L. R. McDowell, Minerals in animal and human nutrition Published by Elsevier Health Sciences, 2003 ISBN 0444513671, 9780444513670 pages 310, 311.

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