Things You Can Do to Prevent A Thyroid Condition

Ask for a Thyroid Collar When X-Rayed

Healthy thyroid
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Do you wonder how to prevent hypothyroidism?  While no step can ensure you do not suffer thyroid disease, there are choices you can make that help.

Thyroid disease affects as many as 59 million Americans, and many experts believe that the number of people affected is only going to rise further.

The thyroid is your master gland of metabolism and energy, and problems with your thyroid affect everything from weight, to mental health, to fertility, heart disease risk, and many other important aspects of your day-to-day health.

Are there ways to reduce your risk of developing a thyroid condition? Definitely! Here are 10 suggestions that can help you reduce your risk.

Ask for a Thyroid Collar When X-Rayed

When you get dental x-rays, or x-rays of the head, neck, or collarbone area, does the x-ray technician use a lead collar on your thyroid?

Most likely, your answer is no.

And that means, your thyroid is being needlessly exposed to radiation. The thyroid is particularly sensitive to radiation, and excessive radiation exposure is a known risk factor for various thyroid conditions.

So, the next time you're getting an x-ray, ask for "the thyroid collar." It's a small collar that looks a bit like the neck part of a turtleneck sweater, and it's heavy and lined in lead. The dentist or technician can place it around your neck before x-rays are taken.

Stop Smoking!!

Cigarette smoke has various toxins -- thiocyanate in particular -- that are especially dangerous to the thyroid, and can trigger thyroid disease in susceptible people.

Cigarette smokers also are more likely to develop thyroid eye complications of Graves' disease, and treatments for those eye problems are less effective in smokers. So, in addition to all the other health problems related to smoking, you can add increased risk and worsening of thyroid disease.

For more info on the connections, check out Smoking and Thyroid Disease.

And just in case you think I'm not sympathetic, I am! I was a smoker for a long time, and quitting was one of the HARDEST things I've ever done. But I did it, and I'm glad I did! Read How I Quit Smoking

Test for and Treat Thyroid Antibodies (Your Doctor May Not Know About This!)

Research has shown that levothyroxine treatment for people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis whose TSH level is still within the reference range can reduce—and even in some cases, prevent—the incidence of autoimmune disease progression.

Studies have shown that when you have a normal TSH level, but elevated thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody levels, preventive treatment can decrease your antibody levels and inflammation, and may also resolve symptoms. There is also evidence that this treatment may prevent progression to overt hypothyroidism.

If you have thyroid symptoms, the TSH test alone might not be enough. Make sure your doctor tests for antibodies, and if you have evidence of Hashimoto's disease, even though TSH is "normal" -- consider finding a doctor willing to provide treatment.

For more information, read: Treatment Can Help Those Who Test Positive for Thyroid Antibodies.

Don't Go Soy Crazy: Too Much Soy Is NOT Healthy

Soy is a food, but when you start down the "the more the better" route with the supposed "health food," you transform soy into a drug. Overconsumption of soy has been linked to increased risk of thyroid disease. In particular, the craze for soy powders, smoothies, soy patties, and potions -- everything from Revival Soy to Isoflavone pills -- has been problematic, as too much of these unnatural forms of soy may put a strain on your immune system and trigger thyroid problems in susceptible people.

Stick to natural forms of soy -- tofu, tempeh, miso soup -- in moderation, and you should be fine, but stay away from the pills, powders, smoothies, creams and other or your "health food" may actually ruin your health.

Try Selenium: A Thyroid Super-Nutrient

An inexpensive supplement may help prevent certain forms of thyroid disease. The mineral selenium can help prevent thyroiditis and some autoimmune hypothyroidism conditions. It is also linked to the reduction of thyroid antibodies.

Keep Potassium Iodide On Hand for A Nuclear Emergency

Potassium iodide is an over-the-counter supplement that, when taken within hours after a nuclear accident -- or attack on nuclear facilities -- may help protect the thyroid from risk of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer.

After the Chernobyl accident, residents of Poland received mass distribution of this supplement in the time when the radioactive cloud was passing over them, while residents of the Ukraine and Russia did not. Subsequently, thyroid cancer and thyroid disease rates have skyrocketed in the unprotected areas, while Poland has had no similar increase in thyroid problems.

If you live within 50-100 miles of a nuclear plant, it's wise to have your own stockpile of potassium iodide on hand for each member of your family, and keep some at work, and in the car. Only take it if warnings are issued and the government instructs you via the Emergency Broadcast System to take potassium iodide, and the specific levels recommended.

Watch Out for Fluoride: What's Good for Teeth May Be Bad for The Thyroid

Fluoride used to used as a drug to treat hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid, because it makes the thyroid underactive quite effectively.

This is why you need to be particularly careful in today's over-fluoridated world, where water supplies, plus toothpastes, plus dental rinses, and other treatments all want to put more fluoride into our systems.

Some experts recommend you avoid fluoridated water, drink bottled water that you've verified is fluoride free, and avoid fluoride treatments and fluoridated toothpaste.

Learn more about the controversy about fluoride

Look Out for Your Water and Produce: Thyroid Dangerous Chemical Everywhere...

Perchlorate is a by-product of rocket fuel production that has contaminated the water supplies in areas throughout the nation.

Because a large percentage of U.S. produce is irrigated with perchlorate-contaminated water, perchlorate is also prevalent in the U.S. food supply.

Perchlorate has been linked to various thyroid diseases.

Stay up on your area's perchlorate contamination and maximum state levels for perchlorate in the water. Also, if you use well water, consider having it tested for perchlorate contamination.

Get Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance Diagnosed and Treated

Celiac disease— a condition that causes the intestines to react abnormally to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut, and other related grains—needs to be properly diagnosed and treated as early as possible, because some cases of autoimmune hypothyroidism can be prevented by doing so.

Celiac disease, which is sometimes referred to as celiac sprue, sprue, or gluten intolerance, makes it difficult for the body to properly absorb nutrients from foods. Excitingly, researchers have actually found that the thyroid antibodies will disappear after 3 to 6 months of a gluten-free diet in some individuals, thereby preventing thyroid disease from developing, or curing it later!

For more information on the symptoms of celiac disease, and how it's diagnosed, read: Research Links Celiac Sprue Gluten-Intolerance to Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

Don't Think Your Doctor Will Tell You Everything...

Knowing what the risk factors are for thyroid disease is an important part of your success in preventing thyroid conditions in yourself and family members. Learn all you can, read books about thyroid and autoimmune disease, and stay informed on the latest information to help you protect your health and the health of those you love!


Braverman, L, Cooper D. Werner & Ingbar's The Thyroid, 10th Edition. WLL/Wolters Kluwer; 2012.

Drutel A, Archambeaud F, Caron P. "Selenium and the thyroid gland: more good news for clinicians." Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Feb;78(2):155-64. doi: 10.1111/cen.12066.

Iglesias M et. al. "Radiation exposure and thyroid cancer: a review.." Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Feb 16:0. doi: 10.1590/2359-3997000000257.

Wiersinga, WM. "Smoking and thyroid." Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Aug;79(2):145-51. doi: 10.1111/cen.12222.