Nitrates found in hot dogs and green leafy vegetables could increase thyroid cancer risk

According to a recent report from a group of researchers at the National Cancer Institute, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, nitrates may be increasing thyroid cancer rates in women, EmpowHer reports.

Nitrates can inhibit iodine absorption and prevent the production of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which can cause an increase in thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This is a result of the body trying to maintain healthy levels of T3 and T4. High levels of TSH over an extended period of time are associated with thyroid disease, including cancer.

Nitrate is considered a harmless preservative until it is converted to nitrite and nitroso. Although the compound is commonly found in hot dogs and bacon, it is also found in green leafy vegetables, certain root vegetables and drinking water - especially in agricultural areas.

For the past several decades, nitrate has been used as a fertilizer, and as a result, concentrations of the compound are increasingly found in vegetables.

The authors recommend further studies on the role of nitrates in thyroid cancer, according to the news source.

About 44,670 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year, and about 1,690 will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.