Can Eating Too Many Vegetables Kill You?
An 88 year old woman went into a thyroid induced coma from eating too much raw bok choy. Her thyroid hormone levels became undetectably low because compounds in raw bok choy interfered with hormone production.
The woman’s family brought her to hospital and said that she had been lethargic and unable to walk or swallow for three days. She had pitting edema in her lower legs, which is a common symptom of an under active thyroid. Her skin was dry and her hair was coarse. The woman had been eating between 2 and 3 pounds of raw bok choy daily for several months, thinking it would help control her diabetes. She did not have a pre-existing thyroid disease.
The woman was diagnosed with a thyroid-induced coma and she received anti-inflammatory medication, as well as injections of thyroid hormone.
Bok choy contains glucosinolates. They are a group of compounds that occur widely in brassica vegetables such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Some of the breakdown products of glucosinolates are called thiocyanates, nitriles, and oxazolidines. All of these compounds have an inhibitory effect on the thyroid. In the 1920s researchers noticed the development of goiters in rabbits that were mainly fed raw cabbage. Since then, researchers have discovered the compound 1,5-vinyl-2-thiooxazolidone in several vegetables.
This compound is called a goitrin because it inhibits the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. When bok choy and related vegetables are eaten raw, they release the enzyme myrosinase, which accelerates the breakdown of glucosinolates, which can then harm the thyroid gland. Cooking deactivates the majority of the myrosinase in these vegetables. Iodine deficiency is an extremely common condition, particularly in women. Iodine helps to keep your thyroid gland healthy which is why I have included it in Thyroid Health capsules.