View Full Version : Hypothyroid vegan

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Aug 17th, 2007, 11:43 AM
Hello there,

I'm very new to the forum and to veganism, (been vegetarian about 15 years, vegan for three months) and just wondered how other vegans managed who have hypothyroidism. In particular I'm concerned about soya products that I eat a fair amount of, and also the brassica family of veg. My endocrinologist ( a committed carnivore) tells me to eat all I can as he feels veganism is too limiting a diet anyway.

I take 175mcg thyroxine per day

Any advice would be very welcome.

Thanks everyone :o

Aug 17th, 2007, 05:12 PM

I've been vegan for 3 months too, vegetarian for 2 years.

I've been hypothyroid since about 1992. I figure it was the tons of fake soy products plus trauma from an accident that killed it.

I now use soy in moderation, and only in established forms like tofu or edamame. My husband makes fake meat from scratch, using tofu (1 lb. tofu per about 60 oz. log--not a lot) and gluten, or gluten and pea protein. I eat a lot of beans and nuts, and mix 1 tb. of rice protein or pea protein (12 g protein) in my cereal. I use rice milk, nut milk and light soymilk.

I think you'd have to eat a ton of broccoli and so forth to affect your levels, but just to make sure, run your blood work every six months, which you probably need to do anyway if you're vegan (I discovered a low vitamin D level that way--run protein, iron, vitamin D, B12, etc). I take 100 mgc T4 and also T3 in the form of Cytomel. My levels are in the 0.1 level, which my doctor considers "hyper" but that is normal for me.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to PM or email me.


Aug 18th, 2007, 01:17 PM
Have shocking thryoid problems over the past year. Am finally getting back to normal and the hair's coming back.

Make sure you're getting enough iodine and avoid the products you mentioned.

I rarely eat soy. I prefer oat milk. Legumes, seeds and nuts do it for me protein-wise. Broccoli is great, but I choose Chinese greens most of the time.

Aug 20th, 2007, 05:57 PM
Thanks both of you for your advice. Great to hear about the broccoli etc. as that would be v tough. I'll reduce my soy intake and see how I go.

Glad to hear your hair is coming back, mine wasn't that affected but I did have v dry skin. Do you both feel healthy being vegan?


Nov 24th, 2008, 02:34 PM
I've just been trying to find out about thyroid hormone replacements that are suitable for vegans. I'm in the UK.

As far as I know, the main thyroid hormone - thyroxine, or T4 - is either made in a laboratory (synthetic levothyroxine) or taken from animals (so-called "'natural' thyroid").

But in the UK at least, almost all synthetic thyroxine comes either in tablets that contain animal milk derived lactose, or in capsules made of animal-derived gelatine.

So far, the only vegan-suitable thyroxine I've found available in the UK is synthetic thyroxine in lactose-free liquid suspension - which apparently costs about 80 pounds per month as a treatment!

I'd love to hear from people who have successfully obtained vegan-suitable thyroxine - in the UK, or elsewhere?

Nov 24th, 2008, 05:14 PM
Vegans can become deficient in iodine if there is not a source of it in their diet. Iodine is vital for health of the thyroid.
Check your diet for iodine, if there is no naturally occurring use a supplement.

Dec 24th, 2008, 09:27 PM
Check out my thread I started: http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18675

Quantum Mechanic
Dec 25th, 2008, 12:33 AM
Doctors have been suspecting that I have thyroid problems for the last five or six years, but they keep running lab tests (two or three) and they always come up stellar (first two when I was omni, last one when I was vegan). I don't know if it's symptoms of hypo- or hyper- thyroid, but is it something that is easy or hard to diagnose (could it have a lot of false negatives like an EEG)?

Dec 25th, 2008, 09:41 PM
I found this: http://www.altsupportthyroid.org/tsh.php I have had T3, T4 and TSH results. I guess I read somewhere online one of these can be unreliable, so they use another test. Did you have results of these three? Don't forget that various illnessses could have similar symptoms. Another site http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/intro/underdiag.htm Well, I've been doing research and been a patient and can only guess the answer to things. Be wary of doctors trying to push drugs on to you. http://www.wddty.com/03363800372977852657/new-drugs-for-old-how-drug-companies-make-their-profits.html

Jan 21st, 2009, 08:47 PM
Since becoming vegan my T4 levels have gone down, down and down. I was close to living off soya milk and fruit so am wondering if the vast quantities of soya have something to do with it. Maybe I already had a tendency to this problem? My doctor is lovely and said togive it a go with rice milk and see what happens. I wondered if anyone else had a similar experience and went back to normal after cutting down the soya? Thanks

Feb 21st, 2009, 07:05 PM
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/334610/top_10_worst_foods_for_your_underactive.html?cat=6 8

Jun 9th, 2009, 01:04 AM
hi! i am vegan, but this question is for my cousin who is not, but rarely consumes meat and doesn't prefer dairy much, and has hypothyroidism. i told her i would do some research for her about being on a veggie/vegan-ish diet, since i know a lot about alternative foods from being a vegan.

seeing as the doctor-prescribed diet for hypothyroidism is generally low-carb (ie. gross and meat-filled), do you guys have any tips on keeping the meat and soy out, but still getting enough protein and as few carbs as possible? i suggested the usual nuts and legumes, which i consume a lot of, but i also eat a lot of soy and obviously she shouldn't have it because of her thyroid issues. she was also told not to consume really any fruit (gasp) or carbohydrates, so her diet would be primarily meat/protein based with some vegetables, and really that's it.

please offer any advice you can, i've tried googling this to the nines and can't find much info for her, as most of what i come across is about avoiding soy with a hypothyroid problem. thanks guys!

Jun 9th, 2009, 01:23 AM
This is just a comment to everyone in general: Lorna Vanderhaege has a great natural product called Thyrosense. It changed my life. It can be used alone if you have low thyroid. But it's also meant to be taken in conjunction with thyroid medication if your condition is more severe. I'm pretty sure this product is vegan.

Go to www.hormonehelp.com (http://www.hormonehelp.com) for more info. She's got lots of information on her site.

Jun 9th, 2009, 03:32 PM
I used to have an under active thyroid, but I took kelp powder

Jun 9th, 2009, 04:15 PM
I have never heard of a specific diet for those who are hypothyroid. i cannot imagine why there should be such a thing.


Jun 9th, 2009, 04:38 PM
it is because the thyroid is underactive, so weight gain is almost inevitable. carbohydrates, of course, exacerbate the problem, and i seem to remember that carbs and sugars have something to do with slowing down the actual thyroid(?), but don't quote me on that because i can't remember for sure. i know there is more reasoning behind the low-carb diet for hypothyroidism, i'm just not 100% sure on what it is. my cousin told me, but my memory is wretched. hahaha.

thanks for all your input, guys. :)

Jun 9th, 2009, 04:55 PM
There really is no medical reason for a special hypothyroid diet - like everything else - the more fruit and veg the better; with any medical problem the best thing is to eat as healthy a diet as you possibly can!

Jun 9th, 2009, 05:02 PM
i agree, a healthy diet is great, but obviously there are certain foods that exacerbate certain health problems (ie. diabetes and sugar, depression and dairy). i am obviously not a doctor, but i am going to school for nutrition, so this isn't just blind talk, i actually do know quite a bit about what i'm saying.

her doctor said something about sugars and her hypothyroid, i just can't remember the exact reason they need to be cut out. she isn't supposed to have really any fruit (for the sugar content) or any carbohydrates.

Mar 19th, 2011, 05:18 PM
Hi! I am new to this board but not new to veganism. I was recently dx with a goiter. The endo said he'd like to start me on an RT to give my thyroid a rest to see if it has any hidden problems (levels were all OK - I was even cleared for ACDF surgery: Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion; which I had in Dec). Here is the thing... I just got a copy of HealthNotes A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. I am very concerned as 1- I have read in it and here that I need to DECREASE my soy intake??!! My diet is currently chock-full of soy as I am also going through menopause. 2- It seems that most Rx for this issue are animal based or are laced with some kind of milk derivative. I am in the USA - any suggestions of SOLIDLY vegan Rx for RT for a goiter?? I would appreciate any advice. Oh, and if anyone has thyroid issues during menopause, what do you do for the "sympoms"... summer is coming quick and it's already hitting the high 70's where I live! I really need help - my appt w endo is on the 29th of this month.

Thanks for any and all advise.

Mar 21st, 2011, 06:39 PM
Hello Susan - welcome to the forum. I'm not convinced a high soya intake is essential for menopausal women; I am that sort of age and I don't like eating vast amounts of soya, and I don't have (m)any menopausal symptoms (but then I can't say how I would be if I had more soya, of course :) ) So maybe you could try scaling your soya intake down if you believe it will help with the thyroid problem, and see how you are?

I have read that red clover may have a similar function to soy in menopause but I haven't read any scientific studies to back this idea up, and also I don't know if clover would affect the thyroid problem. (I do know that red clover sprouts are tasty though!) So you might want to look into that.

Hope you get an answer about the medicine. Prescription medicines are all tested on animals so arguably none are vegan but if you need them you need them - that's what I think anyway.

Best wishes

Feb 4th, 2012, 07:18 PM
Has anyone tried Kombu seaweed as a treatment for hypothyroidism? I'm thinking about giving it a try, as I've read that some studies have shown it to be beneficial.

Feb 4th, 2012, 07:35 PM
Has anyone tried Kombu seaweed as a treatment for hypothyroidism? I'm thinking about giving it a try, as I've read that some studies have shown it to be beneficial.

kelp is very high in iodine and is generally helpful for hypothroidism. you can either just eat the kelp, or cook with it or you can take it in pill or liquid form.
good luck!

Feb 4th, 2012, 08:38 PM
kelp is very high in iodine and is generally helpful for hypothroidism. you can either just eat the kelp, or cook with it or you can take it in pill or liquid form.
good luck!

Thanks! Hoping it's the answer for me.

Feb 5th, 2012, 02:56 AM
I have had hypothyroidism for 23 years. I was diagnosed in 1989 when I ended up with a goiter and I had a whole round of extensive testing. No real cause was pinpointed but it runs in my family. I am also aware that there are numeous environmental toxins that contribute to thyroid disease and studies of the Great Lakes area have shown that seagulls, frogs, and fish here have high rates of hypothyroidism. I have been on thyroid meds of some sort the last 23 years (synthetic versions not the natural stuff derived from pigs). The times I tried to go off my meds my TSH went through the roof (normal range .5 to 5, mine went to over 100 and I was nearly hospitalized a few times I was so ill; that was back in the day when i didnt take my meds seriously). I do not believe there is a natural cure for all thyroid problems. It depends on the cause. In some countries thyroid problems are higher due to lack of iodine and adding a reliable source to the food supply has helped in this area. But it only works if you are iodine deficient. The thyroid gland and the other endocrine glands that involve thyroid stimulation are much more complex than simply adding a substance to make the thyroid work properly in many cases. Too much iodine can also harm the thyroid gland and can make thyroid problems worse (especially if you have Graves or Hashimotos) and make thyroid meds ineffective. Some people actually develop goiters from too much iodine. Kelp is notorious for being very high in iodine but it varies from batch to batch and is not always a reliable source because of that variation. I would make sure to get iodine from a reliable source and not too much.

I think that soy may interfere with the absorption of thyroid medications in the same way calcium supplements do or cruceferous vegetables eaten raw and thyroid meds need to be taken far apart from these foods. It doesnt mean the foods need to be avoided. I do limit my soy intake (more because of the amount of GMOs involved with a lot of soy and that it tends to be highly processed in western cultures and is used extensively for livestock feed and farmed fish, but I do consume tempeh on occasion). I base my protein on fresh vegetables, lots of beans and legumes, often sprouted, nuts and seeds, high protein whole grains (buckwheat groats, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa etc.). I limit the use of commercial plant milks but occasionally drink almond milk or hemp milk. I started making my own almond and fresh coconut milks and I add a pure calcium carbonate powder to those as well when I make them (which isnt too often because they arent cheap to make on a regular basis unless you compromise and buy cheaper almonds that are sprayed with horrible chemicals and processed to death. I prefer to buy mine organically).

I have osteoporosis in my spine from being on thyroid meds for years (be careful that you are not dosed too high on thyroid meds as the long term effects of these drugs are awful but untreated thyroid problems can also wreak havoc on your bones) but also from being underweight and genetic factors as well as going through surgical menopause at the age of 33 from a hysterectomy I wish I had never had. I seem to have the opposite problems when my thyroid is hypo than other people (I lose weight, have diarrhea, am anxious and cant sleep, but also have extremely low blood pressure and pulse, in the low forties when hypo). When my thyroid meds are dosed correctly I feel good. I do exercise a lot which helps keep my thyroid and metabolism regulated better too. I do not like having to depend on a hormone to function but at this point I have not found anything else that helps even remotely as much. I eat a very healthy whole foods diet, eat 50% raw (I can't do 100% as I get cold too easily and am literally freezing), and exercise daily but it doesnt matter, without the thyroid meds my body goes to hell very quickly. I have also had to fight my insurance to keep my thyroid meds to a certain brand because anytime the pharmacy has switched to generic or another brand my levels go whacko and I feel sick. My body is so sensitive.
I empathize with those who have thyroid issues. Because its such a common problem it isnt taken as seriously as others but I know when my thyroid is off even just a little I can barely function.

Feb 5th, 2012, 04:27 PM
Thanks Robinwomb. Glad to hear that you're having some success with the synthetic med. Everything I have read so far has led me to believe that they were basically useless.