Friday, 19 April 2013

One zillion questions related to nutritional science and thyroid function....

Good news, I’m happy to announce that we now have a wonderful programme confirmed for our November British Thyroid Foundation patient information event in London:

2nd November 2013: Nutritional science and thyroid function - We will have two speakers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Surrey: 

  • Dr Sarah Bath will give a talk on: Thyroid function, iodine and goitrogens
  • Professor Margaret Rayman will give a talk on: Selenium and thyroid autoimmune disease.
Full details are on the BTF website.

I am very happy indeed to have managed to get these speakers. The topic is one that comes up time and again at our meetings – many thyroid patients, me included, are really crying out for reliable information on how nutritional factors might influence our wellbeing.

my supplement drawer, sigh
My own experience has been that making dietary changes has been exceptionally helpful in relieving symptoms which I had assumed were thyroid related. And I take various supplements, but I’m never entirely sure which, if any, are really helping me. I'm quite embarrassed about my monthly expenditure on supplements actually. But what's a girl to do??

While there are lots of opinions and many people who can talk from personal experience about what may have worked well for them, or for other people they may know, I never know who to believe or what it’s sensible to act on. Often, just a little bit of probing will uncover that nutritional advice being merrily doled out may not have a scientific basis. Mind you that doesn’t necessarily mean it definitely won’t work.  

My experience with going gluten free proves, to my mind, that just because science doesn’t understand everything, that doesn’t mean that trying something leftfield may not sometimes be effective. I’ve spoken to enough people who have had experiences of being very unwell who seem now to be radiantly healthy, and attribute their recoveries largely to dietary changes, to know that those people are doing something right!

Oh but the thyroid is a funny old thing and so interlinked with so many other things. I want hard facts. I want to hear from proven experts. I won’t just believe what I’m told just because someone else is sufficiently confident about their own opinion or personal experience that they will tell me it’s the truth for me too. I know that if I do the wrong thing it can have profound and sometimes very slow to materialise unfortunate outcomes. I have a zillion burning questions and I want a proper scientist to answer them. I know we won’t have time to cover everything that I and the rest of the London Group want to know. But I am looking forward to learning as much as I can from our two very eminent and generous speakers, who are kindly giving up their Saturdays to come and talk to us about what they know.

Here are some of the questions I'm hoping we may get answers to:
  •  Do we need to be careful not to eat too many goitregens? Are some worse than others?
  •  I became more hypothyroid after I replaced dairy with soya for a period of months, might that have been a factor?
  • Although I tested negative for celiac (while eating gluten) I feel much better since mainly cutting gluten and other fast burning carbs from my diet –  can you explain why that might be?
  • I take 200 iu selenium every day, is that a good idea? what is a sensible dose and should my levels be monitored?
  • Many individuals with borderline thyroid blood results, who are not prescribed thyroxine, consider taking iodine but we are told this could make them unwell, what advice would you give?
  • I seem very sensitive to sugar but I’m not diabetic, is there an autoimmune connection?
  • What moves are there to integrate nutritional science into the NHS  treatment of hard to treat thyroid patients?
  • How big an issue might food intolerances be in relation to autoimmune conditions in general?
  • How can we as patients help ourselves?
What questions would you add to the list?  We’ve got plenty of time before the meeting. This is a good opportunity to build a comprehensive list of what we’re all longing to know..... The likelihood is we will have at least one follow up talk nutrition after this initial one as it's such a big topic, although I've no idea who will be the best person to get, it's taken over a year to find Professor Rayman and Dr Bath. But by hook or by crook we will learn as much as we can, so that we can help ourselves to feel as well as possible!

Please post your thoughts below.

I'm also fascinated to hear from you if you have had an interesting (good or bad) nutrition related experience...

With love and light.


  1. Very interesting ! I look forward to your updates that are written with passion and empathy plus good sense of humour. Wishing you continued good health...

    1. thank you for that lovely feedback! Wishing you good health too my anonymous friend :) *waving and smiling*