There is an association between low iron levels (and/or hindered iron absorption) and hypothryoidism. This results in low energy and drive, hair loss/lack of hair growth, low stomach acid/bloating, reduced oxygen in cells, etc.
Therefore, in seeking optimum health (and avoiding infertility, obesity, neurological problems, etc.), it is important to not only avoid all the things that hinder iodine uptake, but also avoid the things that hinder iron in the body - assuming we are getting enough iodine and iron in the diet (red meat, wild fish, raw dairy, cranberries, etc.). In other words, as with iodine, we must not only make sure we are getting enough iron, we need to make sure it is not being hindered in the body.
In fact, we should add low iron levels or low absorption to the list of iodine-thyroid-inhibitors (see this blog for numerous posts). Notice some studies:
"Iron deficiency anemia reduces thyroid peroxidase activity in rats..."
(J Nutr. 2002 Jul;132(7):1951-5.)
"Iron-deficiency anemia blunts and iron supplementation improves the efficacy of iodine supplementation…"
(Thyroid. 2002 Oct;12(10):867-78.)
"Thyroid function may be disrupted by low levels of iron…"
(Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017 Sep;179)
This likely means that a person does not have to have full-blown anemia to have iodine disruption.
It is therefore very important to not only make sure that we are getting adequate iron levels from our diet, but to also avoid the things that hinder iron absorption:
1. Egg whites:
The white of the egg blocks iron as a protection for the embryo. (I personally have experienced much more energy since I began avoiding egg whites, and eating only the yolks everyday - as have others).
"Iron-deficiency anemia due to silent celiac sprue..."
(Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2002 Jan)
3. Glyphosate (Round-up):
"Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate's strong ability to chelate these elements."
(Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec.)
This poison is in almost everything today.
4. Phytic acid and other anti-nutrients:
Phytic acid, found in many nuts, grains, and seeds, can block iron absorption in the body:
"Phytic acid degradation as a means of improving iron absorption..."
(Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2004 Nov;)
"Phytic acid is known as a food inhibitor which chelates micronutrient and prevents it to be bioavailable...Several methods have been developed to reduce the phytic acid content in food and improve the nutritional value of cereal which becomes poor due to such antinutrient. These include genetic improvement as well as several pre-treatment methods such as fermentation, soaking, germination and enzymatic treatment of grains with phytase enzyme...More than one third of the world’s population suffers from anemia, half of it caused by iron deficiency. Iron deficiency adversely affects cognitive development, resistance to infection, work capacity, productivity and pregnancy...Phytate rapidly accumulates in seeds during the ripening period. It is stored in leguminous seeds and oil seeds in the globoid crystal within the protein bodies...In cereal grains, rice and wheat, it is found in bran fraction such as aleurone layer and pericarp, in corn it is seen in endosperm...Monogastric animals including poultry and humans are unable to metabolize phytic acid due to the lack of sufficient level of phytate degrading enzymes activity in their digestive tract...Supplementation of animal feeds with phytase improves the phosphorus bioavailability and reduces the amount of phosphorus excreted...phytic acid acts as antinutritive agent by blocking the absorption of minerals such as Fe, Zn, and Ca...Sources of phytic acid in food are cereals, legumes, oilseeds and nuts...Phytic acid content is drastically reduced during soaking plus cooking (Vellingiri and Hans 2010)...Phytic acid binds to minerals and makes them unavailable due to its chelating property. It has been reported that phytic acid inhibits absorption of iron, zinc calcium, magnesium and manganese (Hallberg et al. 1989; Reddy et al. 1996; Bohn et al. 2004; Phillippy 2006)...Together soaking and cooking has shown much more effective to reduce phytic acid than only soaking for a short duration (Vidal-Valverde et al. 1994)...In case of grains and beans soaking to be quite effective for reduction of phytic acid as well as consequent increase in mineral bioavailability (Perlas and Gibson 2002; Coulibaly et al. 2011). This method involves the complete submergence of grains in water for certain amount of time period which results in the activation of endogenous phytases...Fermentation of food grains improves bioavailability of minerals...The enzymatic degradation of phytic acid requires an optimum pH which can be provided by natural fermentation. Such a degradation of phytic acid can increase the amount of soluble iron, zinc and calcium a number of folds (Haard et al. 1989)...Germination...reduces phytic acid content by up to 40 % (Masud et al. 2007)..."
(J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Feb; 52(2)
Many nuts, seeds and grains should be avoided altogether, as they were never ordained as food. Others, that are indeed healthy, must still be properly prepared.
Soaking, boiling, etc., often removes the anti-nutrients, and sometimes even makes the food more nutritious.
The following article contains some helpful information on how to properly prepare grains, seeds and nuts, as well as ways to neutralize the various anti-nutrients:
There are other iron-blockers that we will deal with in future posts.