Tag Archives: thyroid hormone

Why Levothyroxine — i.e. Synthroid — Treatment Isn’t Working for You

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Conventional medicine believes that if you have an underactive, chemically ablated or surgically-removed thyroid gland, that all you need is levothyroxine – the synthetic form of the T4 hormone. Levothyroxine is also known by its brand names: Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Tirosint, and Levothroid, among others. T4 is the inactive thyroid hormone and must be converted into the active thyroid hormone T3 – triiodothyronine — in order to deliver oxygen and energy to cells, and resolve hypothyroidism. The conventional belief is that the levothyroxine will adequately and effectively convert in the body to T3. As a result, millions of people who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or who are hypothyroid after thyroid surgery or Radioactive Iodine (RAI) treatment, are given a prescription for generic or brand name levothyroxine and sent on their way. Even with levothyroxine treatment, however, many of these patients, and you may be among them, continue to experience hypothyroidism […]

Is Intermittent Fasting a Key to Weight Loss?

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We know that full-on fasting – such as ultra-low calorie diets, or low-cal juice cleanses — tend to lower the metabolism and bring down the metabolic set-point, especially in people with thyroid issues such as hypothyroidism. But research has shown that short-term fasting does not have this permanent impact on metabolism, while potentially offering a number of other benefits. A 2013 study from the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease found that IF diets can help combat diabetes and heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing insulin levels, and resulting in weight loss. More recently, Yale School of Medicine researchers discovered that a compound produced by the body when fasting can actually block responses that are involved in various inflammatory disorders. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is produced when fasting, restricting calories, or on a ultra-low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. BHB inhibits the production of a protein that plays a key role in inflammation […]

5 Things You Should Do Right Now to Conquer Your Thyroid Issues

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1. Understand the Lab Tests for Thyroid Disease Some doctors only use the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test to diagnose and manage thyroid disease, and tell patients that their results are “normal” or “abnormal” — nothing more. Integrative physicians take it much further — often including Free T4, Free T3, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO), Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins (TSI), Reverse T3. If you don’t know what these tests measure, and what is “normal,” “abnormal” — or better yet “optimal” — for each of these tests, it’s time to do some homework. You can’t ask for tests that you don’t know about, and you can’t negotiate for optimal treatment if you don’t know what your results mean. Need to learn more? Read Challenges in Thyroid Hormone Therapy: Why Is It So Complicated? 2. Start Keeping Copies of All Your Lab Tests It’s your right — and frankly, smart — to ask for […]

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Thyroid Symptom

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Similarly, many carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers aren’t aware that it can be a symptom of an underactive thyroid, and that the symptoms may resolve with proper treatment. What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? The median nerve goes through a tunnel near the wrist bone (the carpal tunnel), allowing for sensation in the fingers. When there is pressure, swelling or irritation of the median nerve, or inflammation is causing pressure to the area, you can experience pain, tingling, burning, numbness and weakness in the thumb, index finger, middle fingers, wrist, and forearm, as well as decreased grip strength. Some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome may be due to repetitive strain, but there are also a variety of health conditions — including hypothyroidism – that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is typically diagnosed by a hands-on examination to rule out other conditions, as well as clinical signs of the condition, […]

No Thyroid Gland: What Next?

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How Someone Ends Up Without a Thyroid There are several ways that someone can end up without a thyroid gland. First, you can be born without a gland, or with a malformed or non-functional gland. This is called “congenital hypothyroidism.” When it’s found, newborns are started on thyroid hormone replacement, to avoid the signs and symptoms of this condition, which can include failure to grow, lethargy, developmental delays, and even mental impairment. Typically, in the United states, mandatory “heel stick” blood tests conducted at birth measure for thyroid hormone, in order to detect this condition, and allow treatment to begin right away. More information on congenital hypothyroidism: EMedicine Overview of Congenital Hypothyroidism About.com Overview of Congenital Hypothyroidism Second, you don’t have a thyroid if your gland has been surgically removed. In the United States, surgery to remove the thyroid gland, called a thyroidectomy, is most commonly performed on many patients […]

Driving While Hypothyroid: Worse Than Drunk Driving?

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Researchers from the University of Kentucky looked at whether significant hypothyroidism could impair driving ability. They studied 32 patients who had thyroid cancer – and who were taken off their thyroid hormone drugs and became hypothyroid prior to radioactive iodine scanning to detect cancer recurrence. They had the patients do a driving simulator test, and according to study co-author Dr. Charles Smith, “We found that hypothyroid patients being tested on a driving simulator had a similar performance to that of drivers with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit in the U.S. Physicians should warn their hypothyroid patients to avoid driving until they have been sufficiently treated with thyroid hormone.” According to study co-author Dr. Ken Ain, “These patients had delayed reaction times, and their response in terms of braking their vehicles was as bad as those above the legal limit for alcohol intoxication.” Said Ain: “Nobody has truly […]

Thyroid Drugs and Antibiotics: A Warning

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A study from the journal Thyroid found that the antibiotic ciprofloxacin – known more commonly by brand names Cipro, Proquin, Ciproxin, Ciprobay, Cirpoxine, and Ciflox — significantly decreased the absorption of the thyroid medication. [Keep in mind that some experts feel that the warning about ciprofloxacin applies also to similar quinolone antibiotics such as levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), monifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Norox-In), and ofloxacin (Floxin).] This means that if you are taking thyroid drugs and an antibiotic from the quinolone family, it could interfere with absorption, and cause you to become substantially more hypothyroid. Interestingly, the antibiotic rifampin (also called rifampicin) — and known by brand names Rifadin, Rifamate and Rifater — significantly increased the absorption of the thyroid medication. This means that if you are taking the antibiotic along with your thyroid hormone replacement medication, it could actually cause you to become overmedicated, or experience hyperthyroid symptoms. Is there […]

Anxiety, Panic, and Your Thyroid

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“Yep,” said the doctor, chuckling. “Looks like an overactive thyroid to me. Every one of you practically go airborne!” He had reviewed her chart and latest symptoms, and suspected correctly that she had an overactive thyroid. While his diagnostic method is not one Holtorf Medical Group doctors would use, we still consider this patient luckier than some, because many women who complain about anxiety, panic attacks, nervousness, palpitations, and insomnia end up with misdiagnoses, including: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) panic disorder bipolar disease sleep disorder Then, they are given a long list of medications — benzodiazepenes, antidepressants, beta blockers — everything from Valium, to Atenolol, to Xanax, to Ambien. Since lack of appetite, and/or rapid weight loss can also occur with an overactive thyroid, some women are even misdiagnosed as having anorexia or bulimia, and put on antidepressants, and/or sent to eating disorder clinics for treatment. And because these side-effect […]

The Link Between Hormones and Depression

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Before puberty, the rates of mood and anxiety disorders are similar in boys and girls. It’s only after females begin menstrual function that a gender differential in mood disorders manifests itself. This, coupled with the observation that women appear to be especially vulnerable to mood disturbances during times of hormonal flux, certainly confirms that a relationship exists between sex hormones and mood. How Do Hormones Affect Mood? Levels of hormones, such as those produced by the thyroid gland, can be factors in depression. In addition, some symptoms of depression are associated with thyroid conditions. The same is true about conditions related to the menstrual cycle, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), perimenopause, and menopause. The process of menstruation involves fluctuations in the levels of estrogen and other hormones. Some women experience depression-related symptoms such as sadness, irritability, and fatigue prior to menstruation. These symptoms are part of the premenstrual syndrome, or […]

Is Thyroid Disease the Cause of Your Low Libido?

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Studies show that even slightly reduced thyroid levels, even considered still in the “normal” range can dramatically decrease libido in women as well as causing fatigue, weight gain and depression. How Does Thyroid Dysfunction Affect Libido Hypothyroidism reveals itself in a very gradual manner. Low thyroid symptoms are very subtle and are often similar to the ones of aging. Low thyroid levels affect different parts of the body in different ways. Patients more often reporting loss of libido are those with hypothyroidism. Those with hyperthyroidism can also experience this symptom, but they can also experience episodes of increased sex drive, due to the sped up metabolism hyperthyroidism can cause. With hypothyroidism, the metabolism is slowed down, which means the reproductive organs are slowed down as well. The adrenal glands that produce hormones that convert into the sex hormones are also slowed down. Both men and women can see decreased testosterone […]

Common Thyroid Tests To Diagnose Thyroid Diseases

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Most physicians, including endocrinologists, rely on standard thyroid tests to determine their patients’ “proper” dose of thyroid replacement. The evaluation of a patient’s signs and symptoms to determine the proper dose has been reduced to the point of being unimportant to most physicians. What Is Wrong With Standard Thyroid Tests? Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is a pituitary hormone whose function is to stimulate thyroid hormone production by the thyroid gland. It is considered the only diagnostic test for hypothyroidism and the most sensitive marker of peripheral tissue availability of thyroid hormones. The clinical reality is that relying on standard thyroid tests to determine optimal doses of thyroid replacement is inaccurate and doesn’t offer relief or proper treatment for the patient. Unfortunately, most physicians, including endocrinologists, lack the ability or confidence to clinically evaluate a patient’s thyroid status and lack understanding of the limitations of standard thyroid function tests. Reliable studies already […]

Function and Diseases of the Thyroid

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Thyroid disorders are increasingly common. Yet, about half of sufferers remain undiagnosed due to improper testing and because initial signs and symptoms are vague, ambiguous, and often seen in various disorders. The underlying factor in very common disorders such as infertility, hair loss, irregular menses, constipation, fatigue, weight gain, elevated cholesterol, anemia, or depression may be a malfunctioning thyroid. The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Too much thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Insufficient hormone production leads to hypothyroidism. All types of hyperthyroidism are due to an overproduction of thyroid hormones, but the condition can occur in several ways: Grave’s Disease – The production of too much thyroid hormone. Toxic Adenomas – Nodules develop in the thyroid gland and begin to secrete thyroid hormones, upsetting the body’s chemical balance; some goiters may contain several of these nodules. Subacute Thyroiditis – Inflammation of the thyroid […]