Veganism and thyroid

Rory17

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Hi,
A few weeks ago (before we went to Lanzarote - we came back Thursday, to hazard a guess), it was revealed after a blood test that I have an underactive thyroid, if I’m right. I’m on new medication for this, I have to take it an hour before eating in the morning.
Anyhow, I went to the doctors today, and my doctor ‍⚕ told me that her advice would be to go back to being vegetarian and not vegan, due to a vitamin/s. I can take a supplement instead, but her advice, and my dad’s advice and, probably, my mum’s advice would be to go back to being vegetarian rather than vegan.
I don’t want to give up being vegan easily. I’m a very, very passionate vegan. I watch vegan videos on YouTube and wouldn’t want to give them up.
Kind advice and tips welcome.
May you and all sentient beings be perfectly well, healthy, happy and safe forever ♾️.
Have the best day and night ever!
 
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Sax

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None of us who reply will know as much about your health care needs as your doctors do. I think you should trust your doctors. But it sounds like your doctor told you you can take a supplement to meet your vitamin needs.

I'm not sure why she advised you to go back to vegetarian. I would demand a health plan that aligns with your lifestyle. If she thinks you should compromise on your deeply held beliefs for the sake of your health she owes you an explanation why animal products are better for your particular health and nutritional needs than healthy vegan food with supplements.

Try supplementing first. Seek a second opinion if at all possible. If your doctors continue to insist that your health care needs are better met on a vegetarian diet though you should listen to them. You can still consider yourself vegan if you're only consuming animal products under doctor's orders.
 
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TofuRobot

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Maybe also look for a plant based nutritionist, and do a lot of research. it is unclear to me what eggs and dairy will provide in terms of nutrients that you cannot get from plants that would benefit your condition. I am curious what your doc thinks that might be...
 
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Mama Chickpea was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid years ago and went on the daily medicine intake required for it. About 8 months after being vegan, her levels were indicative of over-active thyroid, and her dose has been reduced to very minimal. Still overactive. Doctor refuses to take her off because "it can't be healed, its permanent, this is an anomaly"

What I'm saying is, a vegan diet alone won't affect it negatively and if anything it could have a positive effect. Ensure you get a second opinion, but as long as you're supplementing anything you're deficient on (get blood work!), its not going to hurt you. Most doctors have very poor understanding of nutrition.
 
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mavrick45

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my wife has hypothyroidism, as far as I can tell our vegan lifestyle has no effect (positive nor negative) on the condition
 
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my wife has hypothyroidism, as far as I can tell our vegan lifestyle has no effect (positive nor negative) on the condition
Not meaning to hijack the thread, but curious for your situation. How was the nutrition shift for your wife after changing? Not saying its correlated, but curious.
 
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mavrick45

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Not meaning to hijack the thread, but curious for your situation. How was the nutrition shift for your wife after changing? Not saying its correlated, but curious.
I will have to ask her when I get home from work, this happened a decade before we met :yum
 
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mavrick45

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Not meaning to hijack the thread, but curious for your situation. How was the nutrition shift for your wife after changing? Not saying its correlated, but curious.
ok, sorry for the lateness of the response. I asked her about it and she said that she did not change her diet at all when she discovered her thyroid condition.
 
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Simon

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Hi,
A few weeks ago (before we went to Lanzarote - we came back Thursday, to hazard a guess), it was revealed after a blood test that I have an underactive thyroid, if I’m right. I’m on new medication for this, I have to take it an hour before eating in the morning.
Anyhow, I went to the doctors today, and my doctor ‍⚕ told me that her advice would be to go back to being vegetarian and not vegan, due to a vitamin/s. I can take a supplement instead, but her advice, and my dad’s advice and, probably, my mum’s advice would be to go back to being vegetarian rather than vegan.
I don’t want to give up being vegan easily. I’m a very, very passionate vegan. I watch vegan videos on YouTube and wouldn’t want to give them up.
Kind advice and tips welcome.
May you and all sentient beings be perfectly well, healthy, happy and safe forever ♾️.
Have the best day and night ever!
Rory,
I'm guessing that you are a young man.
I am a middle aged man but like you was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.
Unfortunately this occurred 6 months after adopting a vegan diet.
I also have to take Thyroxine every morning on an empty stomach and 30 mins before eating anything.
I showed no symptoms of an under active thyroid, I have always been slim and relatively active, with good energy levels.
It was diagnosed because I had a blood test relating to my concerns regarding diabetes at the time, which proved negative.
My thyroid issue is called Hashimotos thyroiditis, it is an auto-immune issue where I have raised anti-body levels which affect my thyroid's ability to produce the thyroid hormone, it is the most common form of Hypothyroidism.
Because of the coincidence of being diagnosed at the same time as adopting a vegan diet, I directly asked every consultant/practitioner/doctor I came into contact with, IF my diet could have caused it.
To this day every one of them has said no.
If you Google Hypothyroidism and a plantbased diet, virtually everything written says that a plantbased diet is probably beneficial and people who eat WFPB have a lower risk of developing Hypothyroidism.
BUT, I still have a nagging doubt.
I am guessing that the vitamin your doctor is saying that you lack is probably Iodine.
If you do a little research you will see that Iodine deficiency can have a negative affect on Thyroid function.
BUT, I have been told in no certain terms that I shouldn't supplement with Iodine.
FYI, Iodine is not a natural constituent of either eggs or milk/dairy, it exists in eggs and milk because it is supplemented in the food fed to cows and hens.
I completely understand where you're coming from regarding your ethical vegan stance.
There are other vegan friendly dietary sources of iodine, seaweed, haricot beans, baked potato, for instance although amounts of iodine found in seaweed vary hugely and can be dangerous in some cases, and I think I'm right in saying that you would have to eat quite large quantities of baked potatoes and haricot beans on a regular basis to meet your needs.
I would return to your doctor and have a frank discussion or even ask if you could be referred to a dietician/nutritionist.
You could also return to your previous vegetarian diet trying to source eggs and milk from maybe a local smallholding if possible, for maybe a 6 month period and see if your Thyroid function improves.
I for one would certainly not judge you negatively for it, I would hope no one else would either.
 
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veganDreama

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I was born with an under active thyroid. I went vegan 14 years ago and I am doing well on it. I take liquid thyroxine every morning and also a thyroid supplement. I've heard about doctors advising people to give up a vegetarian diet before. Some doctors think vegetarian and veganism is unhealthy. Try seeking out a 2nd opinion?
 

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My husband has followed a vegetarian diet ever since he met me some 25 years or so ago. When I developed a life threatening allergy to dairy proteins and hence turned vegan (plus eggs from my own chickens only ), he also changed over to a vegan diet . He's been on that nearly 10 years now though eats vegetarian very occasionally when he's unable to obtains vegan food easily when away from home.

Back in August/September last year he was diagnosed with 2 conditions after getting really ill. One was Hashimotos thyroiditis and the other was haemochromatosis. His TSH levels were 6 or 7 times higher than they should be and his T4 (thyroxine) levels were desperately low . (his other condition, haemochromatosis, a genetic condition affecting his iron levels , showed his iron in his blood to be in excess of 11 times higher than they should be, yet I eat almost exactly the same as him and suffer from chronic anaemia which just goes to show that you can get more than enough iron on a vegan diet and that the body's ability to absorb nutrients varies considerably from person to person )

Our doctor is adamant that neither of us needs to change our diet despite our varying conditions. Personally, I would be either asking to see a different doctor or at the very least to see a nutritionalist who could advise you about your diet given your condition.

@Rory17 If you are on thyroxine, you will have found out by now that establishing the correct dose for you takes a long time,, many many months. My husband had had his course increased 3 times now since his diagnosis in September last year, so about 6 months ago. They reckon, looking at his blood test results, that it will probably take another 6 months or more before his TSH levels are sufficiently low enough to be in the correct range. So at least another 6 months before they will have the correct dose . Right now, from their experience , they are suggesting his dose still need to be more than double what he is taking . What I'm trying to say is that changing your diet before your T4 levels are considered to stable (assuming it is thyroxine that you are taking) would simply most likely make matters worse not better ,so ask to see someone with experience in either food nutrition or an endocrinologist who can give you better advice about your condition.
 

Rory17

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Rory,
I'm guessing that you are a young man.
I am a middle aged man but like you was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.
Unfortunately this occurred 6 months after adopting a vegan diet.
I also have to take Thyroxine every morning on an empty stomach and 30 mins before eating anything.
I showed no symptoms of an under active thyroid, I have always been slim and relatively active, with good energy levels.
It was diagnosed because I had a blood test relating to my concerns regarding diabetes at the time, which proved negative.
My thyroid issue is called Hashimotos thyroiditis, it is an auto-immune issue where I have raised anti-body levels which affect my thyroid's ability to produce the thyroid hormone, it is the most common form of Hypothyroidism.
Because of the coincidence of being diagnosed at the same time as adopting a vegan diet, I directly asked every consultant/practitioner/doctor I came into contact with, IF my diet could have caused it.
To this day every one of them has said no.
If you Google Hypothyroidism and a plantbased diet, virtually everything written says that a plantbased diet is probably beneficial and people who eat WFPB have a lower risk of developing Hypothyroidism.
BUT, I still have a nagging doubt.
I am guessing that the vitamin your doctor is saying that you lack is probably Iodine.
If you do a little research you will see that Iodine deficiency can have a negative affect on Thyroid function.
BUT, I have been told in no certain terms that I shouldn't supplement with Iodine.
FYI, Iodine is not a natural constituent of either eggs or milk/dairy, it exists in eggs and milk because it is supplemented in the food fed to cows and hens.
I completely understand where you're coming from regarding your ethical vegan stance.
There are other vegan friendly dietary sources of iodine, seaweed, haricot beans, baked potato, for instance although amounts of iodine found in seaweed vary hugely and can be dangerous in some cases, and I think I'm right in saying that you would have to eat quite large quantities of baked potatoes and haricot beans on a regular basis to meet your needs.
I would return to your doctor and have a frank discussion or even ask if you could be referred to a dietician/nutritionist.
You could also return to your previous vegetarian diet trying to source eggs and milk from maybe a local smallholding if possible, for maybe a 6 month period and see if your Thyroid function improves.
I for one would certainly not judge you negatively for it, I would hope no one else would either.
Thanks. Actually, I'm a young woman.