People used to call bread “the staff of life.” But those days seem to be gone forever. Bread is now a problem of life.

Let me count the ways.

• Celiac disease: Caused by an intolerance to gluten–part and parcel of grains–celiac disease gets diagnosed a lot as irritable bowel syndrome, sometimes as colitis. Which can mean a digestive system that demands a whole lot of attention and action. Or it can mean a brain that doesn’t quite function. Symptoms vary, but those are the top two.

I know a man who gave up a career he loved because the doctor said the stress of it caused all his symptoms. Years later, a college health center diagnosed his daughter with celiac–and that’s when he knew he had given up his career for nothing. It wasn’t stress; it was grain in his diet.

Thyroid people have an increased risk for celiac.

Since the problem’s becoming more widespread, I’m guessing there’s a connection to all the processing grains go through. For one thing, they pump up gluten levels, supposedly to improve the texture of bread. And bleaching the flour takes out some really good stuff and leaves chemical particles behind. How good for us can that be?

• Another problem with bread comes from the fact that fifty years or so ago, bakeries quit using iodine as a dough conditioner and replaced it with bromine, a fire retardant. Bromine’s cheap. Of course, iodine is good for us, while bromine creates problems, but that little detail apparently wasn’t part of the decision.

Our thyroid hormone is made up of two things: Iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. The iodine gives thyroid its power and glory. This is a good thing.

Here’s the problem: Chemically, bromine and iodine are both a part of the halide family, as are chlorine and fluoride. Iodine seems to be the puniest of the bunch because when chlorine, fluoride or bromine get in our system, any of them can replace the iodine in our thyroid hormone. They just kick iodine out of the way, and it washes out in our urine.

Bromine is the bully in the bunch. All three are bad, but the bully bromine completely takes over.

And once our thyroid hormone contains bromine instead of iodine, we have non-functioning thyroid hormone. No matter how much of it we have, we’re hypothyroid.

And here’s the kicker: Thyroid blood tests–unreliable in the best of times–can’t tell the difference between iodine and bromine. So doctors take one glance at the results and utter those famous words, “You’re fine.”

Even flour-by-the-bag comes “bromated.” You have to hunt for the good stuff.

And we put our munchkins in fire-retardant pajamas chock-a-block full of bromine. Do you suppose that may be part of the reason thyroid problems went from years and years of affecting 20% of the population to 50% nowadays?

Then there’s methyl bromide pesticides. And brominated vegetable oils used in citrus drinks. And the bromine used to treat the water in swimming pools. And plastics in computers.

Once upon a time they sold a stomach-settler called Bromo-Seltzer. Apparently it bumped off too many folks, so they don’t sell it any more.

Bromine is bad stuff.

To read the rest of the scary bread story, including the part about a pesticide from China that Subway, OroWheat and many others put in their bread, go to

Author's Bio: 

So, there you are, dragging your patooty through life while your doctor keeps insisting you’re fine. What’s that about? You know for a fact that you’re not fine, but what to do?. Bette Dowdell writes and talks about just what you’re going through. She tells you about all the health enemies in our world today–and you’ll be amazed–and what you need to do to help yourself–which isn’t complicated once somebody explains it. To subscribe to Bette’s free, weekly health e-zine, click here and get the information you need. Why drag through life when you don’t have to? Bette’s not a doctor, but her years of research got her out of the pits; now let her help you