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Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid.

Goitrogenic drugs

Chemicals that have been shown to have goitrogenic effects include:

Goitrogenic foods

Certain foods have been identified as goitrogenic. These foods include:

  • Soybeans (and soybean products such as tofu)
  • Pine nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Millet
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Radishes
  • Horseradish
  • Vegetables in the genus Brassica
    • Bok choy
    • Broccoli
    • Broccolini (Asparations)
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Chinese cabbage
    • Choy sum
    • Collard greens
    • Kai-lan (Chinese broccoli)
    • Kale
    • Kohlrabi
    • Mizuna
    • Mustard greens
    • Rapeseed (yu choy)
    • Rapini
    • Rutabagas
    • Tatsoi
    • Turnips

Foods stimulating thyroid tissue

Some foods and drinks have an opposite effect on the thyroid gland--that is, they stimulate thyroid function rather than suppressing it; examples being avocado, coconut,[4] and saturated fat.[5]. Indeed some studies on rats suggest that excess caffeine in conjunction with a lack of iodine may promote the formation of thyroid cancers. [6]Despite being generally a stimulant, caffeine, (examples: coffee, tea, cola, chocolate) acts on thyroid function as a suppressant.[citation needed]


  1. Takizawa T, Imai T, Ueda M, Onodera H, Hirose M (2006). "Comparison of enhancing effects of different goitrogen treatments in combination with beta-estradiol-3-benzoate for establishing a rat two-stage thyroid carcinogenesis model to detect modifying effects of estrogenic compounds". Cancer Sci. 97 (1): 25–31. doi:10.1111/j.1349-7006.2005.00132.x. PMID 16367917.
  2. Vanderpas J (2006). "Nutritional epidemiology and thyroid hormone metabolism". Annu. Rev. Nutr. 26: 293–322. doi:10.1146/annurev.nutr.26.010506.103810. PMID 16704348.
  3. Akindahunsi AA, Grissom FE, Adewusi SR, Afolabi OA, Torimiro SE, Oke OL (1998). "Parameters of thyroid function in the endemic goitre of Akungba and Oke-Agbe villages of Akoko area of southwestern Nigeria". African journal of medicine and medical sciences. 27 (3–4): 239–42. PMID 10497657.
  4. Siddhanti SR, King MW, Tove SB (1990). "Influence of dietary fat on factors in serum that regulate thyroid cell metabolism" (PDF). J. Nutr. 120 (11): 1297–304. PMID 2172489.
    Thyroid hyperplasia has been demonstrated in mice:
    *"Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of coconut oil acid diethanolamine condensate (CAS No. 68603-42-9) in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice (dermal studies)". National Toxicology Program technical report series. 479: 5–226. 2001. PMID 12571684.
  5. Denice Moffat. "Bad Foods for Thyroid". Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  6. Son HY, Nishikawa A, Kanki K; et al. (2003). "Synergistic interaction between excess caffeine and deficient iodine on the promotion of thyroid carcinogenesis in rats pretreated with N-bis(2-hydroxypropyl)nitrosamine". Cancer Sci. 94 (4): 334–7. PMID 12824900.

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See also