Hypothyroidism: The Silent Epidemic
Hypothyroidism can be loosely defined as a medical condition that results from
the under-secretion of Thyroid Hormone. The difficulty with this traditional
approach to diagnosis of hypothyroidism is that it relies on ‘normal values,’ or
reference ranges that are defined by the population itself. It has been
estimated that as many as 50 million American suffer from undiagnosed
Fact #1: Thyroid hormone is necessary to maintain basal metabolic rate, or the
amount of fuel that is consumed to sustain health. The manifestation is that of
a. When a person is generating too little thyroid hormone, or if the individual
has an imbalance that involves thyroid metabolism, body temperatures will fall.
b. These persons may be told that they ‘normally have low temperatures.’
c. This bit of nonsense is causing tremendous problems for society.
d. The result is weight gain, depression and elevations in cholesterol levels.
Fact #2: The traditional approach to the diagnosis of hypothyroidism involves
measurement of a hormone released by the pituitary gland, TSH. If the central
nervous system senses that there is inadequate thyroid hormone in the blood
stream, TSH levels will increase. Increase in TSH should lead to increases in
the release of Thyroid Hormone from the Thyroid Gland. As levels of Thyroid
Hormone reach adequate levels, TSH release decreases.
Problem #1: Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong between the brain, pituitary
gland and the thyroid gland, itself. Inadequate levels of thyroid hormone can
persist, and the brain will ‘reset’ to new and lower levels of this hormone.
Factors that can cause this include:
1. chronic stress
4. chronic disease states.
5. autoimmune conditions
6. fasting or famine conditions.
As TSH levels drop back to normal, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism becomes more
difficult, if all the practitioner relies upon is the TSH level. Unfortunately,
this is the case more times than not.
Problem #2: Thyroid Hormone does not work alone. It requires adequate levels
of estradiol, estrone, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, DHEA and a
host of other hormones, peptides, fatty acids and humoral elements. If any one
of these necessary pieces are missing, out of balance, or in excess, thyroid
hormone may not work properly, leading to a state of ‘functional
TSH levels, thyroid hormone levels are ‘normal,’ but the body does not function
properly and resembles the hypothyroid condition.
Problem #3: Thyroid Hormone replacement may be inadequate or improper for the
patient. That is, not all thyroid replacement works for all patients. There
are chemicals in some of the commercially available thyroid preparations that
cause all manners of problems. One such substance is ‘Acacia,’ which is a
family of shrubs and trees, and portions of this plant are used in some
medications to provide form and shape to tablets. Lactose is also used in the
most popular of the Thyroid Replacement Hormones. Not only is Lactose an
allergic trigger for people with lactose intolerance, but it may actually block
the absorption of the thyroid replacement, itself. Signs of lactose intolerance
include nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
It is very common to hear patients tell the doctor that the thyroid medicine
that they are receiving is ‘making me sicker.’ Unfortunately, the practitioner
does not often make the effort to figure out why this might be the case.
Problem #4: Certain foods make thyroid conditions worse. Patients with
auto-immune disorders may be more sensitive to soy-protein than other persons.
Soy contains two chemicals that inhibit an important enzyme that is necessary
for thyroid hormone replacement. If a person is already ‘on the edge,’ taking
soy protein can make the condition worse. To a lesser extent, peanuts, pinto
beans do this, as well.
1. In order to sort through the diagnosis of thyroid related problems, it is
important to determine not only the levels of thyroid hormones and TSH, but it
is important to determine the presence of antibodies to the binding protein and
2. If you suspect that you have hypothyroidism, it is necessary to cease eating
anything that contains soy, soy lecithin, peanuts and pinto beans.
3. Replacement of thyroid hormone should be accomplished with products that do
not contain lactose, Acacia, and artificial colorations.
4. Thyroid hormone must be taken on an empty stomach.
5. Determination of hormone imbalances that affect thyroid metabolism must be
email from David S. Klein, MD, FACA
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Friday, May 29, 2009
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