If you are like most people, you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about how much bromine you’re absorbing from your car upholstery or your Mountain Dew. But bromine toxicity is a definite danger and comes from some surprising sources, with the ability to wreak havoc on your health.

So what’s a Bromide?

Whether the Bromine element has been bound to another Ion to form Bromide or not- Bromides/Bromines, they are all around you!

Bromines are common endocrine disruptors- that is, they inhibit regular hormonal function within your body.  They are a part of the halide family on the periodic table – a little group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine- yes Iodine, that  paramount mineral of thyroid function also lies on that same section of the table.  Okay- so perhaps that was a little too much Chemistry over kill in the “Need to know” dept, but I tell you what – I didn’t pull my hair out passing my Chemistry exams for nothing- and I tell you, if I found all things Chemistry interesting, albeit eye crossing, then I bet you would too! What makes Bromines so dangerous is that they compete for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine on your thyroid. If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body will not be able to hold on to the iodine that it needs, Iodine affects every tissue in your body – not just your thyroid. Without even knowing it, you are already exposed to far too much chlorine and bromine. Bromine can be found in a number of places in your everyday world, including:

  • Pesticides- specifically methyl bromide, used mainly on strawberries.  Another chemical reason to wash wash wash your fruits and veggies.
  • Plastics, like those used to make computers. Bromine-based hot tub and swimming pool treatments


How many of you eat flour?  

The use of potassium bromate as an additive to commercial breads and baked goods has been a huge contributor to bromide overload in Western cultures.   Bromated flour is “enriched” with potassium bromate. Commercial baking companies claim it makes the dough more elastic and better able to stand up to bread hooks. However, Pepperidge Farm and other successful companies manage to use only unbromated flour without any of these so-called “structural problems.” Potassium bromate is also found in some toothpastes and mouthwashes, where it’s added as an antiseptic and astringent.  Periodontal disease anybody?  It has been found to cause bleeding and inflammation of gums in people using these products.  Those funny “hippy” herbal formulas don’t sound so bad once you gain a little knowledge under that fancy belt of yours- all those plant loving hippies are onto it, let me give you the tip city slickers.

  • Soft drinks- Brominated vegetable oil is used to stabilize citrus-flavoured soft drinks including Mountain Dew, Gatorade and other citrus-flavoured sodas.  Look for BVOs on your can- although do they legally even have to put BVO on packaging and cans?  Probably not.  Just another reason why soft drinks are a no go – if its not Diabetes inducing 39grams- yes, THIRTY NINE GRAMS of sugar in each 355ml can of Coca Cola – its the Thyroid busting vegetable oils- vegetable oils in fizzy drink.  Jesh!
  • Medications such as Atrovent Inhaler used in Asthma sprays and nasal Spray, Pro-Banthine (for ulcers), and anaesthesia agents.
  • Fire retardants.  A common one is polybromo diphenyl ethers or PBDE’s used in fabrics, carpets, upholstery, and mattresses.   All these acronyms- and they say the NAVY is full of acronyms! The foods we eat are a Somalian mine field!

“Although the bromide ion is widely distributed in nature, the main route of exposure in humans stems from bromide residues in food commodities as a result of the abundant use of bromide-containing pesticides, like methylbromide and ethylene dibromide, for soil fumigation in intensive horticulture and for postharvest treatment.”

One clinical consequence of overexposure to bromine is suppression of your thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism and bromide toxicity.

Tips for Avoiding Bromine and Optimizing Iodine

Trying to avoid bromine is like trying to avoid air pollution — all you can do is minimize your exposure. That said, here are a few things you can do to minimize your risk: 1. Eat organic – or Bio Dynamically as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly. This will minimize your pesticide exposure. 2. Avoid eating or drinking from (or storing food and water in) plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels. 3.  If you must eat grains- look for organic whole-grain breads and flour. Grind you own grain, if possible. Look for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” label on commercial baked goods. 4. Avoid sodas. Drink natural, filtered water instead. 5. If you own a hot tub, look into an ozone purification system. Such systems make it possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemical treatments. 6. Look for personal care products that are as chemical-free as possible. Remember — anything going on you – goes in you. 7. When in a car or a building, open windows as often as possible, preferably on opposing sides of the space for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the air. Chemical pollutants are much higher inside buildings (and cars) than outside.   If you are having trouble with losing weight, has anyone ever mentioned Bromides?


Kylie McCarthy -Nutritionist
For appointments with Kylie please phone 02 4655 4666 or email kyliem@cabothealth.com.au