Thyroid Awareness Month: Prevention

January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and so we’re doing our part and exploring the intricacies of the thyroid.

Last week’s article (which you can read here) took a peek at the basic of the thyroid: the symptoms and health problems associated with it. Now we’re going to take a more in-depth look at how to prevent the onset of thyroid disease.

Thyroid Illness Prevention

Before Your Next X-Ray, Ask for a Thyroid Collar

Image courtesy

Before you undergo an X-ray—especially at the dentist’s office, or any X-ray that scans anywhere from the waist on up—ask for a thyroid collar. 1

Thyroid collars look similar to the heavy, weighted bibs you get at a dentist’s office, except they cover—you guessed it—your neck.

Just like the “regular” dentist office bib, thyroid collars are heavy and lined with lead, which reduces how much radiation that area of your body received. Excessive amounts of radiation, unsurprisingly, can lead to thyroid cancer.

Quit Smoking

Smoking Cessation Resources

If you’re thinking about quitting smoking—and if you’re a smoker, you ought to!—the PHMP has a Three-Part series of Knowledgebase articles to help.

Smoking does terrible things to your body.

Spoiler alert: smoking can do terrible things to your thyroid health.

Aside from all the other nasty ickiness associated with smoking, cigarette smoke contains a chemical called thiocyanate, which disrupts iodine uptake, specifically affecting the thyroid by blocking the production of thyroid hormones. 2 3

Smoking can also spur the development of Graves’ Disease. Graves’ Disease is one of the leading causes of hyperthyroidism. 4 5

Take it Easy on the Soy

A staple of the vegan diet, soy can also have a negative impact on your thyroid health. 6

Soy’s effect on the thyroid is linked to the treatment of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is generally treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone, and soy has been thought to interfere with our body’s ability to process this medication.

But don’t toss all your soy products in a flaming dumpster quite yet—the research surrounding the link between soy and thyroid health is dubious and incomplete. To err on the side of safety, it may be a good idea to take your hypothyroidism medication at least one hour prior to eating soy products. Better safe than sorry, right?

Consider Selenium Supplements

buncha pills
Artwork by B. Slattery

Selenium is a nutrient, available in supplement form, that can play a critical role in thryoid hormone metabolism. Other potential health benefits include help with cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, cancer, and more. 7

The recommended daily intake of Selenium is 55 micrograms (mcg) for most adults, and it is found in a variety of foods, such as: 8 9

  • Brazil nuts: One ounce = 544mcg
  • Tuna: Three ounces = 92mcg
  • Baked halibut: Three ounces = 47mcg
  • Cooked brown rice: One cup = 19mcg
  • Eggs: One large egg = 15mcg
  • White bread: One slice = 10mcg

Remember! Talk with your doctor before taking any new dietary supplement. Excess amounts of selenium has been linked to developing type 2 diabetes. 10

Always Visit Your Doctor on the Regular

Checking in with your primary care provider is a good idea in general. And it’s an even better idea if you’re at risk for developing thyroid disease.

If you have a family history of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, it’s especially important to disclose these facts to your PCP and be vigilant in watching out for thyroid disorders.

You can also speak with your PHMP Health Coach ( or 1-855-498-4643) if you have any other questions about thyroid disorders and / or their treatment!

  • Heidi Bitney
    Posted at 14:17h, 01 February


  • Marty Rittinger
    Posted at 12:31h, 01 February


  • connie price
    Posted at 08:04h, 01 February

    thank you

  • Bryan C Chavolla
    Posted at 22:55h, 31 January

    very useful

  • Pamela Calhoun
    Posted at 12:20h, 31 January

    Thank you!

  • Tamara Owens
    Posted at 03:19h, 29 January

    Thanks for the information

  • Dawn Cleveland
    Posted at 10:42h, 28 January


  • Francis Kese
    Posted at 10:10h, 28 January

    I just broadened my knowledge. Some good information here.

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