It’s estimated that 1% of the population is suffering from hypothyroidism. This number is widely disputed. *Many scientist, researchers and physician’s believe as many as 40% of the population has hypothyroidism. Every cell in the body depends on having enough thyroid hormone. If your thyroid gland becomes dysfunctional, every cell in the body suffers. This is why thyroid disorders can cause so many problems.
Symptoms Associated with Hypothyroid
• fatigue (the most profound symptom)
• dry skin
• weight gain
• cold hands and feet
• poor memory
• hair loss
• joint and muscle pain
• burning or tingling sensations in the hands and/or feet (hypothyroid neuropathy)
• yellowing of skin from a build up of carotene (conversion of carotene to vitamin A is slowed by hypothyroidism)
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• problems with balance and equilibrium (unsteadiness or lack of coordination)
• constipation (from slowed metabolism)
• myxedema (nonpitting edema due to the deposition of mucin in the skin) around the ankles, below the eyes, and elsewhere
• obsevation of delayed Achilles tendon reflex test
• hypertension (high blood pressure)
• angina (chest pain)
• atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
• hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
• hyperhomocysteinenemia (a marker for heart disease)
• menstrual irregularities
• fibrocystic breast disease
• polycystic ovary syndrome
• reactive hypoglycemia
• allergic rhinitis
A Short Course on Thyroid Hormones
The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland (both are contained in the brain) to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH then stimulates the thyroid to produce and release thyroxine (T4). T4 is then converted into triiodthyronine (T3), which is vital for life and four times more active than T4. This conversion of T4 to T3 takes place in the cells. (T4 can also be converted into reverse T3, which is physiologically inactive.)
Euthyroid is a medical term for patients who have normal thyroid blood tests but have all the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism: fatigue, low metabolism, headache, etc. Euthyroid patients often have a problem with T4 converting into active T3, even though blood tests show normal levels. Individuals might take synthetic thyroid hormones (like Synthroid, which contains T4 only), but since the T4 is not converting efficiently, they continue the symptoms of low thyroid. Many of my patients complain of low thyroid symptoms. They relate that they, and sometimes their doctors, suspected a thyroid problem only to have their blood work return normal. Most physicians, in this case, won’t recommend thyroid replacement therapy. Many don’t know about (or they choose to ignore) well-documented studies that show that low body temperature is indicative of euthyroid hypothyroidism.
Body Temperature, Metabolism, and Thyroid Hormones
Blood tests for thyroid function measure the amount of TSH, T4, and T3 in the bloodstream. But thyroid hormones don’t operate within the bloodstream; the action takes place in the cells themselves. thermometerhres2What good is a blood test that only shows what is racing around the bloodstream one second out of a day? It’s inadequate for measuring true thyroid hormone levels.
Self-test for Low Thyroid
Dr. Broda Barnes was the first to show that a low basal body temperature was associated with low thyroid. His first study was published in 1942 and appeared in JAMA. This study tracked 1,000 college students and showed that monitoring body temperature for thyroid function was a valid if not superior approach to other thyroid tests. The test for low thyroid function, according to Dr. Barnes’s protocol, starts first thing in the morning. While still in bed, shake down and place the thermometer (preferably mercury; digital thermometers are not as accurate) under your arm and leave it there for 10 minutes. Record your temperature in a daily log. Women who are still having menstrual cycles should take their temperature after the third day of their period. Post menopausal women can take their temperature on any day. A reading below the normal 97.2˚ strongly suggests hypothyroid. A reading above 97.6˚ may indicate hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Add one degree to axillary (under arm) temperatures. You can also use a digital thermometer if needed. I recommend you take your underarm temperature as described above and take your temperature under the tongue two hours after waking up in the morning. Don’t eat or drink anything ten minutes before taking your oral temperature.
Treatment for Hypothyroid, The Barnes Method
Dr. Barnes recommends patients take a desiccated glandular (derived from pigs) prescription medication known as Armour Thyroid, which was used before synthetic medications such as Synthroid were introduced. Armour Thyroid and other prescription thyroid glandulars (including Nuthroid and Westhroid), contain both T4 and T3. Synthroid and other synthetic thyroid medications contain T4 only. Since some individuals have a difficult time converting inactive T4 to active T3, these medications may not work at the cellular level. Individuals may take T4 medications for years and never notice much improvement.
Wilson’s Syndrome was first described by E. Denis Wilson, MD. He was refining some of the pioneering clinical research first performed by Dr. Barnes. Dr. Wilson showed that symptoms of low thyroid function could be present with normal thyroid blood tests. The group of symptoms that he studied he called Wilson’s syndrome. These symptoms can include severe fatigue, headache and migraine, PMS, easy weight gain, fluid retention, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, decreased memory and concentration, hair loss, decreased sex drive, unhealthy nails, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, dry skin, dry hair, cold and/or heat intolerance, low self-esteem, irregular periods, chronic or repeated infections, and many other complaints. A lot of symptoms for such a little hormone problem, huh? Perhaps the greatest obstacle Dr. Wilson has had to overcome in his attempts to be recognized by mainstream medicine is the vast symptoms associated with Wilson’s Syndrome. Yet all these symptoms can be seen in hypothyroid patients.
Causes of Low Thyroid Function
The symptoms of low thyroid tend to come on or become worse after a major stressful event. Childbirth, divorce, death of a loved one, job or family stress, chronic illness, surgery, trauma, excessive dieting, and other stressful events can all lead to hypothyroidism. Under significant physical, mental, or emotional stress the body slows down the metabolism by decreasing the amount of raw material (T4) that is converted to the active thyroid hormone (T3). This is done to conserve energy. However, when the stress is over, the metabolism is supposed to speed up and return to normal. This process can become derailed by a buildup of reverse T3 (rT3) hormone. Reverse T3 can build to such high levels that it begins to start using up the enzyme that converts T4 to T3. The body may try to correct this by releasing more TSH and T4 only to have the levels of rT3 go even higher. A vicious cycle is created where T4 is never converted into active T3. Certain nationalities are more likely to develop Wilson’s syndrome: those whose ancestors survived famine, such as Irish, American Indian, Scotch, Welsh, and Russian. Interestingly, those patients who are part Irish and part American Indian are the most prone of all. Women are also more likely than men to develop Wilson’s syndrome. One study showed that all the symptoms associated with FMS could be eliminated while the patient was taking high-doses (120 mcg.) of T3.
Normal TSH Parameters ChangeAccording to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) doctors have typically been basing their diagnoses on the “normal” range for the TSH test. The typical normal levels at most laboratories have fallen in the 0.5 to 5.0 range. The new guidelines narrow the range for acceptable thyroid function; the AACE is now encouraging doctors to consider thyroid treatment for patients who test the target TSH level of 0.3 to 3.04, a far narrower range. The AACE believes the new range will result in proper diagnosis for millions of Americans who suffer from a mild thyroid disorder but have gone untreated until now.
At a press conference, Hossein Gharib, MD, FACE, and president of AACE, said: “This means that there are more people with minor thyroid abnormalities than previously perceived.” The AACE estimates that the new guidelines actually double the number of people who have abnormal thyroid function, bringing the total to as many as 27 million, up from 13 million thought to have the condition under the old guidelines.
I continue to have patient’s who have TSH levels above 3.04 yet below 5.0, who are told that their thyroid test is normal and that they don’t need thyroid replacement therapy. When possible I attempt to get my patient’s primary care or endocrinologist to prescribe Armour thyroid. This is often difficult at the least and many times I simply recommend my patient’s take my new thyroid replacement glandular supplement known as Thyroid Boost.
Over the Counter Glandular Thyroid Supplements
The prescription thyroid glandular medications, Armour, Westhroid, and Nuthroid are the preferred method of treating low thyroid disorder. Dr Wilson’s timed-release prescription T3 therapy is another option. However, many of my patients have trouble getting their medical doctor to write them a prescription for one of these medications. If you have trouble getting your doctor to prescribe one of these medications then you should consider using the over-the-counter thyroid supplement I recommend to my patients. Over-the-counter thyroid glandular supplements can also be used to correct low thyroid function. Since these raw thyroid tissue concentrates contain T3, they can be used as a first line of treatment for low to moderate hypothyroid, euthyroid disorder, or Wilson’s syndrome.
Individuals taking synthetic prescription thyroid medicines (Synthroid, Levathyriod, etc.) may find that adding an over the counter T3 glandular supplement helps them feel better. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine showed that patients who received a combination of T4 and T3 were mentally sharper, less depressed, and feeling better overall than a control group who received T4 only. Potent, high quality thyroid glandular supplements are not easy to find.
Thyroid Blend provides iodine and raw adrenal concentrates which may help with thyroid function. Thyroid Blend contains raw thyroid concentrate including thyroid hormones (Thyroxin, T4 free). This product is designed to help support T4 and boost T3 thyroid hormones.
Raw glandular concentrates are from South American or New Zealand farm raised, grass fed cattle. All batches are analyzed for any contaminants. Free of BSE.
I start my patients on one Thyroid Blend twice a day. It is best to take on an empty stomach (30 minutes before or 90 minutes after eating). I encourage my patients not to take the second dose any later than 3 p.m. I have patients monitor their basal or oral temperatures (preferably with mercury thermometer). After two weeks, if their temperature is not going up, I have them increase the dose to two Thyroid Boost’s in the morning and one in the afternoon.
If their temperature still doesn’t increase to at least 98.0, I consider adding an additional Thyroid Boost in the afternoon (total of 4 a day). If their temperature continues to run low and their symptoms haven’t improved, it may be time to look for other areas that need attention, perhaps low adrenal function.
Thyroid Support Formula II
Along with Thyroid Blend, I often recommend my patients add an additional thyroid boosting formula. This formula, known as Thyroid Support Formula II accelerates the results typically seen when supplementing with Thyroid Boost alone. Thyroid Boost, along with Thyroid Support Formula, quickly elevates cellular metabolism, energy, increased mental function, and helps optimize thyroid function. Fatigue, weight gain, tingling in the hands and feet, depression and other symptoms associated with low thyroid are often reversed when my patients begin taking a T3-4 hormone or Thyroid Boost in combination with Thyroid Support Formula II.
I always recommend that my patients continue to monitor their temperatures once beginning hormones or Thyroid Blend with Thyroid Support Formula II. Their metabolism may increase rather quickly. This can lead to rapid weight loss if they’re taking more than they need. By monitoring their temperatures my patients can adjust their dose of Thyroid Boost and Thyroid Support so that they remain at optimal metabolic levels.
Because nutrition is involved in every aspect of thyroxine (T4) production, utilization, and conversion to triiodthyronine (T3) I always recommend my patients with hypothyroid take a good optimal daily allowance multivitamin. The mineral zinc, along with iodine, vitamins A, B2, B3, B6 and C, as well as the amino acid tyrosine, are all needed for the production of thyroxine (T4) hormone. Selenium is needed to convert T4 to T3. A selenium deficiency can cause thyroid dysfunction. These two formulas are wonderful when used together. I have just put them together into a Thyroid Jumpstart Package and this is the best way to get started getting better today.
Thyroid Blend Contains:
Iodine (from kelp) – 900mcg
Raw Thyroid concentrate (Thyroxin, T4 free) – 60mg
Raw Adrenal concentrate -30mg
Raw Spleen concentrate -10mg
Raw Pituitary concentrate – 10mg
Thyroid Support Formula II Contains:
A synergistic combination of iodine containing seaweeds, and herbs which contain phytothyroidogenic, phyto-thyroid-receptor agonists, and other herbs designed to promote optimal function of thyroid hormones by maintaining the health of thyroid hormone producing tissues and by supporting the healthy function of tissues that respond to thyroid hormones. More Here.
I’m taking Synthroid or other prescription thyroid medication. Should I take the Thyroid Boost as well?If you’re taking a prescription thyroid medication and your temperature is running 97.8 or below, then yes you should consider adding Thyroid Boost. I’d recommend taking one Thyroid Boost in the A.M. and one in the early afternoon. Monitor your temperatures as outlined below and if your temperature rises above 98.2 then discontinue or reduce the Thyroid Boost.
If my lab tests are normal does this mean I don’t need thyroid medication? Blood tests aren’t very accurate. You may have hypothyroid (low thyroid) even if your blood tests are normal. I would recommend you go by temperature testing.
My doctor has me on Synthroid or Levathyroid. Should I switch to Armour or Nuthroid, or Westhroid?If you’ve been taking one of the T4 only synthetic prescription drugs and haven’t noticed much difference in your symptoms, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, tingling in your hands or feet, etc., then yes, you should consider asking your doctor to try you on one of these T3-T4 combination drugs, like Armour.
What if I’m taking one of these combination drugs (Armour, Westhroid, or Nuthroid) but still have a low body temperature and symptoms of low thyroid?I’d recommend you ask you doctor to consider increasing your prescription medication. If this is not an option or doesn’t help then I suggest you start taking Thyroid Boost along with the prescription medication.
Basal Temperature TestingThe test for low thyroid function, according to Dr. Barnes’s protocol, starts first thing in the morning.
• While still in bed, shake down and place the thermometer (preferably mercury; digital thermometers are not as accurate) under your arm and leave it there for 10 minutes. Woman should not take their temperature on the first three days of her period. Menopausal women can take her temperature on any day.
• A reading below the normal 97.2º strongly suggests hypothyroid. A reading above 98.0º may indicate hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
• Repeat these steps for seven days.
Oral Temperature testingTake your temperature with a mercury or digital thermometer two hours after waking up in the morning. Don’t eat or drink anything for ten minutes before taking your temperature under your tongue. Record your temperatures for one week. If your under tongue temperature is averages below 98.2 then you’re suffering from a low thyroid. Resources For more detailed information about thyroid disorders please see my book, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.