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Cadmium toxicity and thyroid problems

Cadmium toxicity and thyroid problems

Cadmium toxicity and thyroid problems

Are you feeling frustrated and confused about your sudden thyroid issues? It can be overwhelming, especially when test results don't give you any clear answers. However, one factor that may be worth exploring is cadmium exposure. This heavy metal has been known to interfere with the function of the thyroid gland, potentially leading to a range of symptoms and conditions. While it's not the only possible cause, it's certainly worth considering as part of a comprehensive evaluation. 

Understanding Cadmium Toxicity

Have you ever heard of cadmium? It's certainly not a household name, but it's important to know about. This heavy metal is incredibly toxic and can be found in a surprising number of everyday items, such as cigarettes, tap water, and even processed foods. It may not be something we think about often, but taking steps to reduce our exposure to cadmium can have a big impact on our overall health and wellbeing.


We've all heard about the toxic effects certain substances can have on our kidneys, cardiovascular system, and skin. However, did you know that there's another organ that's also at risk? Yes, I'm talking about the thyroid. So, what's the connection between this little gland and the toxic substance we're discussing? Well, research has shown that exposure to this substance may have a negative impact on thyroid function, potentially leading to a whole host of health issues. It's a good thing we're learning more about the harmful effects of this substance, so we can all be more aware of what we're exposing ourselves to. After all, knowledge is power when it comes to protecting our health!


Research on Cadmium and Thyroid Dysfunction

We came across a really interesting study here recently about Chinese women and the connection between lead or cadmium exposure and thyroid autoimmunity. Turns out, the results suggest that cadmium exposure is actually related to an increase in thyroid antibodies and thyroid stimulating hormone levels. For those of you who may not know, thyroid stimulating hormone is responsible for directing the thyroid to pump out more thyroid hormone! It's fascinating to see the clear link between exposure and the body's reactions. Who knew the effects of environmental factors could be so significant?


It's important to understand the impact of pollutants on our bodies, and cadmium is one of the heavy metals that we need to be aware of. In fact, in this study here, cadmium was described as one of the 126 pollutants and a category 1 carcinogen. This heavy metal has the affinity to accumulate in such organs mentioned above like the kidneys, lungs, as well as liver and pancreas, but also the thyroid gland. It has been established that elevated cadmium levels via serum are positively correlated with its accumulation in the thyroid and women of fertile age seem to be more susceptible to having higher cadmium blood and urine concentrations than men.

The Mechanism of Cadmium's Impact on the Thyroid

Cadmium, first and foremost, antagonizes essential minerals crucial for the proper function of the thyroid. One of these minerals is zinc, which is positioned just below cadmium in the periodic table of elements. Due to their structural similarity, cadmium can mimic zinc in the body and potentially replace it if we lack sufficient amounts. Moreover, cadmium can dysregulate another important nutrient, copper, leading to an accumulation of excess copper in the tissues and resulting in copper toxicity. Copper is essential for ATP synthesis within the cells, which is responsible for energy production. Additionally, cadmium can interfere with manganese, another vital mineral for the synthesis of thyroid hormone, specifically T4.


Second, Cadmium can intoxicate our endocrine system in two ways: primary endocrine toxicity and secondary endocrine toxicity. Primary endocrine toxicity occurs when a chemical directly affects a targeted gland, such as the thyroid. On the other hand, secondary endocrine toxicity happens when the toxicity in the endocrine axis affects an endocrine gland. Cadmium is capable of causing both types of toxicity.

Primary Endocrine Toxicity

In rat model based studies, such as the one mentioned in this study, cadmium would be administered. It was revealed that cadmium would swell the mitochondria of the thyroid follicular epithelial cells and break down the endoplasmic reticulum. Thyroid epithelial cells are a line of the colloid follicles of the thyroid and concentrate iodine for thyroid hormone synthesis. If these get disrupted, we can’t absorb iodine properly. The endoplasmic reticulum is a series of cells that work with the follicles. It also was shown there was a decrease in thyroglobulin, also recognized as TG which is the protein precursor to making thyroid hormone, directly reducing thyroid hormone production. 


Secondary Endocrine Toxicity

Secondary endocrine toxicity occurs when the entire endocrine axis is affected, which in turn impacts the gland itself. It is unsurprising, given how cadmium can specifically target the liver, where most thyroid hormone conversion takes place. If thyroid hormone conversion is impaired, it can lead to a condition known as cellular hypothyroidism, where the dysfunction lies not so much in the gland itself but in how the cells respond to hormonal communication or the lack thereof.


Symptoms of Cadmium Toxicity

If you work or live near environments where cadmium is present, it's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with exposure. Cadmium poisoning can occur when too much cadmium gets into your system and impacts your body's normal function. While toxicity from this element isn't particularly common in humans, its effects can still be extremely uncomfortable and difficult to diagnose due to their non-specific symptoms.


  • Degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, arthritic diseases, etc
  • Clear signs of aging like sagging skin, hair loss, brain fog
  • Mental illness, specifically aggressive behavior, but is not limited to anti social behavior or even ADHD in children
  • Birth defects of infertility
  • Smoker’s cough due to lung congestion


Detecting Cadmium Toxicity

Did you know that cadmium toxicity can often go undetected until it's too late? Scary, right? That's why it's important to run a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) to look for levels of this sneaky toxic substance. Even if the HTMA results come back with low levels of cadmium, it's still possible for there to be toxicity lurking within your body. Ideally, the HTMA should show a cadmium level of 0.005, but for those who struggle with eliminating metals, the range may vary between 0.002-0.005 or less. So even if your HTMA comes back with a low level of cadmium, it's important to stay cautious and keep an eye out for any potential toxicity symptoms until you can get those metals flowing out of your system.


There's no denying that thyroid issues can be frustrating and even debilitating. If you're experiencing symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, or depression, you may be wondering if there's an underlying cause. Did you know that cadmium, a metal that's found in everything from batteries to cigarettes, could be contributing to your thyroid issues? Luckily, there's a simple way to find out for sure: by ordering a HTMA with our trusted team.


With our help, you can rebalance your minerals and eliminate harmful metals from your body, so you can feel your best once and for all. So why wait? Click here to order your HTMA today and take the first step towards a healthier you!

Barbara Madimenos
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach

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