By Josh Redd, DC on March 21, 2018
If you use conventional cleaning products you may as well smoke. A recent study shows lung damage over 20 years caused by standard cleaning products equals that of smoking 20 cigarettes a day. The chemicals used in cleaning products damage the lungs gradually, adding up to a significant decline that rivals smoking a pack a day. If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, exposing yourself to these chemicals regularly can prevent progress in managing autoimmune Hashimoto’s low thyroid. The Norwegian study followed 6,000 women over 20 years — women who kept the home clean, women who cleaned as an occupation, and women who did not regularly clean. Compared to the women who didn’t clean house, the home cleaners and occupational cleaners showed more decline in lung function. Like the gut, the lungs are an immune barrier that is a first line of defense and vulnerable to damage from toxins. With autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid, it’s important to protect our immune barriers to manage and prevent thyroid flare ups. This study was the first of its kind to look at the long-term effects of cleaning products on the respiratory tract. Shorter term studies have established a connection between cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaner, detergents, and air fresheners and asthma. Indeed, the regular cleaners in the Norwegian study showed an increased rate of asthma. Household cleaners are toxic and damaging to multiple systems in the body Conventional cleaning products also damage the brain, immune system, hormonal system, and liver. When you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid you want all these systems to be healthier. For instance, phthalates in perfumed scents in cleaning products lower sperm counts, cause early puberty in girls, and raise the risk of cancer and lung problems. Perchloroethylene (PERC), a solvent in spot removers, carpet and upholstery cleaners, and dry cleaning, raises the risk of Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Although hundreds of studies show common household ingredients are toxic, they are largely unregulated. Exposure to toxic chemicals has been linked to skyrocketing rates of autoimmunity such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid and even autism, a neurological autoimmunity in many people. In the past few decades autism has increased tenfold, leukemia has gone up more than 60 percent, male birth defects have doubled, and childhood brain cancer has risen by 40 percent. Helping protect your body from toxins to better manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid It is no longer possible to be toxin-free today. Toxins are in our air, water, food (even organic), and bodies. Everyone has hundreds of toxins in their bodies, even newborns. If your immune system is highly reactive, toxins and heavy metals can trigger inflammation in the same way gluten can, flaring autoimmune Hashimoto’s low thyroid. Functional medicine can lower inflammation to help prevent toxins from becoming immune reactive. First, avoid toxins as much as possible and use non-toxic products in your home and on your body. The Norwegian researchers suggested cleaning with a microfiber cloth and water. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet consisting primarily of produce, foster healthy gut bacteria, exercise daily, spend time in nature, engage in healthy social interactions, and use supplements such as vitamin D and glutathione precursors (the body’s master antioxidant). These are examples of ways to support the body and make it more resilient to the many toxins we must deal with. Ask my office for more information on how to help protect your body from toxins and manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid.