The Connection Between Plastic Water Bottles, The Pill and Your Thyroid

The Connection Between Plastic Water Bottles, The Pill and Your Thyroid

Suzy Cohen has appeared on TV shows like Good Morning America Health, The Dr. Oz Show, The 700 Club, The View and The Doctors. What an honor to see Hypothyroid Mom mentioned in Suzy’s new book Thyroid Healthy.

I first saw the following YouTube video created by Suzy about measuring your thyroid hormone properly and thought, “Wow this woman really gets it!” Suzy is an incredibly smart woman, but best of all she is a sweet person and I’m happy to have her as a friend.

Suzy Cohen Explains How To Measure Your Thyroid Hormone Properly

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Written by Suzy Cohen, America’s Pharmacist

The big lie in conventional medicine is that thyroid disease is easily detected, but the truth is that more than half the people are undiagnosed because of inappropriate testing. There’s a lot of talk about the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood test, and how it is relatively useless at detecting thyroid illness. That is getting to be pretty common knowledge these days and more physicians are evaluating your “free T3” instead. This is definitely more indicative of thyroid status, however, even this blood test can fail some women. Momentarily, I will tell you about two other tests that you can have done that will offer more clues to your health status especially if you take oral contraceptives, hormone replacement, eat commercial hormone-laden meats, or drink from plastic water bottles.

Getting tested is critical, especially if you’re a woman. Did you know that thyroid illness is dramatically more common in women? The unfortunate part is that doctors assume symptoms are related to your monthly cycles, menopause, emotional or relationship conflicts at home, or poor eating habits. You are apt to get misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression or psychiatric disorders. In come a slew of potent medications, referrals to psychiatrists, pain specialists, rheumatologists and years of pain and expense… all because you were not taken seriously or tested properly at the outset of diagnosis!

Before I tell you about these important tests, there’s an important connection you need to know about. Drinking from plastic water bottles, or taking “The Pill” can cause hypothyroidism by raising levels of estrogen hormone in your body. The same can be said about menopause drugs which contain the same synthetic estrogen ingredients or commercial cattle that are injected with estrogen hormones to make them heavier at the time of sale. These hormones – no matter how you get them- just so happen to raise your body’s level of estrogen. When you have high estrogen, you have too many transporters, or taxis that can bind up your active thyroid hormone, (making it less available to get inside trillions of cells where it revitalizes you).

The taxi cabs in your bloodstream that I’m talking about are scientifically called “thyroid binding globulin” or TBG. This is the name of a specific transporter that drives your thyroid hormone around and then drops it off at your cells. The high estrogen raises TBG and that lowers your thyroid hormone activity. The simple fix is to drink from glass bottles and use alternative methods to birth control pills.

You have to remember TBG and T4 (thyroxine) are like inseparable buddies in this case.When TBG is high, Free T3 is low and you will have symptoms of hypothyroidism, more specifically you are “thyroid sick.” This is commonly associated with estrogen dominance, or high estrogen from oral contraceptives (or shots/patches) and menopausal medications (Estradiol, Premarin) and even high doses of estrogenic herbs like black cohosh, diadzein, genistein, soy supplements and soy milk.

The more estrogen you take in, the less likely you can break it all down properly. Hypothyroidism or being “thyroid sick” as I refer to it in my Thyroid Healthy book, is a risk factor for premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage and poor fetal neurological development so it is very important for you to optimize thyroid function, especially if are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

So What Are These 2 Special Tests?

Since the TSH blood test doesn’t speak to levels of thyroid hormone in your body, what are better tests? There are 2 rarely talked about tests that are simple to take:

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin or SHBG

Suggested Level: Women < 70 and Men < 30

This is a blood test to evaluate SHBG. What does “sex hormone” have to do with thyroid hormone? A lot, at least in women. It doesn’t correlate well in men though so I wouldn’t track SHBG in men. This biomarker goes up in response to 3 things, estrogen, insulin or thyroid hormone. They correlate directly. If SHBG is low, it means one of three things. You either have:

1. Reduced estrogen

2. High levels of insulin (watch out, diabetes follows next)

3. Low thyroid hormone

The best place to start is to get a hormone level on the estrogen and I’d suggest a 24 hour urine evaluation. Evaluate estrogen levels and replace estrogen until you get a normal level. Then retake the SHBG blood test. If it’s still low, that means you’re low in thyroid hormone. If you take thyroid hormone and SHBG doesn’t go up, it proves you are ‘thyroid sick.’

The reference range differs but for our purposes, when I say “low” SHBG I mean less than 70 for a woman, and less than 30 for a man indicates you have either low estrogen or low thyroid (or possibly both). You could benefit from straight T3 medicines (as opposed to straight T4 drugs, or NDT drugs). Taking thyroid will definitely help to bring down SHBG, but reducing insulin will be better for you. Using natural supplements such as quercetin, resveratrol and other nutrients.

Thyroid Binding Globulin or TBG

Suggested Level: 13 – 39 μg/ml

This is a blood test to evaluate how many taxis you have in your blood stream. Oral contraceptives (The Pill) increase your TBG that’s why you feel worse if you take those pills or patches/shots. Some of you may benefit from progesterone medication or creams. I’d prefer that you get a bio-identical form of hormones from your doctor rather than buying the cream at a health food store.Most women do better on the oral “micronized” progesterone pills, than the transdermal ones, however this is very individual. Transdermal is okay with me, so long as it’s bio-identical.

What Can You Do Right Now?

You are not helpless, there are simple things you can do to get well, and reduce levels of estrogen in your body while also improving thyroid hormone levels. Here are my ideas to help you get back on track:

1. Switch out your water bottles for glass bottles

2. Order grass-fed, organic free-range meats as often as possible

3. Snag a copy of my new book Thyroid Healthy because it offers 300 pages of mind-blowing information that no one else is willing to tell you.

4. Find an alternate form of contraception because “The Pill” raises TBG

5. Consider T3 drugs or NDT instead of pure T4 drugs

6. Watch The Thyroid Summit, an online event with 32 authors, experts and doctors sharing information with you. If you missed the live event in June, purchase the talks and listen to them anytime you wish by clicking here.

The Thyroid Summit

Most of all, don’t resign yourself to “this is just my life” or “my doctor is really nice so I’m going to follow this plan” when you are simply miserable and tired all the time. You are in control of your life, and your body. It’s up to you to be your own health advocate and fight for yourself! You are just one of several hundreds of patients to your physician, but you are special to your kids and spouse and you need to think about what’s best for yourself. Never resign yourself to symptoms that leave you feeling less than healthy, sexy and energetic. I honestly believe that no matter how hard it has been for you, you can make a new choice and lose weight, look beautiful and live the life you imagine!

About Suzy Cohen

America’s Pharmacist Suzy Cohen has been a health writer for over 15 years and has dedicated her life to researching an immense variety of health topics. Her syndicated column, Dear Pharmacist, reaches millions of readers each week and you may have also seen her blogs on The Huffington Post. She has spoken on programs such as Good Morning America Health, The Dr. Oz Show, The 700 Club, The View and The Doctors.

Her books have been featured in hundreds of magazines and interviews, and have helped millions of individuals around the world understand complicated health issues. Suzy recently created an exclusive supplement line including ThyroScript, a synergistic blend of herbs, nutrients, and digestive enzymes for healthy thyroid function.

Suzy’s book Thyroid Healthy is included in Hypothyroid Mom’s Favorite Thyroid Books (because it is EXCELLENT).

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About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? I founded Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Winner of two 2014 WEGO Health Activist Awards: Health Activist Hero & Best In Show Twitter. *Hypothyroid Mom includes Affiliate links. Connect with me on Google+


  1. I am hypothyroid and need help with hairloss and balding. Anything I can take or use to stop this.


    • Hi Jenny, Hair loss is sadly a very common problem for people with hypothyroidism. I’ll share with you the testing and treatment that worked for me. Of course we’re all different but here are things to consider. First and foremost to hair issues is getting your thyroid optimally treated. If you are on a T4 only Levothyroxine drug like Synthroid that may be the issue. Many of us do better on a combination of T4 and T3 treatment. Here’s more on this:

      I had a period of hair loss that coincided with an extremely stressful time in my life and at a time when my perimenopause symptoms at age 44 became more obvious with changes in my menstrual cycles, so testing and treating your adrenals and sex hormones (include testosterone even for women) is important. Also low iron is another major culprit for hair loss so be sure a full iron panel is done including ferritin. Also nutrients such as zinc are essential and should be tested.

      There are two supplements that have also made a difference in my hair health. Here are the two supplements that I take specifically for my hair that work for me: Biotin and Evening Primrose Oil

  2. Maureen Wagner says:

    I knew it wasn’t something as simple as taking levothyroxine….I have been hypothyroid for over 20 years with levels from 75 mcg to 250! And when I am feeling my absolute worst and have blood work done that says everything is normal, I feel like my complaints are totally dismissed by the doctor because my blood work (or whatever limited blood work they are ordering) did not come back indicating so. Very frustrating!



    • Emily Kirkland says:

      Hun your not the only one….The doctors talk to us like we don’t know our own bodies….The doctor I had tried to tell me before I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism that That wasn’t the problem, and that it had to be something else making me feel the way I do….I’ve had Hypothyroidism my whole life and My husband was the one that took me to the doctor. I have been so frustrated with weight gain and all the other symptoms to come along with it…..

  3. Thyca survivor says:

    You talk about what happens when you have low SHBG, but I have just the opposite problem. After losing my thyroid, mine went up and up (SHBG). Because my mom died of estrogen based breast cancer, my DO took this seriously once I hit 140 on my SHBG. I am on a NDT, and a arsenal of supplements (to address adrenals, and vitamin deficiencies). I am also now on progesterone (oral bio-identical), and also a compounded progesterone/testosterone cream. Although better, I am still struggling with weight and fatigue. I work out religiously with a trainer and eat healthy, but still struggle losing weight. What would you suggest?

  4. So if drinking out of plastic water bottles is out…does that include the large Ozarka bottles/dispensers? May seem like a dumb question but we go through a lot of water in our home and tap water really isn’t an option and aren’t the glass bottles expensive?

    • Emily Kirkland says:

      Hey, I was reading your comment and was wondering why is Plastic water bottles bad? Is it bad for people with Hypothyroidism? Because All I drink is bottled water….My tap water is terrible

  5. I have always wondered about the pill. I never took it until 38 y/o when I was having difficulty with periods. Over a year I had two different prescriptions and they did absolutely nothing for regulating cycle, easing cramps, etc. They did cause some serious issues with breast tissue where a surgeon said ‘stop the pill and the issues will disappear’ – he was absolutely correct. However, at that point I started gaining weight and had many unexplained health issues. Now two autoimmune illnesses. I often brought up the pill as the turning point and was always told it had nothing to do with it and that I was just aging. Appreciate this information.

  6. Karissa says:

    I was wondering if it would still be the best to take birth control if you have other conditions like PCOS, and a Hypothyroid issue. When I found out I had PCOS, my doctor immediately put me on a birth control pill in hopes it would make my cycle regular again due to consistently for 6 months not having it. Luckily it has been working a lot better than not being on anything. Is there anything I should ask my doctor to see if there is a better solution for this for me?

    Thanks much, Karissa.

  7. Kristen Wirth says:

    I would love to read this book I also have PCOS and a Thyroid problem!!

  8. Comma splice; among, not between.

  9. virginia says:

    What about soft drinks & juice in plastic bottles, are they bad for you also?

  10. Emily Kirkland says:

    I am getting very frustrated with my weight fluctuating…Does anyone know of special exercise and diets that will work??? I drink Nothing but Bottled water….my tap water is terrible and I’m reading certain comments that say it’s bad to drink out of plastic water bottles…

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