Posted , 11 users are following.
I've spent a lot of time on these boards but this is my first post. I hope what I've learned from my own experiences can help someone else get better.
I'm going to cut right to the chase and tell you two things: don't drink tea! and also, make sure you are getting plenty of iodine in your diet! It turns out that in my case, my silent reflux was ultimately caused by the fluoride in tea combined with not enough iodine in my diet. The combination is very tricky to diagnose because they mask each other. So let me explain.
Apparently, iodine is supremely important for every cell in the body. You need it for nearly every function in your body. An important one for LPR sufferers is the salivary gland. Not enough iodine means your salivary glands won't work very well. How does that affect or cause LPR? Well, part of the job of the salivary glands is to release bicarbonate into the saliva that you swallow all day, anytime that acid creeps up into the throat. It's an automatic response that normally helps protect the throat from acid. If you don't have enough iodine in your diet, then this isn't happening. You can tell if your salivary glands aren't working optimally by noticing how dry your mouth is in the morning. Feel the inside of your cheeks with your tongue. If your cheeks don't feel smooth, but instead feel bumpy, with raised areas from pressing on your teeth, you need more iodine. In my case, I assumed my dry mouth was caused by the zyrtec and singulair I take for my allergies. I was wrong.
Most people know that you need iodine for your thyroid. The thyroid is so important that it's really too complicated for me to explain everything here. Trust me, it's really important and affects everything. It causes muscle weakness, among many other things. Think - diaphram - hiatal hernia! Also, a slightly swollen thyroid will give you that click when you swallow, like something is just in the way.
So I know you're thinking, well i don't have iodine deficiency because I don't have a goiter, and my doctor did a thyroid blood test and my TSH was normal. I thought the same thing! It turns out, if you like to drink tea then you are getting a pretty large dosage of fluoride. Good for your teeth, right? Sure, but the bad news is fluoride affects the pituitary gland, telling it not to create thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH. Without TSH, your thyroid slows down, but your TSH blood test looks normal. There are lots of sources of fluoride and lots of websites talking about fluoride in the drinking water, but every where you look you read about how good green tea is for your health! When tea has much much more fluoride in it than municipal drinking water does. In fact, the tazo website touts it's tea for being a good source of fluoride - as if that's such a great thing!
So maybe you don't drink any tea. That's good. And you use iodized salt. Okay, good. But, remember, the thyroid is so important that it gets first dibs on any iodine you do have in your diet, and in your body. The salivary glands, and the prostate and the ovaries, and the breasts and skin, and lots of other things in your body also need iodine. The RDA for iodine is currently only 150 mcg which is what an adult needs to keep the thyroid functioning and keep you from getting a goiter. But it's not enough for all the other parts of the body that need iodine to function. Iodine is naturally found in seafood, and seaweed (think sushi), and in plants and animals raised on land with iodine rich soil. Not every plot of land has much iodine, so iodine is added to salt in the US, but if you use fancy sea salt, or eat packaged food, or out at restaurants, you maybe not be getting iodine. Especially if you don't eat seafood. Iodine used to be added to bread in the US, but after 1980, most bakeries stopped doing that. Americans used to get about 600 mcg of iodine a day. Now they only get about 200mcg if they are lucky. Check your salt! But probably you'll have to do what I did and buy a supplement. I also now take a multi which has selenium, and important mineral to help you use iodine.
I drank about one or two cups of tazo chai tea a day for the past three years. When I stopped drinking tea, initially all my symptoms got steadily worse. Without the fluoride, my thyroid was actually getting the TSH and it sucked up all the iodine I had everywhere else in my body. My mouth dried up and the throat mucus drip was ridiculous! My entire throat felt stiff and swollen. I lost my voice and had a weak voice for a long time. I did all of the recommended dietary changes for LPR. I stopped drinking carbonated water, and stopped eating chocolate, and acidic food. I slept nearly in a sitting position. I did everything suggested, except for acid reducing meds, and PPI's. I felt a little better, but just kept wondering why this was happening to me - I'd always been able to eat that stuff and I'd been fine. Then I read about iodine and fluoride and tea. I started just eating a lot of sushi and almost overnight felt like a new person. Of everything I've tried for LPR, the iodine supplementation is what has helped the most. My mouth is no longer dry, I don't have to sip water constantly all day. I don't have a weird glob in my throat. When I eat, food doesn't feel like it's taking forever to go down, or getting stuck in my esophagus.
There are probably a lot of people who don't have any problem with iodine, or their thyroid, or fluoride causing their LPR symptoms, but it's worth taking a look. Regardless, don't drink tea! If you switched from coffee to tea becaose of reflux, stop! Tea should have a warning on it about the fluoride.
PS, I'm not the type of person to write stuff like this, but it's made such an impact on my health, and I never want someone to struggle if they don't have to. Hope this helps someone.
2 likes, 15 replies