Sneaky Soda Additive Harms Thyroid


by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell

There’s a sneaky additive in your soda that can cause you to develop thyroid disease. You may have heard how unhealthy high fructose corn syrup and aspartame can be but you may have never heard of a sneaky additive called brominated vegetable oil. If you enjoy citrus-flavored sodas like Mountain Dew and SunDrop, you could be putting your health at risk.

What’s So Dangerous about Brominated Vegetable Oil?

Bromides are endocrine disruptors that have a negative impact on the way hormones work in your body. Brominated vegetable oil is a halide, a binary compound that competes for the same receptors used by your thyroid gland to capture iodine. If your exposure to BVO and other sources of bromine are excessive, it could cause all the iodine in your body to be eliminated and replaced by bromide! This can lead to a harmful iodine deficiency resulting in hypothyroidism.

If your thyroid is not functioning the way it should be, it can cause a cascade of symptoms that can sometimes be difficult to pin down. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, cold sensitivity, facial puffiness, constipation, difficulty losing weight, brittle nails, dry hair, and leg swelling. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Additional Health Risks of Bromine and Bromides

In addition to wreaking havoc with your thyroid, bromides have also been shown to the increase risk of:

  • Stomach Cancer

A recent Agricultural Health study showed that excessive exposure to bromide can cause a significant increase in the development of stomach cancer.

  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease, it could be caused by low iodine levels in your blood. Studies have revealed that iodine therapy has been able to treat fibrocystic breast disease naturally.

  • Mental Health Problems

One of the more alarming side effects of bromine is a condition called bromine intoxication or “bromism.” It has been shown to cause delirium, hallucination, depression, irritability, difficulties with concentration, and schizophrenia.

Food and Environmental Sources of Bromides

The most common sources of bromides include:

  • Citrus-Flavored Drinks

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is added to citrus drinks like Mountain Dew, Sun Drop, Gatorade, and some energy drinks.

  • Baked Goods

Potassium bromate is made by passing bromine into a solution of potassium hydroxide. It is often found in baked goods such as bread, cakes, and cookies. In the 1960s, iodine was the dough conditioner of choice but was replaced by potassium bromate in 1980 despite the fact that the iodine it replaced was no where near dangerous levels.

  • Prescription Medications
    • Atrovent Inhaler
    • Atrovent Nasal Spray
    • Ipratropium Nasal Spray
    • Pro-Panthine
    • Pyridostigmine Bromide
    • Spiriva HandiHaler
  • Flame-Retardant Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE)
    • Clothing
    • Draperies
    • Carpeting
    • Upholstery
    • Mattresses

Regular Thyroid Testing Will Not Reveal Bromide

Diagnosing thyroid disease triggered by environmental factors can be difficult as many physicians use only the thyroid stimulating test (TSH) to screen for hypothyroidism. This test often misses the disease because it does not directly measure the output of free T3 and T4 from your thyroid gland.

In order to receive a complete and accurate thyroid function diagnosis, I recommend the Complete Thyroid Panel + Thyroid Antibodies from Direct Labs.

This panel of tests will not only tell you whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, but Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as well. Just take the test order slip to any LabCorp location to get your blood drawn and LabCorp will send it away for you. You’ll get your results in as little as 5 business days and can then discuss them with your doctor.

How to Eliminate Bromine from Your Body

In order to prevent thyroid disease and other chronic health disorders, I strongly recommend tapering off of bromines. Read labels carefully to determine if bromines are used in products you usually consume. If it contains brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, or anything starting with “brom”, do not use it.

The best way to avoid bromines is to eat as naturally as possible. Organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, meat, poultry, fish, coconut oil, and butter are some of the best foods available for your health. And there’s no need to worry about so-called goitrogenic foods if you have thyroid disease. As a matter of fact, I recommend eating the goitrogenic foods some medical experts tell you to avoid because they’re excellent for your health.

I also recommend adding unrefined sea salt to your diet to offset iodine deficiency and clear bromines from your system as your body detoxifies. Good food sources of iodine include organic cranberries, yogurt, navy beans, and strawberries.

You can also speed up the bromide detoxification process by drinking plenty of pure water each day and exercising regularly.

Diamond Nutritional’s Thyroid Support Formula

Diamond Nutritional’s Thyroid Support Formula nourishes your thyroid gland to help it function at its best. If my patients require thyroid medication for hypothyroidism, I recommend only natural thyroid replacement such as Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, Erfa or compounded thyroid. Synthroid (levothyroxine) contains only part of what your body needs: T4. The natural products contain both T4 and T3. Your thyroid gland makes both, and it is important to have them both in balance, which the natural products are able to provide.

The ingredients in our support formula include:

  • Iodine – Iodine is essential to the proper function of the thyroid gland.
  • L-Tyrosine USP – Provides hormonal support, increases mood, and improves concentration.
  • Ashwagandha Leaf – Decreases inflammation, boosts immune system health, and supports thyroid function.
  • Bladderwrack Leaf – Stimulates under-active thyroid glands.

Bromines can do serious harm to your health. Take care to avoid foods and environmental products containing them while detoxifying your system with natural sea salt. If you have any questions about your thyroid or another chronic health condition, please contact me and I will help you.

Ask Your Health QuestionDo you have a chronic health concern that’s just not resolving? Send me any question about your health and I will get back to you within 48 hours. If you need more comprehensive help, we’ll discuss your case more thoroughly and I will let you know if I can take you on as a private client.



  1. I was diagnosed with hashimotos disease years ago. When taking meds (levothyroxine), I get extreme pain in my throat on the right side of my Adam’s apple. If I put a finger there I get sharp pain. When it hits I can’t even take a deep breath. I’ve been on Synthroid, it didn’t help me. Sometimes I can’t swallow food, it gets stuck in throat. When not ones, I do not have this pain. Doc does ultrasound, but can’t find anything, because it usually isn’t hurting when I go. I don’t drink a lot of soda. Maybe a can a month (diet coke). I’ve gained weight since getting back on this medication and I always feel tired and depressed. Idk what else to do. I feel too tired to get up and move besides going to work. Any advice?

    • Hello Angela,

      Thank you for contacting me.
      I understand your frustration.

      Many patients do not do well on Synthroid, which is only T4. Our bodies need a balanced, natural hormone containing both T3/T4. I also recommend a special diet to help stop the autoimmune attack on your thyroid.

      I will be glad to review any lab tests, consultations, or other studies you have had. They may be faxed to 513-741-7994, along with the patient information form on our opening page.

      Please call me at 513-741-4404 to set up a phone consultation.

      Warmest Regards,

      Dr Maxwell

  2. I appreciate your advice. I’m here in Houston, which of course has a huge medical hub. I went for a physical with my GP, and did a blood panel, the TSH came back at 4.8. She said I had hypothyroidism, was prescribed 100mcg of Synthroid. And as a quick aside, for a while now I’ve felt sluggish, brain fog, trouble concentrating, severely fatigued. Anyway, the Synthroid made me very sick, depression, anxiety, increased brain fog, dizziness, disorientation. She said the dosage was too high, went down to 50mcg, same results. Finally went to an endocrinologist. Was unhappy with the visit, as felt was rushed in and out of the office. Said I have Hashimoto’s, a nodule that needs a FNA to make sure it’s not cancerous, low testosterone (which he wasn’t going to treat until I bought up the number at my age, 36), and refused to put me on any other thyroid medication but Synthroid. I asked for Armour, was told naturals are biodegradable, and ineffective.

    I’ve schedule a second opinion from another endocrine, as I didn’t feel comfortable with his manner.

    I’ve also gone on a gluten free diet to help with the Hashimotos. My question to you is, why are doctors so against prescribing natural thyroid meds? I’m hearing this is a common problem, as many like me are having a serious reaction to Synthroid.

    • Hello Mr. Lopez,

      Thank you for contacting me. I am sorry to hear about your frustrating experience.
      As you mentioned, the lack of prescribing a natural, balanced thyroid formula is all
      too common.

      Synthroid, which contains only T4, was (and is) heavily marketed to physicians. Natural thyroid products
      such as Armour (which contain both T4 and T3) are not.

      I recommend finding an integrative/functional physician in your area. Here’s a good place to

      When you type in your zip code, you will see the physicians in your area.

      I hope you find this information helpful.

      All My Best,

      Dr. Maxwell


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